Patrick Street

Facing the Chair

I came to this land in 1908
and I thought it the land of the free,
but I very soon saw the rich had one law
and another for people like me.

Well, times were depressed and the money was hard
and I peddled my fish by the sea,
where the pilgrims of old fleeing from persecution
landed and thought themselves free.

Ch.: Goodbye to you, my brave comrades,
goodbye to you, Suosso’s Lane,
goodbye to North Plymouth,
goodbye Boston Harbour,
I’ll never see you again.

The department of justice was (rambling up) reds
and one day on the sidewalk below
Salsedo was found lying crushed on the ground
and they said he fell out of a high storey window.
And two payroll guards were shot down and killed
at the height of this anti-Red scare
and the (powers that be?) arrested Sacco and me
and now we are facing the chair.

Well, our jury, God help us, what chance did they have,
when the cruel judge called us low breed.
He was heard to declare: “They should get the chair,
they’re Reds and what more do you need?”
And for 7 long years we languished in jail,
while appeals for a retrial were made,
and the Madeiros’ confession it made no impression
on judge Webster Thayer’s crusade.
No Well, a dog, that kills chicken you wouldn’t convict
on the evidence, judge, that you’ve heard,
but you showed no concern while these two witches burn(ed)
for preaching the dangerous word.
And your governments, judge, differ only in (mean)
to victimise, trick, and repress.
And a change of error, and a change of evil
is taken by many as progress.

If these things hadn’t happened we might have lived out our lives
conversing with scornful men,
we might have died alone, unmarked, unknown,
failures again and again.
But our death and our pain will not be in vain,
and your crimes they will never be (blurred).
Oh, what makes you think as you stand on the brink
that you’ll always be ruling this world.

Written by Andy Irvine

“Facing the Chair”, Andy’s composition about Sacco and Vanzetti.

William Taylor

William Taylor was a brisk young sailor
Full of heart and full of play
’til he did his mind uncover
To a youthful lady gay

Four and twenty British sailors
Met him on the king’s highway
As he went for to be married
Pressed he was and sent away

Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae

Sailor’s clothing she put on
And she went onboard a man-o-war
Her pretty little fingers long and slender
They were smeared with pitch and tar

On that ship there was a battle
She amongst the rest did fight
The wind blew off her silver buttons
Breasts were bared all snowy white

Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae

When the captain did discover
He said “Fair maid, what brought you here?”
“Sir, I’m seeking William Taylor.
Pressed he was by you last year!”

If you rise up in the morning
Early at the break of day
There you’ll spy young William Taylor
Walking with his lady gay

Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae

She rose early in the morning
Early at the break of day
There she spied young William Taylor
Walking with his lady gay

She procured a pair of pistols
On the ground where she did stand
There she shot poor William Taylor
And the lady at his right hand

Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae

Traditional

William Taylor” is an old ballad. It was a popular street song in the first half of the 18th century.

Several versions exist, but the story of the song concerns a young couple due to be wed. On the morning of the wedding, the groom William Taylor (Billy in some versions) is pressed into service. The bride searches for him, disguising herself as a man to become a soldier or sailor. When her true gender is revealed (usually in an incident involving accidental exposure of her breasts), the captain points her in the direction of her beloved, but mentions that he now has a new suitor. When she finds him, she shoots him and his new bride. In some versions, she is then rewarded by the captain with command of her own ship.

A Rich Irish Lady

A rich Irish lady from Ireland came,
A beautiful lady called Saro by name.
Her riches were more than a king could possess,
Her beauty was more than her wealth at its best.

A charming young gentleman courtin’ her came,
Courtin’ this lady called Saro by name.
“O, Saro! O, Saro! O, Saro!” said he,
“I’m afraid that my ruin forever you’ll be.

“I’m afraid that my ruin forever you’ll prove,
Unless you turn all of your hatred to love.”
“No hatred to you nor to no other man,
But this, for to love you, is more than I can.

“So, end all your sorrows, and drop your discourse,
I’ll never have you unless I am forced.”
Six months appeared and five years had passed,
When I heard of this lady’s misfortune at last.

She lay wounded by love, and she knew not for why;
She sent for this young man whom she had denied.
“Then am I your doctor, and am I your cure?
Am I your protector that you sent for me here?”

“Yes, you are my doctor, and you are my cure;
Without your protection I’ll die I am sure.”
“O, Saro! O, Saro! O, Saro!” said he,
“Don’t you remember when I first courted thee?

“I asked you in kindness, you answered in scorn,
I’ll never forgive you for times past and gone.”
“Times past and gone I hope you’ll forgive,
And grant me some longer in comfort to live.”

“I’ll never forgive you as long as I live,
I’ll dance on your grave, love,
when you’re laid in the ground.”
Then off of her fingers gold rings she pulled three,
Saying, “Take them and wear them when you’re dancing on me.

“Adieu, kind friends, adieu all around;
Adieu to my true love—God make him a crown;
I freely forgive him, although he won’t me,
My follies ten thousand times over I see.”

Traditional

Irvine learnt “The Rich Irish Lady” from an album Peggy Seeger recorded in the late 1950s.

Erin-Go-Bragh

My name’s Duncan Campbell from the shire of Argyll
I’ve travelled this country the many’s the mile
I’ve travelled through Ireland, Scotland and all
And the name I go under’s bold Erin-go-bragh
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

One night in Auld Reekie as I walked down the street
A saucy big polis I chanced for to meet
He glowered in my face and he give me some jaw
Sayin’ “When cam’ ye over, bold Erin-go-bragh?”
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

“Well I am not a Pat though in Ireland I’ve been
Nor am I a Paddy though Ireland I’ve seen
But were I a Pat, now, well what’s that at all?
For there’s many’s the bold hero from Erin-go-bragh”
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

“Well I know you’re a Pat by the cut of your hair
But you all turn to Scotsmen as soon as you’re here
You left your ain country for breaking the law
And we’re seizing all stragglers from Erin-go-bragh”
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

“Were I a Pat and you knew it were true
Or were I the devil, then what’s that to you?
Were it not for the stick that you hold in your claw
I would show you a game played in Erin-go-bragh”
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

Then the big lump of blackthorn that I held in my fist
Around his big body I made it to twist
And the blood from his napper I quickly did draw
And paid him stock-and-interest for Erin-go-bragh
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

Then the people came around like a flock of wild geese
Crying “Catch that mad bastard, he’s killed the police”
for every friend I had I’ll swear he had twa
It was terrible hard times for Erin-go-bragh
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

But I came to a wee boat that sailed in the Forth
And I packed up my gear and I steered for the North
Fareweel to Auld Reekie, you polis and all
And the devil go with you, cries Erin-go-bragh
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

So come all you young people, wherever you’re from
I don’t give a damn to what place you belong
I come from Argyll in the Highlands so braw
But I ne’er took it ill being called Erin-go-bragh
With me folderol-diddle-i-derdil-i-day

Traditional

“Erin Go Bragh” is a Scottish song about the experience of Irish people in Britain. Although it is mainly associated with Dick Gaughan, Irvine first heard it sung by Ian ‘Jock’ Manuel in the Bluebell pub in Hull about 1964.

Braes of Moneymore

 

Farewell to you old Ireland since I must go away
I now shake hands and bid goodbye and can no longer stay
Our big ship lies in deep Lough Foyle bound for the New York shore
And I must go from all I know and lovely Moneymore

That little town encircled round with many’s the grove and hill
Where lads and lassies they do meet for pleasure there’s the rule
Through Springhill Braes and flowery fields where oft I’ve wandered o’er
And by my side was the girl I loved the rose of Moneymore

How lonely is the pigeon’s coo and sad the blackbirds lay
And loud and high the thrushes cry on a long bright summer’s day
And as I sat down to cry me fill sure the tears come trickling down
For in the morning I must leave you my own dear native town

Kind friends I’ll bid you all adieu I can no longer stay
Our big ship sails tomorrow and its time I was away
So fill your glasses to the brim and toast with one loud roar
And we’ll sing in praise of Springhill Braes and lovely Moneymore

Traditional arr. Andy Irvine – IMRO/MCPS

“Braes of Moneymore”, is an emigration song he first learnt it from an old 78 rpm recording, made in 1952 by Sean O’Boyle and Peter Kennedy, of Terry Devlin, a shoemaker local to the little town of Moneymore in County Londonderry. Irvine changed the tune and added a verse.

Sergeant Small

I went broke in western Queensland in Nineteen Thirty One
Nobody would employ me and my swag carrying days begun
I started out through Charleville and all the western towns
I was on me way to Roma destination Darling Downs
Me pants was getting ragged and me boots was a-getting thin
And as I came into Mitchell the goods train shunted in
I could hear her whistle blowing it was mighty plain to see
She was on her way to Roma or so it seemed to me

Chorus:
I wish I was about twenty stone and only seven feet tall
I’d go back to western Queensland and beat up Sergeant Small

Now as I sat and watched her inspiration’s seeds were sown
I remembered the Government slogan: ‘Here’s a railway that you own’
And as the sun was getting low and the night was coming nigh
I shouldered my belongings and I took her on the fly
And as we came into Roma I kept me head down low
Heard a voice say “Any room mate?” I answered “Plenty ‘Bo”
“Come out of there me little man” ‘twas the voice of Sergeant Small
“I have caught you very nicely – you’ve been riding for a fall”

Chorus:
I wish I was about twenty stone and only seven feet tall
I’d go back to western Queensland and beat up Sergeant Small

The old judge was very nice to me he gave me thirty days
Saying “Maybe that will help to cure your rattler-jumping ways”
So if you’re down and out in the outback boys I’ll tell yez what I think
Steer clear of the Queensland railway it’s a short cut to the clink

Chorus:
I wish I was about twenty stone and only seven feet tall
I’d go back to western Queensland and beat up Sergeant Small

Traditional arranged by Andy Irvine – IMRO/MCPS

“Sergeant Small” is an Australian song which tells the story of an unemployed man who rides freight trains in his search for work during the Great Depression in the 1930s but gets trapped by Sergeant Small, a policeman masquerading as a hobo. This song is an amalgamation from two sources put together by Brad Tate: the recording made by Tex Morton in the 1940s and the poem written by Terry Boylan in the 1970s. Irvine first heard it sung by Seamus Gill of Canberra, a Donegal man who has lived most of his life in Australia.