Journey To Orion.
In the winter months the skies of the northern hemisphere witness the unmistakable presence of Orion. Since ancient times the movement of this constellation has inspired legend and allegorical tales in many ancient civilizations. Orion, often referred to as The Hunter (or The Big Yin in my part of the country) sits up just above my barn roof and the tree tops.
"The Hunter awaits beyond the barn roof, beyond the tree tops he watches and listens; just like the man on the moon. We're off to the southern sky in the magic of the night; step aboard this journey to Orion"
Thanks to Chris McLintock and his amazing book "The Craft and the Cross" - the inspiration for this piece.
No Whiskey In The Jar
A take-off of the classic Irish drinking ballad. These revised lyrics reflect the fact that some folk can't afford to buy whiskey any more.
As I was going over, life's great big scary mountain,I met the fat-cat bankers all their money they were countin: with their friends the government agents and corporate advisors, I sez, stand and deliver for yeese are the boul deceivers. Well with my trusty laptop, I just took all their money and stuck it in my pocket for it looked a pretty penny: but I knew it was all wrong as soon as I got to thinkin, their money it was boggin, their money it was stinkin. Went home to my chamber for to take my slumber and dreamed a crazy dream for sure it was no wonder; but my friends they did betray me and rung their politician, and toul him that my dream could start some revolution. It was early in the mornin afore I riz to journey, up comes the government with their wee private army; they looks in my computer and sez I was not clever, they'd evidence enough to lock me up forever. Well if anyone can save me, it's my sisters and my brothers; if we'd all get thegether and stand by one and other, we could tell them where to stuff it, where they would not think it funny. We could tell them where to go with all their stinkin money.
Howlin At The Moon.
The power of howling at the moon should not be underestimated. While living in rural Nova Scotia I have often heard coyotes howling at the moon from deep in the forest. On crisp, clear winter nights people would stand outside their houses listening in awe before joining in. The harmonizing of man and beast with nature produced something more powerful than anything attainable by those who attempt to control our material world. My appreciation to the government agents, in particular the Ulster-Scots Agency, for their inspiration. Thanks also to my wife Caroline for teaching me to howl.
Lambeg Rant Rap.
Originally, before this got wired up it was just called Lambeg Rant. Initially recorded with the Ulster-Scots Folk Orchestra on their My Aunt Jane album.
Some do ecstacy or cocaine, that's what they do to lose their brain; some do marajuana, some do dope, that's what they do just to cope; but no not us where we come from, we just do the Lambeg drum. Some do LSD for their fix, hallucinations just for kicks; some do tabs to get up high and some do jabs to reach the sky. Some do vodka, wine or whiskey to get them feelin fine or frisky; some run for miles to escape and jump and down to get in shape. Some get high on levitation and do transcendental meditation; some zoom off on rocket ships and round the orbit do their trips. Some folk roar and some folk rant, to tell all the people what they want; some folk rant and some folk roar, to tell all the people they want more; but no not us where we come from, we just do the Lambeg drum.
Boys O Belfast.
Trad Fifing tune for Lambegs. An even more wire-up version than that recorded by Nae Goat's Toe.
Man On The Moon
Once upon a time when I was only wee, we went out a-walkin just my da and me; down the country road underneath the stars, and Neptune, Venus, and Mercury and Mars. My daddie sez son I can tell you no lie, if you look up now in the big bright sky; there's a boy up there gazin down on you; if you look up now you'll see it's true. He's the man on the moon, the big fat moon; he's the man on the moon, the big fat moon.
Then one night as the fat moon shone, down at the corner stood Robert John; he stared high above mouth open wide, the man on the moon we knew he spied. The folk sez Rab John was wrong in the head, there's wiser in Antrim is what they said; they never realised he was in tune, and personally knew the man on the moon. There's been a man on the moon oh so long, long before Neil Armstrong; all wrapped up in his golden glow, he gazes down on us below. The man on the moon knows what's going on, just you ask oor Rab John; he sees right through the good and the great, he knows another way and it's not too late. Then one night as the fat moon shone, down at the bridge stood Robert John; folk they sez he was full o drink, but he was sober so we think. As he gazed down to the river below, there the big fat moon it did glow; and the man down there yelled up to him, come in Rab John for a swim. I'll tell youse now through these words o rhyme, been a man on the moon a long, long time; long before Adam and Eve, I know it's hard to believe. And the man on the moon will show you light, he'll show you the way in the night; and the crazy thing about this man on the moon, with our Rab John he is in tune. He’s the man on the moon.
Originally recorded as "Ower The Fiels Tae Tildarg" on Nae Goat's "A Spade's A Spade and as Over The Hills to Tildarg on the album,"The Meeting", featuring Harpists Cherith Boyle and Sharon Carroll. Originally inspired by the story of a young girl who walked, a 20 mile round trip along the field paths, and over the hills, of County Antrim to buy a fiddle in the townland of Tildarg. People don't, as a rule, do that sort of thing anymore and seriously miss out on opportunities to bond with the elements and buy special fiddles. The most walking they generally get to do, in the purchasing of musical instruments, is from the car park to the music shop; but even that is becoming a thing of the past as they are more likely nowadays to get them delivered to their door through eBAY. I'm calling this version just Tildarg.
Wild Wild Woman
I was walking down the road, a man of no fixed abode; I was up at the crack of day, just out on my merry way. I was walking down the lane, Just a-keeping pretty sane; thought the lane would never end, til the wild, wild woman came round the bend. She's a wild wild woman, never seen her comin; wild wild woman, should have seen her comin. I was walkin roun the town, just a-walkin up an down; I was walkin down the street, when the wild wild woman I chanced to meet. Should have known when I seen her smile, should have known when I seen her style; should have known when I seen her walk, should have known when I heard her talk. As I was astral travellin by in the cosmos up so high; I was walkin roun the moon, when the wild wild woman began to croon. I should have read the situations, as I cruised the constellations; should have seen the wild wild thing, very monent I heard her sing. I still go walkin down the road, a-searchin no abode; an every now an again, I'll go walkin down the lane. An then every now an then I'll look aroun the ben; an I'll often wonder why, so much happens in the sky.
Stuck on the motorway, crawlin all the way; the folk all say there goes those motorway blues. No place to go, turn on your radio and sure don't you know you'll hear those motorway blues. When the horns go a-beepin don't go a-weepin, for soon in a-creepin you'll hear those motorway blues. Gimme gimme gimme those, gimme gimme gimme those, gimme those motorway blues. Goin tae see my woman, she'll know I'm a-comin when she hears me a-hummin an a-strummin those motorway blues; she'll know I'm on my way when the radios play and the DJ's say there goes those motorway blues. She'll leave her abode with her highway code, for the road and those motorway blues. Stuck beneath the sky, you're born then you die; you'll never wonder why til you get those motorway blues. Stuck beneath the sun, no place to run; you'll still have fun when you get those motorway blues. Stuck beneath the moon, you will croon, then you'll swoon to those motorway blues; get my guitar out, sing and shout, it's what it's all about when you get those motorway blues. In the car ahead, thought they were dead, then instead they sung those motorway blues: in the van behind, they're my kind; so refined a-singin those motorway blues. When I see my girl, she will birl and she will twirl to those motorway blues; she'll say my boy, you're my joy and your my toy with those motorway blues. And your my man in your camper-van, and here's my han for those motorway blues.
The Band Played On (Nearer My God To Thee)
As the Titanic was sinking the band played on. Survivors spoke of the lasting impact of hearing the band play Nearer My God To Thee as they escaped into their lifeboats. We can only imagine the impact it had on those, including the band members themselves, who didn't survive. I dedicate this piece to my mother Agnes who passed through the gates of heaven on April 5th 2011 at the age of 87.
The band played the music of another world. As this world met the other world, the band played on: when the call came from the mighty ocean, the band played on: right through the gates of heaven, the band played on.