JACK HAGGERTY — This is the first of three songs taken from "The Penguin Book of Folk Ballads" and I quote from them: — "Although one would never guess it from hearing the ballad, it originated as a spite song. Its author was an accomplished raftsman and entertainer in the Flat River camps named Dan McGinnis. Annoyed that George Mercer, a younger man, had been appointed woods boss over him, McGinnis and a few other mischief makers concocted this song in 1872 about an affair between Jack Haggerty, a good looking lumberjack at the camp, and Anna Tucker, the belle of Greenville and Mercer's fiancee. Haggerty was hardly acquainted with Miss Tucker. We owe these facts about Jack Haggerty to the diligence of Mrs. G.J. Chickering". There was no music given, so the melody is my own.
Mick vocal & guitar, Dónal bouzouki, Andy harmonicas.
THE GUERRIERE AND THE CONSTITUTION — This is the second song from the Penguin Book of Folk Ballads. Again I quote: — "The engagement between the "Constitution" under Captain Isaac Hull, and the "Guerriere" under Captain Richard Dacres was fought on August 19th 1812 off the coast of Nova Scotia. Though the ships were of equal armament Hull succeeded in reducing the "Guerriere" to a wreck in twenty-five minutes, with a loss of seventy-eight British sailors killed or wounded. The Americans lost fourteen men." Again there was no music, so the tune's my own.
Mick guitar & vocals, Andy hurdy gurdy, Sean Hanly Bodhrán, Andy & Dónal harmony vocals.
EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE — This song was written by Colm Sands of the Sands family from Newry, Co. Down. I heard him singing it in Rostrevor about a year ago and immediately fell in love with it.
Mick vocal & guitar, Andy mandolin.
THE DEWEY DENS OF YARROW — Micheal O Domhnaill and myself did a shorter version of this song on the album "Celtic Folkweave". To make a short story longer I added several verses from different versions in Child and wrote a different tune. Good stories die hard.
Mick vocal & guitar, Dónal synthesiser, Matt flute.
MISS BAILEY and JESSICA'S POLKA — This is also from the Penguin Book of Folk Ballads and the full title is "Unfortunate Miss Bailey". It's originally an old London Music Hall song to which I added two more verses and abandoned the chorus, which went "Oh Miss Bailey! Unfortunate Miss Bailey!" The Polka was written for my daughter Jessica, who was born the week before the album was made.
Mick guitar & vocal, Andy harmonica, Dónal bouzouki, Noel concertinas, Paddy fiddle.
I WISH MY LOVE WAS A RED RED ROSE — Triona Ni Dhomhnaill gave me this song one afternoon in the "Meeting Place" in Dublin. She sang it the previous night at her own folk club and I thought for pure simplicity I had never heard anything like it. I have heard a few variants from time to time but none as charming as this.
Mick guitar & vocal.
OFF TO CALIFORNIA and THE PLAINS OF BOYLE — I learned the first tune from an album by Andy McGann, Paddy Reynolds and Paul Brady, which was made in the States some years ago. Maire Ni Ghrada gave me the Plains of Boyle, but somewhere along the road I lost the tape, so the version here was learned from an album of Leo Rowsome's. Hopefully there aren't too many discrepancies between the two.
Mick guitar, Dónal synthesiser.
THE SCOURGE OF THE NATION — Speaks for itself.
AS I WENT OVER BLACKWATER — As you can see from the preceding notes my sources are mainly books, but this piece I can truly say I learned on my Grandmother's knee. She still launches into this and other assorted fragments the minute the sherry bottle is taken from the press to make the Christmas cake. Heaven bless her heart I love her dearly.
Mick guitar & vocal, Declan electric guitar.