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Entries Related To: song

In Yorkshire city

Bride Judge

In Yorkshire city / Bride Judge

In Yorkshire city, song (Oh, in Yorkshire city there dwelled a maiden …) This murder ballad tells the tale of a woman who falls in love with her father’s servant. He poisons her when she declines his proposal, and then, stricken by remorse, he kills himself. The song exists in many variant versions of the lyrics; it is also known as “Oxford city,” “The cup of poison,” “The jealous lover,” or, simply, “Jealousy.”  The melody given here is used also for other songs performed by Cape Shore singers.

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India's burning shore

Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

India's burning shore / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

India's burning shore, song (As I strayed beneath those lofty pines on India’s burning shore …) Also known as the “Irish Patriot,” this song tells the story of a man whose wife and child are killed when he refuses to fight for his landlord’s rebel army. He takes revenge by killing his landlord and thereafter must forever live in exile, though he dreams of returning to Ireland to be buried beside his wife.  The origins of this song are unknown; Robert B Waltz and David G Engle note that it is found predominantly along North America’s eastern seaboard. The song seems to have had some popularity in lumbering camps during the early 20th century.

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Jack was a sailor on board a whaler

Caroline Brennan

Jack was a sailor on board a whaler / Caroline Brennan

Jack was a sailor on board a whaler, song (Jack was a sailor on board of a whaler ...) This children’s son features a sailor named Jack. A friend asks him to pay a debt, and Jack responds, “You’ll have to wait till my ship comes in.” When Jack later survives a shipwreck and his friend makes the same demand, Jack gives the same excuse.  Though the song follows a standard verse-and-refrain form, the metric structure of the song is somewhat unusual: verses are sung in triple metre and choruses are in duple metre, matching shifts in the narration from third to first person.

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John Joe English sings for the Roche brothers / Aidan O'Hara

John Joe English sings for the Roche brothers / Aidan O'Hara

Albert Roche (seated with back to the camera) and Dermot Roche (seated, looking left) listen to John Joe English perform (seated at the table).

Just before the battle, mother

Ellen Emma Power

Just before the battle, mother / Ellen Emma Power

Just before the battle, mother, song (Just before the battle, mother, I am thinking most of you …) Composed by George Frederick Root, the sheet music for this song was originally published in Chicago in 1863. It was quite popular during the American Civil War, particularly among Unionist soldiers. 

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Lonely Banna strand

Frankie Nash

Lonely Banna strand / Frankie Nash

Lonely Banna strand, song (Being on a Friday morning all in the month of May ...) This song tells the story of an incident that took place in the lead-up to Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. Sir Roger David Casement (1864–1916) attempted to gain German support for a rebellion against British rule. Due to a series of mishaps, the Irish rebels never received the arms that the Germans attempted to supply. Casement was arrested, tried for treason, and executed for his part in the plot.  Aidan O’Hara speculates that Frankie Nash probably learned this song from a Newfoundlander who served alongside an Irishman with nationalist sympathies at the end of the First World War. Many Newfoundlanders served in the British forces.

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Mackenzie's dream

John Joe English

Mackenzie's dream / John Joe English

Mackenzie's dream, song (One night of late I chanced to stray, from a shore so far away ...) John Joe English learned this song from his uncle, John English. The protagonist of the song, Mackenzie, dreams of all the heroes of Erin standing together against tyranny.  At the end of John Joe’s performance, Aidan O’Hara speculates that the song’s origins might have been in the Young Ireland movement. The song is more widely known as the 19th-century Irish broadside ballad, “McKenna’s Dream.” John Joe sings the song in triple metre, a slowed-down version of the melody for “Suíl, a ghrá.”

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Me and me chum Johnny Riley

Frankie Nash

Me and me chum Johnny Riley / Frankie Nash

Me and me chum Johnny Riley, song  (One day as we went out for a walk …) Written by Newfoundland songwriter Johnny Burke (“The Bard of Prescott Street”), this song tells the story of two friends who share everything. While songs about a character named Reilly/Riley are popular in Ireland, England, and throughout North America, this song originates in Newfoundland (Partyka in Narváez 2006:11).

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Morrissey and the Russian bear

Denis McGrath

Morrissey and the Russian bear / Denis McGrath

Morrissey and the Russian bear, song (Come all ye gallant Irishmen wherever that you be …) This ballad relates the tale of 19th-century Irish prize-fighter Johnny Morrissey and a boxing match that lasted twenty-eight rounds between him and a Russian sailor

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My boy Willie

John Joe English

My boy Willie / John Joe English

My boy Willie, song (The sailing trade is a weary life …) This English broadside ballad is also known as “The sailor boy” or “Sweet William.” It is widely anthologised and recorded, with variant versions transforming Willie from a sailor to a lumberjack. It recounts the pain of a woman who is left behind when a loved one goes to sea and dies far from home.  This song was among John Joe English’s favourite songs.

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Only a face in the firelight

 Petchie Nash & Frankie Nash

Only a face in the firelight / Petchie Nash & Frankie Nash

Only a face in the firelight, song (I was seated one night by the hearthstone ...) Written by American composer Charles Shackford, this song was recorded by tenor James McCool in 1904 (Victor 2732). This sentimental song describes someone dreaming of a deceased lover while slumbering by a fireside.

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Paddy in New York

John Joe English

Paddy in New York / John Joe English

Paddy in New York, song (Of an elderly man I'm going to tell you …) This comic song tells the story of an Irishman who goes to live in New York. Outraged when a barman overcharges for whiskey, he starts a fight, kills the barman, and is supported by other Irishmen in New York.

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