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Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind

DigiTrad:
THE GREEN SHORES OF FOGO


triskelle 01 Jan 07 - 10:14 AM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Jan 07 - 02:33 PM
MartinRyan 01 Jan 07 - 07:52 PM
triskelle 02 Jan 07 - 02:10 PM
MARINER 02 Jan 07 - 04:00 PM
MARINER 02 Jan 07 - 04:12 PM
triskelle 02 Jan 07 - 04:31 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Jan 07 - 11:48 PM
MARINER 03 Jan 07 - 01:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Jan 07 - 02:01 PM
GUEST 04 Mar 11 - 03:47 PM
Joe Offer 04 Mar 11 - 04:18 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Mar 11 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,MacConnell King family 09 Mar 11 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,I strachan 21 Mar 11 - 03:06 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM
GUEST 18 Mar 18 - 06:53 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: triskelle
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 10:14 AM

I'm looking for some background information about "The Country I'm Leaving Behind". All I could found (including the text) is on this page. Does anybody knows who wrote it and when exactly was the song written, why was the main character leaving Ireland and where was he going to, and is the song ever recorded.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 02:33 PM

It is frequently difficult or impossible to identify the writers of 19th century broadsides, unless sheet music was also published and survives; the majority, too, were basically generic "pop" songs written by professionals; comparatively few (and those tended to say so specifically) referred to real events. This one is as generic as they come, and it will have been up to the audience or singer to invest it with whatever meaning suited their own experience or temperament.

However, there are sometimes small clues that might lead to something. The following appeared in catalogue 11 (April 2005) at http://www.austinsj.co.uk/, in the Music-Hall Songs category:

McCONNELL, Marie: The Country I'm leaving behind, Written by S. Henry (Glasgow, J.S.Kerr) 5pp., ad. Sl. grubby. Inscribed (in shaky pencil): R. Weighell, Esq., With Composer's Compt., 11/5/88 £3

1888, we must assume. I can't identify the writers, though it's possible that S Henry may have been Spencer Henry, a popular song lyricist of the period. The song isn't in the British Library Integrated Catalogue or in COPAC, nor is it mentioned in Kilgarriff, so this is just speculation. It may not even be the same song; but it is contemporary with it at least, and the style of the broadside text does suggest an origin in the Halls or similar, where there was a big market for sentimental songs of emigration in those days.

The song has turned up just occasionally in oral currency, in Scotland, Ireland and Newfoundland, and is number 6335 in the Roud Folk Song Index. The Newfoundland variant is in the DT at The Green Shores of Fogo, minus its tune and source information (it came from Mrs John Fogerty of Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland, July 1952: Kenneth Peacock recorded it from her, and printed it in his Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, 1965, vol II, p 522).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: MartinRyan
Date: 01 Jan 07 - 07:52 PM

Nice work, Malcolm!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: triskelle
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 02:10 PM

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: MARINER
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 04:00 PM

If that's the song that begins " My barque leaves the harbour tomorrow . Across the wide ocean to roam ", there's a fine version of it on Cardiff group The Hennessey's cd "Homecoming ". I haven't got it to hand at the moment but I'm sure you will find details if you google "The Hennessey's."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: MARINER
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 04:12 PM

OOPS, Found it , It's on HFG Records, Cardiff ,Wales CF5 2PR/9 .It's in the liner notes as Irish Trad and said to have been a firm favourite with the people of Newtown, Cardiff and other immigrant Irish communities . You could try emailing Dave Burns , of The Hennesseys at daveburns@vicpark.freeserve.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: triskelle
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 04:31 PM

I've just sent an email to Austin Sherlaw-Johnson (thanks again Malcolm) and asked him about the item in his catalogue. In no time I found the following reply in my in box:

[quote] Since the inscription in dated (18)88 I assume that it will have little to do with a broadside ballad, they were a lot earlier weren't they? [...] She (Ms. McConnell) may have used the same words, perhaps?

Marie MacConnell isn't in any of the standard dictionaries of women composers. The only other titbit I can recall is that the song came bound in a large collection of [...] music-hall songs, R. Weighell was something in provincial music-hall.[end quote]

Perhaps this is something for the experts to build on? By the way: in case someone is interested, the item is sold!

Mariner: I will follow your lead and keep you informed.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Jan 07 - 11:48 PM

It's a common misconception that broadsides are always old. Some printers continued to publish into the 20th century, though the Great War pretty much put an end to all that. There's a good chance that the 'Poet's Box' sheet was actually slightly later than the (presumed) sheet music.

There is more information on the Cardiff reference at http://www.ballinagree.freeservers.com/memorial04.html.

The comment reads:

"Dave Burns / Frank Hennessy: The Country I'm Leaving Behind.

"This beautiful and poignant song of exile comes from the former Irish community of Newtown in Cardiff. Dave Burns and Frank Hennessy were astonished to find that it was quite unknown in Ireland when they first visited their ancestral homeland in the late 1960s. Although its melody, style and words clearly indicate that it was written ? possibly in Wales ? by someone from Ireland this is a song that echoes the deep feelings of hurt, displacement and loss felt by all emigrants no matter where they may set out from."

Their conclusions were understandable, but quite wrong in that there is no evidence that the song is either Irish or Welsh. Where the (possible) writers were from we don't know, but as I've said, this is a generic sentimental song certainly written for a commercial market; so that isn't necessarily relevant.

It would be interesting, though, to know if the tune it was sung to in Cardiff was the same as, or related to, any of the small number of other versions known. By the same token, it's a pity that that sheet music has been sold. I'd have been more than happy to pay the asking price!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: MARINER
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 01:01 PM

The email address that I gave for Dave Burns is now defunct , but I am reliably informed that he can be contacted at db@dave-burns.co.uk Sorry for the cock-up


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Jan 07 - 02:01 PM

Adding a little to information already posted by Malcolm Douglas, The National Library of Scotland dates the Poets Box sheet as betweeen 1880-1900, in line with the date associated with the sheet music.

The "Green Shores of Fogo," from Newfoundland, is quite late, as noted by Malcolm Douglas, collected in 1952 from Mrs. John Fogarty, who "remembers the sailor who composed the lyric for his girlfriend."
In his note, Peacock said that he suspected that the 'Katie' in the song is Mrs. Fogarty.
Kenneth Peacock, 1965, "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports," vol. 2, page 522 with score.
I would guess that performers currently singing "Green Shores of Fogo" learned it from Peacock's book.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 03:47 PM

I do not know the origin of this song, but my cousin's husband, name of Timothy O'Gorman, and a resident of Cardiff in South Wales, sang this at every family gathering when I was growing up. Sentimental, yes. but in the right situation and with a receptive audience of descendants of Irish emigres a very genuinely movin g experience. Diane


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Subject: ADD: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 04:18 PM

The first message has a link to a page that has the lyrics, but I think they should also be posted here. I found another page that had the lyrics transcribed, so I didn't have to OCR them or type them out. The version in the Digital Tradition, The Green Shores of Fogo, has very similar lyrics. Joe Hickerson recorded "Fogo" on his Folk-Legacy album, Drive Dull Care Away, Vol. 1. Kenneth Peacock recorded "Fogo" on his Folkways album, Songs and Ballads of Newfoundland.

I didn't find any recordings of "The Country I'm Leaving Behind," as such.

THE COUNTRY I'M LEAVING BEHIND

My barque leaves the harbour tomorrow,
Across the wide ocean to go,
But Kitty, my burden of sorrow
Is more than I'd wish you to know.
There's a dreary dark cloud hanging o'er me,
And a mighty big cloud on my mind,
And I think of the prospects before me,
And the country I'm leaving behind.

Then farewell to the green hills of Erin,
And the darlings so faithful and kind;
Where'er I may be I'll still think of thee,
And the country I'm leaving behind.

Now, Kitty, leave over your crying,
And don't be uneasy for me;
It's my fortune I'd be after trying
On the sunny shores over the sea.
Each moment that passes shall find thee
Still reigning supreme in my mind;
And the image of Kitty shall bind me
To the country I'm leaving behind.

Then farewell to the green hills of Erin,
And the darlings so faithful and kind;
Where'er I may be I'll still think of thee,
And the country I'm leaving behind.

Though the land be abounding in treasure,
And fair maids of every degree,
My eyes may behold them with pleasure,
But my heart will be longing for thee,
Let stormy clouds gather above me,
And friendship prove stale or unkind,
I'll know there is one heart will love me
In the country I'm leaving behind.

Then farewell to the green hills of Erin,
And the darlings so faithful and kind;
Where'er I may be I'll still think of thee,
And the country I'm leaving behind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 06:31 PM

I took a copy of a broadside on Ebay in 2006 which was printed by Nicholson of Belfast. In the same batch of Nicholson broadsides for sale was another dated 1893 so this fits in nicely with the date of composition. It was also in the catalogue of Sanderson of Edinburgh who was still printing broadsides right into the 1930s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: GUEST,MacConnell King family
Date: 09 Mar 11 - 11:46 AM

I believe the Marie McConnell mentioned may be my great aunt, Marie F. McConnell (name changed to MacConnell between 1902 -1908). She was Director of Music for the New York City schools in the early 1900s. I have found that she put together several publications with a collection of songs and folk songs, generally for High School. In Sept 1901 she gave an organ recital at the Pan-American Exposition - in Buffalo, NY I think.

I have been trying to find where or if she studied music formally. She seems to have been born in 1866 in New York. While there is conflicting information, her parents were most likely born in Ireland.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: GUEST,I strachan
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 03:06 PM

This song was written by sam henry, my great great grandfather.
I have the original hand written song as part of his poetry collection
passed down through my family.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Mar 11 - 03:46 PM

If this is the same Sam Henry who collected songs in Northern Ireland then what you have is unlikely to be a poetry collection. The word 'collected' is to be emphasised here. If you give us a few more titles we'll be able to tell you. If indeed this is the case this song doesn't appear in his published collections.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Country I'm Leaving Behind
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 06:53 PM

hello i live in england and my grandfather tom steed who died in 1970 age 85 used to sing this song in ballintleva, county galway, the family was great friends wih the keanes of caherlistrane from less than a mile away,
all his brothers and sisters emigrated to the usa around the turn of the century and he would sing this song in memory of them. i remember him singing this in the 50s and then in the 60s when i was a teenager
mike walsh


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