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Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional / Arr. Karine Polwart

Story

I heard this original arrangement on Malinky's album "The Three Ravens".  Karine Polwart took the traditional pipe tune "Mary's Dream" and paired it with "The False Lover" words.

Lyrics

The False Lover Won Back

The sun shines on thon high, high hill
And the sun shines on thon dowie dell
The sun, it never goes doon nae mair
In the place where me and my love dwell

Chorus:
Comfort for the comfortless
Aye and honey for the bee
Comfort for the comfortless
But there's nane but you for me

"And it's when will you be back, bonnie laddie?
Aye and when will you be back again?"
"When the heather hills are nine times burnt
And the grass is growing green again"

"Well, that's ower lang tae bide awa'
And it's ower lang awa' fae hame
And the baby that is yet unborn
Will be ower lang wantin' a name"

(Chorus)

And he's mounted on his good black steed
And he's saddled up to ride
She's kilted up her petticoats green
And she ran swiftly by his side

And the first toon that they came to
He's bought her the bonniest hose and shoon
And bade her rue and turn back noo
And never follow him again

(Chorus)

And the second toon that they came to
He's bought her the bonniest silken goon
And bade her rue and turn back noo
And never follow him again

(Chorus)

And the third toon that they came to
He's bought her the bonniest weddin' ring
And bade her dry her rosy cheeks
And up and ride alang wi' him

(Chorus 2x)

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Words: Willie Mitchell / Tune: Tony Cuffe

Story

I learned this song years ago from an Ossian album.  I later found out that Tony Cuffe had only written the tune, the words he got from a song by Willie Mitchell.  When I started recording "Comfort" I went back and listened to Tony singing it and realized that I had changed the tune slightly myself - ah the folk process!

Lyrics

Road to Drumleman

Oh the springtime returns to the Laggan again

And the larks sweetly sing o’er the green fertile plain

I’ll take the road that is dearest to me

The road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea.

For I’ve made many friends there on every green mile

And the folks always greet me with a wave and a smile

If I spend all my days here, its happy I’ll be

On the road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea.

For we sat round the fireside when the winter winds blew

And we laughed and we sang till the night was weel through

Then we’d have a good dram and a wee cup of tea

On the road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea.

And the long summer days when we tramped the hills o’er

To spend hours at the Eenans or the Creggans wild shore

And the soft summer twilight made shadows to flee

On the road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea.

Now these days passing swiftly bring changes I know

And as time marchs on from this place we must go

But I’ll ever remember while the heart beats in me

The road to Drumleman that winds tae the sea.

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional

Story

Words for this song were first published in 1793 with the first recorded tune written down in the 1880's.  It is the first song I ever sang for Frank Harte, he was very excited because it was new to him, so he made me sing it over and over again.  I think of him fondly when I sing it.

Lyrics

Waters of Tyne

I cannot get tae my love if I would dee

The waters of Tyne run between him and me

So here I must stand wi a tear in my ee

All sighin and sobbin, my true love to see

Oh where is the boatman, my bonny hinney

Oh where is the boatman, bring him to me

To ferry me over the Tyne to my hinney

Or skull him across the rough river to me

Oh where is the boatman I'll give any money

And you for your troubles rewarded shall be

If you'll carry me over the Tyne to my hinney

And I will remember the boatman and thee

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional

Story

This is an oft recorded traditional song - I like any song with a strong-willed woman in it!  Thanks to Hilari and Benedict for finding the perfect march to pair with this song.

Lyrics

Mary and the Soldier

Come all you lads of high renown that will hear of a fair young maiden

And she roved out on a summer's day for to view the soldier's parading

They march so bold and they look so gay

The colors were flying and the bands did play

And it caused young Mary for to say

"I'll wed you me gallant soldier"

She viewed the soldiers on parade and as they stood at their leisure

And Mary to herself did say: "At last I’ve found my treasure

But oh how cruel my parents must be

To banish my true love from me

And I'll leave them all and I'll go with thee

My bold undaunted soldier"

"Oh Mary dear, your parents' love I pray don't be unruly

For when we're in a foreign land, believe you’ll rue it surely

Perhaps in battle I might fall

From a shot from an angry cannonball

And you so far from your daddy's hall

Be advised by a gallant soldier."

"Oh I have fifty guineas in bright gold, likewise a hearth that's bolder

And I'd leave them all and I'd go with you my bold undaunted soldier

So don't say no but let me go

And I will face the foreign foe

And we'll march together to and fro

And I'll wed you, my gallant soldier"

And when he saw her loyalty and Mary so true-hearted

He said: "My darling, married we'll be and nothing but death will part us

And when we're in a foreign land

I'll guard you, darling, with my right hand

In hopes that God might stand a friend

To Mary and her gallant soldier"

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Kate Rusby

Story

When I heard this song on Kate Rusby's album "Sleepless" I just fell in love with it.  Don't have a clue what it is about - but I found it very soothing nontheless.  If you haven't heard Kate sing, make sure you check her out - her voice is phenomenal!

Lyrics

The Sleepless Sailor

I once was a sailor, a young man and brave
La da dum day, la da dum dee
My nights were once sleepless,
My peace I did crave
Carry me home to the sea

Chorus:
La da dum day, la da dum dee
Drift away sailor boys on the deep sea
Worry no more for you're safe now with me
Rest in my arms and my sweet melody

One night as I'm stood on the deck in the rain
La da dum day, la da dum dee
I heard a sweet voice and she's singing my name
Carry me back to the sea

Chorus

Oh rock me so gently ye oceans so deep
La da dum day, la da dum dee
I wish I was back, cause I think I can't sleep
Carry me home to the sea

Chorus 

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional

Story

This one I'm kind of guessing at... I had a cassette tape of Jean Redpath on Praire Home Companion from the late '70s singing a whole string of "mouth music" and this is three little bits of what she did.  I have had no luck finding confirmation on the words so I did my best with what I could figure out.  I know that "pease brose" is a kind of porridge made from ground up peas (ich), "wean" is a child, "bawbee" is a coin, "waun" is to hope, and "cockit" is to raise something threateningly.

Lyrics

Pease Brose

Pease brose again mother, pease  brose again,

Feed me like a blackbird, and I your only wean,

Pease brose again mother, pease brose again,

Twice the day and early and here they come again.

 

Bonny Bonnie best to me come to bed and cuddle me

Round the blanket wrap your knee to keep your Tommy warm

Bonny Bonnie best to me come to bed and snuggle me

I’ll give you a cup of tea to keep your belly warm.

 

Can you waun my granny dead, my granny dead, my granny dead,

Can you waun my granny dead for a bawbee,

She cockit up her wooden leg, her wooden leg, her wooden leg,

Cockit up her wooden leg and blacked my ee.

 

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional

Story

This songs had its origins in the British Isles, but when I started researching it I found it most often associated with singers from Nova Scotia.

Lyrics

One Penny Portion

A sailor courted a farmer's daughter they lived convenient in the Isle of Man,

Mark good people what followed after, a long time courting and naught done.

A long time courting and still discoursing of things concerning the ocean wide.

He said, "My darling, at our next meeting if you'll prove constant I'll make you my bride."

As for sailors, I don't admire them because they sail in so many parts.

First they love you and then they slight you and leave you behind with a broken heart.

Don't say so, my dearest jewel, I never intended to serve you so.

I have once more to cross the ocean, you know, my darling, that I must go.

The news was carried unto his mother before he set one foot on board,

That he was courting a farmer's daughter whose aged parents could not afford

One penny portion. Down to the ocean, like one distracted his mother ran.

If you don't forsake her, your bride not make her, I will disown you to be my son.

Mother, Mother, you're in a passion, I'm sorry but you have spoken too late.

Don't you remember in your first beginning, how my father married you from a servant maid.

Don't you despise her, I mean to rise her, as my own father to you has done.

And I will take her, my bride I'll make her, you may disown me to be your son.

When his truelove she heard the story, straight to the ocean then she did run.

Saying in a passion, you need not mind her, we will have money when they have none.

Money or not, you are my lot. You have my heart and my free good will,

And I will take you, my bride I'll make you, let my scolding mother say what she will.

The sailor married his farmer's daughter, they live contented in the Isle of Man.

Mark good people what followed after, a long time courting and all was done.

A long time courting and still discoursing of things concerning the ocean wide.

He said, my darling, my dearest jewel, I love you dearly my constant bride,

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Collected or Adapted by Robert Burns

Story

One the first Scottish songs I learned - you just can't beat Robert Burns for wonderful, singable songs!  Next time you drive through Barre, VT give his statue a wave and thank him for being wise enough to collect and write down the great songs of Scotland.

Lyrics

Aye Waulkin’O

Summer is a pleasant time
There flowers of every color
The water runs over the haugh
And I long for my true lover, aye waulkin’o

CHORUS:
Waulkin I am weary
Sleep I can get nane
For thinking on my dearie
Aye waulkin’o

When first she came to town
They called her Grace MacFarland
But now she's gone awa
They’re callin her all folk’s darlin', aye waulkin’o

Her father loves her well
Her mother loves her better
And I love the lass myself
But  me, I can nae get her, aye waulkin’o

When I sleep I dream
And when I wake, I'm weary
Sleep I can get none
For thinking on my dearie, aye waulkin’o

Summer is a pleasant time
There flowers of every color
The water runs over the haugh
And I long for my true lover, aye waulkin'o

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Anon. Irish poem translated by Frank O'Connor / Tune ?Traditional

Story

This songs words come from an anon. 17th century Irish poem called "Taim Sinte ar do Thuama" which was translated by Frank O'Connor in the early 1900's.  According to Wikipedia "the tune had existed since at least 1928 and been associated with the poem as a song, since it is to the tune of "Taim Sinte ar do Thuamba" that Hymn #47 in Danta De: Idir Sean agus Nuad (the Trinity Sunday hymn "Dia an t-Athair do shealbhaig flaitheas naomhtha") is set. The hymnal says the tune is from Munster."  In 1979 Philip King recorded a adaptation that most of the current versions are based on.

Lyrics

I Am Stretched on Your Grave

I am stretched on your grave, and I'll lie here forever

If your hands were in mine I'd be sure they would not sever

My apple tree, my brightness it's time we were together

For I smell of the earth and am worn by the weather

When my family thinks that I'm safely in my bed

From night until morn I am stretched out at your head

Calling out to the earth with tears hot and wild

For the loss of the girl that I loved as a child

Do you remember the night oh the night when we were lost

In the shade of the blackthorn and the touch of frost

And thanks be to Jesus we did what was right

And your maiden head still is your pillar of light

The priests and the friars they approach me in dread

For I still love you oh my life and you're dead

I still would be your shelter through rain and through storm

And with you in your cold grave I cannot sleep warm

So I am stretched on your grave and I’ll lie here forever

If your hands were in mine I'd be sure they would not sever

My apple tree, my brightness it's time we were together

For I smell of the earth and am worn by the weather

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Traditional

Story

I learned this from the album "Over the Moor to Maggie" by the Irish group Oisin.  In the "Sam Henry" music book it states that it was collected from Tony Holleran, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.  Again, a woman who isn't afraid to go after what she wants!

Lyrics

The Lady LeRoy

As I was a-walking one morning in May

A-viewing wild flowers, all Nature seemed gay

I spied a young damsel on Erin's green shore

She was viewing the ocean where the wild billows roar

I said "Pretty Polly you're the girl I adore

And parting with you lass it grieves my heart sore

Your parents are rich love and angry with me

Oh if I tarry with you, its ruined I’ll be"

So she's dressed herself in a suit of men's clothes

Straight to her old father immediately goes

She's purchased a vessel, laid down its demand

Oh, but little he thought it was his own daughter's hand

When her father found out he did cursed and did swear

He sent for his captain and bade him foreswear

To seek them and find them, their lives to destroy

Oh they ne'er will enjoy the proud Lady Leroy

The captain was pleased with his orders to go

To seek them and find them like some foreign foe

He spotted a fair vessel, her colours let fly

He hailed her and found she was the Lady Leroy

He bade them return to old Ireland once more

Or broadside and broadside upon them would pour

This brave Irish hero has made his reply

"We will never surrender, We'll conquer or die"

So it's broadside and broadside each other did pour

And louder and louder the cannons did roar

This brave Irish hero has gained victory

Hurrah for true lovers - may they always run free

They sailed into Boston that city of fame

Of the other ship's commander I'll mention no name

Here's a health to pretty Polly, long may she enjoy

Her proudest of heroes and her Lady Leroy

Here's a health to pretty Polly, long may she enjoy

Her proudest of heroes and her Lady Leroy

Jennifer Culley Curtin
Danny Carnahan - Post Trad. Music

Story

Danny Carnahan proves that you can write a song now that sounds like it's been around for a hundred years.  If you aren't familiar with his recordings please check him out - he has a great voice and writes brilliant songs!

Lyrics

The Rose You Wore For Me

When I open my eyes I can see you still

With the sunlight so gay glinting on the quay

All buttons and bows and the bloom of the rose you wore for me

Oh, I swore I’d return as a prince one day

With a ship full of gold for the world to see

Oh, I promised to then though I couldn’t say when that day would be

Now long are the days since we lay in the fields so green

And long are the nights to consider what might have been

And the song of the geese in the wind will call your name

Oh, the mountains just laugh when I turn for home

Never mountains so high or a man so small

Is it hours to the shore or ten thousand miles more beyond recall

Such a fool to believe all the tales they told

Twice a fool just to kiss you and sail away

For they lied when they told of the rivers of gold in America

 

If a word or a wish could transport me now

I would fly to your arms like a moth to flame

But I’m chained and I’m bound to this cold, foreign ground with none to blame

Does my love warm your heart through the cold, cold night

Does it twine round your heart as the roses grown

Or has love burned away’ leaving ashes as gray and cold as stone

Jennifer Culley Curtin
poem by Sean McAmbrois / tune ?trad

Story

I learned this song from Kelly Kennedy of the Richmond, VA group "39 Fingers".  It has several variations and is also known by "The Quiet Land of Erin".  In researching, after my CD was printed, I discovered that it does have an author.  It was written by the last Gaelic speaking poet of the Glens of Antrim - Sean McAmbrois, sometime in the mid-1800's.  Originally in Gaelic, several translations exist and I don't know who did this one.

Lyrics

Airdi Cuan

By myself I'd be in Airdi Cuan

Where the mountains stand away

And 'tis there would let the Sundays go

In the quiet place above the bay

agus och och Eire lig is o

Eire leanndubh agus o

Ah, the quiet land of Erin

Oh my heart is weary all alone

And it sends a lonely cry

To the land that sings beyond my dreams

Ah the quiet Sundays pass me by.

 

I would travel back the twisted years

In the bitter wasted wind

If the Gods above would let me lie

In that quiet place above the wind.

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Comfort for the Comfortless - Jennifer Culley Curtin

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Jennifer Culley Curtin: Comfort for the Comfortless

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