There was a smell of sulphur in the air for Frances’ rendition of Peg Kelly's black cat and Martin (from Mayo) brought back holy memories with a recitation about Knock aiport (... money’s expensive shtuff, and we don’t have enuff, to sink in a bog in Mayo...).
Before all that, Gerry O’Beirne’s Isle of Malachi was done justice by Clare (to the tune of Seán Ó Duibhir a’ Ghleanna):
Search where no ships are sailing
No sound of hearts breaking
Or down in deepest Africa
No one will find him there
But down the sands of evening
In days of my love leaving
You will hear the dance rise all around
The Isle of Malachy
Derval sang The Raggle Taggle Gypsy ...one sang high and the other sang low... and that was Seosamh maybe, with a wonderful, gentle version of Raglan Road.
Disasters of the Great War and other effin wars too, were in both Robert’s and Eugene’s songs. Robert sang a song which came to him from America about the firemen in the Twin Towers and another song about Francis Ledwidge, the Blackbird of Slane. Ledwidge, a soldier with the Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers, wrote Lament for Thomas MacDonagh (He shall not hear the bittern cry ...) and was himself killed in July 1917, near Ypres in Belgium, in a shell explosion.
Eugene gave us The Old Man's Tale (Ian Campbell, trad. tune, 'Nicky Tams')
At the turning of the century I was a boy of five
Me father went to fight the Boers and never came back alive.
Me mother was left to bring us up, no charity she'd seek,
So she washed and scrubbed and scrapped along on seven and six a week.
Do liostáil Clíona le sáirsint, ag nascadh téamaí , cogadh agus Co. Mhaigh Eo, in ómós do mhuintir Mhaigh Eo a bhí i láthair.
Staying with Francis Ledwidge’s generation, and in recognition of Bloomsday during the week, Tony’s song had Joycean connections. Love’s old sweet song is not only the song Molly and Blazes Boylan were to be rehearsing together, on that famous Dublin day in June, but it was also one of the songs James Joyce sang at the Feis Ceoil in 1904, when he won the bronze medal and John McCormack the gold. Clare followed with Yeats’ Stolen Child.
There was nifty guitar playing from several of those present, Helen, Willie and a visitor who dropped in after the Tommy Tiernan gig next door. Another of the visitors from the TT show, Michael, delivered the Apprentice song (When I was a young apprentice and less than compos mentis...), a great one that Eugene has also been known to sing, and Lost Little Children which he heard on Tim O’Brien’s The Crossing.
As usual, there were lots more, (Frank’s Plains of Waterloo, Breege’s You learned men, who take the pen and her lovely harmonies, Helen’s On Easter Day you passed my way and her great guitar work, to name but a few) too numerous etc., etc.
Derval sang Hush, hush. We didn’t get her on film, but here’s a taste of the Corries performing that same song:
And after that, they sang on into the night ... once more ...