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eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Maid With the Bonny Brown Hair (from Colm O Lochlainn's Irish Street Ballads, 1935)


GUEST,Beth Maxwell Boyle 30 Mar 05 - 04:25 AM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 05 - 05:11 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 05:26 AM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 05 - 05:29 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 05:32 AM
rumanci 30 Mar 05 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Jon 30 Mar 05 - 05:36 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Beth 30 Mar 05 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Beth Maxwell Boyle 30 Mar 05 - 07:04 AM
pavane 30 Mar 05 - 07:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Mar 05 - 05:55 PM
Joe Offer 31 Mar 05 - 04:54 AM
GUEST,Dave'sWife at work 31 Mar 05 - 01:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Mar 05 - 01:58 PM
Swave N. Deboner 31 Mar 05 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Beth 01 Apr 05 - 06:32 AM
GUEST 01 Apr 05 - 06:43 AM
pavane 01 Apr 05 - 07:00 AM
GUEST,Beth 01 Apr 05 - 07:08 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Apr 05 - 04:18 PM
Dave'sWife 05 May 05 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,mark fowler 02 Jul 05 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,irish rose 16 Nov 07 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Roverfan 04 Dec 10 - 07:07 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Dec 10 - 03:41 AM
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Subject: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: GUEST,Beth Maxwell Boyle
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 04:25 AM

As I went out very early, For to view the fair valleys in Spring,
It was down by the banks of a river, I heard a fair maid she did sing.
Her skin was as pale as the lily, her lips like the red rose in dew,
her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds, and her breath it did bare a perfume.
And a dress of the bright shining velvet, was the dress this fair creature did wear,
with gems of bright gold and bright silver, was intwined in her bonny brown hair.

For a long time we courted together 'til we neared out bright weddin day,
as we were conversing together, so kindly to me she did say.
Oh I have another more kinder, my lands and my fortunes to share,
so farewell for now and forever, said the maid with the bonny brown hair.

As I walked down by the river, I spied a ship from the proud land of Spain,
They were singing and dancing with leasure, but mine was a heart full of pain.
And as the ship sailed down the river, I spied my old sweetheart so fair,
quite content in the arms of another. The maid with the bonny brown hair.

Was this by the Bothy Band or Boys of the Lough, good friends and what is the real title? There is another song called Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair!
I am going mad! I love singing this but the LP I learned it from has been gone 10 years or more. I think it was recorded with a male voice and just a simple violin backup. corgijim@alltel.net

Love, Beth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:11 AM

Gee, it sounds like a variant of Black Velvet Band, but I'll probably be proven wrong.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:26 AM

The Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair was recorded by Boys of the Lough. Not sure which album, but I have it somewhere.

From memory, it looks like this one.


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Subject: ADD: The Maid With the Bonny Brown Hair
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:29 AM

Is it related to "Black Velvet Band," Pavane - or am I all wet?
-Joe Offer-
Here are the lyrics from ingeb.org:

The Maid With the Bonny Brown Hair

As once I roved out very early
To view the green meadows in Spring
It was down by the side of a river
I heard a fair damsel did sing
And I stood in completest amazement
I gazed on that maiden so fair
She appeared to me brighter than Venus
That maid with the bonny brown hair.

2. Her eyes they did shine like the diamonds
Her cheeks like the red rose in June,
Her skin was as white as the lily,
And her breath had the rarest perfume;
And a dress of the best speckled velvet
This charming wee lass she did wear,
And chains of bright gold and pure silver
Were twined in her bonny brown hair.

3. For a long while we courted together,
Till at last we named the wedding day
And one day while conversing together
Very kindly to me she did say:
"O, it's I have another far kinder
My land and my fortune to share,
So farewell to you now, and forever,"
Said the maid with the bonny brown hair.

4. And once I went over the ocean,
Being bound for the proud land of Spain,
Some singing and dancing for pleasure,
But I had a heart full of pain;
And as the ship sailed down the river
I espied my old sweetheart so fair,
Quite content in the arms of another
Was the maid with the bonny brown hair.

5. So farewell to my friends and relations,
Perchance I shall see you no more,
And when I'm in far distant nations
Sure I'll sigh for my dear native shore;
When I'm in some far distant nation
My land and my fortune to share
I hope I'll get someone more kinder
Than the maid with the bonny brown hair.



Note: These exact words appear in Colm O Lochlainn's Irish Street Ballads, published in 1935.
There's a nice recording in the CD titled All Under the Sun, by Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle.

Click to play


Here's the entry on the song from the Traditional Ballad Index, which cites only the two versions in Sam Henry's Songs of the People:

Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair, The

DESCRIPTION: The singer sees a beautiful maiden, "brighter than Venus." He courts her; at last they set a wedding day. But she breaks off the engagement; she has "another more kinder." He laments; he or she or both set out for another country
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (JIFSS)
KEYWORDS: love rejection emigration beauty
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (1 citation):
SHenry H43, p. 394, "The Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair"; H575, pp. 394-395, "The Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Roud #3032
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Lough Erin's Shore (I)" (tune)
cf. "The Bonnie Wee Lass of the Glen" (tune)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Lass with the Bonny Brown Hair
File: HHH024

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:32 AM

Joe - it is not related.

It is on the album 'The West of Ireland' Boys of the Lough 1999.

Here is an extract from a review:

The next track, the song The Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair, begins by employing two whistles, one in 'harmony', but there is a distinct loss of impact here and the introduction of the cello is, as it were, clumsy. There is too much of a vertical gap between the melodic line and the rather exposed bass line. There's also a viola. Experimental? I think that it ends up as a gimmick: the sleeve has it that cello and viola "together seem almost to be listening to the woeful tale of young love lost and offering mature commiseration". That's nonsense. The song is hardly woeful. Its characteristic broadside slant offers scant depth of feeling. It remains very pleasant diversion, even understated, and McConnell sings it easily; but hardly has the impact of a Donal Og. Another comparison, this time with McConnell's rendering on a Boys album of 1973, reveals there a more relaxed approach still, without the constraints of regular rhythm but with Bain following the melodic line (an un-necessary addition in my view anyway). McConnell just about rescues this track here with his marvellously flowing voice; but, even so, look out how he seems to rush the line 'I spied a ship'. This follows a similar attempt in the earlier recording but the slight cranking up of the pace here is no help. A second particular effect, in the final stanza, where McConnell goes exceptionally high, again echoes the earlier recording … works. It's at this point that I began to wish that he'd sing at least one song unaccompanied and, as it were, un-constrained. I yield to no-one in my admiration of his capabilities in that sphere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: rumanci
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:35 AM

Boys Of The Lough - The West of Ireland Ref: LOUGH007CD
The first of the full-time professional Celtic bands to arise on the international scene now occupy a unique position of respect in the world of traditional music. Cathal McConnel's nasal vocal style offsets some cracking sets of tunes.

1 The West Of Ireland
2 Stella's Trip To Kamloops
3 The Steamboat
4 The Maid With The Bonny Brown Hair
5 The Green Linnet Jig
6 Sharon Eubanks' Waltz
7 My Bonnie Blue-Eyed Lassie
8 The Rocks Of Bawn
9 Small Coals And Little Money
10 Beauty Deas An Oileain
11 The Old Torn Petticoat
12 Dark Is The Colour
13 Glin Cottage Polka No. 1.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:36 AM

I don't see any connection between this and The Black Velvet Band, Joe. It's quite a different story.

I'd imagine eyes shining/sparkling like diamonds is quite common. Willie Moore is one I sing with the lines:

Her eyes they shone like diamonds bright
And raven black was her hair.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamon
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:37 AM

As noted in the review above, it was also on their second album, 1973

See Boys of the Lough albums


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: GUEST,Beth
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:54 AM

Well it seems we are getting closer. It does look like a variant of Maid with the Bonny Brown Hair. I wish I could sing it to you. Its a wonderful song and I have been singing it and playing it on my melodeon for years. I long to hear it again. I wish there was a way to sample those tracks on the albums you all listed for me.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: GUEST,Beth Maxwell Boyle
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 07:04 AM

Got it! Thanks! I tracked down a friend in Washington who sent me the single track, thanks to your leads. Its from Boys of the Lough's second album. Pavane, you were correct! I am most grateful for your help. The lass with the Bonnie Brown Hair it is called on the album.
This puzzle has had me going now a long time. All I had was a memory to cling to.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 07:25 AM

Glad we could help


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Subject: RE: Origins: Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 05:55 PM

There seem to be many small differences in the way singers express this song. The lyrics of the two versions in Sam Henry are not quite the same as the two given in this thread, but are not enough different to justify repeating here.

"Sam Henry's Songs of the People," pp. 394-395. One of the tunes, (b, key of G) is in "the ancient Irish gapped scale." The other, key of F, is attributed to Patrick McCloskey of Sawell.


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hai
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 04:54 AM

I added a MIDI. Links are above, with the lyrics.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hai
From: GUEST,Dave'sWife at work
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 01:40 PM

hey Joe!

Many thanks for the lyrics you posted. They are obviously intended to be sung to the tune of The Black velvet Band and they will be a nice addition to my songbook. My father always asks me to sing 'The Black velevet Band' and I hesitate some times because he likes one version with highly political lyrics. I like the 1935 version you posted very much! No politics - just the tune everyone adores.

I'm printing them out and sending them to members of my family who keep our family songbook up to date. I'm in your debt again!


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 01:58 PM

Joe, did you look at 'tune B' in Henry, "in the ancient Irish gapped scale"? Curious about it.
It seems quite different from 'tune A,' which resembles "Black Velvet Band," as noted above.


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: Swave N. Deboner
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 02:10 PM

The words sure do fit the tune of "The Black Velvet Band" like a glove. However, I found an audio sample of a song by the same name, as recorded by Phil Callery and the Long Wave Band on their album, "The Edge of Memory." The tune is different. Perhaps this is a different version of the song? It sure sounds authentic (if that's an appropriate descriptive).

hear an audio sample here


SND


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: GUEST,Beth
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 06:32 AM

Since you all helped me out the other day another friend gave me still another version. Its by Maggie Boyle on her album UNDER THE SUN. What a wonderful thing to get your help here. I joined once and forgot my password and what name I used. This place is a little bit of heaven. Thank you for your time and attention. Many Blessings to Mudcat and all her many lovers!

Yours, Beth Boyle


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 06:43 AM

Pavane I now see you noted the version my Maggie Boyle. You don't miss a lick!
Cheers, Beth


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: pavane
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 07:00 AM

No, I can't claim the credit, that was Joe Offer's post!


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: GUEST,Beth
Date: 01 Apr 05 - 07:08 AM

This just in from a friend too:
This song was collected by Seamus Ennis and Jean Ritchie, from the late Elizabeth Cronin, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:18 PM

A few other versions are known; see for instance Herbert Hughes, Irish Country Songs vol II, 52-59, and Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, II, 1905, 14-16 (3 examples). For a set recorded directly from tradition, see http://www.veteran.co.uk/:

John Kennedy: The girls along the road

The song appeared on broadsides as The Lass with her Jet Braided Hair. For two printed around 1850 in Birmingham, see   :

The lass with her jet braided hair


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hai
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 05 May 05 - 06:35 AM

A gal I know was just describing this song to me as one her Dad sings to her baby. he's american of irish descent, his family is from Ohio by way of Pennsylvania. That's all I know. I gave her the lyrics and she went and listened to a snip of Black velvet Band and said "Yup, thats the one."

I'll ask her to have her dad write out his lyrics


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: GUEST,mark fowler
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 12:32 PM


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hai
From: GUEST,irish rose
Date: 16 Nov 07 - 05:52 PM

I learned this song from my father, but the lass had bonny black hair.

As I roved out very early to view the green meadows in spring
'Twas down by the side of a river I spied a fair maid she did sing.
I stood there in silent amazement to gaze on that creature so fair.
She seemed to be brighter than Venus, that lass with the bonny black hair.
Her brow was as white as the lily, her lips like the red rose in June.
Her eyes they did sparkle like diamonds, her breath it did bear a perfume.
And a dress of the emerald velvet was the dress that this maiden did wear
And chains of pure gold and bright silver were bound in her bonny black hair.

For sometime we courted together without naming a due wedding day.
One morning while talkin' together, very gently to me she did say,
"It's I have another more kindly my houses and fortunes to share,
So farewell to ye now and forever," said the lass with the bonny black hair.



The rest of it is more or less the same as quoted above. In my mind it's always been that the lass finally got tired of him stalling around and not committing himself. It makes more sense to me that way.


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: GUEST,Roverfan
Date: 04 Dec 10 - 07:07 PM

The song is on the Irish Rovers album Gracehill Fair.You can listen to it on their MYSPACE page.
Enjoy


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Subject: RE: eyes did sparkle like diamonds/Bonny Brown Hair
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Dec 10 - 03:41 AM

Bert Lloyd called it 'Proud Land of Spain' and sang it in this form (probably one of his own re-makes):

THE GIRL WITH THE LOVELY BROWN HAIR
As I went out one evening
To view the dark meadows in spring,
It was down by the banks of the river,
I heard a young girl softly sing.

Oh, the moon it shone so brightly
And white was the gown that she wore;
She appeared like the Queen of the Indies,
Did the girl with the lovely brown hair.

I found she was backed like a salmon
And breasted just like a swan;
And the night that I spent in her arms, oh me boys,
I wished it was seven years long.

Next morning she said, "I've another
My bed and my fortune to share,
So fare you well, me young lover",
Said the girl with the lovely brown hair.

So I went down to the harbour,
Signed on a ship for the proud land of Spain;
All the sailors were singing and dancing
But I had a heart full of pain.

Jim Carroll


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