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Origin: Isle of France

Desi.Wilkinson@Ul.ie 02 Dec 99 - 07:22 AM
Martin Ryan 02 Dec 99 - 08:49 AM
Wolfgang 02 Dec 99 - 09:17 AM
alison 02 Dec 99 - 09:44 AM
Martin Ryan 02 Dec 99 - 10:44 AM
Lady McMoo 02 Dec 99 - 11:09 AM
Martin _Ryan 03 Dec 99 - 03:39 PM
Martin _Ryan 03 Dec 99 - 05:11 PM
Wolfgang 10 Dec 99 - 09:15 AM
Martin _Ryan 11 Dec 99 - 05:46 PM
Liam's Brother 11 Dec 99 - 06:34 PM
GUEST,schlimmerkerl 11 Jun 11 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: The Shamrock Green
From: Desi.Wilkinson@Ul.ie
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 07:22 AM

This song was recorded by the great English Folksinger Nick Jones in the early 1970s . I have the lyrics and his tune for it. I would like some more information about the song. Its source - alternative versions etc.

All the best

DESI


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 08:49 AM

Is this the "Ile de France" one?

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ISLE OF FRANCE
From: Wolfgang
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 09:17 AM

If Martin is right and I guess he is, you'll find the song below. Yes I know, Desi, it's no respnse to your question. But I like the lyrics a lotr and have them copied from another site to here:

Wolfgang

The Isle Of France



Oh the sky was dark and the night advanced
When a convict came to the Isle of France
And round his leg was a ringing chain
And his country was of the Shamrock Green

I'm from the Shamrock this convict cried
That has been tossed on the ocean wide
For being unruly I do declare
I was doomed to transport these seven long years

When six of them they were up and past
I was coming home to make up the last
When the winds did blow and the seas did roar
They cast me here on this foreign shore

So then the coastguard he played a part
And with some brandy, he cheered the convict's heart
Although the night is far advanced
You shall find a friend on the Isle of France


So he sent a letter all to the queen
Concerning the wreck of the Shamrock Green
And his freedom came by a speedy post
For the absent convict they thought was lost

God bless the coastguard this convict cried
For he's saved my life from the ocean wide
And I'll drink his health in a flowing glass
And here's success to the Isle Of France

I have no idea where this song is from and my inquiries have drawn a blank


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: alison
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 09:44 AM

Has it got a well known tune Wolfgang?

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 10:44 AM

I have the tape somwhere - but what I hear in my head is a variation on "The Newry Highwayman"....

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Lady McMoo
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 11:09 AM

I agree with Martin, I believe the tune is close to that of the Newry Highwayman. I will take a look when I get home to see whether I have any more information on the song.

Regards,

mcmoo


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 03:39 PM

The "Isle of France" was the French name for Mauritius. The British conquered it in 1810 and it was ceded to them in 1814, after the defeat of Napoleon. Whether it was in fact used as a penal conoly or not - or as a staging post to the East, I don't know. Wolfgang's set look much as I recall it. I vaguely remember seeing it in print once - but can't find it among my own stuff.

Regards

p.s. I presume that's Desi-the-flute? I'm in Athlone IT - give me a shout if I can be of any help.


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 03 Dec 99 - 05:11 PM

I suspect the third line of Verse 1 should read "round his leg was a ring and chain".
What's driving me mad is that I KNOW I read an explanation of the the third verse - I think prisoners transported for a fixed term were brought back early for waht passed for rehabilitation - but I'm damned if I can remember where.
I think Nic's was the only version I've ever heard. My guess is that he found in a book and fitted a tune to it.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Wolfgang
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 09:15 AM

This song still puzzles me, so here's a bit more, though not much:

I've listened yesterday night to Nic Jones singing Isle of France, to the Johnstons singing Newry highwayman and to Martin Carthy singing Newlyn town. Jones' tune is much slower so it's hard for me to compare, but I do not hear more than a superficial similarity. What Nic Jones sings, however, has not too much in common with the two tunes given for the Isle of France in Karpeles (ed.), Cecil Sharp's collection Vol 2. (But I'm not particularly good in reading the tune from print, so it still might be a variant).
In the longest version I have read, the coastguard actually saves the convict from the sea and the convict did come from, not to the Isle of France after having served there 6 of his 7 years. His ship, the 'Shamrock Green' had been shipwrecked.

Martin, "a ring and chain" it is in the three printed versions I have, as you have presumed. The second line of verse 3 I have as "we were coming home for to make up one(?)" which doesn't make it clearer, at least for me.

Here's part of the notes to this song from Ewan MacColl's 'Traveller's songs from England and Scotland':
MacColl first retells the whole story (for the version he prints is too short to understand the story), wrongly places the Isle of France as one of the Channel Islands and then goes on: "The song has been collected chiefly in England and the references all give a melody similar to ours. Kidson has a 'strong suspicion that the balld was founded on a real escape from a convict transport ship'.
Bibliography:
British: JFSS, Vol 1., p.123; Vol 2, pp. 258-9; Sharp (1), pp. 232-3; Sharp and Karpeles (2); vol II, pp. 143-5....[several broadsides; I could type them if it helps for the questions]...
Australian: Edwards, pp. 5-6.
Alternative title: The Shamrock Green, The Convict Song"

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 05:46 PM

Good man, Wolfgang! Mention of Edwards sent me to his "The Overlander Songbook", (1971) which I had missed on a first search about the song. He gives a version, with the following notes:

"I collected this from Mrs. M. Webb of Cairns who was born in 1893 and learnt it as a young girl in the Tilba Tilba area of southern New South Wales. While on a visit to Brisbane she also sang it to John Manifold, and it will be found in his Penguin songbook.

She had learned it from her father and recalls that in his version the song concluded with the convict finally arriving on the Victorian goldfields and being killed in a miners uprising which she thinks may have been the Eureka stockade. Indeed a unique item if anyone ever manages to collect it!

Unfortunately, Mrs. Webb remembers only the tune and the first verse of this song in their entirety and so for the remaining verses I have drawn on a version collected by the late W. Percy Merrick sometime before 1912. His version also uses the same tune as that given here. This ws published in his 'Folksongs from Sussex", 1912, and titeld The Isle of France

It will be noted that there is some confusion about the term "Shamrock Green" which referes to the convict's country of origin in the first verse., but becomes the name of the wrecked boat later in the song. Perhaps the fourth line was originally "And his vessel was the SHamrock Green". This would be more logical. "

I reckon he's right about the name.

Regards p.s. The page reference matches - so this is surely the Edwards book McColl refers to (or was that you?)


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Subject: RE: Help: Shamrock Green
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 06:34 PM

The Isle of France was a fairly popular broadside song; I have a few copies of it. There being no way to say for sure, I would think that (the broadside press) was probably its origin.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Origin: Isle of France (The Shamrock Green)
From: GUEST,schlimmerkerl
Date: 11 Jun 11 - 11:35 AM

Susan McKeown has a very nice version.


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