Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Wish All of My Readers a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and Heartily Invite Them to Join WEJB/NSU’s Third Annual, Virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Amended and greatly expanded
By Nicholas Stix

Notes from 2011

In our Irish neighborhood, it is currently St. Patrick’s Season. While Manhattan and the rest of the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, we on “the Irish Riviera” celebrated our own St. Patty’s Day last Saturday, and the celebrations will continue on the 17th. What that means, practically speaking, is that there are two nights here on which it is impossible to get a taxi, because the drivers are all drunk.

While I am one-quarter Irish, via my paternal grandmother, on St. Patty’s Day, everyone is Irish! However, I don’t drink on St. Patty’s Day.

I have become, for the most part, a blue-nose, the high point of my drinking life having been when I was 13-15 years old, and could drink half the ex-cons in my neighborhood under the table. Since I will be celebrating my annual 21st birthday this spring, that period would have been … um … er … six to eight years ago!

(My sobriety has gone to such extremes that when my boy was born, I didn’t touch a drop for over a year, so afraid was I that I might drop the lad. [Postscript, St. Patrick’s Day, 2012: When I told this to a friend with a healthy taste for Scotch, and more children than me, he responded, “They bounce, you know.”]

My boy and I attended the local parade, which is the second biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, if not in America.

And the weather played along. Though the day wasn’t as stunning as last year, at least the rain held off. The march was a little shorter this year, because Mayor Bloomberg cut the amount of overtime for the cops working it. Since Hizzoner didn’t show up, I was unable to engage in my annual practice of turning my back on him, as he passes. Apparently, Bloomberg, who has never been kind to this working-class and middle-class community, was afraid of quite a few of my neighbors doing likewise. (According to the MSM, there are no white working-class New York neighborhoods, only “solidly middle-class” and “affluent” ones. That would mean that our neighborhood is full of “solidly middle-class” and “affluent” garbage men, cops, and firemen.)

All sorts of Irish pipe and drum bands groups march, playing Irish and Scottish folk songs, representing labor unions, workplaces, Catholic schools and Irish fraternal organizations, their members wearing kilts in the colors of the Irish county from whence their groups’ founders came.

Kilts? Bagpipes? Scottish folk songs? Well, both peoples are Celts, but beyond that, explaining the Scottish roots of much Irish-American folk culture is way above my pay grade, and would take a James Fulford, or even a David Hackett Fisher.

There were fewer Irish and Scottish folk songs than usual: No “Wild Colonial Boy,” no “Danny Boy,” and some of the traditional Irish songs that I heard every year in my childhood, such as the tune played at the end of The Quiet Man,* have completely disappeared. In their place were endlessly repeated versions of the Army and Marine Corps hymns. Not that I have anything against the Army or the Marines, but as my boy observed, it wasn’t “St. Army or St. Marine Day.”

My son confirms that there were two rounds of “The Minstrel Boy” and one of “Tunes of Glory,” the latter a one-time staple that had been MIA in recent years.

An óg-Laoch/The Minstrel Boy (Colm Meaney and Bob Gunton in Star Trek: The Next Generation)


Lyrics by Thomas Moore
To the tune of “The Moreen”

The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you will find him,
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.

“Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
“Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain,
Could not bring that proud soul under,
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder.

And said: “No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!”

At their Irish Page, Vivian and Jack write,
An emotionally stirring and inspirational song, the “Minstrel Boy” was written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) who set it to the melody of “The Moreen”, an old Irish aire. It is believed by many that Moore composed the song as a memorial to several of his friends he had met while a student at Trinity College and who had participated in the 1798 rebellion of the United Irishmen. One died in prison, another was wounded, and a third captured and hung. The song originally consisted of two verses. Due to its popularity, a third verse was added by unknown authors at the time of the US Civil War…. [NS: And the fourth?]

“The remarkable thing is that such Moore Melodies were rousingly sung around the piano in Victorian English drawing rooms oblivious of the fact that ‘the foeman’ and ‘slavery's chains’ referred to the English yoke.”…

The immediate origins of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland can be traced to the setting up of the Society of United Irishmen in Belfast in October 1791. Inspired by the French Revolution, and with great admiration for the new democracy of the United States, the United Irishmen were led by Theobald Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, Henry Joy McCracken and William Drennan. They came together to secure a reform of the Irish parliament; and they sought to achieve this goal by uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter in Ireland into a single movement.
I first heard “The Minstrel Boy” sung by Sean Connery and Michael Caine at the climax of The Man Who Would be King, John Huston’s 1975 comeback masterpiece, based on the Kipling short story.

I have never been a fan of science fiction in general, or of the Star Trek spinoffs, but the power of the scene in which Colm Meaney and Bob Gunton sing “The Minstrel Boy,” to chords of mystic memory, cannot be denied.

Thanks to leggy1977.

* * *
Tunes of Glory (Scotland the Brave): The Marching Dukes of Marlington


I’m including this bagpipe-free performance because the Marching Dukes of Marlington, who play the song with such passion and precision, are an excellent high school marching band in Alliance, Ohio, and out of gratitude to TheBatDEWde, who posted the performance under both titles.

Nowadays, if you seek at Google or Youtube for “Tunes of Glory,” you either get videos of the popular, eponymous pipe and drum band, or excerpts from the classic, 1960 Ronald Neame movie, starring Alec Guiness and John Mills.

But I grew up on “Tunes of Glory” as a St. Patrick’s Day staple. I’d never heard of the title, “Scotland the Brave,” which it turns out, is one of Scotland’s “unofficial” national hymns, until producing this virtual parade.

Granted, I’m hopelessly ignorant, but until now, I shared my ignorance with 200 million or so of my fellow Americans, who enjoyed hearing “Tunes of Glory” every year. See my previous remark about the Scottish roots of Irish-American culture.

Tunes of Glory (Scotland the Brave): Pipe and Drum Band


The last minute or so is another tune.

* * *
The Wild Colonial Boy: Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers


The Wild Colonial Boy
By Francis McNamara
(Many variations, but this is the one that Makem and the Clanceys sing here.)

There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Duggan was his name,
He was born and raised in Ireland, in a place called Castle Maine,
He was his father’s only son, his mother’s pride and joy,
And dearly did his parents love the wild colonial boy.

At the early age of sixteen years, Jack left his native home,
And to Australia’s sunny shores he was inclined to roam,
He robbed the rich, he helped the poor, he shot James McEvoy,
A terror to Australia was, the wild colonial boy.

One morning on the prairie, as Jack, he rode along,
And listening to the mockingbird sing it’s joyful song,
Up came a band of troopers, Kelly, Davis, and Fitzroy,
They’d all set out to capture him, the wild colonial boy.

“Surrender now Jack Duggan, for you see we’re three to one,”
“Surrender in the Queen’s high name, for you are a plundering son,”
Jack drew two pistols from his belt, and proudly waved them high,
“I'll fight but not surrender!” said the wild colonial boy.

He fired a shot at Kelly, which laid him to the ground,
And turning ‘round to Davis, he received a fatal wound,
A bullet pierced the fierce young heart, from the pistol of Fitzroy,
And that was how they captured him, the wild colonial boy.

Thanks to vlikavec.

* * *
How are Things in Glocca Morra?: Kate Baldwin in Finian’s Rainbow


How are things in Glocca Morra?
Music by Burton Lane
Lyrics by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg

How are things in Glocca Morra?
Is that little brook still leaping there?
Does it still run down to Donny cove?
Through Killybegs, Kilkerry, and Kildare?

How are things in Glocca Morra?
Is that willow tree still weeping there?
Does that laddie with the twinklin' eye
Come whistlin' by,
And does he walk away,
Sad and dreamy there, not to see me there?

So I ask each weepin' willow,
And each brook along the way,
And each lad that comes a-whistlin,'

How are things in Glocca Morra
This fine day?

Thanks to FiniansRainbowBway and St L Lyrics.

* * *
Look to the Rainbow: Petula Clark “Downtown in Paris” at L’Olympia

Uploaded by fglmusic on Sep 16, 2009.

Look to the Rainbow (from Finian’s Rainbow)
Words by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg
Music by Burton Lane

On the day I was born,
Said my father, said he,
I’ve an elegant legacy,
Waitin’ for ye.

‘Tis a rhyme for your lips,
And a song for your heart,
To sing it whenever
The world falls apart.

Look! Look! Look to the rainbow,
Follow it o’er the hill and stream,
Look! Look! Look to the rainbow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.

So I bundled me heart,
And I roamed the world free,
To the east, with the lark,
To the west, with the sea.

And I searched all the earth,
And I scanned all the skies,
But I found it at last
In my own true love’s eyes.

Look! Look! Look to the rainbow,
Follow it o’er the hill and stream,
Look! Look! Look to the rainbow,
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.

Follow the fellow,
Follow the fellow,
Follow the fellow…
Who follows .. a dream.

* * *
The Humor is on Me Now: Farmer Dan

Thanks to Accordionman113 and Reel Classics.

The Humor is on Me Now
Words and Music by Richard Hayward

Oh, as I went out one mornin’ –
It bein’ the month of May –
A farmer and his daughter,
I spied upon me way.

And the girl sat down quite calmly,
To the milkin’ of her cow,
Sayin,’ “I will and I must get married,
“For the humor is on me now.”

Oh, the humor is on me now,
The humor is on me now.
Sayin,’ “I will and I must get married,
“For the humor is on me now.”

So, at last the daughter married –
She married well-to-do –
And loved her darlin’ husband,
For a month, a year, or two.

But Sean was all a tyrant,
And she quickly rued her vow,
Sayin’ “I'm sorry I ever got married,”
“For the humor is off me now.”

Oh, the humor is off me now.
The humor is off me now,
Sayin,’ “I’m sorry I ever got married,
“For the humor is off me now.”

* * *
Danny Boy: The King Singers at the Salt Lake City Olympics, 2002


Danny Boy
Irish folk melody, lyrics by Fred E. Weatherly

Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling,
From glen to glen, and down the mountainside,
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying,
‘Tis you, ‘tis you, must go, and I must bide.

But come ye back, when summer’s in the meadow,
Or when the valley’s hushed, and white with snow,
‘Tis I’ll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
Oh Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so.

But if ye come, and all the flowers are dying,
And I am dead, as dead I well may be,
Ye’ll come and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an “Ave” there for me.

And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
And all my dreams will warmer, sweeter be,
And you’ll not fail to tell me that you love me,
I’ll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Thanks to Wehrheim04.

* * *
The Isle of Innisfree, by Richard Farrelly
As Sung by Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man

Uploaded by TheQuietMan1952 on Dec 8, 2010

The Isle of Innisfree
By Dick Farrelly

Lyrics used in the film:
(by John Ford, Charles Fitzsimons and Maureen O'Hara)
Oh, Inisfree, my island, I'm returning
From wasted years across the wintry sea,
And when I come back to my own dear Ireland,
I'll rest a while beside you, gradh mochroidhe.*

* Gaelic words meaning "love of my heart"


Uploaded by philsmusic1000 on Feb 25, 2011

“The Isle of Innisfree” by The Dublin City Ramblers

Uploaded by catalpa on May 18, 2007

Lyrics and chords here.

(Original) Words & Music by Dick Farrelly

I've met some folks who say that I'm a dreamer,
And I've no doubt there's truth in what they say,
But sure a body’s bound to be a dreamer,
When all the things he loves are far away.

And precious things are dreams unto an exile,
They take him o'er the land across the sea --
Especially when it happens he's an exile,
From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.

And when the moonlight peeps across the rooftops,
Of this great city, wondrous though it be,
I scarcely feel its wonder or its laughter,
I'm once again back home in Innisfree.

I wander o’er green hills through dreamy valleys,
And find a peace no other land could know,
I hear the birds make music fit for angels,
And watch the rivers laughing as they flow.

And then into a humble shack I wander --
My dear old home -- and tenderly behold,
The folks I love around the turf fire gathered,
On bended knees, their rosary is told.

But dreams don't last -- though dreams are not forgotten --
And soon I'm back to stern reality,
But though they pave the footways here with gold dust,
I still would choose the Isle of Innisfree.

Thanks to Reel Classics


The Quiet Man/Isle of Innisfree: A Tribute to the Movie
Kenneth Always and the Dublin Screen Orchestra

Uploaded on August 29, 2011, by Valdez244, who writes,
Although Victor Young is credited with the score to The Quiet Man, he used an extensive amount of traditional Irish music throughout the film, most notably the Richard Farrelly-penned, “Isle of Innisfree.” So, on the 60th anniversary of the movie, I thought this might be a timely tribute.
“The Isle of Innisfree,” by Richard Farrelly was a big hit for Bing Crosby in 1949, but today is known as a recurring tune without words, in John Ford’s The Quiet Man.

For over 60 years, lovers of the song and the movie have asked to which Innisfree the song refers.

One hears of an island in the lake in County Sligo.

The mystery has been cleared up by the songwriter’s son, who wrote that the Innisfree of the song is the Emerald Isle, itself!

“In Dick’s own words, ‘I used Isle of Innisfree as another name for Ireland, and it was Ireland I had in mind when I wrote the song.’”

When John Ford was setting about to make The Quiet Man, he heard the song, immediately fell in love with it, and had composer Victor Young weave it into the picture. This makes perfect sense, as Ford would hear der Bingle sing of “exile,” and think of himself.

Thanks to Frank Warner, and at least one other writer, whose name I could neither recall nor hunt down.

* * *
Garry Owen
7th Cavalry Regiment (Regimental March)

Uploaded on Mar 18, 2010, by TheMarches09, who wrote the following backgrounder.

The 7th Cavalry Regiment is a United States Army cavalry regiment, whose lineage traces back to the mid-19th century. Its official nickname is “Garryowen,” in honor of the Irish drinking song Garryowen, that was adopted as its march tune.


We are the pride of the army,
And a regiment of great renown,
Our names on the pages of history,
From sixty-six on down.

If you think we stop or falter,
While into the fray we’re goin,’
Just watch the step with our heads erect,
When our band plays “Garry Owen.”

In the Fighting Seventh’s the place for me,
It's the cream of all the cavalry,
No other regiment ever can claim
Its pride, honor, glory and undying fame.

We know no fear when stern duty,
Calls us far away from home,
Our country’s flag shall sagely o’er us wave,
No matter where we roam.

‘Tis the gallant Seventh Cavalry,
It matters not where we’re going,
Such you’ll surely say as we march away,
When our band plays “Garry Owen.”

Then hurrah for our brave commanders!
Who lead us into the fight,
We’ll do or die in our country’s cause,
And battle for the right.

And when the war is o’er,
And to our home we’re going,
Just watch the step, with our head erect,
When our band plays, “Garry Owen.”

Performed by the USAF Heritage of America Band.

Bagpipe Version

Uploaded by cavscout1983 on Dec 3, 2010

Version from They Died with Their Boots on

Lyrics as Sung in the movie

Traditional Irish pipe tune

Let Baccus’ son be not dismayed,
And join with me, each jovial blade,
Come, booze and sing and lend your aid,
To help me with the chorus:

In place water, we'll drink ale,
And pay the reck’ning on the nail,
No man for debt shall go to jail,
If he from Garryowen hail.

Oh we can dare and we can do,
United men and brothers too,
Their gallant footsteps do pursue,
And change our country’s story.

Our hearts so stout have got us fame,
For soon ‘tis known from whence we came,
Where ‘ere we go they dread the name
Of Garryowen in glory.

* * *
At the top, I referred to the tune played at the end of The Quiet Man, which had completely disappeared from the local parade. Well, in the course of putting together this little parade, I finally learned that the name of that music, which is inseparable from St. Patrick’s Day, is indeed, “The St. Patrick’s Day March.”

I usually pass on watching the official parade on TV, where all of the organizations that march in my neighborhood parade also march, but this year, I plan on watching, to see if they do it right in Manhattan.


The St. Patrick’s Day March from John Ford’s Fort Apache (first 1:26)


Thanks to DukeFanGermany.

The St. Patrick’s Day March, Played by Englishmen on, of All Occasions, the Queen’s Birthday


I’m including this version to show that the March can be played perfectly well by pipers.

Thanks to Winnie9212.