The immortal words of John Masefield, poet and sailor. The poet's work evokes memories of a bygone day whose mystery, adventure, challenge and romance are reborn in the mind's eye at the sight of a majestic tall ship or at the sound of an old sea song. The great sailing ships themselves were a symphony of sound with their every movement. The masts sang as the stays that supported them were drawn tight when the wind blew, the sails sounded like drums as they filled with air, anchor chains rattled through the hawseholes and pawls clicked into place. All the while, the sailors sang in rhythm to weigh anchor, set the sails or pump the bilges. Their work songs were known as shanties and the songs they sang in port or after supper were known as forebitters.
To this day, the songs of the sea are kept alive in the many shanty festivals that exist throughout the world and also in the taverns of maritime countries, their haunting melodies conjuring up something of the atmosphere of that long-ago life in the days of the great sailing ships.
Little Isle of Green (T. Sweeney)
There is something about a long summer's day in Ireland that inspires peace and contentment. Some of my own thoughts make up the song.
Sea People (A. Mac Gillivary)
A lovely song about the folk who make their living on the sea. From the Pen of my good friend Allistair Mac Gillivary of Cape Breton. Canada.
Homes of Donegal (Trad. P.O.)
This was a great favorite at every gathering when I was growing up in Ireland. Donegal possesses the most rugged land and gentle hearts in the country.
Do You Think I Do Not Know (H. Lawson)
I've always loved the words of this most tender of love songs. Written by the nineteenth century Australian poet Henry Lawson and learned from the singing of Priscilla Herdman.
Between Me and You (Me Gee)
For many years Walton's Music Galleries in Dublin sponsored a Saturday afternoon program on Irish radio. It became an institution and met it's end only recently. Saturdays aren't the same somehow. This little piece of nonsense was performed regularly by one of the Walton's stalwarts, the great Charlie McGee.
Daisy A Day (J. Strunk)
If you listened to a lot of pop music you'd imagine that love was the sole possession of the young. The late, great Jud Strunk knew better and wrote this wonderful song.
Tyrone 'Mongst The Bushes (T. Sweeney)
You think of home at the oddest times and places and I wrote this song while looking out over the Atlantic in Marblehead, Massachusetts. For the ones at home.
Tie Me Down (A. Mac Gillivary)
I suppose love manifests itself in many ways and sometimes the kindest act of love is tying someone down who might otherwise go off the rails. Love is kind.
The Dark Island (Trad.)
Everyone has their own dark island to which they may retreat to find peace and solitude This song is Scottish and I learned this version from my old friend John Kerr from Kerrykeel in Donegal.
Killyburn Brae (Trad.)
The battle of the sexes has been going on for a long time and I'm not sure that it's over yet! Even the devil couldn't handle the woman in this song. An old traditional favorite in Ireland that I learned at school from the Christian Brothers. Education, what?