The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97665   Message #1925355
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
02-Jan-07 - 11:48 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
It's a common misconception that broadsides are always old. Some printers continued to publish into the 20th century, though the Great War pretty much put an end to all that. There's a good chance that the 'Poet's Box' sheet was actually slightly later than the (presumed) sheet music.

There is more information on the Cardiff reference at http://www.ballinagree.freeservers.com/memorial04.html.

The comment reads:

"Dave Burns / Frank Hennessy: The Country I'm Leaving Behind.

"This beautiful and poignant song of exile comes from the former Irish community of Newtown in Cardiff. Dave Burns and Frank Hennessy were astonished to find that it was quite unknown in Ireland when they first visited their ancestral homeland in the late 1960s. Although its melody, style and words clearly indicate that it was written ? possibly in Wales ? by someone from Ireland this is a song that echoes the deep feelings of hurt, displacement and loss felt by all emigrants no matter where they may set out from."

Their conclusions were understandable, but quite wrong in that there is no evidence that the song is either Irish or Welsh. Where the (possible) writers were from we don't know, but as I've said, this is a generic sentimental song certainly written for a commercial market; so that isn't necessarily relevant.

It would be interesting, though, to know if the tune it was sung to in Cardiff was the same as, or related to, any of the small number of other versions known. By the same token, it's a pity that that sheet music has been sold. I'd have been more than happy to pay the asking price!