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Origins: Fiddler's Green

DigiTrad:
FIDDLER'S GREEN
FIDDLER'S GREEN (Cavalry)
WHEN YOUR BELLS HAVE TURNED GREEN


Related threads:
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(origins) Origins: Fiddlers Green (author) (78)
Bell on the Green (Fiddlers Green parody) (13)
(origins) Origins: Fiddler's Green (69)
Lyr Req: New Lyrics Fiddler's Green (17)
Lyr Req: fiddler's green - different version (44)
Tune Req: Fiddler's Green (midi) (27)
Lyr Req: Fiddler's Green (7)


Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 16 Jul 97 - 01:45 AM
Wolfgang Hell 16 Jul 97 - 04:20 AM
jamas 16 Jul 97 - 06:05 AM
Tilell 16 Jul 97 - 09:56 PM
Wolfgang Hell 17 Jul 97 - 05:42 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 18 Jul 97 - 12:03 PM
Barry Finn 19 Jul 97 - 05:48 PM
Sam Hudson 24 Jul 97 - 12:01 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Jul 97 - 03:46 PM
Carl 24 Jul 97 - 04:16 PM
Wolfgang 24 Jul 97 - 04:53 PM
Alison 24 Jul 97 - 08:14 PM
Sam Hudson 25 Jul 97 - 06:54 AM
Carl 25 Jul 97 - 08:48 AM
Alison 27 Jul 97 - 06:35 AM
Alan of Australia 27 Jul 97 - 06:34 PM
BK 27 Jul 97 - 11:07 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Jul 97 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,SLWagner 10 Apr 04 - 02:14 AM
greg stephens 10 Apr 04 - 10:13 AM
Betsy 10 Apr 04 - 10:18 AM
Strollin' Johnny 10 Apr 04 - 03:51 PM
Sooz 10 Apr 04 - 03:59 PM
Strollin' Johnny 10 Apr 04 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Jacqued 10 Apr 04 - 04:53 PM
Anglo 10 Apr 04 - 05:20 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 10 Apr 04 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,Dave Fletcher 10 Apr 04 - 07:30 PM
Reiver 2 10 Apr 04 - 09:03 PM
harpmaker 10 Apr 04 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,SLWagner 10 Apr 04 - 11:44 PM
Melani 11 Apr 04 - 11:57 PM
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Subject: Fiddler's Green
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 16 Jul 97 - 01:45 AM

Purchased Steeleye Span "Portfolio" today, and was struck by the resemblance of Dark Eyed Sailor to Fiddler's Green. The subjects of the songs are different, but there are some close lyrics at the start and the tune is almost identical.

Fiddler's Green is not on the database. It has been done by many Canadian bands, and also Archie Fisher in a very fine version on an album from the 1960's or 1970's. Can anyone supply the lyrics so that I can post it to the database, and satisfy myself of course for my own singing?

It begins "As I walked by the dockside one evening so fair .." & goes on about "Fiddler's Green is a place you know well/It's where fishermen go when they don't go to hell/ The skies are all clear and the dolphins do play/ And the cold coast of Greenland is far far away."

I have always assumed that Fiddler's Green is a Newfoundland song, since I have usually heard it sung by Newfs. Is this correct, or is it Irish or English?


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 16 Jul 97 - 04:20 AM

There are two songs in the DT titled "Fiddler's Green". One of them is the one you are looking for. Cheers Wolfgang


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIDDLER'S GREEN^^^
From: jamas
Date: 16 Jul 97 - 06:05 AM

Here's our version - slightly modified

FIDDLER'S GREEN

As I walked by the dockside one evening so fair
To view the salt water and take the sea air
I spied an old fisherman singing a song
Won't you take me away boys my time is not long

(Chorus)
Wrap me up in me oilskin and blanket
No more on the docks I'll be seen
Just tell me old shipmates
I'm taking a trip, mates
And I'll see you someday in Fiddler's Green

Now Fiddler's Green is a place I've heard tell
Where fishermen go when they don't go to Hell
Where the skies are all clear and the dolphins do play
And the Gold Coast of Queensland is not far away
(Chorus)

The sky's always clear and there's never a gale
And the fish jump on board with a flip of their tail
You can lie at your leisure, there's no work to do
And the skipper's below making tea for the crew
(Chorus)

When you're back on the dock 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 4X is free
And there's bottles of Bundy growing on every tree
(Chorus)

I don't want a harp or a halo, not me
Just give me a breeze and a good rolling sea
I'll play me old squeezebox as we sail along
With the wind in the rigging to sing me a song
(Chorus)

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 31-May-02.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Tilell
Date: 16 Jul 97 - 09:56 PM

A group called Schooner Fare does an INCREDIBLE version of this song. . . anyone ever heard it?


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 17 Jul 97 - 05:42 AM

The origin of this beautiful song? It is English, written in 1966 by John Conolly (the DT's spelling, Connelly, is wrong), member of The Broadside from Grimsby. This group has played tradtional material as well as their own songs not caring much about strict definitions of Folksongs. Conolly and his fellow musician Bill Meek have contributed many fine songs which will find their way into tradition, among others "Grimsby Lads" (they grew up there) and "Men of the Sea". Roy Palmer in the Oxford Book of Sea Songs pays the following tribute to "Fiddler's Green':

"...like Ewan MacColl's 'Shoals of Herring', it is often paid the compliment by those who do not know its origin of being considered traditional. It has travelled all over the world, and is especially popular in Ireland..."

Falling short of the three-generation definiton of a Folksong (see that thread) by two generations (and think that its author, born in 1941, might even still be alive!), it is a song which can be said even now to live in oral tradition for many of the people singing this song have learned it from other people's singing. Within the short time of 30 years this song has travelled from "Fair Isle to Labrador, Bear Isle, and Norway, and cold Greenland shore" to borrow the chorus of another Conolly/Meek song. I guess the author would be proud that one could take his product for a song from Newfoundland.

Yours Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 18 Jul 97 - 12:03 PM

This is very interesting.

Yes, I have heard of Schooner Fare if it is the same band which used to play in the taverns of Halifax, Nova Scotia in the late 70's. Are they still around?

The verson of the song posted here is not quite the one I know, but I thank you for the variant. The version sung by Archie Fisher is identical to the version sung in eastern Canada.

I didn't know it was authored as recently as the 60's. However now that you mention it I have never seen it in any collection of traditional ballads.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Barry Finn
Date: 19 Jul 97 - 05:48 PM

Schooner Fare is still around, preforming mostly in the nor'east part of the US. McColl has penned a number of songs that are taken as traditional, & one of his own that he picked up while collecting, don't recall which one. He wrote many for his BBC radio ballad series of the 50's. Maybe someone else can give more info here. Barry


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Sam Hudson
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 12:01 PM

John Conolly did indeed write the song, and is still alive and well, and still singing it! He's working with a new band called Donkey's Breakfast. They've been going around the club and festival circuit in England and he's still writing good songs. I've met him a number of times - a very nice man and very modest about the success of his songs.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 03:46 PM

Sam Hudson- If you encounter Mr Connolly, could you ask him to contact me at digitrad@world.std.com, or forward some address at which I could reach him? I'd like to request formal permission to include his song (which I think is one of the very few recently-composed songs that I'd associate with the word great). Thanx.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Carl
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 04:16 PM

James,
what is "Bundy", which is growing on every tree ?
tnx, I´m curious...


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Wolfgang
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 04:53 PM

Carl, in my version, it's bottles of rum growing from every tree, and (same verse) the beer is all free.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Alison
Date: 24 Jul 97 - 08:14 PM

HI

The Bundy referred to is "Bundaberg Rum" which as far as I know is brewed in Queensland. You know what these Aussies are like they abbreviate everything....... but that would be a completely different thread, in a completely different discussion forum.

Slainte, or should I say G'day, (probably not, my Belfast accent just can't get the vowels right!)

alison


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Sam Hudson
Date: 25 Jul 97 - 06:54 AM

Dick- I haven't got an address at the moment, but I know where I can get hold of it. Also, I know John will be appearing at Whitby Festival in three weeks time and I should be able to get hold of him there. Regards Sam


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Carl
Date: 25 Jul 97 - 08:48 AM

Wolfgang
tnx for your explanation, I also seem to know the same version as you do, but I was curious to learn a new word.
Alison,
tnx to you for your Information on "Bundy". And greetings to Belfast.
Slainte!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Alison
Date: 27 Jul 97 - 06:35 AM

Hi

Carl, Thanks for your greetings to my home town. However I left there 5 years ago and ended up in sunny Sydney Australia. I still have a Belfast accent though.

Slainte

Alison


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 27 Jul 97 - 06:34 PM

And still can't say G'day properly. Well only a fair dinkum Aussie can. It's fun to hear the rest of the world try though.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: BK
Date: 27 Jul 97 - 11:07 PM

great song, didn't realize it wasn't traditional - learned it from other people's singing - Schooner Fare has been tremendiusly well liked in Milwaukee for years - a major attraction at the Irish Fest - tho i hear they will be in town but not at the Fest this year.. They also do a great version of "Shoals of Herring." I happen to like, and often quote, their defn of folk music - always gets me in trouble with highly traditional folks in other threads. Check out "Day of the Clipper"

Gotta Run, Cheers

ps. - Dick - if I had the words to Abiyoyo, I wouldn't have to ask, and would be more than glad to share them.... I'll keep looking....


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Jul 97 - 02:01 PM

I suspect that if you sing it, and think it's traditional, it is. No matter who wrote it and when.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: GUEST,SLWagner
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 02:14 AM

Maybe you guys can help me. I THOUGHT Fiddler's Green was what I need, but apparently its not old enough. I'm working on a book of fiction which deals with sailors, pirates and privateers. I just finished a rather touching scene of a burial at sea which included the ten year old Irish cabin boy. I want to make a reference to a song appropriate for the late 1600s (there abouts. I've made no specific references to actual date, so I have a bit of leeway, about 70 years or so) that the crew might begin to sing to bid a poignent farewell to the boy. Something for a sailor, a farewell, see you in the better place... a fiddler's green kind of thing.

Can you guys think of ANYTHING that might work? The best stuff (Danny boy and Fiddler's Green) aren't traditional or old enough and I'm a little twitchy about my facts. Or do you, in general, thing I could get away with using Fiddler's Green (the mention, no words or anything).

email me at LadyThornewood@yahoo.com or here, if you think of anything. Any and all help is appreciated.
Fair winds and Following seas~


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: greg stephens
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:13 AM

The Golden Vanity, being of the right age and being a song about a dying cabin-boy, would be absolutely perfect. there will assuredly be versions in the DT, and thousands of recorded examples exist.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Betsy
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 10:18 AM

If you check through this discussion Forum, John was alerting you tho the fact that he is going to play in the States shortly, and still has some dates free. Sorry I've tried (quickly )to find the Thread but was unable - but its only +/- two weeks old so it should be there somewhere.
As someone said John IS a good lad ,and I cannot say his name without mentioning his partner in crime ( his co-writer ) John Connolly and Bill Meek.
C'mon Bill - forget those Quiz nights and write some more stunning songs.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 03:51 PM

John and Bill will be appearing at the Gainsborough Folk Festival in October, 2004, immediately prior to his USA tour with Pete Sumner. We're hoping also to have a reunion concert with John, Bill and their old Broadside mate, the incomparable Brian Dawson. John, Brian, Bill Whaley/Dave Fletcher and Miranda Sykes did a 'Lincolnshire' Concert at the 2002 Gainsborough Festival and it was absolute magic.

The details of the Festival are on the Gainsborough Folk Club website - http://www.angelfire.com/folk/gainsboroughfolk (sorry, can't get the blue clicky thingy to work)

Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Sooz
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 03:59 PM

Gainsborough Folk Club/Festival
Conolly and Meek will ride again on Saturday afternoon 16th October!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 04:01 PM

Teach me Sooz, teach meeeee-e-e-e-e-e-e-!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 04:53 PM

Hi Dick Greenhaus!

You can contact John on UK 01472 695836 or 812352


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Anglo
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 05:20 PM

For Guest SLWagner I might recommend "The Sailor's Grave," a.k.a. "The Ocean Burial," which starts "Our bark was far, far from the land." (one set of words is in the DT). It may be a bit late if you are a stickler for authenticity though; composed around 1850. But certainly a fair bit older than "Fiddler's Green."


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 07:18 PM

You might check Lesley Nelson's Contemplator Site, or Bruce O's wonderful site

Bruce's site has an index to Broadside ballads of the 16th and 17th centuries. Lesley's site includes a wide number of sea songs including ones from the time period that is needed by Guest SLWagner.


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: GUEST,Dave Fletcher
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 07:30 PM

John is currently doing much solo work and has just released a new album "Ranters Wharf" which includes an updated version of Fiddlers Green - didn't think it could be improved ? Give that a listen!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Reiver 2
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 09:03 PM

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


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: harpmaker
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 09:17 PM

My mate Jock in Whitby (uk) sings this song, I play it on Harp, We have a laugh!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: GUEST,SLWagner
Date: 10 Apr 04 - 11:44 PM

thank you for all your help and the quick responses. I have, I think, what I need and more.

Fair Winds and Following Seas!


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Subject: RE: Fiddler's Green
From: Melani
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 11:57 PM

Re: "Fiddler's Green" being thought traditional--we recently saw the movie "The Hunley," with Donald Sutherland and Armand Assante, a drama about the Confederate submarine. During a barroom scene, someone was playing "Fiddler's Green" on a concertina. But the real kicker was during tense moments aboard the submarine, including the final scene where it was filling with water--the crew all started singing "Clear Away in the Morning" by Gordon Bok! At least they listed him in the credits, but not a word about John Connolly. One can't help but wonder what the writers were thinking, when so many appropriate period songs are available.


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