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Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?

seamasmac 09 Jan 13 - 03:41 AM
MartinRyan 09 Jan 13 - 05:24 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jan 13 - 05:48 AM
MartinRyan 09 Jan 13 - 05:51 AM
Jim Carroll 09 Jan 13 - 02:56 PM
Fergie 09 Jan 13 - 03:54 PM
seamasmac 13 Jan 13 - 05:00 PM
MartinRyan 13 Jan 13 - 05:29 PM
MartinRyan 18 Jan 13 - 11:45 AM
MartinRyan 22 Jan 13 - 03:16 AM
seamasmac 22 Jan 13 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 23 Jan 13 - 04:12 AM
Phil Edwards 23 Jan 13 - 05:09 AM
MartinRyan 23 Jan 13 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Rachel Murphy 15 Nov 16 - 09:07 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 16 - 04:23 AM
Jim Carroll 16 Nov 16 - 08:05 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 17 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 03 Sep 17 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 04 Sep 17 - 07:11 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: LORD COURTOWN
From: seamasmac
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 03:41 AM

Hello mudcats,

As part of a song collecting project with the newly formed Song Collectors Collective, I recently came across a song about Lord Courtown as sung by a settled Traveller called Willy O'Connor from New Ross County Wexford, in the south east of Ireland. He doesn't recall where he got the words from and I would be very grateful for any further info on the song.

The Earls of Courtown owned a lot of land in the part of North Wexford I'm originally from and the fifth earl did a lot of famine relief work including commissioning the building of a canal and harbour in courtown to give employment to locals.

Here is the recording of Willy singing the song, which he did at home on his tape recorder in the 80s or thereabouts: Click here

The lyrics as I have them are below.

I look forward to any pointers that can be given!

James McDonald
London


Lord Courtown

Oh how happy our countrymen when seasons do come on,
To hear the lark and linnet melodiously sing songs.
Likewise the thrush in every bush, its melting notes do ring
To welcome home Lord Courtown in the day approaching spring.

The trees grow tall and handsome, the leaves with honey droop
And underneath the swan does swim with his long neck and stoops.
Likewise the common angler with his long line and hook
To convey the trout and salmon out of the charming brook.

This lord he built a castle at the rising of yon hill.
The works of it were marvelled on with artifice and skill.
There's no sort of stroke work with it could e'er be equalised
It's embellished with green ivy that never fades or dies.

This lord he sank a river more plainly to be seen,
He sank it to a certain depth - full fifteen feet run clean.
The straits of Gibraltar could ne'er so rapid roar
The straits of Ounavarra joins to the Courtown shore.

One day I was a-musing on this sweet Courtown bank,
The sun shone bright and clearly where kind Neptune played some prank
Till at length I spied the most charming maid most charming to be seen,
In her figure she came bidding down; her measure maids wore green.

There was Flora at the helm, Aurora to the stern
All her gallant fine seamen her course for to steer on.
I being so much delighted in her sails all o'er
I thought myself in paradise down by the Courtown shore.

I had been in New Zealand and likewise in Peru
And many other ancient places my eyes have took a view
But such places as Courtown my eyes did ne'er behold
And it far ourshines proud Mexico where her banks are lined with gold.

_____________Thread title changed for clarity. MudElf__________________


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Unknown' song recently found in Wexford
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 05:24 AM

Hi James!

Interesting one. Wonder has Jim Carroll come across it? Did you run it by the Irish Traditional Music Archive yet?

I haven't listened to the recording yet - will do so later.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Unknown' song recently found in Wexford
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 05:48 AM

A magnificent performance of a very interesting song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Unknown' song recently found in Wexford
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 05:51 AM

Yes - fine singing alright.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 02:56 PM

"Wonder has Jim Carroll come across it?"
No I haven't Martin, either in performance or in print.
Nice bit of singing indeed, and it touches on a topic that interests me deeply.
Ireland has an enormous repertoire of locally made songs that haven't entered into the national repertoire; have counted at least 100 to be found here in this part of West Clare alone.
I don't think the same can be said of England, not to the same extent anyway.
Thanks Seamas
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: Fergie
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 03:54 PM

Ounavarra = Ounavarragh River - North Wexford.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: seamasmac
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 05:00 PM

Thanks for all your replies on this folks. I'll continue my investigation into it.

Martin - it'll be a while before I'm in Dublin to check the ITMA collection I think but my best bet might be to sing it at the Rosslare Singers Weekend in February. If someone there doesn't know it then I think we could safely call it 'unknown'!

Wonderful song that I very much enjoy singing now though. And a bit of history worth remembering too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Jan 13 - 05:29 PM

I don't see it in either of Paddy Berry's books of Wexford songs nor in Ransome's book - so you may well be right. MARINER, who hangs out here betimes, may be worth checking...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 18 Jan 13 - 11:45 AM

A preliminary trawl through the ITMA catalogues (including PJ McCall's scrapbooks) drew a blank. Rosslare in February may indeed be your best bet - at least it should start a few more hounds after the fox!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 03:16 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: seamasmac
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 02:17 PM

Thank you very much for your efforts Martin. I'll report back from Rosslare in due course...

In the meantime, here's a clip of me singing this song at a concert last weekend: Click here

I think this song likes me!

James.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 04:12 AM

Interesting that this is what's called (in the griot tradition of West Africa, for instance) a "praise song."

In the Anglo-American tradition it's unusual to come across songs specifically written in praise of an individual. Praise of a place is a little more frequent, but not very. Praise of a local prominent aristocrat is downright rare. (Whereas songs criticizing same are relatively common.)

Given what Jim Carroll said above about local songs that don't reach the national repertoire, one wonders whether there are more such "praise songs" which don't travel well (?), or for other reasons don't catch on outside their place of origin.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 05:09 AM

It's an odd blend of documentary detail (the canal) and "Streams of Lovely Nancy"-esque extravagance (the castle and the ivy - although since ivy's evergreen, maybe that's based on fact too). Fascinating stuff - lovely tune, too.

Bob - you've got me thinking of counter-examples. There are songs in praise of heroes - Lord Franklin, Death of Nelson - and there are quite a few songs in the name of a hero, sung in the first person: Duke of Marlborough, Boney's Lamentation, and there's a variant of Valiant Sailor beginning "Lord Carter is my name". Those aren't usually local figures, though. Then there are all the convivial songs like Twankydillo, wishing "a health to" this or that person; they generally would be local. As a friend of mine sings,

Here's a health to the Secretary and also the Chair
And all party members, except Tony Blair


Entire songs in praise of a local worthy do seem to be a rarity, though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 05:21 AM

Interesting points, Bob and Phil. To my Irish ears, there's a whiff of the genre of songs praising landlords and their dwellings in, usually, mock-heroic terms - Castlehyde is perhaps the classic example. Yet the overall impression is by no means one of a piss-take.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: GUEST,Rachel Murphy
Date: 15 Nov 16 - 09:07 PM

Coming a bit late to this conversation, but I am conducting research into the Courtown Estate and have come across the words to this song in the Schools' Folklore collection. The link is here: http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5009258/5002283

The lyrics are similar to those posted here but there are differences e.g. the most charming maid becomes mermaid. Also I wonder if it was sung to a different tune, as it seems that the last line was repeated?

Rachel


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 16 - 04:23 AM

The importance of this sort of evidence shouldn't be underestimated. As Jim says this sort of song rarely has entered oral tradition in England, or perhaps that is what the collectors led us to believe. In Scotland less so, and in Ireland if you look at collections they are quite common. Off hand the only English example I can think of is the song about the Nottingham and the Mars skirmish by Phil Suamarez in 1746 which morphed into a whole series of well-known sea songs. And perhaps some of the local hunting songs still being made. I followed Rachel's link but no date is given. James/Rachel, can you put a date on it for us please?
Jim,James, will you be at Liverpool on Saturday?


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 16 Nov 16 - 08:05 AM

Sorry - missed most of this at the time
There is a powerful tradition of local song making in Ireland that has yet to be investigated
Our local history society is considering issuing a small collection of them (may not be as small as I think when we make a start on it)
We have collected dozens from a small area on the West Coast of Ireland, most of which can be found of the Clare County Library website.
CLARE SONGS
One 90 odd year old singer told us how whatever happened of interest in the community was recorded in songs which lasted as long as the event remained in memory and then disappeared - he said, "If a man farted in church, somebody made a song about it".
It is this tradition of songmaking that has convinced me that rural working people were once more than capable of creating our song tradition without having to put it out to contract.
I haven't come across this particular song - I should have thought Mick Fortune and Aileen Lambert, who are carrying out some tremendous local work, might be the ones to ask.
Steve
Would have loved to have been in Liverpool at the weekend - it would have been nice to combine it with a visit to my sisters, but unfortunately the Clare Singing Weekend is an offer we can't refuse.
Hope it gets to happen in Ireland again while I still have my travel pass
Good luck to all there from both of us
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 17 - 12:28 PM

Greetings all,

I have a suggestion for small edit to text of this ballad:

This lord he built a castle at the rising of yon hill.
The works of it were marvelled on with artifice and skill.
There's no sort of stroke work with it could e'er be equalised
It's embellished with green ivy that never fades or dies.

I believe the second line may be: "The works of it were marbled on with artifice and skill.

Just something to consider. It would have sounded very similar. The use of "marbeled" makes the rest of the phrase make sense.

I've just returned from the Ennis fleadh and sang this throughout the week in the hopes of sharing it with as many traditional singers as possible.   Paddy Berry has asked for the text, which I'll send him this week.   Sincerely - Alberta Lathan

Best, Alberta Lathan


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 03 Sep 17 - 06:28 AM

Yeah - reading it again after a few years, I still see it in the tradition of "Castlehyde" and " In Praise of Mullingar".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Lord Courtown' -unknown Wexford song?
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 04 Sep 17 - 07:11 AM

To add a bit on the strength of the local tradition: when I was editing - nearly 40 years ago now - the selection of the Sam Henry Collection that was published in Belfast by Blackstaff Press (Songs of the People Part One), I noted the number of local and very local songs in the collection as a whole as being around 40%. This is feasible where a collection is built up, week by week, in the pages of a newspaper but it impressed me at the time. It is over time that an inventory was made. A place to start, in Ireland, would be the Schools Collection of the NFC - which is referred to above. My look at the papers that refer to Clonmany Parish (inishowen, Donegal) turns up quite a few such songs.


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