Song Lyrics

MATTIE
(Johnny Mulhern)

Mattie walked out on a frozen night,
He was headin' for the pub and he had no delight

His head down on the railroad track
And his old cow Delia sad lowin' him back

He met with a dark and staggerin' man,
As he passed him by shouted back at him

Hey Mattie, can't you see what's become of me
In this country of blind, I cannot feel the fine

The very last house that I have left,
Half impressed with my rhymes, they're now all dead to me

All I've got left is the beat of the stagger,
Headin' down the Curra Line

But Mattie passed on as quick as he could,
He couldn't stand such drunken man sober

All he wanted was the lights of the bar,
"The Nightingale" and "The Wild Rover"

When came in they were saying, "Now you're back.
Did Delia drive you out, with your spoutin' and your swearin'?

We don't want to hear about Bunker Hayden,
But later you can give us "The Girls of Kinkane."

The fear-a-ti eyed him warily,
As he handed him his first jar of porter

He says, "You must have seen the Bishop's ghost tonight,
To put the dry look back in your eye

But Mattie would not be taken in,
By their jibin' and their regalin'

He found himself a freshly blown crew,
And fell in with their sportin' and their bailin'

But as he was going home, in the very same spot,
Where he met his dark familiar

He seen him comin' back down line,
And he was bright, strange and fine

As he passed him by, Mattie threw out his arms,
Tryin' to grab hold of his likeness

In the morning all they found was a frozen corpse
At the butt of the Curra Line

And at the wake they were lashin' down the drops of brandy,
The old fashioned habit

In the church they were lashin' down pounds and fivers,
So Mattie would be fine in the old by and by

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McALPINE'S FUSILIERS
(Poem)

'Twas in the of thirty-nine, when the sky was full of lead
When Hitler was heading for Poland and Paddy for Holyhead
Come all you pincher laddies and you lost distance men
Don't ever work for McAlpine, for Wimpy, nor John Lang

For you'll stand behind the mixer, till your skin has turned to tan
And they'll good of you Paddy, with your boat fair in your hand
Oh, the crack was good in Cricklewood and the wouldn't leave the Crown
With glasses flyin' and Biddy's cryin', sure Paddy was goin' to town

Oh mother dear I'm over here, I'll never coming back
What keeps me here is rake of beer the ladies and the crack
I come from the County Kerry, the lands of eggs and bacon
And if you think I'll eat your fish and chips, Bejasus, you're mistaken

McALPINE'S FUSILIERS
(Dominic Behan)

As down the glen came McAlpine's men with their shovels slung behind them
It was in the pub that they drank their sub or down in the spike you will find him
We sweated blood and we washed down mud with pints and quarts of beer
But now we're on the road again with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I stripped to the skin with the Darky Finn down upon the Isle of Grain,
With Horseface Toole I learned the rule, no money if you stop for rain.
For McAlpine's god is a well filled hod with your shoulders cut to bits and seared
And woe to he who looks for tea with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I remember the day that the Bear O'Shea fell into a concrete stair,
What Horseface said, when he saw him dead, well it wasn't what the rich call prayers.
I'm a navvy short, was his one retort that reached unto my ears,
When the going is rough, well you must be tough with McAlpine's Fusiliers

I've worked till the sweat near had me beat with Russian, Czech and Pole,
At shuttering jams up in the hydra dams or underneath the Thames in a hole,
I grafted hard and I got me cards and many a ganger's fist across me ears,
If you pride your life, don't join, by Christ, with McAlpine's Fusiliers

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McALPINE'S FUSILIERS
(John Henry)

Did your mother come from Ireland, especially from Donegal
You'll get rashers, eggs and bacon, you'll get anything at all
For gangers and for navvys we will give three ringing cheers
And for John McCann he's a handy man on McAlpine's Fusiliers

Oh we'll not forget the hay boys with their fancy shirts and suits
We'll make them don the mole-skins, the arcs and navvy boots
If the graft is tough sure we're all cat rough we have no dread of fear
And it's in the pub we'll drink the sub with McAlpine's Fusiliers

And it's when your on the tarmac and you have no grub to eat
You'll crawl into the hotsir camps and drum upon a plate
It's there you'll meet the gangers who'll dispel your hate from fear
And it's now we're on the road again with McAlpine's Fusiliers

And it's here good luck and we'll drink the sub cause we're all long distance men
We dug the Mersey tunnel from Carlisle to Bridge End
But one day we'll tramp to Downing Street to meets the Lords and the peers
And it's on the map that we'll fill the gap with McAlpine's Fusiliers

This version was given to me by Tom Dahill, who told me this is the original.

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McCAFFERTY

When I was eighteen years of age into the army I did engage.
I left me home with a good intent to join the Forty Second Regiment.

While I was posted on guard one day, some soldier's children came out to play,
From the officer quarters my Captain came and ordered me for to take their name.

I took one name instead of three "Neglect of Duty" was the charge against me.
I was confined to barracks with loss of pay, for doing my duty the opposite way

A loaded rifle I did prepare for to shoot my captain on the barrack square;
It was my Captain that I meant to kill, But I shot my colonel against my will.

And at Liverpool Assizes my trial stood; and I held my courage as best I could
The ol' judge says, "Now, McCafferty, go prepare yourself for the eternity."

I have no father to take my part, no loving mother for to break her heart,
I have one friend, and a girl was she, who'd  lay down her life for McCafferty.

So come all you officers take advice from me, and go treat your men with some
decency
For it's only life and a tyranny that have made a martyr of McCafferty

In Liverpool City this young man was tried, in Strangeways, Manchester, his body lies.
And all you young soldiers who pass his grave, Pray: Lord have mercy on McCafferty.

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McGLORY
(Pete St. John)

Chorus:
I took the train to Belfast, first time for fifteen years
To see my friend McGlory and enjoy the craic and beer
Nostalgia made me mellow and the whiskey brought the tears
When the barman said, "McGlory, I haven't seen him round for years"

"Where is he then," said I to him, "Where is that friend of mine?"
Of a hard man who once sang the Sash in Saskatchewan's old mine
A flagon lovin', shipyard son, who took the plane with me
Far away from Belfast's daydreams in the days of sixty-three

There were time with that McGlory, we could not see eye to eye
So we traded friendly insults and not afraid to cry
An ill match pair of Paddies and all we had was snow
Two Irishmen so different, in a land we did not know

Chorus

"Sure, he's been gone since eighty," said the docker drinking brew,
"On a promise to Australia there was no one left he knew."
"The guns and bombs fair broke his heart, not knowing right from wrong."
I went silent to the station, there was more than McGlory gone

Final Chorus:
I took the train to Belfast, first time for fifteen years
To see my friend McGlory and enjoy the craic and beer
Nostalgia made me mellow and the whiskey brought the tears
When the barman said, "McGlory, I haven't seen him round for years"
When the barman said, "McGlory, I haven't seen him round for years"

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ME BROTHER IS A T.D.
(Mick Fitzgerald)

Twas at the last election, me brother he went in
He was always fond of politics, we knew he'd surely win
He went around, he canvassed hard, he wandered round about
He said he'd raise the price of milk and bring down the price of stout

We are the one horse farmers and you know that means damn all
But now the raise their hats for him, he's a member of the Dail
We have a brand new house, you know, we let the old one fall
For a tigian wasn't good enough for a member of the Dail

Well me brother doesn't know A from Zed, he never went to school
But as you know in Irish politics it doesn't matter as a rule
He goes into pubs, he drinks all night, he never comes home at all
And the police will never throw him, he's a member of the Dail

On one of his trips to Dublin he brought home a brand new wife
She was the finest bit of stuff I ever saw in all me life
And the three of us sleep together and they put me next to the wall
Still when it's dark she doesn't know who's a member of Dail

Me brother is T.D., me boys, me brother is a T.D.
He got me Da a pension, he was only forty-three
Me brother is T.D., me boys, me brother is a T.D.
And he's up in Dublin there's plenty of the other for me

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MEET ME AT THE PILLAR
(O'Meara/O'Meara)

I was walking down by Island Bridge just doing as I please
This April day the sun was warm there was but a gentle breeze
I wandered up the old stone steps into the Phoenix Park
To watch the children laugh and play in the hours before the dark

I strolled up by the monument and laid down on the ground
Them people started crying when they heard a battle sound
I don't know what came over me for a moment I could hear
The echo of a soldier's voice kept calling in my ear

Chorus:
Meet me at the pillar son meet me there at noon
I need you brave young Irishmen there's something we must do
Meet me at the pillar son it still is not too late
It's time to sing a freedom song come soon I cannot wait

I turned around to see this man but nobody was there
In the distance I could hear the drums yet a stillness filled the air
I closed my eyes and in my dream a soldier I could see
He said his name was Padric Pearse and he kept on calling me

That awful night I lay awake and many times I cried
I could not answer his command no matter how I tried
There in the dark I did my best to say a silent prayer
That when they take him to his fate he'll know how much I cared

Chorus:
Meet me at the pillar son meet me there at noon
I need you brave young Irishmen there's something we must do
Meet me at the pillar son it still is not too late
It's time to sing a freedom song come soon I cannot wait

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THE MEN BEHIND THE WIRE
(Paddy McGuigan)

Chorus:
Armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our son
But every man must stand behind the men behind the wire

Through the narrow streets of Belfast, in the dark of early morn
British soldiers came marauding, wrecking people's homes with scorn
Heedless of the crying children, dragging fathers from their beds
Beating sons while helpless mothers watch the blood pour from their head

Chorus:
Armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our son
But every man must stand behind the men behind the wire

Not for them a judge or jury nor indeed a crime at all
Being Irish means they're guilty, so we're guilty one and all
Round the world the truth will echo, "Cromwell's me are here again!"
England's name again is sullied in the eyes of honest men

Chorus:
Armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our son
But every man must stand behind the men behind the wire

Proudly march behind our banner, proudly stand behind our men
We will have them free to help us build a nation once again
On the people, step to together, proudly, firmly on your way
Never fear or never falter, till the boys come home to stay

Chorus:
Armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our son
But every man must stand behind the men behind the wire
Armored cars and tanks and guns, came to take away our son
But every man must stand behind the men behind the wire

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MEN FROM THE RIGS
(Gordon Menzies)

Out from the rocky coast of Scotland, where the North seas heave boil
Men have gone to seek their fortune, drilling for the North Sea oil

Chorus:
Captive o' the rigs and the barges some may once again be free
Some will find eternal bondage underneath the rolling sea

Black above the clouds of thunder black below the water's roll
Black the oil they seek to plunder, black as the Yankee ganger's soul

Chorus:
Captive o' the rigs and the barges some may once again be free
Some will find eternal bondage underneath the rolling sea

Some will always seek adventure; some are always on the run
Some will brave the mighty forties just to boast of what they've done

Chorus:
Captive o' the rigs and the barges some may once again be free
Some will find eternal bondage underneath the rolling sea

Men of every creed and color, every nation side by side
Battle with the common army: Wind and water, time and tide

Chorus:
Captive o' the rigs and the barges some may once again be free
Some will find eternal bondage underneath the rolling sea

Out from the rocky coast of Scotland, where the North seas heave boil
Men have gone to seek their fortune, drilling for the North Sea oil

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MEN OF KNOYDART
(Trad / Hamish Henderson)

It was down by the farm of Scottas Lord Brocket walked one day
When he saw a sight that troubled him far more than he could say
For the seven men of Knoydart were doing what they planned
They'd staked their claims, they were digging drains on Brocket's private land

You bloody Reds, Lord Brocket yelled, What's this you're doing here
It doesn't pay, as you'll find today, to insult an English peer
You're only Scottish half wits but I'll have you understand
You Highland swine, these hills are mine, this is all Lord Brocket's land

Then up spoke the men of Knoydart, Away and shut your trap
For threats from a Saxon brewer's boy we just don't give a rap
Now we are all ex-servicemen who fought against the Hun
We can tell our enemies by now - Brocket, you are one

When the noble lord he heard these words he turned purple in the face
He said, These Scottish savages are Britain's black disgrace
I know it's true I've let some few thousand acres go to pot
But the lot I'd give to a London spiv before any bloody Scot

You're a crowd of tartan bolshies but I'll soon have you licked
I'll write to the Court of Session for an interim interdict
I'll write to my London lawyer and he will understand
Och, to hell with your London lawyer, we want our Scottish land

Then up spoke the men of Knoydart, You have no earthly right
For this is the land of Scotland and not the Isle of Wight
When Scotland's proud Fianna wi' ten thousand lads is manned
We'll show the world that Highlanders have a right tae Scottish land

(as sung by Hamish Imlach)

Tune: Johnston's Motor Car

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THE MERMAID

'Twas Friday morn' when we set sail,
And we were not far from the land
When our Captain he spied a mermaid, so far,
With a comb and a glass in her hand

Chorus:
And the ocean waves do roll
The stormy winds do blow
And we poor sailors are skippin' at the top
While the land lubbers lie down below, below, below
While the land lubbers lie down below

Then up spoke the Captain of our gallant ship
And a fine spoken man was he
This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom
We shall sink to the bottom of our sea

Chorus

Then up spoke the mate of our gallant ship
And a brave young lad was he
He says, "I've a wife in Boston by the sea
And this night a widow she will be."

Chorus

Then up spoke the cook of our gallant ship
And a crazy old butcher was he
I care much more for my pots and my pans
Than I do for the bottom of the sea

Chorus

Then three times around spun our gallant ship
And three times around spun she
Three times around spun our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea

Chorus
Chorus

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THE MERO
(Pete St. John)

Somebody under the bed, who ever can it be
I feel so very nervous I call for Joanee
Joanee lights the candle and there's nobody there
Hey hi diddley I and out goes she

Skippin' ropes still turnin', children at their play
In and out of Clandon Street, in and out to play
I haven't in twenty years or sung a happy song
Since prayin' went with innocence and the divil played along

And we all went up to the Mero, hey there, who's your man
It's only Johnny Forty Coats, sure he's desperate man
Bang Bang shoots the buses with his golden key
Hey hi diddley I and out goes she

Me Father was a Stater, me Mother loved the tan
She loved her Halfner sausages and a soldier fancy man
Now he's up in Jacob's and Mary's on the town
And I joined the Transport Union, when they said me nose was brown

And we all went up to the Mero, hey there, who's your man
It's Alfie Burton out walking sure he's a dacent man
Come union every morning here's to the fast and spit
Olivia DeHaviland has a freckle on her lip

I've a tener for the Mero and me comfo money's hid
If Mary's in the family way she can blame the Cisco Kid
I'd be langers in the morning, me longers need a patch
Oh Jasus, there's Con Martin--I hope ya wins a match

Me uncle had a Wolfhound that never had to pee
But Harry Lemon snatched him down on Eden Quay
Now I have me primo and me scapular's of blue
For helping the black babies and Dolly Faucet too

And we all went up to the Mero, hey there, who's your man
It's Brendan Behan out walkin', sure he's the Ginger Man
A followin' ya up his ear hole and shoutin' Pog mo thoin
Do you think yer bleedin' Mandrake, why don't you write a poem

It's true that Dublin changin' since the Pillar was blown down
By the winds of violence that are buggerin' up the town
We used to solve our differences with a diggin' match and a jar
But now they're all playin Bang Bang, they're goin' to bleedin' far

And we all went up to the Mero, hey there, who's your man
It's only me Guardian Angel get a large one for your man
There's no use bleedin' Russian, sure now it's the Holy Hour
A plainery indulgence and another baby power

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MICHAEL
(Johnny McEvoy)

On a far off August day cold young men in ambush lay
On a roadside by a hill where flowers grow
So much hate for one so young who was right and who was wrong
Though a thousand years may pass we'll never know

Chorus:
Candles dripping blood, they place beside your shoulders
Rosary beads like teardrops on your fingers
Friends and comrades standing by, in their grief they wonder why
Michael in their hour of need you had to go

And when evening twilight came, gentle fell the autumn rain
Oh but you lay still and silent on the ground
As we hung our heads in prayer in our sorrow and despair
We wonder was it friend or foe who shot you down

Chorus

Now the flame you held up high when you called out to the sky
To end this senseless killing and this shame
Has now passed to other hands and is carried  through the land
By some not even fit to speak your name

Chorus
Chorus

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MICK MAGUIRE

Oh my name is Mick Maguire and I'll quickly tell to you
Of a young girl I admired one Katie Donoghue
She was fair and fat and forty and believe me when I say
Whenever I'd come in at the door you could hear her mother say

Johnny get up from the fire get up and give your man a seat
Can't you see it's Mick Maguire and he's  courtin' your sister Kate
You know very well he owns a farm a wee bit out of the town
Ah get out of that ya impudent brat and let Mister Maguire sit down

Well the first time that I met her was at a dance in Donnahadee
I very kindly ask her would she dance a step with me
I asked if I could see her home if she'd be going my way
But whenever I'd come in at the door you could hear the ould one say

Johnny get up from the fire get up and give your man a seat
Can't you see it's Mick Maguire and he's  courtin' your sister Kate
You know very well he owns a farm a wee bit out of the town
Ah get out of that ya impudent brat and let Mister Maguire sit down

But now that we are married her mammy's changed her mind
Just because I spent the money me father left behind
Now she hasn't got the decency to me time of the day
And whenever I'd come in at the door you could hear her mammy say

Johnny come up to the fire come you're sitting in the draft
Can't you see it's ould Maguire and he  nearly drives me daft
Sure I don't know what gets in him and he's always on the tear
So sit where you are and never you dare, give ould Maguire the chair

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THE MINSTREL BOY

The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you'll find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,  
And his wild harp slung behind him;

"Land  of  Song!"  cried the warrior bard,
 (Should) "Tho' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's steel
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he loved ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;

And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!

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MIRRORS
(Eric Bogle)

Children are born with trust in their eyes it's the first thing that we betray
Children are born believing in magic it's the first thing we take away
Fill them with doubt instead of magic, and fear instead of trust
And after awhile . . . they're just like us

On the Earth there is a city, in a rich green pleasant country
Where they kill their children, the children of the streets
Free-enterprise extermination, no wasteful rehabilitation
A bullet is forever, it's so final, quick and cheap
The Death Squads all wear Policeman's badges, and kill to supplement their wages
Earn their bloody bounty with the gun and club and knife
While profit-conscious business-men, upright solid citizens
Pay them a few cruzeros for every murdered street kid's life

Chorus:
But they're children . . . they're garbage on the streets
only children . . . they're beggars, whores and thieves
Pity the children . . . cry pity if you will
There's none on the streets of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil

To bless this Piece of Paradise, high on a hill stands Jesus Christ
Gazing down with sightless eyes at the daily blasphemy
A mocking marble contradiction, arms spread wide in benediction
"Suffer the little children, suffer them to come to me"
The Death Squads cry "Amen!  Amen!" as they bow their knees to Bethlehem
They spit in the face of humankind, turn our dreams to worthless dust
And the future, as it's always done, stares down the barrel of a gun
Which once more begs the question - when will the Death Squads come for us

Chorus:
But the children….. Have you seen their eyes?
Only children….. Hard and wary and street wise
Pity the children . . . There are no children here
Only old eyes full of hunger, and hate, and hope, and fear
But they're children . . . Abandoned and forsaken
Only children . . . Useless human flotsam
Pity the children . . . And pity us as well
For in our children's eyes, we see mirrors of ourselves

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MISS FOGARTY'S CHRISTMAS CAKE

As I sat in my window last evening, the letterman brought it to me
A little gilt-edged invitation sayin' "Gilhooley come over to tea"
I knew that the Fogarty's sent it. So I went just for old friendships sake.
The first think they gave me to tackle was a slice of Miss Fogarty's cake.

Chorus:
There were plums and prunes and cherries,
There were citrons and raisins and cinnamon, too
There was nutmeg, cloves and berries
And a crust that was nailed on with glue
There were caraway seeds in abundance
Such that work up a fine stomach ache
That could kill a man twice after eating a slice
Of Miss Fogarty's Christmas cake.

Miss Mulligan wanted to try it, but really it wasn't no use
For we worked in it over an hour and we couldn't get none of it loose
Till Murphy came in with a hatchet And Kelly came in with a saw
That cake was enough be the powers above for to paralyze any man's jaws

Miss Fogarty proud as a peacock, kept smiling and blinking away
Till she flipped over Flanagan's brogans and she spilt the homebrew in her tea
Aye Gilhooley she says you're not eatin, Try a little bit more for me sake
And no Miss Fogarty says I, for I've had quite enough of your cake

Maloney was took with the colic, O'Donnell's a pain in his head
McNaughton lay down on the sofa, and he swore that he wished he was dead
Miss Bailey went into hysterics and there she did wriggle and shake
And everyone swore they were poisoned just from eating Miss Fogarty's cake

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