The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16284   Message #3271764
Posted By: GUEST
10-Dec-11 - 06:38 PM
Thread Name: Help: Bright Blue Rose
Subject: RE: Help: Bright Blue Rose
Just happened to look up the song for someone Stateside just now and found this exchange. This may provide some factual explaination as to the background to the song.

In the seventies in Cork, 'Cafe Locra' in the Western Road was operated by Bill Daly and his partner Bernie. It where everyone who was anyone in the arts in Cork sometimes started and almost always finished the night.

The upstairs back room could hold about twenty people at a squeeze and it was here after gigs that Jimmy McCarthy, Jimmy Crowley, Seamus Creagh (RIP) etc came to wind down, chat and occasionally sing new songs etc.

On some nights there I had a Celtic antology edited by Grace Rhys and published in 1927. ( It was among the last projects funded by the IRB covert fund for the Celtic Revival ) She commented on p 34 of the introduction on what a person said to her when she confirmed that she was editing the collection of Celtic poetry and how pleasurable she found the task.

" That do not suprise me: for I have alway's believed the Celt has found the alkahest that reconcilles nature, religion, and art"

GR : " The alkahest ? And what is that?"

" The alkahest" said he " is the great solvent. The thing that the old alchemists were after"

GR then goes on to say ' it does seem that these Celtic poems reflect a different athomesphere from that we commonly breath to-day. In them the unstable realities of life. all it's changing essences of yesterday and to-day, have been dissolved in a sensitive medium and recreated for our better inspiration '

Jimmy loved that collection and many of the poems in it are mystical. As to the actual meaning of the song, the introduction began by saying that it was Melager the Greek poet who made the first anthology, the word approxmately at that period meant 'a collection of flowers''

Jimmy is a deeply spiritual person and the song as a whole, as many of his songs are, is the product of an experience. I will leave that to Jimmy himself to delinate if he feels like it but this is where Jimmy got concept of the ' alkahest ' and I can recall both Jimmy re-reading the introduction and discussing it with him on several different occasions.