County Kerry to Kerry Park
Boston Blackthorne County Kerry to Kerry Park 1/ So Early in the Spring/Red-Haired Boy - A Scottish sea shanty transformed in the mountains of Appalachia into a love ballad. Jim first heard this sung by Judy Collins. Red-Haired Boy, also a Scottish tune, we do as a reel (also known as the Irish tune The Little Beggarman'). 2/ St. Peter's Lament - Jon's sea shanty, dedicated to one of the toughest trades going. St. Peter is a patron saint of fishermen - the lament is for the troubles of the New England fishing industry, where rapidly dwindling stocks and foreign 'factory ships' are threatening a traditional livelihood dating back to the 1600's. 3/ The Humours of Ennistymon/Old as the Hills - Pete brought these trad tunes to the studio sessions - we rehearsed them for the first time on Saturday 'till 3:00 in the morning, recorded them on Sunday - seisiún style! 4/ Big Old City - A beautiful ballad by Jim reflecting the true theme of the album. It traces his grandfather's emigration from County Kerry, Ireland to Holyoke, Massachusetts. A classic. 5/ Coal Tattoo - The great Billy Edd Wheeler's powerful tale of union miners in West Virginia. 6/ Geese in the Bog/Pipe on the Hod - A couple of the band's favorite traditional Irish jigs. 7/ Billy in the Lowlands - A 'prequel' to Big Old City, this Dylanesque tune follows Jim's father through the streets of Holyoke as a kid. This one is very special to the band, as Bill O'Connor ("Billy") was a great Irish storyteller with all the humor and charm that comes with it, and a great fan of Irish music and Boston Blackthorne. He rarely missed a gig, nor an opportunity to join us onstage for a story or a joke, and like all the bards and minstrels before, his spirit is in these songs. 8/ Sam Adams/The Shores of Lake Cochituate - Jim wrote these two jigs - after recording them he wonderedaloud why the hell he put in so many notes! For many years, Red Sox games on radio were sponsored by a beer "brewed on the shores of Lake Cochituate", which is across from Jim's home. Sam Adams refers not to the patriot or the beer, but to the Austin TX-made mandolin on which it was composed. 9/ Black & Tans - One of the most powerful Irish rebel tunes ever, done in an Americanized Wolfetones style. Dedicated to Parnell, Connolly, Pearse, et al. 10/ McCall's March - The Celtic muses were definitely working through Chetz when he penned this one - simply a gorgeous melody invoking a Scottish army returning from battle across the misty highlands. 11/ Lose Your Troubles - We resurrected Jon's bluegrass ballad - first recorded by the original St. James Gate in the late '70's - for this album. A good example of that Celtic-bluegrass connection, Jim and Jon sang this one all over New England in the '70's and '80's as a folk duo. 12/ The Ballad of Mike Moylan - You will think this tragic tale is a traditional tune from a couple centuries back, but Jim wrote it just a few years ago. 13/ The Donkey Pilgrim - Long before the Celtic Tiger reared it's head, donkey carts were a popular mode of travel and commerce on the Emerald Isle. Chetz wrote this one inspired by author Kevin O'Hare who wrote the great book 'The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims' about his trip around Ireland on a donkey cart.