The Sands Family   •   Real Irish Folk

  • Real Irish Folk
    • 1979 - Emerald GES 1201 LP (UK)
  • Side One
    1. Here I Am Amongst You
    2. Bonny Kells Water
    3. Trip To Rathlin (B. and C. Sands)
    4. There'll Have To Be Some Changes (C. Sands)
    5. No Man's Land (E. Bogle)
  • Side Two
    1. I'm A Terrible Man (C. Sands)
    2. O'Reilly From Co. Cavan
    3. Three Jigs:
      1. The 26th Of May (C. Sands)
      2. The Tenpenny Bit
      3. Jackson's Morning Brush
    4. Johnny My Man
    5. Misty Mourne Shore (T. Sands)

  • Musicians
    • Tom Sands: Vocal, Guitar, 5-String Banjo
    • Anne Sands: Vocal, Bodhrán
    • Ben Sands: Vocal, Guitar, UileAnne Pipes, Mandoline, Tin Whistle
    • Colum Sands: Vocal, Guitar, Fiddle, Sitar Viola, Concertina, Double Bass And Euphonella Viol
  • Credits
    • Produced By The Sands Family And George Doherty
    • © 1979 Emerald Records Limited (Decca Ireland)
    • All tracks: Trad. Arr. Sands Family, unless otherwise noted.

The 1977 Ulster Fleadh Ceoil overflowed from BallyshAnneon into nearby Belleek, where a mighty session took place in one of those special houses where people can sing, drink and forget the outside world. On that night we heard this song from Len Graham and the late Joe Holmes. The great warmth of their performance endeared us both to the song and the men.

Them are several versions of O'Reilly from Co. Cavan and this one has a particularly sad twist about it. We heard It from a fine singer and good friend, Jackie Devenny, at a Fleadh Ceoil some years ago.

In October 1977, I visited Rathlin Island in search of a quiet. weekend. I found the quietness alright, but the weekend idea turned into a ten day stay due to rough seas. But those ten days were most enjoyable and during that time I composed a reel on the fiddle which I had brought with me. One night Ben heard me playing the reel on the fiddle and he picked up the pipes and composed a march which could be played together, with the reel. The two tunes together form the Trip to Rathlin, a trip which I hope to make again very soon. In the meantime, we dedicate this track to all the great people there.

Unemployment is one of the great problems in Ireland today and it often forces young people to emigrate to England if they are to escape the sole destroying 'dole' queue. Ironically though there is an unemployment problem in England too, which forces young men to join the army and they in turn 'emigrate' to Ireland. Such observations lead the observer to conclude "There'll have to be some changes".

A man called Eric Bogle recently returned from Australia to his native Scotland. strolled into a folk club and said 'Do you mind if I sing a few songs?' He sung songs like 'The Band Waltzing Matilda', and people haven't stopped talking since. This one, in his opinion is better than 'Matilda', was written after he had walked through a First World War graveyard in France. We learned this song from our good friend Iain McIntosh of Glasgow.

There are many words used in every day conversation in Ireland wichh one wouldn't find in a dictionary. We were made acutely aware of some of the Ulsterisms in the English Language when translating songs like 'The Boys of Tandragee' into German. In fact we had to first translate the song into English for our bewildered German translator, who wanted to know what a 'hoult' was. not to mention a 'joult'. Being young lady, Tom was not able to demonstrate what a 'hoult' was, not to mention a 'joult' ... anyway here is a song telling of the hazards of courtship in straight forward Ulster English. If you have any trouble with the language, we refer you to a dictionary compiled by John Pepper of the Belfast Telegraph in his book 'What a thing to say'.

Benny heard this song from Tony McAuley some ten years ago and always wanted to learn it. As well as a fine tune, the song contains some great turns of speech as when the girl describes her love for Willy, 'Through an acre of fire I would tread Along with my Willy to be" Our thanks to Tony for this song; he tells us that the Kells referred to, is the small village near Ballymena, Co. Antrim.

Colum composed the first jig 'The 26th of May' on his 26th birthday which fell on the 26th of May although he refuses to disclose which year. 'The Tenpenny Bit' and 'Jackson's Morning Brush' are two traditional jigs which we learned from our father who claims to have pulled flax with Jackson's nephew, sometime between the two World Wars.

A song which deals gently with a wife's attempts to take her husband out of a pub; apparently the song was widely sung in the streets of Scotland in the 17th and 18th centuries. but the theme is just as relevant today! The song appears as Johnny McMan in the Sam Henry Collection (No. 807). We took additional verses from a more complete version which we heard from Dick Gaughan at the Edinburgh Festival in 1975.

This story was written on a moody, misty morning and tells how the fortunes of love are as restless as the tides of time.

Tom and Colum Sands