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Origins: North and South of the River (C Moore)

DigiTrad:
CONTINENTAL CEILIDH
DELIRIUM TREMENS
VIVA LA QUINCE BRIGADA


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GUEST,Marian 18 Dec 01 - 01:07 PM
GUEST,Marian 19 Dec 01 - 04:53 PM
Amergin 19 Dec 01 - 06:40 PM
Skipjack K8 20 Dec 01 - 05:43 AM
GUEST,Guest, Declan 20 Dec 01 - 06:09 AM
mooman 20 Dec 01 - 06:17 AM
alison 20 Dec 01 - 07:29 PM
Wolfgang 21 Dec 01 - 05:07 AM
GUEST,Declan 21 Dec 01 - 07:27 AM
alison 21 Dec 01 - 11:22 PM
Paddy Plastique 22 Dec 01 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,Marian 24 Dec 01 - 08:32 PM
GUEST 07 Feb 20 - 04:12 PM
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Subject: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 01:07 PM

Hi you Mudcatters out there!

Christy Moore wrote a song called "North and South (of the river)" and I want to know a bit more about what's behind the song. We play it with our folk band on the next concert and I will have to tell the audience something about the song, but I don't know what!

While searching on the net I already found a part of an interview with Moore, but perhaps someone has a better idea what to tell and what is behind the lyrics

"For 50 years I've lived on an island with a neighbours, but I don't know them and never get to meet them and we know so little about each other and each other's culture. This song is an attempt to reach out to them. It could be north and south of Dublin. It could be the two sides of the Mersey. It could be north and south of the Thames. It could be whatever you want it to be. I showed Bono the original lyric, he took it and tore it asunder and The Edge wrote a melody to it."
Here are the lyrics



North and South
I wanna reach out over the Loch
And hold your hand across the water
Walk with you along an unimproved road
That lookin' over my shoulder
I wanna see I wanna hear
to understand you fear
For it's North & South of the River


I'd been doing it wrong all of my life
This holy town has turned me over
A man on the run from what he didn't understand
As a wing from the Loch grew colder and colder
There was a badness that had its weight
Loch wasn't lost I just got mislaid
For it's North & South of the River
North & South of the River


Can't we stop playin' these old tattoos
Darling I don't have the answer
I wanna see you where you are
I don't need you to remember
There is no feeling so alone
as when the one you're hurtin' is your own
For it's North & South of the River


There's some high ground that's not worth taken
Some connection that's not worth makin'
There's an old church bell no longer ringing
And some old songs are not more singing
For it's North & South of the River
North& South of the River
North& South of the River
North & South of the River




thanks for your help!

Marian


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 04:53 PM

Hey?!?! Nobody's out there who knows what to tell the audience what this song is about??

Greetz Marian


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: Amergin
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 06:40 PM

make up something....

or email the webmaster of christy's site...


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 05:43 AM

We do this happy dirge in the former Peoples Republic of Humberside, which is riven with petty rivalries between the north bankers (Ully Gullies) and south siders (Yellow Bellies).

Darlin', I don't have the answer!

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: GUEST,Guest, Declan
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:09 AM

Marian,

Thats an Unapproved Road - not an Unimproved one.

Unnaproved Roads were (probably still are) small roads that go across the border between the Republic of Ireland (Often known as the South) and Northern Ireland (The North) but did not have an offricial customs post on them, so you weren't supposed to use them for commercial purposes. A lot of these crossings were blown up (cratered) by northern security forces during the height of the 'troubles' in the North. A lot of these craters are being filled in now, I gather, which must be some sort of improvement.

Basically the song as I understand it is about living in a situation where there is enmity between 'them' and 'us', in this case them are the Unionist/Loyalist community in Northern Ireland and 'Us' are the Nationalist/Republican community in the rest of the island. There has not been much dialogue between these two groups for many years. Things are starting to improve now I hope, but whn you see things like what was happening to the School girls in Ardoyne in Belfast up to recently, you have to wonder.

While this is the main theme of the song, there is a wider theme about groups of people who are traditional enemies getting together and discussing their differences, or more importantly their similarities, which are usually far more important. There is, for example, a traditional rivalry between people who live North of the Liffey in Dublin and those in the suposedly more affluent "South Side". Mostly this is just a bit of fun, but occasionally you get people who take it seriously.

In America you hear about people living on the wrong side of the tracks. Its the same idea.

The ideas in this song are similar to others like 'Both Sides of the Tweed' which refers to the traditional enemies the English and the Scots celebrating the humanity that unites them rather than what divides them.


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: mooman
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:17 AM

Like Guest Declan, I took the lyrics to be a metaphor along the lines of "Both Sides the Tweed" with a similar analogy to two adjacent communities, a local cultural divide or national differences (and similarities).

mooman


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Subject: Lyr Add: NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE RIVER (C Moore)
From: alison
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 07:29 PM

there are quite a few mistakes in the lyrics.... here are the ones from the Christy Moore site... and I know there are earlier threads but my search button isn't working!!

North and South of the River – Sabine Shellack

I want to reach out over the loch
And feel your hand across the water
Walk with you along an unapproved road
Not lookin' over my shoulder
I want to see, I want to hear, to understand your fear.
But we're north and south of the river

I've been doing it wrong all of my life
This holy town has turned me over.
A man on the run from what he didn't understand
As the wind from the Lough blew colder and colder.
There was a badness that had its way,
Love was not lost it just got mislaid.

North and south of the river.
North and south of the river.

Can we stop playing these old tattoos,
Darling I don't have the answer.
I want to meet you where you are,
I don't need you to surrender.
There is no feeling so alone
As when the one you're hurting is your own.
North and south of the river.

Some high ground is not worth taking,
Some connections are not worth making.
There's an old church bell no longer ringing,
And some old songs are not worth singing.

North and south of the river.
North and south of the river.

slainte

alison


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Subject: Lyr add: Hands across the lough
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 05:07 AM

Christy Moore, in One Voice - My life in song tells about this song how he met Bono in 1985 in Toronto Airport and they decided to try to sing and meet together. When he met Bono at The Dubliner's tribute show (no date given; 25 years? 30 years?) I showed Bono a song I was working on, and we sat down and the song became his. The first verse is all that survived Bono's improvements.

Christy Moore ends his ramblings about this song (without telling anything about what you ask, Marian) with these words: I have talked and talked for years about my work, trying to sell albums and concert seats while the interviewers strove to sell magazines. Most of it is all drivel and of absolutely no consequencs.
Sing the song.

However, Christy also prints in this book an earlier draft of what later became North and South of the river which then was altered considerably by Bono. Here's the early draft:

HANDS ACROSS THE LOUGH
(Christy Moore)

Before this heart stops beating
I want to know
what turns you on
I want to reach out
and offer you
my hand across the lough
to embrace you
and hold you tight
to fear you not
upon some country raod
in the dark of the night
maybe we could stand side by side
in the one light.

I want to lay down my fear
and surrender my anger
to meet you on an unapproved road
and share with you
how hard it is to get good spuds
or that I hear the corncrake
beyond in some distant meadow

But as I stand here at the gable of this ruin
on the edge of Ballyscullion wood
I wonder who it was that dwelt here
on divided and sub-divided land
Divvied up until no longer worth keeping
what family fled away from here
driven by a bully's hand.

The placename Ballyscullion Wood might be a hint about the original idea for the location of the song. I found a Ballyscullion in Co. Derry, N. Ireland, near a Lough Beg which may or may not be the lough Christy had in mind.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: GUEST,Declan
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 07:27 AM

It's a pity he ever let Bono near it.

I've never been able to decypher Bono's lyrics. I think what Christy was trying to say is much clearer in the original draft.

Anyway Happy Christmas to everyone - whichever side of the river you live on.


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: alison
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 11:22 PM

thanks for those words Wolfgang...... I prefer them

so why does Sabine Shellack get given credit in some places? did she have a hand in writing it too?

Happy Christmas to you too Declan

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: Paddy Plastique
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 05:13 AM

Wolfgang,

I think the Dubliners tribute was 1987 - there's a video of it available through RTE, probably gives a more accurate date than me. As to looking for specific placenames/loughs - Carlingford Lough would spring to mind too, as the most prominent one along the border (even though a sea lough). Lough Foyle, too. I think the 'Bono' version wishes to keep things general, however - like most U2 songs - global symbols for unity/disunity. Seeing an article on the Irish Times site this morning, I thought it was relevant to this thread in a whimsical sort of way. Here goes, if I can get the dreaded blue thingey to work: Ha'penny Bridge We at the Northside Liberation Front will be putting bananaskins on the bleddy bridge to stop those shaggin' Southsiders getting across with their bulging wallets and appaling Mid-Atlantic accents... :-)


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Subject: RE: Story of 'North and South of the river'
From: GUEST,Marian
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 08:32 PM

Thanks for all your answers, it is quiet a lot I can tell now, perhaps it is not right in all ways, but in fact nobody really knows and even if it's wrong what I tell, most people won't even notice!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!

Bye Marian


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Subject: RE: Origins: North and South of the River (C Moore)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 20 - 04:12 PM

Hi, the song is based on a conversation Christy and I had years ago. I now have the original in his script from 1995. Colm Scullion, Ballyscullion, Bellaghy.


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