My Father Told Me – Lyrics

IMG_4752 FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderNew CD from Francey Devine, released on 27th November 2014.   Produced by Steve Byrne and including many singers from Howth, Malahide and Goilin singing clubs, as well as musicians from Scotland, England and Ireland.  Beautiful artwork by Alan McLeod http://www.alanmcleod.com in West Pier Art Studio, Howth.

Buy the CD here

https://francydevine.bandcamp.com/releases

www.stevebyrne.co.uk/music.asp;

Connolly Books, East Essex Street, Dublin;

or simply message Francy.

My Father Told Me  LYRICS

 

Lack of space prevented the publication of the words to the CD My Father Told Me by Francy Devine with Steve Byrne & Friends, POD001, 2014. As indicated in the accompanying booklet, here are the words courtesy of Howth Singing Circle. My thanks to webmasters Graham Dunne & Niamh Parsons. Further information about the CD is available from the HSC or from Francy Devine

 

 

  1. The Faughan Side

 

A stream like crystal it runs down as plainly may be seen,

It’s there you’’ll find the Irish oak trimmed with the ivy green;,

The shamrock, rose and thistle, the lily too beside,

All flourish there together, boys, along the Faughan side.

 

Oh, well if could you see that lovely place all in the summer time,

Each tree and bush they look so gay, each meadow in its prime,

The blackbird and the golden thrush, they tune their notes so gay,

Yet still I had the notion of going to Americay.

 

Farewell unto that lovely place, from it I mean to roam,

To leave my friends in Ireland, my own dear Irish home.

Farewell unto my comrades and the place where they reside,

For many’s a happy night we spent along the Faughan side.

 

Well it’s about two miles from Derry to the bridge at Drumahoe,

Where many’s a happy night we spent In the days of long ago;

Where lambs do sport and fair maids court and the weefish gently glide,

In the blooming spring the weebirds sing along the Faughan side.

 

Oh, the leaving of this lovely place, it grieves my heart full sore,

And the leaving of my own true love, it grieves me ten times more;

But if ever I shall return again, I will make her my bride,

And I’ll take her in my arms, boys, along the Faughan side.

 

 

  1. The Recruited Collier

 

Oh, what’s the matter with you, m’lass, and where’s your dashing Jimmy?

The soldier boys have picked him up an’ taken him far, far from me.

Last pay day he went into town and them red-coated fellows

They enticed him in and made him drunk—he’d better gone to the gallows.

 

The very sight of his cockade, it sets us all a-crying,

And me! I nearly fainted twice, I thought that I was dying.

My father would have paid the smart, he run for the golden guinea.

But the sergeant swore he’d kissed the book, so now they’ve got young Jimmy.

 

When Jimmy talks about the war it’s worse than death to hear him.

I must go out and hide my tears, I can no longer bear him.

A brigadier or a grenadier, he swears they surely make him

And aye, he gibes and cracks his jokes, and bids me not forsake him;

 

As I walked o’er the stubble fields below it lies the seam,

I think o’ Jimmy hewing there but it was all a dream.

He hewed the very coals we burn and as the fire I’m lighting.

To think he held these very lumps, it sets my heart a-beating.

 

For five long years he’s followed me, now I must live without him.

There’s nothing left for me to do but weep and think about him.

So break my heart and then it’s o’er, so break my heart, my dearie.

And I’ll lie in the cold green ground for of single life I’m weary.

 

  1. Bank o Reid Roses

 

I am a rovin’ fiddler an I roam frae toon tae toon

Ma soldier licht is fiddlin an I’ll ne’er settle doon

I play at aa the dances where they’re jigging tae ma tunes

Aye, its every evenin’ I’ve anither true love.

 

Och, its when I meet a bonnie lass, its ‘Come awa wi me,

Frae yer fayther an yer mither, I will set ye free.

I will roll you in my airms tho a-sleepin ye may be

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o reid roses’.

 

By the banks o reid rose, ma love an I sat doon

An I took oot ma fiddle for tae play ma love a tune,

In the middle o the tune, och, she cried an she said,

Och, Johnnie, lovely Johnnie, dinnae leave me

 

‘Weel, before I left ma hame, sir, ma fayther he did say,

He’d rather see me deid, aye an buried in the clay,

Than tae see me married tae ony runaway

Or a lad that’s nithing bit a fiddling rover’.

 

‘Och, weel I’m no a runaway an I will hae ye know,

I can haild ma liquor, lass, or leave it alane,

An if yer parents dinnae like it they can leave their lassie hame

An young Johnnie he’ll go rovin wi anither’.

 

‘Weel, I’m putting on ma boots noo an I’ll tak up ma pack

I’ll tuck awa ma fiddle an I’ll put it on ma back,

I’m gonna tak ma leave noon an swagger on ma way

Bade fare weel tae the banks o reid roses.

 

  1. Stand Like the Brave

 

O workmen awake, for the strife is at hand,

With right on your side, then with hope firmly stand –

To meet your oppressors, go, fearlessly go,

And stand like the brave with your face to the foe.

Stand like the brave, stand like the brave,

Stand like the brave with your face to the foe.

 

Whatever’s the danger take heed and beware,

And turn not your back – for nor armour is there:

Seek righteous reward for your labour – then go

And stand like the brave with your face to the foe.

Stand like the brave, etc

 

The cause of each other with vigour defend,

Be honest and true and fight to the end;

Where duty may lead you, go – fearlessly go,

And stand like the brave with your face to the foe.

Stand like the brave, etc

 

We fight not alone who seek to be freed,

But friends from afar send us help when we need;

And kindly they whisper, saying hopefully go,

And stand like the brave with your face to the foe.

Stand like the brave, etc

 

Let hope then still cheer us, though long be the strife,

More comforts shall come to the workman’s home life;

More food for our children, demand it – then go

And stand like the brave with your face to the foe

Stand like the brave, etc

Press on, never doubting, redemption draws near –

Poor serfs shall arise from oppression and fear;

Though great ones oppose you, they cannot o’erthrow

If you stand like the brave with your face to the foe

Stand like the brave, etc

 

  1. Little Yellow Roses

 

I lay on my back with the sun in my eyes;
Soon I will know what no living man knows.
All of my life’s been a fight against lies,
Death brings the truth, now it’s my turn to know.
Send my mother a lock of my hair,
Send my father the watch that he gave me.
Tell my brother to follow me if he dare,
Tell them I’m lost now and no-one can save me.
Remember, remember,
Send my love little yellow roses.
My father told me that all men were equal,
Whatever colour, religion or land;
Taught me to fight for the things I believed in
This I have done with a gun in my hand.
I met my love in a garden of roses,
She pricked her finger, how sharp the thorn grows.
We made a promise that ’til death it did part us
We’d never look on that wild yellow rose.
  1. Bonnie Wood Green

 

All around the green banks of Bonnie Wood Green

Where me and my true love so oft times were seen

The hours they flew by us, so happy we were

It was little I thought that a soldier I’d be,

Oh, a soldier I’d be, a soldier I’d be,

It was little I thought that a soldier I’d be.

 

Oh, early next morning as the lambs they do play

It was off to Kells Barracks, it was there made my way

And there I enlisted to fight for the Queen

To uphold the great cause I left Bonnie Wood Green

 

An then came the orders to ship o’er the foam

For soldiers were needed to fight for their homes,

I kissed my girl Mary she appeared like a queen,

Aye and softly she whispered, ‘Remember Wood Green’

 

Away out in Flanders at the end of the line

They were talking of sweethearts that they’d left behind

Said one Irish soldier ‘Sure, I have a queen

and she does works for John Ross’s of Bonnie Wood Green

 

It was early one morning while facing the foe

The bullets were flying and he was laid low

He called out to his comrades from that terrible scene

He said ‘Kiss my love, Mary, and remember Wood Green’

 

So if it’s ever to Ireland you chance for to stray

There’s a bonnie wee factory near Ballymacveigh

Where the weavers and winders are plain to be seen

For they all wear white aprons around Bonnie Wood Green

 

  1. Sam Hall/Le Ramoneur /Skarzhour Chiminalieu

 

Oh, my name it is Sam Hall chimney sweep, chimney sweep,
Oh, my name it is Sam Hall chimney sweep,
Oh my name it is Sam Hall and I’ve robbed both great and small
And my neck will pay for all when I die, when I die
And my neck will pay for all when I die

I have candles lily white hanging high, hanging high

I have candles lily white hanging high,

I have candles lily white and I stole them all by night

They shall fill my room with light till I die, till I die

They shall fill my room with light till I die
They tell me that in jail I’ll go dry, I’ll go dry

They tell me that in jail I’ll go dry,

They tell me that in jail I shall drink no small ale

But be hanged if e’er I fail, till I die, till I die

But be hanged if e’er I fail, till I die
Oh, they took me to Cootehill in a cart, in a cart
Oh, they took me to Cootehill in a cart
Oh, they took me to Cootehill where I stopped to make my will
Saying the best of friends must part, so must I, so must I
Saying the best of friends must part, so must I

Up the ladder I did grope, that’s no joke, that’s no Joke
Up the ladder I did grope, that’s no joke
Up the ladder I did grope and the hangman pulled the rope
And ne’er a word I spoke, tumbling down, tumbling down
And ne’er a word I spoke tumbling down

Oh, my name it is Sam Hall chimney sweep, chimney sweep
Oh, my name it is Sam Hall chimney sweep
Oh, my name it is Sam Hall and I’ve robbed both great and small
And my neck will pay for all when I die, when I die
And my neck will pay for all when I die

 

  1. Crossing the Bar

 

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea.

When I put out to sea,

When I put out to sea

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea

 

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

Turns again home,

Turns again home,

Turns again home,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep .

Turns again for home.

 

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark,

When I embark,

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark.

 

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar,

When I have crossed the bar,

When I have crossed the bar,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar

 

  1. Diego’s Bold Shore

 

Has a love of adventure, a promise of gold
Or an ardent desire to roam
Ever tempted you far o’er the watery world
Far away from your kindred and home?
A storm beaten captain, free hearted and bold,
And a score of brave fellows or two,
Inured to the hardship of hunger and cold
A fearless and jolly good crew?

 

Have you ever stood watch where Diego’s bold shore
Looms up from the Antarctic wave,
Where the snowy plumed albatross merrily soars
Over many a mariner’s grave?
Have you heard the masthead’s man sing out, ‘There she blows!’,
While the boats gaily leave the ship’s side,
Or the giant fish breach ‘neath the harpooner’s blows
Till the blue sea with crimson was dyed?

 

Have you seen the foam fly, when the mighty Right Whale,
Thus boldly attacked in his lair,
With a terrible blow of his ponderous tail
Sends the boat spinning up in the air?
Have you seen the green isles where the evergreen glades
Are teeming with dainties so rare,
Have you ever made love ‘neath the cocoa’s green shade
To the sweet sunny maids that dwell there?

 

Let those who delight in the comforts of home
And the joys of a warm fireside,
Who deem it a peril the oceans to roam
In the cots of their fathers abide.
Though not one day nearer we reckon our death,
Though daily we sport o’er our graves.
No sweeter they’ll slumber beneath the green sod
Than we in tempestuous waves

 

Have you ever joined in with that boisterous shout
That reaches far through the heaven’s blue dome,
When rich in the spoils you have purchased so dear
You have hoisted your topsails for home?
Or when the dark hills of Columbia arose
From out the blue waves of the main,
Have you ever relived the unspeakable joy
Of meeting with loved ones again?

 

  1. Strike Up That Chord

 

In faded photo, like a dream,
Drums are beating, trumpets gleam
Playing for the ranks of marching feet
And union banners on the street.

 

Chorus

Musicians strike up that chord again

You Union women Union men

That all may hear our clarion cry

And the power of the MUI

 

Along the street they march so proud

Sounding strong and playing loud

‘The Rebel Girl’ and ‘Union Maid’

‘The Red Flag’ to ‘The White Cockade’

I’ve heard those anthems richly played
By tribunes of the music trade,
The Fed’s name stitched in red and gold,
Their aspirations painted bold.

Orchestras clothed in black and white

Jazz heads jamming through the night

Buskers sing come hail or shine

Trad folk playing line on line

 

Andy Irvine leads our grand parade

With workers’ songs that never fade

String quartet and gospel choir

Add the passion and the fire

 

Rock and classic, trad, freelance

Singer, writer, teacher, dance

All our welcome in our throng

To play with us our Union song.

 

  1. Île de France

 

Oh the night was dark and the clouds advanced
When a convict came to the Île de France;
Around his leg he wore a ring and chain
And his country was of the Shamrock Green.

 

‘I am of the Shamrock’, the convict cried,

‘Who has been tossed on the ocean wide.
For being unruly, I do declare,
I was doomed to transport for seven long years’.

 

‘When six long years they were been and done,
I was sailing home to make up the one,
When the winds did blow and the seas did roar
And I was cast a stranger on this foreign shore’.

 

And then the coastguard he played a part
And with some brandy he cheered the convict’s heart.
‘Although the night it is far advanced
You have found a friend on the Île de France’.

 

He wrote a letter all to the Queen
Concerning the wreck of the Shamrock Green;
His freedom came by a speedy post
For the absent convict they thought was lost.

 

‘God bless the coastguard’, the convict cried,
‘Who saved my life from the ocean wide.
I’ll drink his health in a flowing glass,
And here’s success to the Île de France’.

 

  1. Who Fears to Wear the Red Hand Badge?

 

Who fear to wear the blood red badge upon his manly breast,

What scab obeys the vile command of Murphy and the rest,

He’s all a knave and half a slave who slights his Union thus

But true men – like you men – will show the badge with us.

 

They dared to fling a manly brick, they wrecked a blackleg tram,

They dared give Harvey Duff a kick, they couldn’t give a damn,

They lie in jail and can’t get bail who fought their corner thus,

But you men – with sticks men – must make the Peelers cuss.

 

We rise in sad and weary days to fight the workers’ cause

We found in Jim a heart ablaze to break down unjust laws

But tis a sin to follow him, said Murphy and his crew

But true men – like you men – will stick to him like glue

 

Good luck be with him he is here to win for us the fight,

To suffer for us without fear, to champion the right,

So stick to Jim, let nothing dim our ardour in the fray

And true Jim, our own Jim, will win our fight today.

 

  1. Gulabeinn

 

Frae Gulabeinn bell heathered slopes

His dust wis scattered tae the sky

Particles o sang unite

Wi trilling curlew cry.

 

This mystic hill o youth an age

Towers ower the faerie glen

Banner bricht in May morn licht

Tae welcome Hamish hame

 

Frae Glenshee tae Sicily

Aa the airts the winds dae blaw

‘Come gies a sang’, cried Seamus Mhor,

‘Let the music flow’

 

A sang tae cheer a weary heart

Ain tae drive awa dull care

Tales o comradeship an’ hope

That we aa can share

 

Rabbie Burns an’ Thomas Paine,

Gramsci. Lorca, John Maclean,

Listen tae their clarion ca’

Let peace an’ freedom reign

 

Aa the sacrifices made

Dinnae let them be betrayed

Raise yer voices, stand as yin

Is the sang fae Gulabeinn

 

  1. The Sea Apprentice

 

When first I went to sea, apprentice bound
I sailed the salt seas all round and round
I scarce had sailed a voyage but one
When I fell in love with my charming Anne

 

I went to my captain both stout and bold
And unto him my secret told
‘I love yon lass as I love my life
What would I give if she were my wife?’

 

‘Well’, the captain said, ‘You’re a foolish boy
To court a lass that you’ll ne’er enjoy
She will have sweethears while you’re at sea
And she’ll be married e’re you be free’

 

‘Well, I don’t know but I’ll have to try
Maybe she’ll favour an apprentice boy
Maybe she’ll alter her mind for me
And we’ll be married when I be free’

 

Well, I bought her ribbons, I bought her gloves
All things to prove from a heart that loves
She accepted them all and she was not shy
And she vowed she’d wait for her apprentice boy

 

When my ship is anchored, my time is o’er
I’ll steer my barque to sweet Erin’s shore
In my native country, my love I’ll enjoy
Good fortune smile on the apprentice boy

 

O, you sea-apprentices where e’er you be
Don’t slight your true love while you’re at sea
O, love her as you love your life
And she will vow for to be your wife

 

  1. My Old Man

 

My old man was a good old man
Skilled in the moulding trade
In the stinking heat of the iron foundry
My old man was made
Down on his knees in the moulding sand
He wore his trade like a company brand
He was one of the cyclops’ smoky band
Yes, that was my old man

My old man wasn’t really old
It was just that I was young
Anybody over twelve years old
Was halfway to the tomb
He was loyal to his workmates all his life
Gave his pay packet to his wife
Had a few jars on a Saturday night
Yes, that was my old man

My old man was a union man
Fought hard all his days
He understood the system
And was wise to the boss’s ways
He said if you want what’s yours by right
You’ve to struggle with all your might
They’ll rob you blind if you don’t fight
Yes, that was my old man

My old man was a proud old man
At home on the foundry floor
Until the day they paid him off
And showed him to the door
They gave him his cards, said, things are slack
We’ve got a machine that has learned the knack
Of doing your job, so don’t come back
The end of my old man

My old man he was fifty-one
What was he to do?
A craftsman moulder on the dole
In nineteen thirty-two
He felt he’d given all he could give
So he did what a thousand others did
Abandoned hope, the will to live
They killed him, my old man

My old man he is now dead and gone
And I am your old man
And my advice to you, my son
Is to fight back while you can
Look out for the man with the silicon chip
Take a hold of your job with a good firm grip

Cos if you don’t you’ll have had your chips
Just like my old man

 

  1. What’s The Life of a Man

 

Chorus:

What’s the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons so why should we grieve?
Although in this world we appear fine and gay,
Like the leaves we must wither and soon fade away

 

As I was a-walking one morning at ease
A-viewing the leaves as they hung from the trees
They were all in full motion appearing to be
And those that were withered, they fell from the trees.

Well, if you’d have seen those trees just a few days ago
They were all in full motion and appearing to grow.
When a frost came upon them and withered them all,

And the rains came upon them and down they do fall.

 

Go down to yonder churchyard, many names there you’ll see

All fallen from the world like the leaves from the tree.
When age and affliction upon us do call,
Like the leaves we must wither and down we must fall

 

  1. By the Mountain Stream Where the Moorcocks Crow

 

With my dog and gun through the blooming heather
For game and pleasure I mademy way
I spied a maiden tall and handsome
Her eyes enticed me some time to stay
Said I, ‘fair maid, don’t you know I love you
Tell me your name and your dwelling also’
‘Excuse my name, Sir, you’ll find my dwelling
By the mountain streams where the moorcocks crow.’

 

Said I, ‘Fair maid, if you wed a farmer
You’ll be tied for life to one plot of land.

I’m a roving Johnnie if you’ll go with me

You will have no ties so give me your hand.’

 

‘If my parents knew, Sir, I loved a rover
I am sure twould be my overthrow

So I’ll stay at home, Sir, another season
Bythe mountain streams where the moorcocks crow.’

 

‘So its fare thee well, love, another season
We will meet again by yon wooded vale
And I’ll sit you down, love, upon my knew then

And I’ll listen to your lovesick tale.’
And its arm in arm we will go together
By yon lofty trees to the valley below
Where the linnets sing their song so sweetly
By the mountain streams where the moorcocks crow.

 

  1. Heading for Home

 

My face to the sky, my back to the wind
Winter is entering my bones
The day has been long and night’s drawing in
And I am thinking of heading for home
And I am thinking of heading for home

The cradle and grave, the fruit and the seed
Seasons mirror my own
The geese flying south are calling to me
And I am thinking of heading for home
And I am thinking of heading for home

Always on the move with banner unfurled
Yet gathering moss to my stone
I sing for the children and cry for the world
And I am thinking of heading for home
And I am thinking of heading for home

As time’’ my old friend, so death’s my new kin
I’m not making this journey alone
I am old, I am young, I am all that I have been
And I am thinking of heading for home
And I am thinking of heading for home

The memory of love will burn in my heart
Till the ashes and the embers they are gone
The light in your window will be my Northern Star
And I am thinking of heading for home
And I am thinking of heading for home

And it is time I was heading for home
It is time I was heading for home

 

 

 

 

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