The roots of thirty-six years of Schooner Fare’s music lie deep in the maritime traditions of Downeast. The stories and songs associated with the sea migrated with the sailing trade, and sailors from all over would create new songs about their experiences and spread them worldwide. So many maritime songs are considered “Irish” songs that often the two genres are indistinguishable. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem introduced these songs to the American audience in the late 1950’s, including us......and then the world.
This album has a reflective mood. As it turns out, it wasn’t intentional but a natural occurrence at this point in all aspects of our lives. Several of the songs are from our roots as performers. A few are not new songs but are a welcome addition to our repertoire. Some are completely new songs, decades removed from the start of our journey. All elements are testimony to the wings to grow we’ve been given by those who joined us at some point along the way. Our thanks to each and every one of you.
The resurgent interest in Celtic music is due largely to the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. Schooner Fare was able to build its repertoire of maritime songs and Irish songs concurrently and sing them in interchangeable venues. The recording of Schooner Fare’s “Day of the Clipper” by Makem & Clancy in 1978 launched Schooner Fare into another professional arena. We have Tommy and Liam to thank for helping us build our credentials as well as for years of friendship and inspiration. They are deeply missed.
Spanish Ladies | Skye Boat Song | Roots and Wings | The Beggarman | The Rose of Allandale | The Holy Ground | Jug of Punch | Angels in the Snow | Galway City | How You Will Remember | The Mermaid | Auld Lang Syne
SPANISH LADIES Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare In the folk tradition, another version of the classic song, this one honoring Maine. Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies, Farewell and adieu, to you ladies of Spain; For we’ve received orders to sail to New England And we hope in a short time to see you again. We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true Yankee sailors We’ll rant and we’ll roar across the salt seas; Until we strike soundings in the Gulf of Maine waters From Boston to Portland ‘tis 25 leagues. Then we hove our ship to, with the wind at sou’west’rd, Then we hove our ship to, for to strike soundings clear. Then we filled the main topsail and bore right away, me boys, And straight up the channel to Portland did steer. Now let every man take off his full bumper, Let every man take off his full bowl; For we will be jolly and drown melancholy With health to each jovial, true-hearted soul. SKYE BOAT SONG Lyrics Sir Harold Boulton/Air collected by Annie McLeod/ Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare This traditional Scottish song tells of the escape of young Bonnie Prince Charlie Stewart after the defeat of his supporters on Culloden’s Moor in 1746. With the help of heroine Flora MacDonald and a small boat, he was carried to safety on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. Sail bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing, Onward! the sailors cry; Carry the lad that’s born to be King Over the sea to Skye. Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar, Thunderclaps rend the air; Baffled, our foes stand by the shore, Follow they will not dare. Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep, Ocean’s a royal bed. Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep Watch by your weary head. Many’s the lad fought on that day, Well the Claymore could wield, When the night came, silently lay Dead in Culloden’s field. ROOTS AND WINGS Words and music by Steve Romanoff I probably heard it somewhere, but it’s the notion that the best of what you give to children reveals itself as a sense of place and also of liberation....roots and wings. It’s the universal pairing: a home to which you can always return combined with knowing when and how to leave. For all the gifts that life may give you, I give your roots, I give you wings, For all the hands Lady Luck may deal you, For all the chances tomorrow brings, Of all the lessons that life may teach you, May you come to value above all things, That the greatest gift anyone can give you Is to give you you roots and give you wings For every single door that opens to you, Another one may hit you in the chin, Confuscious said the greatness of our being Is that we chose to get back up again, So, in between the winning and the losing, You’ve got to live your life the best you know, Some prizes you may win won’t be your chosing And some blessing something less than you’d bestow. Roots are what we dig for when we need ‘em, An anchor on the hill against the wind, A person or some place that gives some meaning, To that X upon the map where you began, So, in between the winning and the losing, You’ve got to live your life the best you can,The wings that bear you to you new horizon, Are wings that can surely bring you home again. THE BEGGARMAN Traditional Chuck first learned this in the early 1960’s from his Canadian musician pal, John Allen Cameron. It is part of the vast traditional Irish repertoire of Sarah Makem, Tommy Makem’s mother, who taught her son these magical songs. We are blessed that Tommy passed them along to so many. I am a little beggarman and begging I have been For three score or more in this little isle of green I’m known from the Liffey down to Segue And I’m known by the name of old Johnny Dhu Of all the trade’s that’s going, sure begging is the best For when a man is tired, he can lay him down and rest He can beg for his dinner, he has nothing else to do Just around the corner with his old rig-a-doo I slept in the barn, down at Caurabawn A wet night came on and I slept ‘till the dawn With holes in the roof and the rain coming through And the rats and the cats, they were playing peek-a-boo Who should awaken but the woman of the house With her white spotty apron and her calico blouse She began to frighten and I said “Boo Aarah, don’t be afraid mam it’s only Johnny Dhu” I met a little flaxy-haired girl one day “Good morning little flaxy-haired girl” I did say “Good morning little beggarman, a how do you do With your rags and your tags and you old rig-a-doo” I’ll buy a pair of leggings, a collar and a tie And a nice young lady I’ll fetch by and by I’ll buy a pair of goggles and I’ll colour them blue And an old fashioned lady I will make her too Over the road with my pack on my back Over the fields with my great heavy sack With holes in my shoes and my toes peeping through Singing skinny-me-rink a doodle and it’s old Johnny Dhu I must be going to bed for it’s getting late at night The fire’s all raked and out goes the light So now you’ve heard the story of my old rig-a-doo It’s good-bye and God be with you says old Johnny Dhu. THE ROSE OF ALLANDALE Charles Jeffreys and Sydney Nelson Allandale is a small English village in Northumberland. This lovely song was written in the 1840s by Charles Jeffreys and Sidney Nelson. The original version has been modified in the folk tradition, hence this version we do is slightly different from the original. The sky was clear and the morn was fair, Not a breath came over the sea, When Mary left her highland home, And wandered forth with me, Though flowers decked the mountainside, And fragrance filled the vale, But by far the sweetest flower there Was the Rose of Allandale. Sweet Rose of Allandale, Sweet Rose of Allandale, By far the sweetest flower there, Was the Rose of Allandale. Where e’er I wandered to the east or to the west, And fate began to lour, A solace still was she to me, In sorrow’s lonely hour, Though tempests wrecked my lonely barque, And rent the quivering sail, One maiden’s warm withstood the storm, ‘Twas the Rose of Allandale. And when my fever’d lips were parched, On Africa’s burning sands, She whispered hopes of happiness, And tales of foreign lands, My life had been a wilderness, Unblessed by fortune’s gale, Had fate not linked my lot to her, The Rose of Allandale. THE HOLY GROUND Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare We sang this song for years, never appreciating that we’d combined two verses, having learned the song from the late John Allan Cameron, who was notorious for such liberties. We decided to record it as we’ve performed it, disclaimer notwithstanding. Caveat emptor. Fair thee well, my lovely Dinah, a thousand times adieu. For we’re going away from the Holy Ground and the girls we all loved true. We will sail the salt sea over and then return for shore And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more. Fine girl you are! You’re the girl I do adore And still I live in hope to see The Holy Ground once more. Fine girl you are! And now the storm is raging, and we are far from shore, And the good old ship is tossing about and the rigging is all tore. And the secret of my mind, my love, you’re the girl I do adore. And still I live in hope to see the Holy Ground once more. Fine girl you are! And now the storm is over and we are safe and well. We will go into a public house and sit and drink our fill. We will drink strong ale and porter, and make the rafters roar. And when our money is all spent we will go to sea once more. Fine girl you are! JUG OF PUNCH Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare For some, spirits are the beginning, the end, and soul of human experiences. For others, spirit itself is ample. As I was sittin’ with me jug and spoon On one fine morn in the month of June A small bird sat on an ivy bunch And the song he sang was the jug of punch. Toor-a-loora-loo, toor-a-loora-lay Toor-a-loora-loo, toor-a-loora-lay (repeat last two lines of verse) What more diversion can a man desire Than to court a girl by a neat turf fire, With a kerry pippin to crack and crunch And upon the table a jug of punch. The learned doctors with all their art Cannot cure the impression that’s on the heart. Even the gambler forgets his hunch When he’s snug outside of a jug of punch. And when I’m dead and in my grave No costly tombstone will I have, Just lay me down in my native peat With a jug of punch at my head and feet ANGELS IN THE SNOW Words and music by Steve Romanoff Some songs can take years to assemble. Other songs can write themselves when you’re hardly trying. This was one of those few songs. And I remember a crystal day........ I could hear the laughter out in the snow, On the morning after a bitter blow, The sounds of children were rolling on the ground, Between the snow banks drifting all around, They were laughing upwards into the sun, Who was smiling back at the miracles he’d done, With their swingin’ feet and their wooly, wingin’ hands, All the kids were making sweet, angelic fans. And I remembered a crystal day, In a mountain meadow not far away, In a late December not long ago, We were making angels in the snow. And when the snowflakes fell in your eye, It made you laugh so hard it made you cry, I caught a glimpse of heaven shining through, While making angels next to you. If I had to choose any days to recall, I believe that would be one of the best of all. When the snowflakes fell in your eye, It made you laugh so hard it made you cry, I caught a glimpse of heaven shining through, While making angels next to you. And I remember a crystal day In a mountain meadow not far away, In a late December not long ago, We were making angels in the snow. It was late December not long ago, We were making angels in the snow. GALWAY CITY Trad. Arr. Schooner Fare This is a jolly tune about a woman who is considering her options as she is courted by an ambitious suitor. The song is in “reel time,” suitable for dancing, as is one other tune on this album... As I roved out thro’ Galway City, At the hour of twelve at night, Who should I see but a handsome damsel, Combing her hair by candlelight. “Lassie, I have come a-courtin’, Your kind favours for to win; And if you’ll but smile upon me, Next Sunday night I’ll call again.” Raddy a the toodum, toodum, toodum, Raddy a the toodum, toodum day. [repeat] “So to me you come a-courting, My kind favours for to win; But ‘twould give me the greatest pleasure If you never did call again. What would I do when I go walking, Walking out in the morning dew? What would I do when I go walking, Walking out with a lad like you?” “Lassie, I have gold and silver, Lassie, I have houses and lands; Lassie, I have ships on the ocean; They’ll be all at your command.” “What would I do with your ships on the ocean? What would I do with your houses and land? What would I do with your gold and silver? All I want is a handsome man.” HOW YOU WILL REMEMBER Words and music by Steve Romanoff This song was inspired by myriad Irish and Scottish ballads about our mortality and a wish to be remembered well by those whom you loved. Our inability to control either ultimately unites us all. Since my time at last has come, And all my foolish tasks are done, I’ll point my bow into the sun, Now closer to the sea, No other heart so rare and true, Is how I will remember you, And so if it’s meant to be, That’s how you’ll remember me. For all the words I meant to say, They’d always be another day, It wasn’t going to end this way, In my reverie, As the tide beloves the shore, There’s no one who has loved you more, Or knew his debt to destiny, That’s how you’ll remember me. When a sudden summer’s day, Tries to take your breath away, Or a clear December night, Reminds you of our singing. Summer, autumn, winter, spring, How every season made you sing, For reasons that each day would bring, The gift of mystery, So these are but a simple few, Of things that make me think of you, And so if it’s meant to be, That’s how you’ll remember me. THE MERMAID Traditional Sailors are inveterately superstitious. Never launch a boat or set sail on a Friday; and never sight a mermaid. Such a sighting spelled doom for the ship and its crew. Fortunately, a songwriter aboard must have survived to recount the tale. This song, popularized by the Clancys and Tommy Makem, has been a staple in Irish pubs for years. It was Friday morn when we set sail, And we were not far from the land, When our captain he spied a mermaid so fair, With a comb and a glass in her hand. And the ocean waves do roll, And the stormy winds do blow, And we poor sailors are skipping 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 old man was he, This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom, We shall sink to the bottom of the sea. Then up spoke the first mate of our gallant ship, And a fine spoken man was he, Saying I have a wife in Freeport by the sea, And tonight she’ll be weeping for me. Then up spoke the cabin-boy of our gallant ship, And a brave young lad was he, Saying I have a sweetheart in Falmouth by the sea, And tonight she’ll be weeping for me. Then up spoke the cook of our gallant ship, And fine old butcher was he, Saying I care much more for my pots and my pans, Than I do for the bottom of the sea. Three times round spun our gallant ship, And three times round spun she, Three times round spun our gallant ship, And she sank to the bottom of the sea. AULD LANG SYNE Robert Burns/Arr. Schooner Fare This Scottish classic was written to celebrate holidays with loved ones. Let us not wait for such occasions to do so. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne. We’ll take a cup of kindness, yet For auld lang syne We twa hae run aboot the braes And pu’d the gowans fine. We’ve wandered mony a weary foot, For auld lang syne. And there’s a hand, my trusty friend, And gie’s a hand o’ thine; We’ll tak’ a good will cup of ale For auld lang syne. And surely you will pay for your pint And surely I will pay for mine We’ll take a cup of kindness, yet For auld lang syne.
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