Wild Bird's Nest
THE WILD BIRD'S NEST Dedicated to Sherry, Jacob, Liam, and Erinn Rose. Irish music recordings were very popular in the Coughlan household while I was growing up. Dad would tap his feet, and mom would sing harmonies while she did the housework. For a 6th generation Canadian of Irish decent, Irish music instilled in me a feeling of cultural identity, of belonging, and a sense of history, which I've carried with me to this day. When I began performing professionally at the age of sixteen, my first gigs were playing Irish music in pubs throughout Western Canada. Although my musical journey since that time has taken me through the gamut of musical styles, my heart remains tied first and foremost, to Celtic music. The reason for recording The Wild Bird's Nest was to celebrate a forty-year love affair with Irish music. I've chosen a dozen of my favourite ballads and adapted them based on over three decades of musical experience. Many of these adaptations vary widely from the more traditional renditions, and have taken on a contemporary flavour; still, it is my intention that these songs maintain their true essence and timeless beauty. It is my sincere hope that I've achieved this goal, and that you will enjoy this recording. Sláinte! - Bruce Coughlan, 2006 Bruce Coughlan - guitar, vocals Recorded and mixed by Eric Reed at NAL Studios, North Vancouver, BC, Canada. Mastered by Jamie Sitar. Photo by Erik Prosser Graphics and design by Bruce Coughlan LEAVING LIVERPOOL - Collected by W. M. Doerflinger for his Shantymen and Shantyboys (New York 1951) from an ex-seaman, Dick Maitland, who first heard it in 1885 while boatswain on the General Knox. The David Crockett was a Clipper ship built in Mystic, CT and launched in 1853. The ship made many trips from Liverpool to New York, to San Fransisco and back, a round trip taking 261 days. John Burgess was captain from 1863 to 1874, when he was lost overboard off the River Plate. Bob Dylan adapted this song for his Fare Thee Well, My Darling True. AS I ROVED OUT - I first heard Andy Irving's version of this song on an old Planxty recording, 'The Well Below The Valley' (1973). Andy had learned the song from the singing of Paddy Tunney, from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, who thought it dated back to the famine. A copy of the lyrics recently found in Russia have been dated to the time of the Crimean War (around 1853) KELLSWATER - The Irish Rovers were the first to record this song. Will Millar explains that Kellswater is a small village 2 miles out of Ballymena. Kellswater was the 'party piece' of his grannie, Liza Jane Millar. Her and his granda would sing duets, their other big song was 'If I were a blackbird.' (his uncle would add 'Ye'd hae feathers on yer arse' and then break into great gales of laughter and the stupid remark) THE CURRAGH OF KILDARE - A song common to both Irish and Scottish ballad traditions, it has been taken down at different times by collectors. These lyrics have been published to different airs since 18th century. A popular version collected by Robert Burns bares the title The Winter It Is Past. The Curragh is situated in the heart of Kildare and is a plain of five thousand acres. THE KANGAROO - The Good Ship Kangaroo was written by broadside composer/music hall performer Harry Clifton (1832 - 1872) and first published in 1856. It was later collected in field recordings from Elisabeth Cronin, Macroom, County Cork, Ireland around 1906, and was popularised by Seamus Ennis as well as Christy Moore. SHE MOVED THROUGH THE FAIR - This traditional ballad possesses an eerie supernatural undertone. The subject of the song describes a dream in which his recently departed lover floats like a swan and beckons him to join her. The lyrics are based on a fragmented folk song collected by the Irish poet Padraic Colum (1881 - 1972) from County Longford, and is set to an air arranged by Belfast born composer Herbert Hughes (1882-1937). BRIDGET FLYNN - Composed by popular Irish Music Hall performer Percy French (1854 - 1920) from Cloonyquin, County Roscommon. The song is uncommonly solemn for French, who was known more fore his comedic songs. First known recording of the song was on "The Tunes We Like to Play on Paddy's Day" by the Flanagan Brothers (1930). Percy French is also remembered for composing 'The Mountains o' Mourne'. BRENNAN ON THE MOOR - Willie Brennan was a famous Irish highwayman in the second half of the eighteenth century. His popularity stemmed from the reputation that no blood sullied his exploits. Whether it was true or not, is conjecture, but Brennan himself met a violent end when he was captured at Clonmore in northern Tipperary. He was hanged at Clonmel in 1804. A JUG OF PUNCH - I heard this variant of this timeless ballad sung by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh from the group Altan who credits an Edward Quinn from Castlecaulfield, Co. Tyrone, as the source. EIBHLÍN A RÚIN - This haunting love song originated from a 14th century Irish poem by Cearbhaill O'Daliagh. The melody is derived from the tune Robin Adair by Lady Caroline Keppel (1739-1768). The lyrics were translated to English from the original Irish by Gerald Griffin (1803-1840).