1 The Holland Handkerchief sung by Packie Manus Byrne, London, 1974. Roud 246, Child 272.
Professor Child called this The Suffolk Miracle and reluctantly admitted it to his collection with this comment: 'I have printed this ballad because, in a blurred, enfeebled, and disfigured shape, it is representative in England of one of the most remarkable tales and one of the most impressive and beautiful ballads of the European continent.’ The story seems to have originated in Southeast Europe - perhaps Greece - and to have drifted all over Europe, both as tale and ballad. A romantic 18th century re-working of it, in G A Burger’s Lenore, gave extra impetus to its spread. The ballad, which has been collected in its entirety as a folktale in the west of England, was printed by several 17th century broadside printers in London and today, usually under the title The Holland Handkerchief, is met with not infrequently in Ireland, particularly in those parts that were on the itinerary of a couple of influential wandering minstrels and casual labourers of the mid-nineteenth century, Andy and Thomy Hearn (according to the American folklorist Phillips Barry). Packie’s brooding tune fits the ballad well - far better than that of McCafferty which many singers use - and he had it as a boy from his cousins, the Gallagher brothers, who lived in Meenacahan, County Donegal. The great majority of Roud's 56 examples come from the USA.
For further details see Rionach ui Ogain and Anne O’Connor, Spor ar an gCois is gan Chois Ann in Bealoideas: the Journal of the Folklore of Ireland Society, vol.51 (Dublin, 1983), pp.126-144.
2 The Bonny Boy sung by Fred Jordan, Aston Munslow, Salop (rec. Altringham, Cheshire), 1966. Roud 31, Laws O35.
England, Scotland and Ireland share this very favourite ballad, usually under the title The Trees they do Grow High or Long/Still/Young a-Growing. Half-a-dozen broadside printers issued it during the nineteenth century, and Burns re-wrote it as Lady Mary Ann. Some say the story relates to the actual marriage of the boy laird of Craigton to a girl some years his senior in 1631, but in fact there’s no ground for this belief - many similar mariages have taken place over the years to consolidate family fortunes - and the ballad probably pre-dates the early 1600s.
Other recordings: George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 317-8. Lizzie Higgins (Aberdeen) - Topic TSCD 667. Mary Ann Haynes (Sussex) - Topic TSCD 656. Walter Pardon (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 514. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Rounder CD 1839.
3 What Put the Blood? sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1975. Roud 200, Child 13
AKA Edward, this has been a very popular ballad, with 214 entries in Roud - mostly from the USA. Scholars have long puzzled over this ballad. Cathal Ó Baoill in his notes to Paddy’s original LP suggests that there may be a key in the line, 'all through mother’s treachery’. In other words, the mother is trying to gain the son’s inheritance. Ó Baoill also gives a lovely localised verse from Loch Neagh:
What will you do in the winter of your life?See also Vol 17(11).
Like a saggin on the Lough, I’ll bow with the wind.
Other recordings: George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 317-8. Frank Hinchliffe (Yorkshire) - EFDSS/Root & Branch CD1. Mary Delaney (Ireland and London) - Topic TSCD 667. Jeannie Robertson (Aberdeen)/Mary Ellen Connors (Belfast)/Thomas Moran (Leitrim)/Angela Brazil (England) - Rounder CD1775.
4 Worcester City sung by Joseph Taylor, Lincolnshire (rec. London), 1908. Roud 218, Laws P30.
Better known as Poison in a Glass of Wine, or some such title. It is still one of the best-known folksongs and has turned up all over England. There are also a few sightings from Ireland, Scotland and America (including some from Bluegrass singers). John Pitts printed it on a broadside in the early 1800s.
Other recordings: Sheila Stewart (Perthshire) - Topic TSCD515. Louie Saunders & Pop Maynard (Both Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 309-10 (Mrs Saunders is also on 13(17). Freda Palmer (Oxon) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2. Garrett & Norah Arwood (N Carolina) - Musical Traditions MT CD 323.
5 Willie, the Bold Sailor Boy sung by Liz Jefferies, Bristol, 1976. Roud 273, Laws K12.
A highly popular song (211 Roud entries) that probably dates from the late 18th century. It goes under various titles, including The Sailor Boy, The Sailing Trade, The Sailor Boy and His Faithful Mary, The Faithful Lovers and, most commonly of all Sweet William. Cecil Sharp noted eleven English versions, usually under the latter title, as well as finding a further dozen sets in the Appalachians. The final verse is also found in the song Died for Love.
Other recordings: Phoebe Smith (Suffolk) - Topic TSCD 661. Maggy Murphy (Fermanagh) - Veteran VT134CD. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Rounder CD 1839.
6 The Clattering of the Clyde Waters sung by Stanley Robertson, Aberdeen, 1973. Roud 91, Child 216
AKAThe Mother’s Malison. Child mentions related verses from various ballads of c.1650 in the Roxburghe collection of blackletter broadsides. He also outlines an Italian ballad with common traits. In Stanley’s version, we find no mention of the mother’s curse given for disregarding her wishes, which normally opens the story.
There are some extremely powerful lines in this ballad, especially, 'The clattering o the Clyde’s waters/Would fear ten thousand men’, with its onomatopoeic use of the word 'clattering’.
Other recordings: John Strachan (Aberdeen) - Rounder CD 1776.
7Young Edmund in the Lowlands Low sung by Geordie Hanna, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 182, Laws M34.
This often heard song spread by ballad sheets in Ireland, Scotland and England, has been published many times and has been collected recently from other Ulster singers by Robin Morton and Hugh Shields. It is also common in North America, especially in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. There are eleven sets in Cecil Sharp’s Appalachian collection and a further eleven sets in the Greig/Duncan collection (where it is song number 189).
Other recordings: Gabrielle Ijdo (Aberdeen) - Kyloe 101. Lizzy Higgins (Aberdeen) - Springthyme cassette SPRC 1021. Maggie Murphy (Fermanagh) - Veteran VT132CD. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD667. Ollie Gilbert (Arkansas) - Rounder CD 1701. Doug Wallin (North Carolina) - Smithsonian Folkways SFCD 40013. Dellie Norton (North Carolina) - Rounder CD 0028.
8 The Prickle Holly-Bush sung by Fred Hewett, Mapledurwell, Hampshire, 1955. Roud 144, Child 95.
AKA The Maid Freed from the Gallows, with 270 Roud entries. According to Child, 'All the English versions are defective and distorted, as comparison will show. In many others, both from northern and southern Europe, a young woman has fallen into the hands of corsairs; father, mother, brother, sister, refuse to pay ramsom, but her lover, in one case husband, stickles at no price which may be necessary to retrieve her’. He then tells of versions from all over Europe, from Spain to Russia, from Scandinavia to Sicily. In some versions the maid is to be hanged for the loss of a 'golden ball’, causing some speculators to think that the 'ball’ may represent her virginity.
O hangman hangman stop the ropeEleanor Long’s study, The Maid and The Hangman: Myth and Tradition in a Popular Ballad (Berkeley, 1971) should be consulted for further details.
I think I see my lover
O have ye found my golden ball,
Or have ye paid my fee O?
Or are ye come to see me hang’d
Upon the gallows tree O.
Other recordings: Almeda Riddle (Arkansas) - Rounder CD 1705. Hobard Smith (Virginia) - Rounder CD 1799. Sarah Anne Tuck & Julia Scaddon (Dorset) - Rounder CD 1775. Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter - Rounder CD 1045. Charlie Poole (N Carolina) - County CD 3516.
9 Lord Ronald sung by John MacDonald, Elgin, Morayshire, 1974. Roud 10, Child 12.
AKA Lord Randal - with a mighty 503 Rour entries! John MacDonald got this version of a famous classic ballad from his grandfather. The ballad of the false true-love who poisons her boy friend with 'eels biled in broo’ or some other ill-sounding concoction is a far-travelled, multilingual oral migrant. In Scotland a tune often used for it is, as here, a variant of the familiar Villikins and His Dinah tune - and it is oftenly surprisingly effective.
Nowadays, English versions of the ballad tend to turn up in the Henry, My Son form, although one gloriously eccentric version, Ray Driscoll’s The Wild, Wild Berry (EFDSS CD02) turned up a while back in London.
Other recordings: Mary Delaney (Ireland/London) - Topic TSCD 667. George Dunn (Staffordshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 317-8. Joe Heaney (Galway) - Topic TSCD 518D. George Spicer (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2.
10 Newry Town sung by Jumbo Brightwell, Leiston, Suffolk, 1975. Roud 490, Laws L12.
Described by Margaret Dean Smith as, 'the archetype of the execution ballad’, it has been collected extensively in England, Ireland and North America. Jumbo’s reference to 'Fielding’s gang’ is interesting, in that the novelist Henry Fielding, who was appointed Chief Magistrate of Westminster in 1748, formed, together with his blind half-brother and fellow magistrate, Sir John Fielding, London’s first policemen, the Bow Street Runners, in 1751. There is a recent study of the ballad in Roger deV Renwick’s Recentering Anglo/American Folksong (2001).
Other recordings: Walter Pardon (Suffolk) - Topic TSCD 514. Revett Branch (Suffolk) - Neil Lanham CD NLCD3. Gordon hall (Sussex) - Veteran VT 115.
11 Cruel Lincoln sung by Ben Butcher, Popham, Hampshire, 1955. Roud 6, Child 93.
AKA Lamkin. A mason works for a Lord who fails to pay him, and so seeks revenge on the Lord’s family. Child prints over twenty texts, which suggests that at one time the ballad must have been extremly well-known. He also mentions Scottish place-names that are associated with the ballad - 'Lambirkins wod’, near Dupplin, in Perthshire, and Balwearie, in Fifeshire. He fails to mention other places that are also associated with the tale, in the Borders and in Northumberland.
Scholars have long sought to make much of this ballad, often seeing ritual slaughter or blood being ritually spread about a new building for strength. But such ideas seem to be just that - ideas. This ballad is found all over the Anglophone world - though with only twi Irish sightings - and appears to have surved particularly well in the Appalachian Mountains.
Other recordings: Frank Proffitt (North Carolina) - Appleseed APR CD 1036. George Fradley (Derbyshire) - Veteran cassette VT114. George Fosbury (Hampshire) - Rounder CD 1775.
12 Maria Marten sung by Freda Palmer, Witney, Oxfordshire, 1972. Roud 215.
Broadside printers always welcomed a popular theme to increase their sales and, as one Victorian pedlar put it, 'There’s nothing beats a stunning good murder’. Maria Marten’s death, in 1827, was a boon to the printers. Maria had left Polstead in Suffolk with William Corder, whom she intended to marry in order to avoid a bastardy charge. She was never seen alive again, and following a series of prophetic dreams by her mother, her body was found, buried in The Red Barn, Polstead. Corder was arrested, found guilty of Maria’s murder, and hanged outside Bury St Edmunds jail on August 11th, 1828. Maria Marten, the 'innocent nymph of her native village’, became something of a cult figure on broadsides and in melodramas such as Murder in the Red Barn, so much so that her three illegitimate children - to different fathers - and her possible criminal activities with Corder became overshadowed by the myth that grew up around her death. Indeed, research now suggests that her mother’s 'supernatural dreams’ were motivated not so much by psychic phenomena as by her own criminal knowledge and probable association with Corder. Maria Marten was published as a 'dying speech’ by the printer James Catnach of Seven Dials. Mrs Palmer’s tune is a version of that usually found with the ballad Dives and Lazarus. For technical reasons, Mrs Palmer’s first verse was omitted from the CD, but is now printed below.
In eighteen hundred and twenty-seven,Roud's 49 entries are widely spread all over England, but the song seems not to have travelled - except for isolated sightings in Australia and Tristan da Cunha.
on the ninth day of June;
Maria was dressed all in men’s clothes
and her mother to her did say.
13 The Cruel Mother sung by Lizzie Higgins, Aberdeen, 1975. Roud 9, Child 20.
Once an extremely popular ballad, as 254 Roud entries make clear. Dave Atkinson’s article History, Symbol and Meaning in The Cruel Mother (Folk Music Journal 1992. Vol.6 no.3. pp.359 - 380) is extremely good and includes an illustration of a blackletter broadside, The Duke’s Daughter’s Cruelty, or, the Wonderfcul Apparition of twi Infants whom she Murther’d and Buried in a Forrest, for to hide her Shame, printed by Jonah Deacon towards the end of the 17th century. Child cites many European variants and Anne Gilchrist shows how the ballad became a children’s song in Journal of the Folk Song Society Vol.3. p.8.
Other recordings: Jock Duncan (Aberdeenshire) - Springthyne SPRCD 1039. Duncan Burke (Perthshire)/Cecelia Costello (Birmingham)/Thomas Moran (Leitrim) - Rounder CD 1775. Vicki Whelan (Lancashire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-2.
14 Lady Margaret sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1975. Roud 50, Child 77.
AKA Sweet William’s Ghost. Danish versions of this ballad are extremly similar to the ballad that Paddy Tunney sings here, except that William actually turns up carrying his coffin on his back, and includes the reference to a bird calling him back to the grave. (Shades of The Grey Cock - Child 248). Child’s earliest version comes from the 4th volume of Ramsay’s Tea Table Miscellany of 1740.
The ballad was widely popular in Canada, and less so in the USA and these islands - though Roud has no English entries.
15 The Well Below the Valley sung by John Reilly, Dublin, 1967. Roud 2335, Child 21.
AKA The Maid and the Palmer. In this unique and mystical ballad we find John Reilly, surely one of society’s most maltreated members, sharing a jewel of unprecedented beauty with us all. The story of the woman of Samaria was once known across Europe, especially throughout Scandinavia and France. Somehow, in the telling, Mary Magdalen has also entered the story. Child tells the following story, based on several Scandinavian tales. A woman at a well or a stream is approached by Jesus, who asks for a drink. She say she has no vessel to serve him with. He replies that if she were pure, he would drink from her hands. She protests innocence with oaths, but is silenced by his telling her that she has had three children, one with her father, one with her brother, one wioth her parish priest. She falls at his feet, and begs him to shrive her. Jesus appoints her a seven years’ penance in the wood. Her food shall be the buds or the leaves of the trees, her drink the dew, her bed the hard ground; all the time she shall be harassed by bears, wolves and snakes. The time expired, Jesus returns and asks how she has liked her penance. She answers, as if she had eaten daintily, drunk wine, slept on silk or swan’s-down, and had angelic company. Jesus then tells her that a place is ready for her in heaven
John’s ballad is but a fragment of the longer tale, though sung with an intensity that seems to overcome any deficiency.
16 The Dewie Dens of Yarrow sung by John MacDonald, Elgin, Morayshire, 1974. Roud 13, Child 214.
Still one of the most popular of the classic ballads, The Dewie (or Dowie) Dens is always associated with the Borders, and with the 'euphonius river’ whose name leads the rhymes in every version - although it has been recorded as far away as Sutherland (from Gaelic-speaking travelling folk). Sir Walter Scott tried to tether it to an actual historical incident - a duel between John SCott of Tushielaw and his brother-in-law Walter Scott - but there is no basis in fact for this identification. John MacDonald got his version c.1915 from Bob Kemp, a ploughman at Kerrow. See also Vol 17(6).
Other recordings: Willie Beattie (Dumfrieshire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-12. William Williamson (Fife) - Kyloe 100. Belle Stewart (Perthshire) - Ossian OSS CD96. Willie Scott (Dumfriesshire) - Topic TSCD 667. Davie Stewart (Perthshire) - Rounder CD 1833. Brigid Murphy (Co Armagh) - European Ethnic cassette Early Ballads in Ireland - no issue number. Jane Turriff (Aberdeenshire) - Springthyme SPRCD1038. Jimmy McBeath (Aberdeenshire) - Rounder CD 1834.
17 Molly Vaughan sung by Phoebe Smith, Melton, Suffolk, 1969. Roud 166, Laws O36.
Although very widely collected in North America, though rather less so in England, Ireland, and Australia (though not at all, surprisingly, in Scotland), this version of the Swan Maiden theme is rarely seen on 19th century broadsides. A number of scholars have tried to link the ballad with an actual historical event. Phoebe's version is one of the few English ones to retain a supernatural element.
Other recordings: Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 512D. Dan Tate (Virginia) - Musical Traditions MTCD 321. Walter Pardon (Norfolk) - Musical Traditions MTCD 305-6. Elizabeth Cronin (Co Cork) - CD accompanying the book The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin by Daibhi Ó Croinin. 2000. ISBN 1 85182 259 3. Maggie Murphy (Fermanagh) - Veteran VT134CD.
18 George Collins sung by Enos White, Axford, Hampshire, 1955. Roud 147, Child 42 / 85.
According to Professor Child, 'This little ballad, which is said to be still of the regular stock of the stalls, is a sort of counterpart to Lord Lovel.’ Other scholars have suggested that it is quite an ancient piece, and that the 'fair pretty maid/washing her fine silken shrift’ is no other than a supernatural mistress who threatens George (or Giles, as he is often called) with death, should he leave her. If this is the case, and it does seem possible, then the ballad is probably linked with another piece, Clerk Colville (Child 42). Roud uses his 147 Number for both ballads. It has been very widely collected in the USA, far less so in these islands, with no Irish entries in Roud.
Other recordings:Nathan & Rena Hicks (N Carolina) - Appleseed CD 1036. Jacquey Gabriel (Gloucestershire) - Musical Traditions MTCD 311-12.
19 The Two Brothers sung by Belle Stewart, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, 1976. Roud 38, Child 49.
As in the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, two brothers have a fight for no real reason and one brother is killed. Thus, in a nut shell, we have the story of The Two Brothers. Its rather like the ballad of Edward (Child 13) where the same thing happens. Possibly there were once well-known motives behind ballads such as this, but time seems to have removed any such reason. Six of Child’s seven texts are from Scotland, whereas Bronson lists over forty sets from North America. Belle’s text is interesting, and possibly unique, in that she introduces the step-mother into the story (in the final verse).
Other recordings: Hobart Smith (Virginia) - Rounder CD 1799. Texas Gladden (Hobart Smith’s sister) - Rounder CD 1800. Shelia MacGregor (Perthshire - Belle’s daughter) - Greentrax CDTRAX 9005. A similarly titled ballad sung by Stanley Robertson (Aberdeenshire) on the CD A Keeper of the Lore (STAN 1099) is actually a different ballad.
20 The Lakes of Coalflin sung by Scan Tester, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, 1960. Roud 189, Laws Q33.
Some American folklorists ('Child-twitchers’) have attempted to link this broadside ballad with ballads such as Clerk Colville (Child 42) and Lady Alice (Child 85), but without much success. The notes to the Tom Lenihan book mentioned below lists a number of locations connected with the name Coalfin/Coolfin. A number of English Gypsies have been recorded singing this song, Mary Ann Haynes for example, and the song was issued on English Victorian broadsides.
Other recordings: Pop Maynard (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 309-10. Tom Lenihan (Co Clare) - on cassette accompanying The Mount Callant Garland (1994. ISBN 0 906 426 162). Scan Tester (Sussex) - Musical Traditions MTCD 309-10.
21 Willie-O sung by Nora Cleary, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare, 1976.
Boy goes to meet girl late at night. He wakes her up before spending the night with her. In the morning he leaves. And that, in a nutshell, is the story of this, and several other so-called 'night-visiting’ ballads. When it is apparent that the boy is, in fact, a ghost who is warned by a crowing cock to leave the girl’s bedroom at dawn, then we call it Child 248, The Grey Cock. Sounds simple? Well, sadly, its not - and any number of similar songs seem to have merged over the years, so that we can no longer say exactly where one type of the ballad begins and another ends. Check out Belle Stewart’s Here’s a Health to all True Lovers Vol. 6(2), John Reilly’s Adieu Unto All True Lovers Vol. 10(8) and Davie Stewart’s I’m Often Drunk and I’m Seldom Sober Vol. 13(11) to see what I mean.
Volume 4: Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land - Songs of Exile & Emigration. (Topic TSCD 654) Review
1 The Green Fields of Canada sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1975. Roud 2290.
Gale Huntington, in the notes to his edition of the Sam Henry Collection, lists this with the song The Emigrant’s Farewell (H.743), though it seems that there is very little connection, except that they both deal with much the same issues. Paddy's is the only contemporary version of this great song in Roud, though there were several broadsides, one of which appeared in Healy's Old Irish Street Ballads 4, pp.92-94.
The Green Fields of America, a reel played by Michael Coleman (Sligo) - Gael-Linn CEFCD 161 - though having a similar title, is a different tune.
2 Erin’s Lovely Home sung by Mary Ann Haynes, Brighton, Sussex, 1972. Roud 1427, Laws M6.
Versions of Erin’s Lovely Home have been noted by many folksong collectors, who were no doubt attracted by its splendid tune. What is unusual is the almost half of Roud's 80+ entries come from singers in England - very few of whom have Irish-sounding names. This may be because it was printed on numerous 19th century broadsides, printed by such well-know printers as James Catnach, of Seven Dials in the centre of London, and his successor Anne Ryle. Equally popular in Scotland, there are 14 versions in the Greig/Duncan collection alone (Greig/Duncan 1098), and Ireland, where Sam Henry and others found it (Henry H46).
Other recordings. Dan McGonigle (Donegal) - Inishisowen Traditional Singers cassette ITSC001.
3 Killyclare sung by Eddie Butcher, Magilligan, Co Derry, 1955. Roud 2939.
Sam Henry collected a version of this song, under the title The Maid of Carrowclare, in 1927. He notes that it was composed by one James M’Curry, a blind fiddler who was 'a well-known figure in Myroe about 50 years ago ... The young man in the song was named Moore and the young lady Peoples’. See Sam Henry’s Songs of the People edited by Gale Huntington (University of Georgia Press, 1990, p.298.)
4 Van Dieman’s Land sung by Walter Pardon, Knapton, Norfork, 1974. Roud 221.
One of several songs current from the early 19th century when transportation was a very real threat for poachers and other law-breakers. Often called Henry the Poacher or Henry’s Downfall it was collected by several Edwardian collectors, such as Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger and the Hammond Brothers. Roy Palmer has traced the song (which has been found only in England) to two real poaching affrays that occured in Warwickshire in 1829.
The song should not be confused with another of the same title (Roud 519, Laws L18).
Other recordings: Frank Hinchliffe (Yorkshire) - Root and Branch 1. Harry Cox (Norfolk) - Topic TSCD 512D.
5 If You Ever Go Over to Ireland sung by Margaret Barry, London, 1955. Roud 5273.
A song related to Come Back Paddy Reilly and, as such, one which has had very few publications in folksong books, journals or records - since it is so recent and, one presumes, collectors have ignored it. This is a rather bizarre situation, since practically every Irish pub singer over 50 (and a good many English and Scots ones, too) must have sung it regularly. Three of Roud's four entries relate to Magaret Barry, and the fourth is a printing in a 1950 Canadian newspaper.
6 Farewell to Ireland / Unidentified Reel played on the fiddle by Michael Coleman, New York, 1921.
7 Brockagh Brae sung by Geordie Hanna, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 5171.
Emigration to Scotland was a not unusual feature of life in depressed West Ulster but such a swift turn round, as in this song, was rare. The description of the sea journey, though, points the significance to the emigrant of being sundered from home and family. This song is sung widely in the area round Brockagh, a district on the Lough Neagh shore about three miles north of Derrytresk and is localized there. Sam Henry had a set from Ballymena which, however, he failed to print in his 'Songs of the People’ articles.
8 Australia sung by Cyril Poacher, Blaxhall, Suffolk, 1974. Roud 1488.
Originally an 18th century song about transportation to the American State of Virginia. Later broadside printers changed it to Australia, to suit the then current destination of transports. Bob Hart, a close neighbour of Cyril Poacher, sings a similar set on Musical Traditions MTCD 301-2, as does Geoff Ling on Veteran VT 103. All three singers probably learned it from Walter ‘Yinka’ Friend - with whom both Cyril and Bob worked for many years in Snape Maltings
9 Leaving St Kilda played on the bagpipes by Willie Ross, St Kilda (rec London), 1930.
The St Kilda archipelago lies roughly a hundred miles west southwest of the Butt of Lewis and over forty miles from its nearest landfall, Griminish Point on North Uist. This tune was probably composed in 1930, the year of the recording, when the last 36 Gaelic-speaking inhabitants of Hirta, St Kilda’s main island, were evacuated at their own request. For details, see Tom Steel’s book The Life and Death of St Kilda.
10 Craigie Hill sung by Paddy Tunney, Beleek, Co Fermanagh (rec. London), 1965. Roud 5165.
Peter Kennedy recorded this song from Brigid Tunney for the BBC in 1953 and her son, Paddy, obviously learned it from her. The song seems to be unique to the Tunney family - at least as far as Roud entries are concerned.
11 She Lived Beside the Anner sung by Tommy McGrath, Ross, Co Waterford, 1965. Roud 5687.
Better known as a slow air than as a song, this has only three Roud entries - although they are very widely spread in Ireland: Roscommon, Antrim and Waterford.
12 You Boys O’Callieburn sung by Willie Scott, Dumfries (rec Elland, Yorkshire), 1976. Roud 6932.
Four of Roud's five entries relate to Willie Scott, but Hamish Henderson had also collected it a decade or more earlier in 1958 from Alec MacShannon of Kintyre, Argyllshire.
13 Eileen McMahon sung by Margaret Barry with Michael Gorman (fiddle), London, 1968. Roud 9282.
An Aisling or vision song, in which a sleeping person is visited by the spirit of Ireland. Doug Wallin (N Carolina) can be heard singing a similar piece, Erin’s Green Shore, on Musical Traditions MTCD 323-4.
14 Carrickmannon Lake sung by Sarah Anne O’Neill, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 5177.
Carrickmannon lies between Saintfield and Killinchy (about 15 miles south of Belfast). Drumreagh is a townland nearby and the Blackwater River is one of dozens of that name in Ireland, but this one flows through Drumreagh and then to the sea on the west side of Stransford Lough at Ardmillan.
It is very much a local song and hardly know outside the area where it is set, although Richard Hayward recorded a version of it on a 78rpm record, and included it in his 'Ireland Calling’ (Glasgow, n.d.).
15 My Love She’s in America/Hand Me Down the Tackle played on the accordeon by Michael Grogan, Dublin, 1931.
16 Erin’s Lovely Lee sung by Willie Clancy, Carraroe, Co Galway, 1967. Roud 5327.
John McGettigan recorded a version of this, though Willie sings verses that were not included on the McGettigan 78.
Other recordings: John McGettigan - Globestyle CDORBD 082.
17 The Old Miser sung by Chris Willett, Paddock Wood, Kent, 1962. Roud 3913.
Printed on a broadside by James Catnach c.1820, this song has survived well among gypsies. Mary Ann Haynes, of Sussex, also had a good version, for example. Cecil Sharp noted it in Gloucestershire in 1908 and it was in the repertoire of the late Walter Pardon of Norfolk, and of Arthur Repetto of Tristan da Cunha.
Other recordings: Betsy Renals (Cornwall) - Veteran VT 119
18 Farewell, My Own Fair Native Land sung by Margaret Barry with Michael Gorman (fiddle), London, 1968. Roud 1455.
John Campbell also has a version of this - he's among the very few who do. Frank Kidson found it in Yorkshire around 1900 - but that's about all I can find.
19 John Reilly sung by Sarah Anne O’Neill, Coalisland, Co Tyrone, 1977. Roud 270, Laws M8.
A very common broadside song, often called Reilly the Fisherman, Roud has around 100 sightings from these islands and N America. Sarah knew the song from her father’s singing, although she actually learnt the words from Brian Mullan of Derry. The pentatonic air is a variant of The Star of the County Down.
Other recordings: John Kennedy (Culleybacky, Co. Antrim) - Veteran VT 137.
20 Sweet Inishcara sung by Paddy Breen, London, 1966. Roud 12923.
Inishcara is a small town on the main road west from Cork City to Macroom. Since Paddy was originally from Co Clare and lived most of his life in London, one can only guess where he learned it. This is the only instance of this song in Roud.