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DTStudy: Spancil Hill

DigiTrad:
SPANCIL HILL


Related threads:
(origins) Where is Spancil Hill? (204)
Where is Spancil Hill (continued)? (45)
New Spancil Hill (19)
Spansel Hill (14)
Spancil Hill (14)
Tune Add: Spancil Hill (4)
Lyr Add: Filkin' around Spancil Hill (1)
Spancil Hill (4) (closed)
No more Spancil Hill? (14)
Spancil Hill Horse Fair Postponed - 2001 (4)
DT & original Spancil Hill (5)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Spancil Hill


Alice 30 May 02 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 30 May 02 - 04:37 AM
MartinRyan 29 May 02 - 06:39 PM
Alice 29 May 02 - 05:25 PM
MartinRyan 29 May 02 - 05:21 PM
Joe Offer 29 May 02 - 05:03 PM
Alice 29 May 02 - 05:01 PM
Jeri 29 May 02 - 03:03 PM
Nigel Parsons 29 May 02 - 02:37 PM
Joe Offer 29 May 02 - 02:28 PM
Declan 29 May 02 - 10:57 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 28 May 02 - 12:32 PM
Alice 28 May 02 - 11:10 AM
Alice 28 May 02 - 10:53 AM
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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Alice
Date: 30 May 02 - 10:38 AM

The words Robbie uses in his recording have an easier flow when singing, such as "he used to mend my breeches when". The "mend" and "when" sound better together than "make" and "when". Joe, if you need me to transcribe the version from Robbie's tape and submit it in complete form, let me know.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 30 May 02 - 04:37 AM

BTW, Christy's seven verse version does have a currency of its own. To an extent, in Ireland, the three sets live in parallel universes. IMHO, all are worth their place in DT.

Regards


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 May 02 - 06:39 PM

Joe:

You ask:

Is the version in the Digital Tradition an accurate rendition of the "shorter" version of the song? Yes. In verse 2, the usual is " their DUTY to fulfill" - you'll know why! The last line of that verse has a few versions, also.

Who has recorded that version?

Don't remember. A quick check shows a few recordings around 1973 - but I know there were several before that. Paddy Reilly? Not sure.

Is it agreed that we should add an attribution to Michael Considine as songwriter?

Don't see why not.

Are we convinced about the accuracy of the "longer" version that Frank posted - did he transcribe it from McMahon's cassette, or what?

See Alice above. Verse structure and content are fine - the odd word gets changed in individual performance.

Can somebody find out how Frank McGrath obtained the information from McMahon?


He asked! Regards

p.s. In verse 3 of Christy's version, he uses the second part of verse 5 of Robbie's.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Alice
Date: 29 May 02 - 05:25 PM

Robbie's voice is very clear in the recording. This is on the tape that is different than the lyrics Frank posted earlier:

verse 1
... a vision, I sailed out...
And I quickly came to anchor at my home in Spancilhill.

verse 5
And when the sermon ended, we all knelt down in prayer,
.... Golden Stairs.

verse 6
...the stout and the bold came there to sport and kill,

verse 7
And I only met strange faces at my home in Spancilhill.

verse 8
I called to see the neighbors...

Sure he used to mend my breeches...

verse 10
The cock flew on the roost...
And I woke...

verse 11
In hopes to see that dear old spot...
May the Almighty King of angels..

(Joe, I'd retype the whole song for you, but don't have time this afternoon - going offline now - Alice)


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 May 02 - 05:21 PM

The version Christy Moore recorded on "Prosperous" included verses 2 & 3 of Robbie's with minor changes. I'll need to dig out and listen to confirm the details of the changes.

The five verse version is the "standard" one regularly bawled out in pubs. I don't remember who recorded it first - but am fairly confident it was before Christy Moore. I'll check.

On a minor point in Frank's copy of Robbie's version, the name in verse 5 is normally spelled "Moylan"

Regards

p.s. On Wolfgang's point regarding the tune: O Cillin's book was published in 1976 - at which stage the short version was very well known under the title "Spancel Hill". I suspect that's all he meant.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 02 - 05:03 PM

Hi, Alice - how do the lyrics on the cassette compare with those that Frank posted?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Alice
Date: 29 May 02 - 05:01 PM

This is from the cassette notes written by Robbie McMahon for his recording of SPANCILHILL on the tape called "The Black Sheep Robbie McMahon of Spancilhill". (Recorded on location, edited in harmony row studio, Ennis, produced by Fr. Joe McMahon. There is no date on the cassette or the liner notes.)

quote "1. SPANCILHILL (4.56) This song was written by Michael Considine. Michael himself was a great musician. He used to play the old melodeon and the fiddle and he used to cater for all the American wakes and the fair of Spancilhill. He was great with his Mary Mac - Mac the Ranger's daughter. Her house was across the road and he went off to America to make some money and to bring her out. He went to Boston and he worked there for two and a half years. Then he went down to California and got work there, but he went to night school as well and became an accountant. He wrote that song in poem form and sent it home to his six year old nephew - a man I often walked to mass with. He was an old man and I was a young fellow. Michael Considine died before he reached 23. I got the song from Marie Keehan who got it from the nephew of the composer." end quote of Robbie McMahon


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Jeri
Date: 29 May 02 - 03:03 PM

Joe, Declan, the lyrics Alice posted from the DT (as by Christy Moore) are the same ones here, at www.christymoore.net.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 May 02 - 02:37 PM

The value of the DTStudy threads: The Irish Independent quote gives Robbie McMahon as receiving the song from the author's nephew (John Considine).
The writing from Frank McGrath gives it as received by Robbie McMahon from Moira Keane, and with its authenticity verified by the nephew of the author.
It is not stated what the relationship was of Moira Keane to Michael Considine, but as the aunt of Michael Considines nephew, it is possible that she was his widow. (possibly going back to her maiden name)
Martin Ryan may be seeing Robbie McMahon shortly, and may be able to confirm the details. But, as with the aural tradition, it may be that the story of the 'provenance' of this song has been embroidered over time.
Now is probably he best time to try to nail down any available facts, as the longer it is left, the more nebulous those facts become.

I am not trying to question anyone's version here, merely pointing out that we appear to have two, contradictory, stories coming from almost primary sources!I look forward to reading more of the saga here.
Nigel


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 02 - 02:28 PM

Is the version in the Digital Tradition an accuarte rendition of the "shorter" version of the song? Who has recorded that version? Is it agreed that we should add an attribution to Michael Considine as songwriter?
Are we convinced about the accuracy of the "longer" version that Frank posted - did he transcribe it from McMahon's cassette, or what?
Can somebody find out how Frank McGrath obtained the information from McMahon?
I summarieds comments that were posted and transferred extraneous messages to Where Is Spancil Hill? (continued)
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Declan
Date: 29 May 02 - 10:57 AM

Don't want to be pedantic here but the song as quoted in the first post on this thread is not the version recorded by Christy Moore on Prosperous. In fact the "Prosperous" version is much closer to the one given underneath. The top version is the one most often sung in Ireland and comes from the '60s ballad boom. I'm not sure what the source of this abbreviated version was, but it wasn't Christy.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:32 PM

I'd trust Mudcat sooner than the newspaper that the Irish Independent has become, but the photographic evidence seems hard to argue with!!!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Alice
Date: 28 May 02 - 11:10 AM

Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 28-Apr-98 - 10:17 AM

Robbie McMahon promised to start writing out his history and stories relating to the song "Spancilhill" but here is a little sample just to keep the thread current. The song I will have in two days and the full history in another a week or two.

The author of "Spancillhill", Michael Considine, was born around 1850 and emigrated to the USA from Spancillhill around 1870. Working in Boston for about two years, he went to the USA with the intention of bringing his sweetheart over and for them to be married when he had made enough money for the passage. "Johnny you're only jokin'...." a line from the current version, in the original, of course, reads... "Mike you're only jokin' " His sweetheart was "Matt the Ranger's Daughter" and not Matt the Farmer's daughter as in the popularised version. The Ranger's house was visible from Michael Considine's house as was the Taylor Quigley's.

He stayed in Boston for two years or so before moving to California. He suffered from ill health for a long time and, knowing he hadn't long to live, he wrote the poem "Spancilhill" to send home in rememberence of his love and it was kept safe by his 6 year old nephew, John Considine.

Michael Considine died sometime in 1873. And it seems he go home somehow (I don't know yet whether it was dead or alive) as he is buried in Spancilhill garveyard, close to where Robbie has a little plot chosen. Robbie reckons there will be a mighty session in Heaven and Spancilhill when that day comes around (hopefully a long time from now).

In the late 1930's or early 40's, Robbie was in a neighbours house with some friends singing when someone suggested singing "Spancillhill". The woman of the house, Moira Keane, left the room and when she came back said, "If ye are going to sing that song ye might as well sing it right" and she gave Robbie the original song.

Some time later at another session in the parish Robbie was asked to sing "Spancilhill" when a gruff voice in the corner growled out "Don't sing that song". When asked "why not?" the voice barked back " 'Cos ye don't know it."

Robbie, however insisted he did and launched into the version he'd gotton from Moira Keane. After singing a few lines Robbie noticed the gruff man sitting up and paying attention. As Robbie progressed with the song the gruff man foostered more and more with his cap and became agitated. When the song ended, the gruff voice in the corner demanded "Where did ya get that song?". The gruff old man seemed both perturbed and pleased.

Robbie explained the source. Moira Keane was the gruff man's aunt and the gruff man was 76 year old John Considine, who had kept his uncle Mike's song safe for 70 years.

Robbie has given me permission to put his address and phone details here for anyone who wants to contact him directly. (But please be mindful of the time differences and don't phone him at unsocial hours.) He has his own cassette tape (no CD yet) which he sells for £5 (1 Irish Pound = US$ 1.38 approx.) plus postage (price in 1998).

Robbie McMahon
Greenview
Spancilhill
Ennis
Co. Clare
[Ireland]

Ph: 065 29874
Ph: 011 353 65 29874 (from the USA)
Frank McGrath
Nenagh Singers Circle
A newspaper article published in 2002 in the Irish Independent identified Robbie McMahon as 75 years of age, making his birth date approximately 1927. If this is true, his meeting with John Considine happened when he was quite young - or it conuld be an indication of possible discrepancies in his story. -JRO-


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Subject: DTStudy: Spancil Hill
From: Alice
Date: 28 May 02 - 10:53 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

Search for other DTStudy threads


Lyrics in Digital Tradition as of 5/28/02

SPANCIL HILL

Last night as I lay dreaming of pleasant days gone by
My mind being bent on rambling to Ireland I did fly
I stepped on board a vision and I followed with the wind
And I shortly came to anchor at the cross of Spancil Hill

It being the 23rd June the day before the fair
When lreland's sons and daughters in crowds assembled there
The young and the old, the brave and the bold their journey to fulfill
There were jovial conversations at the fair of Spancil Hill

I went to see my neighbors to hear what they might say
The old ones were all dead and gone and the young one's turning grey
I met with the tailor Quigley, he's a bould as ever still
Sure he used to make my britches when I lived in Spancil Hill

I paid a flying visit to my first and only love
She's as white as any lily and as gentle as a dove
She threw her arms around me saying "Johnny I love you still
" Oh she's Ned the farmers daughter and the flower of Spancil HiII

I dreamt I held and kissed her as in the days of yore
She said, "Johnny you're only joking like many's the time before"
The cock he crew in the morning he crew both loud and shrill
And I awoke in California, many miles from Spancil Hill.

Recorded by Christy Moore on Prosperous
@Irish
filename[ SPNLHL
Tune file : SPNLHL

CLICK TO PLAY
ARB




PLEASE NOTE: Because of the volunteer nature of The Digital Tradition, it is difficult to ensure proper attribution and copyright information for every song included. Please assume that any song which lists a composer is copyrighted ©. You MUST aquire proper license before using these songs for ANY commercial purpose. If you have any additional information or corrections to the credit or copyright information included, please e-mail those additions or corrections to us (along with the song title as indexed) so that we can update the database as soon as possible. Thank You.

From thread Where Is Spancil Hill? http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?ThreadID=4808 Click Here


Subject: RE: Where is Spancil Hill?
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 05-May-98 - 04:57 PM

This is the original version of "Spancilhill".

All the characters and places in this song are real. It is a song written by a 23-year-old man in the full knowledge that he was mortally ill. He knew he would die far from home and far from his loved one whom he would never see again.

Many thanks to Robbie McMahon, Spancilhill, Co. Clare for keeping the song and its stories alive and for sharing them with us.


Spancilhill

Last night as I lay dreaming, of the pleasant days gone by,
My mind being bent on rambling and to Erin's Isle I did fly.
I stepped on board a vision and sailed out with a will,
'Till I gladly came to anchor at the Cross of Spancilhill.

Enchanted by the novelty, delighted with the scenes,
Where in my early childhood, I often times have been.
I thought I heard a murmur, I think I hear it still,
'Tis that little stream of water at the Cross of Spancilhill.

And to amuse my fancy, I lay upon the ground,
Where all my school companions, in crowds assembled 'round.
Some have grown to manhood, while more their graves did fill,
Oh I thought we were all young again, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on a Sabbath morning, I thought I heard a bell,
O'er hills and vallies sounded, in notes that seemed to tell,
That Father Dan was coming, his duty to fulfill,
At the parish church of Clooney, just one mile from Spancilhill.

And when our duty did commence, we all knelt down in prayer,
In hopes for to be ready, to climb the Golden Stair.
And when back home returning, we danced with right good will,
To Martin Moilen's music, at the Cross of Spancilhill.

It being on the twenty third of June, the day before the fair,
Sure Erin's sons and daughters, they all assembled there.
The young, the old, the stout and the bold, they came to sport and kill,
What a curious combination, at the Fair of Spancilhill.

I went into my old home, as every stone can tell,
The old boreen was just the same, and the apple tree over the well,
I miss my sister Ellen, my brothers Pat and Bill,
Sure I only met my strange faces at my home in Spancilhill.

I called to see my neighbors, to hear what they might say,
The old were getting feeble, and the young ones turning grey.
I met with tailor Quigley, he's as brave as ever still,
Sure he always made my breeches when I lived in Spancilhill.

I paid a flying visit, to my first and only love,
She's as pure as any lilly, and as gentle as a dove.
She threw her arms around me, saying Mike I love you still,
She is Mack the Ranger's daughter, the Pride of Spancilhill.

I thought I stooped to kiss her, as I did in days of yore,
Says she Mike you're only joking, as you often were before,
The cock crew on the roost again, he crew both loud and shrill,
And I awoke in California, far far from Spancilhill.

But when my vision faded, the tears came in my eyes,
In hope to see that dear old spot, some day before I die.
May the Joyous King of Angels, His Choicest Blessings spill,
On that Glorious spot of Nature, the Cross of Spancilhill.

Michael Considine... born circa 1859 [should be circa 1850 - Alice Flynn] and died circa 1873 [age of 23 - Alice]


From: Wolfgang
Date: 10-Mar-99 - 09:35 AM

There's a booklet from Sean P.OCillin, titled "Ballads of Co. Clare 1850-1976". To my surprise, it prints (with very few changes) the original lyrics Frank has posted on May, 5th, 1998. In this booklet the song is called "The Cross of Spancelhill[sic!]", the correct author is given and as tune "Spancelhill" is given. Does this mean the song was written to a then known tune also called "Spancilhill"?
Wolfgang


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