We are happy to offer some special notes on all of the songs on the CD. Some of the text will be identical to that found on the CD, while there are special comments and further information added--some of which was not able to be printed due to size constraints. We hope you will enjoy this companion to your CD purchase. There are additional external links to other sites offering lyrics and guitar chords and tabulature for your convenience.
The Cover Picture was taken in 1893. The place is DeWitt county, Illinois, where Brian Clancy's grandfather - James O'Brien (front row, first on left), played baseball on a mostly-immigrant team from a group of farms known as "Irish Row". Among the players were both of his brothers, Mike (back row, 1st left) and John (front row, last right). We have no record as to how the team did, but they certainly had their game faces on for this picture! If you check the picture closely, you will notice they are all wearing shamrocks with ribbons, and many have "Irish Row" sewn in letters onto their baseball jerseys.
This CD features Brian Clancy (guitars and vocals), Henry the Fiddler (fiddle and harmony fiddle, musical saw), Brendan Clancy (guitar, dulcimer and vocals), Ernie Martinez (bass, guitar), and Jere O'Neill (accordion on Star of the County Down). The Sheabeen Singers appear on the live tracks. Recorded at Naked Ear Recording Studios in Aurora, Colorado; Ron Byrne, recording engineer and drums.
...from irish row
This collection of Irish Ballads, Fiddle Tunes and
Pub Songs represents what we play in Irish Pubs and
at concerts and festivals. Our listeners come from all over the United States, and, indeed, the world. It's remarkable that so many audiences engage us after a performance to share comments about "where my family came from", eagerly and proudly proclaiming their Irish heritage rekindled by our music.
One of the fellows on the cover is my grandfather James O'Brien, and a baseball team from the turn of the 20th century made up of Irish immigrants to America. Songs From Irish Row depicts the struggles of immigrants, the humor and the tragedies of a hard life in Ireland or abroad, tales of humor, whiskey, love and lore. Some of these songs were written hundreds of years ago, many from around the time Irish Row's baseball team was taking a swing at a new life in a new land; Galway and Mayo is very recent.
We hope these songs will help you remember and cherish your own rich heritage. As George Russell wrote in Exiles, there is much nobility in that. All the best.
The gods have taken alien shapes upon them
Wild peasants driving swine
In a strange country. Through the swarthy faces
The starry faces shine.
Under grey tattered skies they strain and reel there:
Yet cannot all disguise
The majesty of fallen gods, the beauty,
The fire beneath their eyes.
They huddle at night within low clay-built cabins;
And, to themselves unknown,
They carry with them diadem and sceptre
And move from throne to throne.
George Russell (AE)