The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #2276   Message #1158933
Posted By: Reiver 2
10-Apr-04 - 09:03 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Fiddler's Green
Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
I just stumbled on to this thread and read through it as Fiddler's Green was one of the first songs we (The Rievers) learned and sang. Can't remember for sure but we probably learned it from a recording by The Irish Rovers a Britidh Columbia group.

Thanks to Wolfgang for the information on the song and it's origins. I've learned from past threads that Wolfgang's information is always reliable as well as interesting. I've a book, Folksongs & Ballads Popular in Ireland which has the song in Vol. III with the brief note: "Written by Connolly. (sic) Part of the lyrics and tune seem to be borrowed from a 19th century sailor's song 'Wrap me up in my Tarpaulin Jacket.'" I've heard that name, but don't recall ever hearing the song. I wonder how similar they are.

The words in the book and the version we sang are very close to those posted here by Jamas. One of the main differences involves the Australian references in Jamas' version which may be what he/she (?) was referring to as "slightly modified." Since it was written in England, I would assume that the Aussie references to Queensland and Bundy were not in the original. The version I learned is slightly different from the one in the book I referred to but closer to that than the one posted here, though none of the three differ greatly. The chorus is identical. Here are the verses as The Reivers sang them:

1) As I walked by the dockside one evenin' so rare,
   To view the still waters and taste the salt air,
   I heard an old fisherman singin' this song,
   "Oh take me away boys, me time is not long. (Cho.)"

2) Now Fiddler's Green is a place, I've heard tell,
   Where sailor-men go if they don't go to Hell.
   Where the weather is fair and the dolphins do play
   And the cold coast of Greenland is far, far away.

3) Where the sky's always clear and there's never a gale
   And the fish jump on board with a swish of their tail.
   Where you lie at your leisure, there's no work to do,
   And the skipper's below makin' tea for the crew.

4) And when you are docked and the long trip is through
   There's pubs and there's clubs and there's lassies there, too.
   Where the girls are all pretty and the beer is all free
   And there's bottles of rum growin' on every tree.

5) I don't want a harp nor a halo, not me!
   Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
   And I'll play me old squeezebox as we sail along
   With the wind in the riggin' to sing me this song.

Pretty minor differences and, as I said, the chorus is identical. As I hear it, with the exception of the first three lines, all the rest of the song, including the choruses, is in the words of the "old fisherman." It's a great song!

Reiver 2