Lonely Irish Maid/Blackwaterside

Rita Gallagher of County Donegal is a multiple winner of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann‘s English singing competition. Rita is considered by many to be one of the best living singers in the tradition. Here she sings another “As I Roved Out” song. This one goes under many names, but most frequently “Blackwaterside” and “Lonely/Bonnie/Lovely Irish Maid.”

Lonely Irish Maid/Blackwaterside

As I roved out one morning fair,
Bright and early as I strayed,
It being in the merry month of May
As the birds sang in each glade.
The sun it shone so merrily
And billowing with pride,
Where primroses and daisies there,
Down by Blackwaterside

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A Maid in Bedlam

Bedlam Hospital

It’s thanks to the British composer and folk music collector Gustav Holst that I encountered this song as a teenager through his choral setting. I’ve always been haunted by its melody and its story – good reasons to learn a song.

Abroad as I was walking
One evening in the spring
I heard a maid in Bedlam
So sweetly for to sing
Her chain she rattled with her hands
And thus replied she

Chorus: I love my love
Because I know
My love loves me

Oh my cruel parents
Are being too unkind
They drove and punish me
And trouble my mind
For though I’m ruined for his love
Contented will I be


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Tar Barrel in Dale

A great song for the New Year from a Allendale’s Rachel Unthank and the Winterset on Radio 2’s “Radcliffe and Maconie Show” on Dec 22, 2012. Thanks to the Dundalk Singing Circle for passing this along!

Tar Barrel in Dale

Tar barrel in dale
Fire in snow
Toast the New Year
Bid farewell to the old
The old year out
The New Year in
Please wont you let
The lucky bird in
With bottle in hand
And a piece of black coal
A stranger’s a friend
When first-footing you go

Tar barrel in dale
Fire in snow
Toast the New Year
Bid farewell to the old
At midnight’s approach
The band you can hear
The fiery procession
Of guisers draws near
With friends and good company
With voices so clear
Singing in harmony
Bringing in the New Year

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