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Irish songs which aren't Irish

McGrath of Harlow 02 Jan 05 - 08:02 PM
Midchuck 02 Jan 05 - 08:06 PM
Sorcha 02 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,maryrrf 02 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM
Bernard 02 Jan 05 - 08:19 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 05 - 08:25 PM
vindelis 02 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 02 Jan 05 - 08:30 PM
Joybell 02 Jan 05 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,grow up 02 Jan 05 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,TJ 02 Jan 05 - 08:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jan 05 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,Julia 02 Jan 05 - 09:45 PM
Leadfingers 02 Jan 05 - 09:53 PM
Seamus Kennedy 02 Jan 05 - 10:38 PM
GUEST 02 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,maryrrf 02 Jan 05 - 11:30 PM
michaelr 03 Jan 05 - 12:21 AM
GUEST 03 Jan 05 - 01:20 AM
alanabit 03 Jan 05 - 02:51 AM
Gurney 03 Jan 05 - 04:21 AM
s&r 03 Jan 05 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Mandotim 03 Jan 05 - 07:17 AM
Big Al Whittle 03 Jan 05 - 07:46 AM
Lanfranc 03 Jan 05 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 03 Jan 05 - 08:56 AM
Michael 03 Jan 05 - 09:55 AM
alanabit 03 Jan 05 - 10:25 AM
Hollowfox 03 Jan 05 - 10:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 05 - 11:04 AM
Bernard 03 Jan 05 - 11:31 AM
Weasel Books 03 Jan 05 - 11:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 05 - 12:05 PM
skarpi 03 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM
Bert 03 Jan 05 - 12:42 PM
squeezeldy 03 Jan 05 - 12:59 PM
DougR 03 Jan 05 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,petr 03 Jan 05 - 01:22 PM
Marje 03 Jan 05 - 02:06 PM
ranger1 03 Jan 05 - 02:16 PM
pavane 03 Jan 05 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 05 - 02:24 PM
alanabit 03 Jan 05 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Com Seangan 03 Jan 05 - 03:26 PM
DonMeixner 03 Jan 05 - 03:29 PM
MartinRyan 03 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM
Weasel Books 03 Jan 05 - 04:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 05 - 05:20 PM
Ooh-Aah2 03 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM
Seamus Kennedy 03 Jan 05 - 05:57 PM
DonMeixner 03 Jan 05 - 06:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Jan 05 - 06:24 PM
DonMeixner 03 Jan 05 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM
Margret RoadKnight 03 Jan 05 - 06:57 PM
EagleWing 03 Jan 05 - 07:18 PM
EagleWing 03 Jan 05 - 07:34 PM
goodbar 03 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM
Pat Cooksey 03 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM
Bob Bolton 03 Jan 05 - 11:21 PM
GUEST 03 Jan 05 - 11:30 PM
DonMeixner 03 Jan 05 - 11:45 PM
freightdawg 04 Jan 05 - 12:02 AM
EagleWing 04 Jan 05 - 06:44 AM
Weasel Books 04 Jan 05 - 07:13 AM
manitas_at_work 04 Jan 05 - 08:30 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 05 - 09:00 AM
Weasel Books 04 Jan 05 - 09:04 AM
Big Al Whittle 04 Jan 05 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 05 - 09:41 AM
Big Mick 04 Jan 05 - 09:44 AM
GUEST 04 Jan 05 - 10:02 AM
EagleWing 04 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,The O'Meara 04 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM
EagleWing 04 Jan 05 - 10:14 AM
GUEST,Billy Boy in France 04 Jan 05 - 10:39 AM
Big Mick 04 Jan 05 - 10:58 AM
greg stephens 04 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM
Big Mick 04 Jan 05 - 11:33 AM
Rain Dog 04 Jan 05 - 11:44 AM
manitas_at_work 04 Jan 05 - 11:46 AM
EagleWing 04 Jan 05 - 12:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 05 - 01:35 PM
ard mhacha 04 Jan 05 - 02:17 PM
Big Tim 04 Jan 05 - 02:52 PM
EagleWing 04 Jan 05 - 03:29 PM
Kenny B (inactive) 04 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM
Weasel Books 04 Jan 05 - 05:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM
Cruiser 04 Jan 05 - 06:13 PM
greg stephens 04 Jan 05 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 04 Jan 05 - 06:51 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 05 - 08:11 PM
Big Mick 04 Jan 05 - 08:18 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 05 - 08:21 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:17 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:19 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM
Leadfingers 04 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM
DougR 04 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM
freightdawg 04 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM
Gurney 05 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM
Seamus Kennedy 05 Jan 05 - 04:07 AM
greg stephens 05 Jan 05 - 05:02 AM
Weasel Books 05 Jan 05 - 06:43 AM
Big Mick 05 Jan 05 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,fidjit 05 Jan 05 - 07:16 AM
manitas_at_work 05 Jan 05 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,JTT 05 Jan 05 - 09:03 AM
GUEST 05 Jan 05 - 09:39 AM
belfast 05 Jan 05 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Elfcall 05 Jan 05 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,Glen Reid 05 Jan 05 - 11:30 AM
RWJ 05 Jan 05 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 05 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jan 05 - 07:22 PM
Seamus Kennedy 05 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM
Big Mick 06 Jan 05 - 12:04 PM
Cruiser 06 Jan 05 - 12:46 PM
Weasel Books 06 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:02 PM

Years back in a thread that has just flickered back to life (Sick of DADGAD) I commented (in a bit of thread drift) "The thing about the Wild Rover, of course, is that it isn't even an Irish song in origin. It was collected in Norfolk, and that's the version that the Dubliners picked up. Any good song will end up being sung in Ireland, and then people assume it's an Irish song to start with, rather than to finish with. The same goes for other Irish favourites like "I live not where I love" and "Fiddlers Green". I might start a thread on that, asking for other Irish songs that aren't.

Anyway, I never did start that thread back then, so here it is. For all I know someone else did start that thread, but that's no reason not to talk about it again. I can't see how anyone who thinks that the fact something has been done before is a reason not to do it again can enjoy folk music anyway.

So let's be having you...


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:06 PM

Well, the one that drives me nuts is the goddam useless f***ing no-good s***-eating, Unicorn.

Which was one of the many fine childrens songs Shel Silverstein, an American Jew, wrote; until it got to be the practice to sing it every night, in every American "Irish" bar, with weird animal gestures, and I came to hate it.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Sorcha
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM

Danny Boy
I'll Take you home again Kathleen
When Irish Eyes are Smiling
Irish Jaunting Car
Want more?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM

G'day McGrath,

Of course, any song is claimed as clearly Irish if it mentions:

Whisk(e)y,
drinking,
Fighting,
Singing,
Misspent youth (or adulthood),
Unrequited love,
Misbehaving,
Poverty - and if it
contains ... or rhymes with, Green!

Regards(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:10 PM

Ditto for "The Unicorn"! Can't understand what the fascination is with those hand gestures. Do some folks never grow up??? Of course in the States there are all those pseudo Irish Tin Pan Alley songs like "When Irish Eyes are Smilin'", "My Irish Molly", and of cours "Galway Bay".


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Bernard
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:19 PM

Dirty Old Town (Ewan MacColl, Salford, England!)
Wild Colonial Boy (Oz!)


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:25 PM

This thread reminds me of the other sorts of "let's begrudge the Irish" threads like the recent one as to whether the Irish were genuine Celts.

So why not a thread re: Irish songs the English claim are English, hmmmm?

All this sort of thing is about is Brits (even those of Irish descent at times) being cheesed off at the success and popularity of Irish traditional music for the last decade and a half, instead of English music.

Who the bloody hell cares?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: vindelis
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:26 PM

Don't forget that Great Christie Moore? song 'From Clare to Here'.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:30 PM

Sorry vindelis. You're right it's not Irish, but it's Ralph McTell that wrote Clare to Here

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:37 PM

OOOOH! Where to start! Where to start! Thanks, McGrath, good to get some things off your chest.
I've noticed these labled Irish:

Medals for Mothers (called an Irish mother's song)
The Grey Funnel Line (funny!, being as how it's about being in the British Navy)
Willie McBride
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (for Heaven's sake)
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
And almost anything I ever sing to audiences at Folk Festivals and the like!!


and of course there's:
Danny Boy (tune collected in Ireland of course)
Rose of Allendale
Shoals of Herring (even if you say Shoals of Erin)
Irish Washerwoman (English according to our fiddler friend)
Blackwater Side
Maggie (try singing it with a friend singing "What a Friend we Have in Jesus" at the same time. Sounds a lot better)
I'll Take you Home Again Kathleen
Whe You Were Sweet Sixteen
Mother Machree
When irish Eyes are Smiling
My Wild Irish Rose
Mac Namarra's Band
Molly Darling
That's better. Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,grow up
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:52 PM

What's a "begrudger"? Someone who prefers the truth to a fashionable lie?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 08:59 PM

Those innumerable early-20th-century Tin Pan Alley songs ("When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", "My Wild Irish Rose", etc.) are totally phoney in terms of the tradition and not something I need to listen to myself, but hey, they made people smile in their time and thus justified their existence. My 85-year-old mother loves that sort of stuff to this day, having basically grown up on it, and so what's the harm in letting the elderly green-beer-and-shamrocks crowd enjoy them?

"The Unicorn", on the other hand, is a different matter. :-)


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 09:40 PM

Those Fenian songs of the Civil War era. Weren't they mostly written in America?

"It's Christmas in Kilarney."


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 09:45 PM

In the US, where people love labels,"Irish" tends to be what people call anything that isn't rock'n'roll, country,or "folk" (as in Bob Dylan). I used to describe the music I do (traditional Irish/ Scottish) as "Celtic" until Enya came along...
Anyway, a couple of "Irish" favorites from our great Maine songwriters
Dave Mallett- The Garden Song
Jud Strunk - A Daisy a Day

And what about that Jimmy O' Driftwood anyway- St Brendan's Fair Isle

Everyone Sing along!!
Julia


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 09:53 PM

It doesnt help when there are so many books published with titles like
'The Popular Irish Song Book' With Ralph Mc tell , Cyril Tawney and Eric Bogle songs in them . AND all UNCREDITED !!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 10:38 PM

Song For Ireland.
Come To The Bower.
The Irish Lullaby.
The Irish Ballad.
The Wild Colonial Boy.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 10:43 PM

Hard TImes Come again no more


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,maryrrf
Date: 02 Jan 05 - 11:30 PM

Yes it's amazing how the old Stephen Foster song "Hard Times Come Again No More" came to be considered Irish! Was it because Mary Black sang it?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: michaelr
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:21 AM

Who cares -- a good song is a good song, and a crappy song is crap.

I don't understand why McGrath wants to perpetuate this debate. I'm sure anyone who wants to inform themselves whether a song is Irish, Scots, or Swahili, can do so by looking up the innumerable threads here on the subject.

I played a gig on New Year's Eve, and an elderly woman in front kept suggesting "Wild Rover" and "Irish Eyes"... I just ignored her, and she went home happy after applauding loudly and buying a CD.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:20 AM

Sonny's Dream


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: alanabit
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:51 AM

The only attempt to start a brawl here (so far) has come from an (inevitably anonymous) guest. What is interesting to note here, is the way that a living Irish culture has adopted and sustained songs, which would otherwise have slipped out of sight. Most English guys I know, would be embarrassed to admit that they knew the words of a folk song. Irish people come together at pubs, parties and weddings and proudly sing the songs they know - and this canon is constantly being updated, extended and changed. It goes to the heart of what folk music is about. The only times I have known spontaneous sessions of folk song singing in Germany or Britain, were when I was among groups of predominantly Irish people.
Another "Irish song which isn't", in the sense of the thread title, is Molly Malone. It was allegedly written by a Scottish broadsheet writer, who had never visited Dublin. I think there is some case for arguing that these songs become Irish songs. They start life somewhere else, but they enter the Irish tradition.
Brecht's "Caucasian Chalk Circle" poses the question, "Does the child belong to the birth mother, or the woman who nourished it?" I think you can view "adopted" Irish songs in the same light.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Gurney
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 04:21 AM

The Curragh of Kildare springs to mind.
However, I think all other folksingers help the misconceptions, because of the 'pub-Irish' accent we adopt when singing an Irish song.

The Irish, of course, sing EVERYTHING with an Irish accent regardless of origin, so if we learned the song from them, we do tend to perpetuate the notion.

This slant on the thread reminds me of a short-lived group I was in. Our first-half closer was 'The Banana-Boat Song,' but claiming that we learned it from a poor recording, we sang it in upper-crust English accents, whilst wearing bowler-hats and carrying umbrellas.
Hope no-one learned it from us.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: s&r
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 04:48 AM

Bread and Fishes (sometimes under other titles) Alan Bell


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Mandotim
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:17 AM

Galway Farmer, by Steve Knightley of Show of Hands?
Tim


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:46 AM

Black is der colour!
Zis is my last territorial claim!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Lanfranc
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:52 AM

I have often wondered what Sam Larner - the Norfolk singer from whom the Wild Rover was collected - would have made of the later notoriety of that song. Personally, I do tend to become a bit anally retentive about misattributions, and, for one reason or another that is something which happens frequently where Irish singers and musicians are concerned. They are not the only culprits (I could cite a certain Fr*d W*dl*ck!), but they just seem to do it more often!

More examples of non-Irish songs: John O' Dreams (Bill Caddick / Tchaikovsky); My Lady's a Wild Flying Dove (Tom Paxton)

But, what the hell, as someone said above, at least the songs and tunes are being kept alive by being sung and played! A moratorium of, say, ten years would be good for some though IMHO, Wild Rover and Athenry in particular!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 08:56 AM

michaelr, you hit the nail on the head.

I believe these threads--never begun by Irish posters, mind--are a form of anti-Irish bigotry, just as the "Irish weren't Celts" sorts of threads are. You never would see this sort of thread about any other nationality in the folk scene, and these threads certainly have more than wee bit of Brit triumphalism to them, don't they?

I do put that down to jealousy. The Irish have a strong, vital LIVING folk music tradition, not just a hobby/museum tradition like the Brits and Americans and most other Europeans have.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Michael
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 09:55 AM

'The Irish have a strong, vital LIVING folk music tradition.'
And that GUEST,as I see it, is partly the point of the thread.
Mike


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: alanabit
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 10:25 AM

Actually guest, this thread was started by an Irishman. I have at least read your post, or posts in full. I wonder if you might do the rest of us the same courtesy before going off at half cock!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Hollowfox
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 10:55 AM

Funny, I just finished a very readable book on the song Danny Boy and it's origins over the holidays. It was a more tangled skein than I thought. (sic) by Malachy McCourt, Running Press, 2002 ISBN 0762411244


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:04 AM

Stir, stir, stir.

The ability of the Irish singing tradition to adopt and nurture songs from all over the place is something to be proud of. Fortunately songs don't have to carry passports, and noone's entitled to ask you for a passport before you're allowed to sing them either. There's some who might wish they could, I suspect.

It's interesting to know where a song came from, the same way it's interesting to know where a person comes from, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't both be made welcome regardless.

If people fall into the trap of assuming that just because they hear someone from Ireland sing a song that means it must be a song that originated in Ireland, that's just a reflection of what alanabit mentioned, the fact that there's more of a living Irish singing culture than there is in some places.
.........................

Looking through the songs in this thread it occurs to me there are three types of "Irish songs which aren't Irish" - there are those by non-Irish writers, but written as consciously Irish songs. Or maybe "Oirish" songs. These are mostly American, but a fair number from Engand. One that hasn't been mentioned is "A long way to Tipperary". Some of these are pretty dire, but every now and then there's a good one, and that then moves over into a second category.

And that is, songs which have been picked up and get sung in Ireland because people see them as good songs, wherever they come from they get adopted and naturalised.

And the third category is, the songs which are common to the tradition in Ireland and Great Britain, and noone knows where they started.

I'm always pleased that one of the most widely used sets of song books are the four Ossian volumes of "Folksongs and Ballads popular in Ireland", with the remark by the editor in the Introduction "The purpose of this book is to provide you with the song that are actually popular in Ireland". And even though the books don't even set out to be scholarly, they have the notes at the back which indicate the songs that camed from overseas, and where they came from.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:31 AM

Well, I for one cannot see anything dereogatory in McG's original post which started this thread.

If some people want to twist it into something inflammatory, then we shall just ignore them - after all, they only get their kicks from upsetting people!! ;o)

There are lots of songs which have been mis-labelled 'traditional' in the past - Pete Coe's 'Wizard of Alderley Edge' immediately springs to mind.

The 'folk process' is alive and well - it doesn't really matter where the songs originate if they stand the test of time... except, of course, those songs which are subject to copyright, which then is a legal matter, not just a passing interest.

I say 'it doesn't really matter' in the sense that the song itself isn't affected, just one's interpretation of it... maybe! If people want to pigeonhole something, they will - despite any evidence to the contrary!!

Interestingly, there is a school of thought which believes 'Hard Times' originated in Ireland, and Stephen Foster 'borrowed' it... many songs and poems attributed to Robert Burns are also believed to have originated elsewhere... did Shakespeare write his plays... ??!

Without irrefutable proof, much of it is hearsay - even 'irrefutable proof' has been later discredited!

So perhaps we should just enjoy people's opinions for what they are without being so judgemental - they serve to enrichen our education if we use them as a basis for discussion!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:36 AM

I don't think this thread was started with bigotry in mind. Is it bigotry to talk about the real origins of a song? Has anyone said Irish CAN'T sing them?

So many of the songs in the irish tradition are Scottish anyway, but they are still GOOD SONGS.

Just scanning the back of a Dubliner's recording, here are a few:

The High Reel (Lord MacDonald, Lord MacDonald's March to Harlaw).

Tramps and Hawkers.

Banks of the Roses.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:05 PM

"Tramps and Hawkers" is maybe a song that sums it all up, in the verse:

I think I'll gang tae Paddy's Lan', I'm makin' up my mind
For Scotland's greatly altered noo, I canna raise the wind
But if I can trust in Providence, if Providence should prove true
I'll sing ye's a' of Erin's Isle when I come back to you.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: skarpi
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:20 PM

How about Whystling gypsy rover that s from Scotland?
I am told.
all the best Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Bert
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:42 PM

I think that "Still I Love Him" was collected from Suffolk, does anyone know for sure?

And there's also "Irish" songs written by Mudcatters from all over. I know 'cos I've written a couple myself and I'm only 1/8th. Irish, and I'd just love it if I heard anyone say that they are Irish songs.

It's great that such a powerful tradition not only keeps singing but also spreads around the world.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: squeezeldy
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 12:59 PM

This is a very interesting thread. At the risk of bringing fire down upon my poor little gray (or grey, as it were) head, let me speak in defense of all those non-Irish Irish songs, regardless of what we think of them, their origin, or the categorization of such...
Many of them were, of course, of Tin Pan Alley and dance hall origins. Yes, they were written to exploit sentiment, stereotpyes, bigotry and anything else that would make a dime. Many of them were truly awful, and died natural and unlamented deaths. Others endured through merit--musical, literary, or emotional--and because of real or fictitious beliefs about them. But here are a couple of thoughts.
1. Many of the Irish immigrants in America were maintaining traditional music, in their lives, but not making any money at it. So, some of them wrote music for publication and performance in dance halls and taverns, which enabled them to live long enough to preserve genuine ITM in this country. Eventually, interest in true Irish music arose, and lo, here were the people with the memory and the music, ready to pass it all on.
2. Many of us--alas, I must count my sullied soul here--were brought to a genuine love for "real" Irish songs and music through the back door of pseudo-Irish Tin Pan Alley stuff. In the quest to learn more about the music, I found out amazing things, heard beautiful and meaningful songs, and became more and more drawn into true Irish song. Does that diminish my value as a performer and lover and listener? Sure, lots of people think so, because they value the "pure drop" and worry about what is real and what isn't. That's how we get fascinating conversations like this.
Pax


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DougR
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:02 PM

When my wife and I were in Ireland last Fall we had an opportunity to hear some sessions and on one occasion a group performing in a Restaurant/Pub atmosphere in Dublin. The group included some of the songs included in this thread without identifying those that were, or those that were not written in Ireland by Irish composers. I suspect the reason for this is the group plays to tourists who expect to hear those songs. Another reason is, many of them are good songs!

I don't think for a minute Kevin started this thread because any bias against the Irish. Why would he, he's Irish?

I question, though, if it is important whether or not the song was actually composed by a Irish composer born and bred in Ireland. The subject matter of the songs is Ireland or the Irish way of life, and that, it seems to me, is the most important consideration.

Some of you perform regularly, and I'm sure you tire of performing certain songs, even grow to hate them, as demonstrated by several posters who put the Unicorn Song in this category. That begs the question, though, whether the role of the performer is to perform what the paying public wants to hear, or perform only those songs the performer wants to sing or play.

Thread creep, I know, and Kevin I apologize. I cannot offer any songs for the thread.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 01:22 PM

to the person above who said the only time they saw people get together and sing was among Irish people, Id say you havent gotten out much. Many of my Czech friends often get together and sing folk songs (Czech ones, or what they call tramp songs) My grandad used to go to the pub daily and often they would sing drinking songs.
Im sure that was fairly common all over central and eastern Europe.

what about fiddle tunes, or instrumental tunes written in the tradition by non-Irish people, or second generation folks like Liz Carroll. Tunes such as Brenda Stubberts (CapeBreton tune by Gerry Holland) which I heard in a Galway session. (As well as other Canadian or Scottish tunes that have made it into the Irish repertoire)


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Marje
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:06 PM

I don't see anything derogatory or bigoted about being interested in songs' origins, or trying to analyse the phenomenon of the "non-Irish" Irish song.

There's a big difference between (on one hand) vaguely Irish songs that are about Ireland or that have been written to express Irish sentiments and (on the other) songs that have been written by Scots, English, Australians etc about their own cultures but which are being passed off as Irish.

Why does it matter? Because it's fair and honest to give credit to the source or composer whenever possible.

And there's another reason: The English (as has been remarked already) are often a bit embarrassed and ignorant of their own traditional songs. If some of the best of these are passed off as Irish, the less informed English audiences will continue to believe that all the good songs and tunes are Irish and that the English tradition has nothing worth listening to.

When I hear songs with dubious Irish credentials sung in exaggerated pseudo-Irish accents by English or American singers, I can't help thinking of how we once used to accept white men with blacked-up faces singing "negro" songs. Some day, maybe, we'll care enough about our own and each other's cultures to stop accepting the Plastic Paddy thing either.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: ranger1
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:16 PM

For some odd reason, many people that I know think that The Lakes of Ponchatrain is Irish. Being of both Quebecois and Irish descent, I find it mildly amusing, but not insulting. The beauty of folk music is that it migrates and evolves, and the people who listen to it listen because they enjoy it, no matter the origin or the age of the song or tune. I like finding out about the origins and folklore of the music, but it has nothing to do with my actual enjoyment of the music. Thank you, McGrath of Harlow, for starting an interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: pavane
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:23 PM

Black Velvet Band - first known version is set in Barking, LONDON.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:24 PM

I found this on Amazon.

Noel McLoughlin 20 Best of Ireland  


1. Star of the County Down
2. Carrickfergus
3. Hills of Connemara
4. Travelling People
5. Follow Me Up to Carlow
6. Spancil Hill
7. Farewell to the Rhonda
8. Fiddlers Green
9. Song for Ireland
10. Lord of the Dance
11. From Clare to Here
12. Boys of Killibegs
13. Reason I Left Mullingar
14. Foggy Dew
15. Cliffs of Dooneen
16. Botany Bay
17. Town I Love So Well
18. Galway Races
19. She Moved Through the Fair
20. Wild Rover


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: alanabit
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 02:48 PM

This is developing into one of the better Mudcat threads I have read recently. Guest petr, I hope you sign up and join Mudcat. It would be lovely to have you posting here. You raised an interesting point. My one experience of a jam/song swap with Czech musicians, was one of the highlights of my many years on the road.
Squeezeldy, I really enjoyed your post too. I would like to say that I think you have described a sort of snobbery about how certain people see themselves as superior listeners/performers, simply on the basis that they know older songs. I am sure you are as discerning as anyone. You just entered the same room through a different door. Your ears have remained open to music which is new (to you) although you started out listening to what I might disparagingly call "The Irish Pub Greatest Hits"... I earlier mentioned "Molly Malone", which certainly began life as a commercial song. However, it has now been around and sung by generations, qualifying it (in my book) as a traditional Irish song. I mean that in the sense that Irishmen themselves accept it as part of their culture.
It has been an interesting and fruitful discussion and I am looking forward to learning more.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Com Seangan
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 03:26 PM

Thanks to all the contributors. I had been sure that the Derry Air was a tune collected in Ireland. I am not referiing to the words of Danny Boy. There are many lyrics put to that Air. Tom Jones version of Danny Boy is my own favourite!!

BUt we are so lucky to have had Bunting come along at the time he did and set a professional standard for collectore who came after him. And while you are at it you can add "The Rose of Tralee" to the songs that are not of Irish origin.

By any chance would anyone have information on traditional songs collected by John Strachan and Dr. Dick Henebry in the Isle of Man around 1912 ?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 03:29 PM

I'm surprised no one has hit upon "Belfast Mill" yet, or I probably missed it in the reading. Actually it is "Aragon Mill" by Si Kahn and it is quite new in the scheme of things. I did Aragon Mill once and was told that I did it wrong, wrong, wrong and I should learn things better.

Because an Irish band like "The Dubliners" or "Christy Moore" sings a song from another country and it becomes popular enough for others to do it (Like Sonny's Dream by a Canadian named Ron Hynes) then it becomes Irish by osmosis. (Altho' I do ponder why Sonny's Dream is done the way it is and not the way Ron wrote it. Do we blame that on Hamish Imlach who appears to have brought Sonny to Europe?) Like when I read about Brian MacNeil playing the Bouzouki, a tradional Irish folk instrument. They apparently never saw the movie, "Zorba the Mick".

I've always looked at music done by Irish bands as music done by Irish bands. Not necessarily Irish because of the artists.

And most of these songs mentioned are found the four books of "Songs Popular in Ireland" Ossian Press I think. They are usually reasonably well annotated in the back as to their history and point. of origin.

Don


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 03:46 PM

Squeezeldy has it about right, I reckon!

Regards

p.s. The Maid of Cabra West.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 04:37 PM

Actualy, I think a fair point can be made for the bozouki being a traditional Irish instrument. The Irish one has evolved into a different beast than it's noble predecessor.

Does anyone (maybe Johnny Moyinihan) even use Greek Bowlbacks anymore?

BTW I had seen advertised a CD of Greatest Irirsh Folksongs, including "Goodnight Irene"!!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 05:20 PM

I'm sure I read somewhere in a thread about someone who got told off by Greek listeners when he called the instrument he was playing "a bouzouki".

In a way, since the instrumenmt was exported to Ireland and to its neighbours, it's evolved back into something much closer to a version of the cittern, though with only four courses of strings. It really bears relatively little relation to the original Greek instrument, either in structure, tuning or technique of playing. Only it's kept the name, perhaps because it sounds like bazooka, with all those tough associations - even if it may cause a few problems at immigration security these days. (Maybe best describe it as "a kind of guitar" to avoid misunderstandings.)
...............................
"The subject matter of the songs is Ireland or the Irish way of life" said Doug. Sometimes that's true enough, but often the subject matter isn't particularly Irish, and the songs are about aspects of life which are shared between Ireland and other places, and that's one reason they work so well.

Someone said "Why not a thread about English songs that aren't English?" I can't think of that many, but I'm sure there are some. There are plenty of American songs that have their origin elsewhere, but that's generally understood, and I don't think many American would take it as offensive to pick over the origins. I don't think things like "Song Links" are seen as too problematic.

But there are some songs which I think many people would assume were American to start with which aren't - "The Lily of the West" is one such. There might be a thread in that some time. Better started by an American though...


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Ooh-Aah2
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM

I notice that 'The Star of the County Down' is at the top of the list provided by GUEST as the 20 greatest Irish. Well, this is definetely an Irish song but it comes from a tune family which almost certainly comes from England - slow it down and you get 'Dives and Lazarus', a song noted in 16th century London, though it may not be the same one of course. Still, it's a distincive and unusual title.

I have a fabulous CD by a group called the 'York Waites' which claims that the Scottish tune 'Cock of the North' similarly comes from a 16th-century English one. What a bunch of stirrers!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 05:57 PM

Speaking as an Irishman, I'm not in the least offended by this thread.
In fact, I maybe somewhat of an offender, in that I sing many of these songs without acknowledging that they are not Irish.
Does being Irish and singing a non-Irish song make the song Irish, if only for the duration of the song?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:08 PM

Re Bouzoukis:

I'll accept the style of playing as Irish. I'll even accept the notion of an "Irish Bouzouki". But I won't accept the notion that a Bouzouki is a traditional Irish instrument any more than a banjo is a traditional Irish instrument or a guitar for that matter. I'll grant that they have styles of playing about them that is unique to Irish performers but those instruments came elsewhere from different traditions.

Kind of like my statement and firm belief that it is the singing that is the tradition and not the song.

When bagpipes are mentioned people first duck and run but then they assume that they are talking about Scottish Bagpipes. I can think of several cultures where the bagpipes exist but people only assume that we are talking of Highland pipes. When did the peipes come to Scotland? Was it before the Crusades? Did they come in with the Romans?

Don


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:24 PM

No evidence of bagpipes in Scotland (or anywhere else in Britain) prior to the Crusades, apart -perhaps- from a single (reportedly) Roman carving found in England. The pipes probably arrived in Scotland via England (where they appear earlier in surviving records) or, for those to whom that likelihood is distasteful, just possibly France.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:29 PM

I always suspected those French....


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:46 PM

Tradition doesn't have to mean all that old. After all, tThe Mudcat has its traditions, such as that any thread involving Ireland has at some point to involve some people getting hot under the collar. Actually, it sometimes seems, any thread about anything...

The remodelled bouzouki has now been around long enough to be a part of tradition. That's why the intensely and aggressively traditional organisers of the Fleadh Ceoil include it in the range of competition instruments, along with the banjo and all the other 20th century innovations.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 06:57 PM

"Drink a Round to Ireland"


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:18 PM

A nameless guest says:
"I believe these threads--never begun by Irish posters, mind--are a form of anti-Irish bigotry, just as the "Irish weren't Celts" sorts of threads are. You never would see this sort of thread about any other nationality in the folk scene, and these threads certainly have more than wee bit of Brit triumphalism to them, don't they?"

Anti-Irish bigotry? I have been in an English field where 30,000 odd English folk sat and roared out Anti-British songs in chorus with the Dubliners. It didn't occur to me until the next day to ask what would happen if an English group went to Ireland and did an evening of anti-Irish songs. I doubt if they would have survived, let alone had people joining in the choruses. Then I realised. It couldn't happen, of course. The English don't write anti-Irish songs. (Though they do tell stupid Irish jokes which are rarely funny and rarely relevant to the Irish).

Frank


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:34 PM

"In fact, I maybe somewhat of an offender, in that I sing many of these songs without acknowledging that they are not Irish."

I don't think you have to state that a song is not Irish when you sing them. If you claimed them as Irish knowing they're not, that might be another matter.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: goodbar
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:51 PM

i really don't care if a song is irish, english, scottish, american, australian, or kenyan as long as it's good.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Pat Cooksey
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 07:57 PM

As it happens I sing many songs which are not Irish, some I wrote
in England, The Reason I Left Mullingar, The Streets of Ennis, and many more.
The most well known of my songs The Sick Note, or Why Paddy's not
at work Today, was also composed in England, but it seems to have
spread worldwide as a traditional Irish song.
Nice to see Seamus Kennedy on this thread, happy New Year my friend.
On my new C.D. is Song for the Mira, not an Irish song but I like it,
the royalties are on the way.
Happy New Year to you all,

Pat.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:21 PM

G'day McGrath of Harlow,

"... I'm sure I read somewhere in a thread about someone who got told off by Greek listeners when he called the instrument he was playing "a bouzouki". ..."

Perhaps the Greeks are starting to get a bit overly territorial (and precise) about the Turkish instrument that came back to Greece with the Greek nationals expelled by the Turks in the 1920s. About 40 years ago, I was experimenting with a small guitar body - and re-strung it as an 8-string instrument, with 4 courses, or pairs of strings. Once I had it making interesting, if not terribly traditional, sounds I happened to have it out when a family friend - a Greek Cypriot who had migrated to Australia post WW II - saw it ... and immediately declared that it was a bouzouki! In fact, I wonder if he had come across makeshift conversions of old instruments, on Crete ... not all that different from mine.

If the instrument had not finally crumpled up somewhere in my interstate rovings between construction camps ... I would probably have ended up restringing it to something in the Irish bouzouki group of tunings (instead of the all-octaves, re-entrant, tuning I ended up with ... a sort of 8-string bass ukulele!).

I had never, back then, even seen a bouzouki - or its saz or ud ancestors ... but Andy (Angelou .. ?) Pavlakis has quite happy that it fitted well enough into the category, so the lack of a deep 'lute' bowl didn't worry him at all.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:30 PM

An Irish song is one that:
   
   (a) Is written in Ireland, no matter what it is about.
   
   (b) Is written by an 'Irish' person, no matter how many generations removed from Ireland.
   
   (c) Is about Ireland, in even the vaguest fashion.
   
   (d) Sounds as though it MIGHT be about Ireland.
   
   
   Regarding (b) I note mention of Stephen Foster above, and I have seen somewhere that he may
   have had Irish ancestry, therefore his songs must be Irish.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DonMeixner
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:45 PM

Hi Bob,

Years ago Nick Reynolds looked into an 8 String tenor guitar to play with in The Kingston Trio. I have seen Mando Cellos tuned and played as if present day Bouzoukis.

Perhaps I expect things to be a little longer in the public domain before they are accepted as part of the tradition. Certainly nothing I'm willing to get over.

Maybe we need to be a whole lot less "pigeonholing" about or music and a lot more open to the good thats out there. I must admit that even I can be a bit strident about some of my points. Hope I don't/didn't ruffle some feathers too deeply.

Don


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: freightdawg
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 12:02 AM

Hey Seamus...

"You're not Irish, you can't be Irish, you don't know 'Danny Boy'..."

(tee hee)

To get a little theological thread drift in here (talk about rowing with crooked oars), how many of the Psalms are introduced by "...a Psalm of David". Now we know that David did not write *every* one of the Psalms so noted, some were written by David, some about David, and some were collected by David.

So the songs of Ireland. Some were written by the Irish, some about the Irish, and some collected by and assimilated by the Irish. Americans have done the same thing (i.e. the history of "Yankee Doodle Dandy").

I for one have enjoyed the thread. I know some folks who swear that all the "tin pan alley" songs are truly Irish. With the little bit of ammo you all have provided me with I shall have no end of fun with them.

O, what tangled webs we weave when first a Mudcat thread we read...

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:44 AM

A GUEST says "An Irish song is one that:
   
   (a) Is written in Ireland, no matter what it is about.
   
   (b) Is written by an 'Irish' person, no matter how many generations removed from Ireland.
   
   (c) Is about Ireland, in even the vaguest fashion.
   
   (d) Sounds as though it MIGHT be about Ireland."

By that logic, the following songs are all English

"The Croppy Boy"
"The Rising of the Moon"
"The Foggy Dew"
"The Wind that Shakes the Barley"
"Kelly the Boy from Killane"
"Kevin Barry"
and many others.

Why - Well, they are all "about England, in the vaguest fashion."

Frank L


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 07:13 AM

Isn't the "Foggy Dew" based on an English folksong?

Bouzoukis are definetely a part of TODAY'S tradition, I think that qualifies. Let's not even talk about banjos and mandolins. If I were to say bouzoukis were a traditional instrument 30 years ago, that's a different matter.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 08:30 AM

The Foggy Dew shares it's title with an English song but that's about all.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:00 AM

Eagle Wing,
                   Don't take me too seriously, PLEASE!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:04 AM

It's the same tune though, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:14 AM

The real question is, if they sing Irish songs, will they be allowed to play football for Ireland?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:41 AM

GUEST says "An Irish song is one that:

(a) Is written in Ireland, no matter what it is about.

(b) Is written by an 'Irish' person, no matter how many generations removed from Ireland.
   
(c) Is about Ireland, in even the vaguest fashion.
   
(d) Sounds as though it MIGHT be about Ireland."

But he forgot the main one

(e) Is not written in Ireland; is not written by an Irish person; is not about Irland; does not sound as though it MIGHT be about Ireland; but has been recorded by an Irish singer or group (especially the Dubliners).

And a song can acquire a new nationality by adoption - many songs originating elsewhere are now definitely in the Irish tradition. And you can tell people thet Lamorna is about Manchester until you are blue in the face - it is now as Cornish as the Furry Dance.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:44 AM

Every so often we go through these discussions. They are fine, and don't offend me, as in my shows I always mix a liberal dose of education with the entertainment. I usually point out which songs are based on older songs, often that they didn't originate in Ireland, or how they came to be identified as Irish. Having said that, I have noticed in most of these threads, a certain amount of "shamrock envy". But not much, and in the case of this thread, a fairly civil conversation.

One thing that I have noticed about the "purists" and their disdain about what constitutes "traditional", with regard to instrumentation or interpretation. They often try to impose their definition of what is the one way to perform the music. For me, one of the great traditions among the Irish, and the scattered children of that island, is that we will take the wonderful legacy and blend it with the times and instrumentation, as well as the style. An example would be the Uilleann Pipes. This is an instrument that was never made to be played ensemble, and up until the 1960's was almost exclusively played solo. Today it is every bit as much an ensemble instrument, while still retaining it's solo heritage. At the beginning of the twentieth century one would rarely see any of the instrumentation we use now, beyond the harp and flute. And you certainly would not have heard a bodhran in the mix.

The point is that, IMHO, part of the tradition IS that we Irish will borrow songs, tunes, and instruments into our vibrant, living, and evolving musical heritage and let it take the music where it is bound to go. With regard to the Tin Pan Alley stuff, it seems to me that the Irish who had to leave took their longing for home with them. Given that music is central to our culture, it is only natural that new songs would come, and that they would reflect the times. While I don't care for this stuff, I will play it for those that enjoy it. And Tin Pan Alley isn't the only source of this, as many wonderful songs about Ireland and the Irish have come from the grandchildren of Ireland in other countries. From Clare to Here, Song for Ireland, Wild Colonial Boy, even Tim O'Brien has written some wonderful stuff. Give a listen to his "John Riley", in fact listen to both of his albums where he takes his American old timey instrumentation and applies it. They are wonderful.

Now ..... about The Unicorn ..... Jeez, but I hate that song.....

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:02 AM

Maybe those Tin Pan Alley songs are disliked because you often would need to know more than three chords to play them.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

A GUEST says "Eagle Wing,
                   Don't take me too seriously, PLEASE!"

I wasn't taking you seriously at all - and my reply was equally tongue in cheek.

Frank L


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,The O'Meara
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

Whwn I was a kid in west Texas, many long years ago, all blue jeans were Levi's and all hats were Stetsons. "Pull on yer Levi's, boys, and grab yer Stetsons, we're gonna ride!" Same way all nose papers were "Kleenex" and all copying machines made "Xerox" copies. It's easier to say "Hand me a Kleenex" than to say "Hand me a nasal tissue." Everyone knew what you meant, without a formal definition.
   I reckon that's the same with "Irish" music. For general purposes, most folks know what you mean when you say "Irish Music."
   Seamus Kennedy: I didn't know La Vie En Rose was Irish until I heard it on your CD.

O'Meara


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:14 AM

Weasle Books said "It's the same tune though, isn't it? " (re:Foggy Dew)

The English song "Foggy Dew" is about a batchelor who keeps a maiden from the "Foggy Dew" and procreates a son.

The Irish song I mentioned is a rebel song which refers to "Britania's sons, with their long range guns, crept in with the foggy dew." I believe there is a non-rebel version of that song but understood it to be still Irish (though this thread has made me wonder!)


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Billy Boy in France
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:39 AM

I heard dirty ol' town was about liverpool, or maybe salford as mentioned above it more correct.

Being sung by the dubliners confused the issue!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:58 AM

Dear GUEST of 04 Jan 05 - 10:02 AM,

If you would like help locating an appropriate chord encyclopedia to improve your ability to play more involved songs, drop me a PM.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:17 AM

I have noticed had that people in this thread are referred to as "Irish" even if their famlies have lived for many generations as citizens of te US. Does this principle apply to immigrants of all ethnic groups in American? I imagine with ethnic groups that are visually recognisable(eg black or Chinese) this would last for ever, but how does the principle apply to the English,or Norwegian immigrant to America?
    And on the subject pf non-Irish songs(as opposed to non irish people): it is the humorous misappropriations into the "celtic" canon that give me most pleasure. My personal favourites are the identification of "Any old iron" as an Irish folksong on an intenet site; a song of more gungoho Lodon-ness could not be imagined. I have also seen "The lish young buy-a-broom" identified as Irish many times, which is a bit funny when you consider it is written in noerth-western English dialect, and the action of the song takes place between Kirkby Stephen and Kendal. Now, I am perfectly delighted if anybody wants to sing these songs in Tralee or Timbuktu, but it takes more than a Clannad or Dubliners recording to localise a song in a new home fully. That is a slightly longer process.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:33 AM

Great question, greg. In fact, most Yanks that I know identify themselves as Irish, English, Dutch, German, Native American, etc. It is, I suppose, due to the fact that we are an immigrant nation and folks divided up and hung out based on national origin. It is not unusual in the older (usually Eastern US) cities to have whole neighborhoods with signage in the language of the nation from which the early settlers arrived. And this goes on nowadays as one sees signage in the language of the newer immigrant groups.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Rain Dog
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:44 AM

Interesting thread. Of course most of these mistaken ideas about where a song comes from arise from the fact that most people cannot be bothered to look to see who wrote the song in the first place.
Then of course songs become 'adopted' by the people who sing them. Songs develop a life of their own as they make their way around the world. To insist that Dirty Old Town is 'about' Salford ( or whatever other north of England town you think it is )is rather pedantic. It has become a song about any dirty old town.
As to the 'tradtional' songs by mr and mrs anon, these songs and tunes have found their own ways around the world and will continue to do so. Each may claim them for their own but they can never 'own' them.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:46 AM

The two Foggy Dews have different tunes as well as different lyrics


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 12:25 PM

Billie boy says "I heard dirty ol' town was about liverpool, or maybe salford as mentioned above it more correct.

Being sung by the dubliners confused the issue!"

Of course, Liverpool is in Ireland. Everyone knows that. :-)

Definitely Salford!

Frank L


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 01:35 PM

Two completely different Foggy Dews, true enough. But the bachelor with a son song has existed in all kinds of versions all over the British Isles - it's one of that third category of songs I mentioned up the thread, which are native to the whole archipelago. Particular versions hale from particular places, that's true, but the songs are at home everywhere.

There's a lot to be said for looking around to find a version from your own neck of the woods - "your own neck of the woods" normally meaning something a bit more local than the country you live in or come from.
...........................
The question of how second third and generation Irish feel about the country to which they have been transplanted has been affected a lot in England by the ongoing dispute between the two countries, which puts up a barrier, and that wouldn't apply in the USA. You'd never see a Union Jack in an Irish Assiociation in Engand, but I imagine the Stars and Stripes would be common in an equivalent setting in the USA.

I imagine whether it might be a bit more like that for some people with roots elsewhere, such as Mexico, where the shared history with the USA includes a fair amount of conflict and aggression.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: ard mhacha
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 02:17 PM

Greg Stephens I heard "Buy a broom" sung many times but never in any other accent but Geordie, north-eastern England, and for the last time, I hope, "Dirty old town" refers to Salford.
And please, the majority of the songs mentioned in this thread can be claimed by whatever other country wants them, personally I would rather have the toothache than listen to some of them, and the Unicorns horn should be inserted up the ass of whoever sings this bloody awful dirge.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Tim
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 02:52 PM

Forty Shades of Green.

Broad Majestic Shannon (!)

West Coast of Clare (!)


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: EagleWing
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 03:29 PM

On a Clancy Brothers LP I have is a very beautiful song written, I believe, by an American Jew. It's entitled "Lament for Brendan Behan". Despite knowing its source I can never think of it as other than an Irish song. It is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and the Clancy's performance of it is wonderful.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Kenny B (inactive)
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 04:21 PM

When the world was created the "Arabs" got most of the oil and the "Irish" got to sing most of the best songs.
It's an ill divided world, he says with a smile
So who really got the best deal?
O'Meara's post gets my vote for the best answer.
Kenny B


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 05:12 PM

Ewan MacColl wrote it about Salford didn't he, but the beauty of it (or of any good song) is that you can identify it with any grey, depressing, squalid industriallised town.
I think the best take is Shane McGowan singing it. His whiskey-parched delivery gives a seedy edge to it that just works.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:00 PM

So far I've survived without ever hearing that unicorn song, I think. Maybe it is tempting fate to say that.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Cruiser
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:13 PM

"Gimme some green alligators and long-necked geese..."

My favortite version (and I am an atheist) is by The IRISH Rovers, who "popularized" it in the 60s.

"The Lord seen some sinnin' and it gave HIM great pain...."


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: greg stephens
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:29 PM

Ard Mhacha: The Lish YoungBuy a Broom may have been attributed to Ireland, and you may have always heard it sung in Geordie. But it was written by a Cumbrian, about a trip between Kirkby Stephen and Kendal, neither of which are in Geordieland. Sure songs transplant an acclimatise, great, but this soneg was originally about the north west of England, as was Dirty Old Town(Salford). If others choos e to sing them, brilliant. It would be a boring old world if we were parochial about music, a good song is a good song.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 06:51 PM

On the telly here there's an add which says, 'there's a little bit of Ireland in us all' .. so that makes every song a little bit 'Irish', or as some pronounce it 'Oirish', as in 'Oi.. Oim Oirish'


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 08:11 PM

Big Mick

Re "Maybe those Tin Pan Alley songs are disliked because you often would need to know more than three chords to play them."

What I meant was that you would probably have to know more about music to play, say, "Peggy O'Neill" than the basic songs that are trotted out by Irish bands these days.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 08:18 PM

I agree, GUEST. And you used an excellent song to demonstrate the point.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 08:21 PM

Big Mick, I love them all! Well most of them!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:17 PM

And NO ONE has mentioned that WONDERFUL Traditional Irish instrument the Bodhran , introduced to Ireland from central Europe in (I think)
the nineteen thirties !


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:19 PM

Incidentally , this is one of the most intersting threads we have had on the cat for a while ! A lot of REAL information !


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM

A Lot of Good Humour , and remarkably little nastiness !!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Leadfingers
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:21 PM

AND the cjhance for me get another 100th post in !!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: DougR
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 10:30 PM

Kevin: the fact that you are not familiar with The Unicorn Song just about rocked me out of my chair! I can't imagine how you could not have been exposed to it. It's certainly not one of my favorites either so I join a host of fellow Mudcatters on that score.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: freightdawg
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 11:49 PM

Okay, I'm big enough for this.

The Unicorn is one of my favorite songs, and has been from the time I was a little package puppy. My favorite rendition is from the Irish Rovers.

(although I must admit I've never been subjected to cheesy "hand movements").

"There were green alligators,
and long neck geese,
some humpty back camels
and some chimpanzees,
some cats and rats and elephants,
but sure as your born,
the loveliest (song) of all was the Unicorn."

So there. Pppttthhhhhhhh.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Gurney
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM

Cruiser and Freightdawg, since you are obviously familiar with 'The Unicorn,' perhaps you can offer an opinion as to why Noah took bloody rats onto the Ark, and why he felt that he needed to succour alligators and geese, both amphibians.
Regards, Chris. With tongue in cheek.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 04:07 AM

Guest O' Meara - If I sang La Vie En Rose, then it's effing Irish, OK? With Bodhran accompaniment -
And when I sing Mariú or I Belong to Glasgow, or Ar Hyd Ar Nos, or Will The Circle Be Unbroken, or Lili Marlene, they're effing Irish, OK?
What's the problem here?

Lovingly.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: greg stephens
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 05:02 AM

Re the Unicorn song: I've never heard of it either. I think it only flourishes in America, I dont believe it has crossed to the British/Irish side of the Atlantic.and udging by the descriptions of it, perhaps this is a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 06:43 AM

Plenty of Irish immigrants to Glasgow so therefore, it MUST be Irish.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 07:04 AM

GUEST, a lot of folks love those songs. For years I wouldn't play them because I was young and had my head up my arse. You know the line, "They aren't REALLY Irish!". But then I matured as an entertainer and realized that I am hired to entertain them. So I sat down and put together some medley's and learned some others. Now I want this to be just between me and you ..... Promise? ..... I actually enjoy singing them and seeing the reaction from those folks.

But I still ain't doing the friggin' Unicorn!!!

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,fidjit
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 07:16 AM

Anything collected in Norfolk could have come originally from Anywhere. Even Ireland. Surely all folk songs started in Russia or the Balkans? Try tracing the Troubadours of France. Guilliam XI etc., from the 1080's and Richard Lionhearts Great-Grandfather via Ellanor of Aquitaine. etc., etc. Happy New Year to all our readers. See you at the, "Straw Bear Festival" Whitlesey?


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 08:34 AM

I'm pretty sure the Bachelors have recorded the Unicorn but it's certainly received lots of airtime in the Uk over the years.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 09:03 AM

I'm really grateful for this thread, which points out that a lot of truly awful songs "credited" to Ireland are in fact English and American compositions. Thanks, lads!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 09:39 AM

I too have vague recollections of the Bachelors doing the Unicorn thing in the 60s, but it seems to have faded pretty quickly after that, and is certainly not regarded as Irish over here.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: belfast
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 09:58 AM

Possibly there is no such thing as an Irish song. After all, songs don't carry passports and they are indifferent to national boundaries. Ewan MacColl may have written "Dirty Old Town" about Salford but once the song is released it's as free as a bird and settles wherever it pleases.


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Elfcall
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 10:12 AM

Thought people were having a pop at Bill Caddick's Unicorns for a while, which would have been a bit strange, now I know it is the horrible song favoured by Junior Choice on the wireless when I were young.

Elfcall


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,Glen Reid
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 11:30 AM

In 1970 I wrote a song "My Green Valleys" which was used as a filler song for an album "Brannigan's Boys" (an Irish/Canadian pub band, of which I was the banjo player)
Lo and behold the venerable Wolfetones recorded it, as well as the Irish Rovers.
Since then it has been recorded over 30 times by various artists(mainly in the British Ilses)
Regretfully on more than one occasion it has been credited as traditional. Obviously these people havent gone through the proper licencing procedures and ultimately as the writer, I lose.
Ive even had people suggest I couldnt have possible wrote the song, as they heard their grannys singing it to them in their cradles.

Its flattering to have had so many artists cover this song over the years, yet frustrating when the above happens.
In spite of the fact it was written for a Irish pub band, by a Canadian, it succeeded in sounding traditional enough for the purpose intended at the time.
Cheers, Glen


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: RWJ
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 02:19 PM

Nice sentiment Glen , a song is to be enjoyed by all

Ron


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 06:53 PM

LOL @ Glen, well you have to admit it, the song is a good one!

Every good song should be sung often.

Great thread!


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 07:22 PM

I tried to think of some song that is actually Irish, but nobody thinks of it as such. I couldn't - I think it'd have to be the kind of song nobody wanted to sing, because, when you get down to it, if a song gets sung by an Irish singer, and it's a good song, it counts as Irish. Someone should rewrite that song to be "If you come into the parlour, you're Irish."

"The White Rose of Athens", that's another I'm sure you'd find in some Irish songbooks. And "Never on a Sunday".

I remember on the Burntollet March some of us struck up with "The Internationale". "What's that they're singing?" said, a man, a bit suspiciously. "Oh, it's an old rebel song." "That's all right then."


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 07:33 PM

Big Mick, I was like that myself in my younger days -but it's great seeing an audience react to the Unicorn. It's particularly good at a kids' show. As I said before, Shel Silverstein never wrote a bad song.
Belfast - well said.
And Glen Reid, that's a helluva song, and you're in good company if people think it's traditional. Ewen McColl, Tommy Makem, Robbie O'Connell spring to mind.
It's a bummer that you're not getting credit for it, especially in these days of Internet searches.
In the past, I have recorded songs without knowing who the author was - I'm going back 25 years, mind you - but when I found out later, I gave credit and paid royalties.
There's no excuse for it in this day and age, though.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 12:04 PM

Once again I find myself in agreement with my friend Seamus. There is no excuse for not paying royalties. When monied interests do it, it still sucks, but one understands how they will try to do it. But when another artist does it, I find it unconscionable. Hell, the royalties don't amount to enough as it is.

Glen Reid is consumately talented. If you want confirmation, get his CD's. They are great. Want a custom guitar? He builds wonderful instruments. All this and a performer to boot.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Cruiser
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 12:46 PM

One very talented gentleman:

Glen Reid Biography


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Subject: RE: Irish songs which aren't Irish
From: Weasel Books
Date: 06 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM

Heck, look at how many people think "Queen of Argyll" or "The Ramblin' Rover" are traditional.


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