Double Album—Songs from the Beautiful City

Available now! Includes the EP ‘Feel like a King,’ 2 songs and a video .

New Double Album from Jimmy Crowley

US & Canada Ireland, Europe & UK

$30.00USD

2CDs includes free EP  ‘Feel like a King,’ 2 songs and a video.



€25.00

2CDs includes free EP  ‘Feel like a King,’ 2 songs and a video.





 
CRO 13 ‘SONGS FROM THE BEAUTIFUL CITY’

(track order) for back cover

DISC ONE

The Price of me Shirt
Cork is an Eden
The Pride of Sweet Clogheen
The Bells of Shandon
The Construction Corps
Let’s All go Down the Marina
Mick Barry from Waterfall
The Town of Passage
Ruddlesome Rancy-o
Cork’s most Illustrious Son
The Cork Regatta
The Ballad of Parnell Bridge
The Gaol of Sundays Well

DISC TWO

Johnny go Boating
Ger Mac’s Crubeens
When Shandon Strikes Nine
The Ballycannon Boys
The Banks of my own Lovely Lee
The Dagenham Foundry
The Rose of Coburg Street
The Angel of Cork
With a Banjo by my Side
Cork’s Own Christy Ring
Stailc an tSeandúna
The Ballad of Katty Barry
Beautiful City
The Doll in Cash’s Window


(song notes)

The Price o’ me Shirt

This parallel ballad of the delusion of a gormless youth by a seasoned lady of the night finds an echo on Mallow Lane, the old name for Shandon Street in Cork.Tadhg Ó Tuama gave me the song.

Cork is an Eden for You, Love, and Me

The comparison of Cork with the Garden of Eden was not uncommon in the nineteenth century. Crofton Croker published an earlier version of the text which was later politicized by John Fitzgerald, the Bard of the Lee. I recorded the tune at Beleek, Co Fermanagh from an unknown singer and composed a new middle-eight to arrest repetition.

The Pride of Sweet Clogheen

The original text was given to me by Maria Bowles herself many years ago at her cottage in Clogheen in County Cork. Her star has risen with time not least from her heroic exploits as a member of Cumann na mBan during the War of Independence. 

I wrote a few extra verses, inserted a chorus and composed the melody.

The Bells of Shandon

The text was written by Sylvester O’ Mahony, alias Fr Prout, a philologist, philosopher and a polyglot and is generally sung to the tune of Slán le Máig; though the Groves of Blarney is sometimes sung.

The Construction Corps

 A rare insight into the labour legacy of a boys’ brigade in the 1940s. 

The Corps did fine work for no remuneration for the nation. Their labours provided the runaways of Baldonnel Airdrome, forestry plantations at the Curragh and the Tourist Amenity Park in Tramore.

Let’s All Go Down the Marina

Generally attributed to street singer Jerry Bruton. The burthen of this song had been lost but resuscitated from the collective memories and creativity of Mick O’ Leary, Denis McGarry and John Horgan.

 Mick Barry from Waterfall.

A heart-rending song written by Denis McGarry about champion road bowl-player Mick Barry. Barry won thirteen All-Ireland senior titles. His battles with champions of another bowling county, Armagh, have slipped into the rich Northern ballad tradition. He retired in 1997 aged seventy-eight beating Liam O’ Keefe at the Vintage Championship.

The Town of Passage

‘Manifestly an imitation of that unrivalled dithyramb of The Groves of Blarney (by Richard Milliken), with a little of its humour and all of its absurdity,’ was how Crofton Croker described this song. Attributed to that reverend concocter Fr Prout who improved on two earlier versions by his friend, Simon Quin. 

Sung to Preab San Ól.

Ruddlesome, Rancy- O 

A peerless invocation of the dinnseanachas or topographical history of Cork by Pat Daly for which I composed a melody.

Cork’s Most Illustrious Son

Terrence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork died on hunger strike at Brixton Prison on October 25, 1920.This heroic act weakened the British case for further occupation of Ireland in the eyes of the world. Gus McLoughlan wrote the song for the bi-centennial anniversary of the tragic event.

The Cork Regatta-The Regatta Polka

 Not sung since John Fitzgerald’s time, I was glad to compose a new tune for this madcap song of regatta mayhem. An earlier version of the RCYC bearing the singular epithet, ‘The Water Club’ had their premises in Cobh in the beautiful building now occupied by the Sirius Arts Centre.

How fitting to have circumnavigator, Dave Hennessy, playing the melodeon on the Regatta Polka.

The Ballad of Parnell Bridge 

This was the first ‘broadsheet’ ballad I wrote way back in 1970. Intrigued by the latent power of earlier broadsides I longed to revive the street pamphlet forum for political debate. I sold the song on the opening day of the bridge and all over the streets and taverns of Munster thereafter. 

The Gaol of Sunday’s Well

Seán Beecher sang the intriguing chorus into my ear years ago and Michael Kiely from Blackpool remembered some lines learned from his grandmother. I re-wrote the song around the misfortunes of a young girl, a practitioner of the world’s oldest profession keeping the original chorus. 

DISC TWO

Johnny Go Boating

A handsome memorette from Gus McLaughlan who wrote many fine songs. Gus remembers his mother singing this song; but only just, so he re-wrote it. 

Lovers could hire a rowboat in the thirties and forties at the Coal Quay and row downstream with the tide to Blackrock village. Lar Flaherty who had a handsome, gleaming Ford Model T was the only taxi man in Blackrock in those innocent times.

Ger Mac’s Crubeens

From the pen of the fine songwriter, Jerry O’ Neil. Some years ago, I recorded Jerry and many fellow bards on a singular enterprise, an album of new songs called Sex, Sca and Sedition. The album proclaimed that the ballad tradition was alive and well, boldly masticating thorny contemporary subjects while still firmly set in the old singing styles.

When Shandon Strikes Nine

  Billy McCarthy had this rare curfew song from his family. Some lines were missing and he very deftly, on my request, filled ‘em in out of his own imagination.

 I remember as a child staying at my aunt Nora’s house in Ravensdale, Douglas and she pointing to the back of her stout door to where the list of the household was given down, a necessary injunction during the War of Independence only thirty years earlier. Superfluous denizens could be taken out and shot.

The Ballycannon Boys

Bert Ahern’s fine lyric remembering the six young men from Cork’s northside murdered by crown forces on Spy Wednesday, 1921. Many years ago an older resident of Sundays Well told me she remember that dreadful day in 1921, the lorry coming down Kerry Pike and the sounds of screaming from within. Local women who were eventually allowed entry to Victoria Barrack to lay out the bodies were shocked at their condition and deposed that they were cruelly tortured.

“Croxy’ Connors, who informed on the volunteers as they rested in Keefe’s farmhouse near Clogheen, was finally tracked to New York where he was shot from a wall in Central Park. It was an honour to write the melody.

The Banks of my own Lovely Lee.

Apparently the man who wrote the lyrics of The Banks, a much-loved actor from the Coal Quay called Dick Forbes   wasn’t all that proud of his labours. It is said that those lovely lyrics lingered like a rose unseen in an old suitcase before being brought to light and illuminated by J.C. Shanahan’s lovely tune. The Banks was sung at the Cork Opera House for the first time in 1933.

The Dagenham Foundry

 Written by Gus McLoughlan, himself a ‘Dagenham Yank.’ 

When the Ford Motor Company closed its foundry in Cork in 1932 to avail of the vaster potential of Dagenham, Essex, men from Cork were much sought after because of experience gained at the Marina plant.

I remember my two uncles, Jack and Billy Lawton and my father too, when the furniture trade was slack, making their ways into lonesome Penrose Quay to board the infamous Innisfallen.I remember also the eight crisp English pound notes sent religiously to my mother from Romford, Essex, where my father had lodgings with the Rafter family.

The Rose of Coburg Street

 Pat Daly wrote the lyrics to this song to which I essayed this melody. A song of ghostly remembrance and times lost set in eclectic Coburg Street.

The Angel of Cork

Another poignant verse from Pat Daly, who has been honouring the colourful people and events of the Beautiful City for a long time. It was a pleasure for me to write the tune.

With a Banjo by my Side

It was the great travelling songstress, Margaret Barry herself, who wrote the first three verses of this song of life on the road. She has evinced such a strong influence on me all through my life that I call her my gypsy sister. I collaborated with her posthumously to write the additional three verses.

Cork’s Own Christy Ring

There are no less than eighteen ballads about hurling hero, Christy Ring in GAA Ballads of Rebel Cork. The great Clare hurler, Jimmy Smyth, one of the editors of that volume, told me, that when he and Christy played together in Railway Cup finals, the Cloyne man could be very droll. If he scored, he’d say, 

‘What did ya think a’ that, Jimmy, boy?’

It took a Kerryman, the great writer and poet Brian McMahon to make that noble transition to slip into Cork boots and to embrace Cork sentiment and write this moving ballad of a timeless hero.

Stailc an tSeandúna

This was my wake-up call to the people of Cork to attend to whatever portent was troubling the poor bells of Shandon when the famous ‘four-faced liar’ went on strike some years back. I touched back to the heady days of the butter market, one of the largest in the world, supplying the British fleet in the harbour below. There must have been quite a bit of Irish spoken then when those ‘blades’ from Kerry came to Cork with the butter. 

The Ballad of Katty Barry

The most beautiful woman in Cork, my father used to say about this famous Diva. I met her first in the early seventies with Sam Collins, my neighbour from Douglas, a fine comic ballad maker. That was an enchanted afternoon when we met Katty at Mrs Moore’s tavern in Daunt Square. She invited me and Sam home for a famous feed and she gave us an orange each for the long walk out to Douglas. Some time later, I presented her with the printed broadsheet which I had written about her.

Beautiful City

Written by the Bard of the Lee, John Fitzgerald, who came at the end of a brisk coven of nineteenth century poets that included Daniel Casey, Thomas Condon, Milliken and Prout. We shared the same passions and curiously, the same trade of cabinetmaking. 

I hope he’ll forgive a fellow ‘cabby’ for taking license with the melody; I composed the new twelve bars from bar sixteen as I felt in my heart of hearts ‘twas repetitive; or maybe bars were lost in error. John died, still writing on Whitsun Eve, 1910.I always wanted to score a song for a string quartet; and a mandolin string quartet is even more challenging!

The Doll in Cash’s Window

Ger McCarthy from Widderlings’ Lane gave me the melody, first verse and chorus to this urban dandling song with the curious term of endearment. Pat Daly wrote the substantial bulk of the song thereafter and I rendered the verse in Irish. 

Recorded with my original band, Stokers Lodge.

(Apologia)

‘Twas the great love that I have for the Beautiful City of Cork, its people and topography that started my rakish career as an urban ethnographer while I was still an apprentice back in the sixties. Magnificient weigh-lines along the way were Buckley’s Furniture and Bedding Co in Brown Street where I first heard John ‘the Builder’ O’Donovan sing, 

‘There’s a three- cornered cupboard behind the hall door and we’ll burn it tonight, said the trooper!’ 

Early folk clubs in Cork like The Group Theatre and Captain Mackey’s were formative. Likewise the propitious and didactic benevolence of mentors like Jim O’ Donnell, Chris Twomey, John Harris Séamus Murphy William Harrington, Niall Toner, Len de la Coeur, Paddy’s Goatskin and String Band, The Jim O’ Donnell Folk Group and street musicians, The Dunne Brothers and The McCormacks from Blackpool.

All the songs on this double album are from my book, Songs from the Beautiful City, a ballad history of Cork, which has more extensive notes, contextual photography and music.

 A one-man stage drama with mixed media assistance bearing the same name was successfully staged by Linden Productions (lindenproductionsltd@gmail.com)

BUIOCHAS

Sincere thanks to John Crone who supported me so warmly with this protracted project. His guitar playing and harmonies were inspiring and his musical experience was priceless; but above all, I bless his patience. John Spillane and myself played together in a band may years ago and his star has risen high over the years with his incredible song writing. I thank John for joining me for two duets and for his instantly recognizable guitar style.

To my brother-in-law, Gus O’ Carroll who played atmospheric and moving tenor saxophone on The Rose, a big thank you.

I wish to thank my old bandmates in Stokers Lodge for permission to include The Doll in Cash’s Window and our piper Eoin Ó Riabhaigh for his wonderful contribution on several songs. Thanks also to Johnny ‘Fang’ Murphy for the loan of his harmonium. Another old friend, from the very early days, Paul Frost, played beautiful double bass on The Rose, and I thank him.

 Thanks also for the hallmark melodeon playing in the Regatta Polka to my old sailing butty, Dave Hennessy, who recently sailed around the globe, no less, on his good ship Laragh.

My thanks to Déise girl, Áine Whelan for the lovely harmonies on The Rose and to Brian Morrison from Tipp for the ineffable, irrepressible, ubelieveable bodhrán and percussion work.

To a good friend from Clare who has indulged all my madcap musical ideas over the years from swing to Music Hall to the devil-knows-what, Pat McNamara, many thanks for the lovely accordion playing.

To a man who assisted my whim to get as close as I could to having the famous Barrack Street Band behind me on The Marina, I thank Billy O’ Callaghan. With Billy himself and Paddy Moore on cornets; Michael Dorgan on euphonium; Mick Long on French horn; Aidrian Hanly on trombone; Alan Ashman, trombone and Brian Sheehan on tuba, all members of that esteemed orchestra, I think we got close.

 Finally my sincere thanks to Richard Rudkins who arranged the music for the brass ensemble.

A WORD ABOUT THE INSTRUMENTS

This was meant to be a totally solo recording at the beginning, but look what happened! 

The guitars I played were a Martin 006 C (nylon), a Martin 008 G (for gut!)  ; a Martin 06 ‘New Yorker, a sweet flamenco  made by Valeriano Bernal ;  a 1970 smaller bodied Harmony Sovereign and my 1870 parlour guitar kindly given to me in St Louis by Mary Tom from Chicago. Larsen Brothers, perhaps?  They each have their own distinctive song to sing.

I used ‘Benjy’ my trusty early Manson bouzouki strung with oectave strings on this project ably assisted by my sweet Farmiloe with the semi-rounded fiberglass back, strung in unison. Lower down in the mix you’ll hear the sonerous groan of the dordán which I half conceived and concocted with the great Dublin luthier, Joe Foley. The dordán has a huge body and has a bass string on the bass course an octave below the regular G.

My Gibson family made a lovely contribution to the soundscape; my K2 mando-cello, ‘The Bull McCabe;’ his wife Mary Blonde’, a H1 mandola, ‘and their daughter, ‘Mary Coffee’, an A4 mandolin.

The ‘cuckoo’ bass is a rudimentary device I clapped on to ‘Benjy,’ a bug slipped under the bass string and channeled through an octave box. I had a separate bug fitted under the bass strings of the 006 C Martin Nylon to the same effect.

(Recording Credits)

DISC 1

THE PRICE OF ME SHIRT

Traditional, arranged by Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice (throughout), mando-cello, bouzouki
John Crone, Guitar
Brian Morrissey, bodhrán, percussion
Áine Whelan, cackle

CORK IS AN EDEN 

Music, traditional with additional music by Jimmy Crowley
Words, possibly Crofton Croker, Fr Prout and John Fitzgerald
Jimmy Crowley, mando-cello, mandola
John Crone, high-strung guitar

THE PRIDE OF SWEET CLOGHEEN

Music, Jimmy Crowley
Words, traditional with additional lyrics by J.C.
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, nylon-strung folk guitar, and mandola
John Crone, guitar, high-strung guitar, backing vocals

THE BELLS OF SHANDON

Words, Fr Prout
 Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, harmonium, mando-cello
John Crone, high-strung guitar

THE CONSTRUCTION CORPS

Words and music traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

LET’S ALL GO DOWN THE MARINA

Words, Denis McGarry, Mick O’ Leary and John Horgan
Music, Jerry Bruton
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, nylon-strung folk guitar, harmonica
Billy O’ Callaghan, cornet
Paddy Moore, cornet
Michael Dorgan, euphonium
Mick Long, French horn
Aidrian Hanly, trombone
Alan Ashman, trombone
Brian Sheehan, tuba
Brass arrangement scored by Richard Rudkins

MICK BARRY FROM WATERFALL 

Words, Denis McGarry
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, dordán, mando cello, bouzouki
Brian Morrissey, bodhrán

THE TOWN OF PASSAGE

Words, Fr Prout
Music, traditional
J.C., the human voice

RUDDLESOME, RANCY-O

Words, Pat Daly
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, bouzouki
John Spillane, guest vocals, nylon-strung guitar

CORK’S MOST ILLUSTRIOUS SON

Words, Gus McLaughlan
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, harmonium, parlour guitar, bouzouki,
Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, uilleann pipes

THE CORK REGATTA / THE REGATTA POLKA

Words, John Fitzgerald
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, New Yorker steel-strung guitar, mandola
Dave Hennessy, melodeon

THE BALLAD OF PARNELL BRIDGE

Words, Jimmy Crowley
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

THE GAOL OF SUNDAYS WELL

Words, Jimmy Crowley
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, dordán, bouzouki
Brian Morrissey, bodhrån
John Crone, backing vocals

DISC 2

JOHNNY GO BOATING

Words and music, Gus McLaughlan
Jimmy Crowley, dordán, bouzouki
Brian Morrissey, bodhrán
John Crone, backing vocals

GER MAC’S CRUBEENS

Words, Jerry O’ Neill
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

WHEN SHANDON STRIKES NINE

Words, Billy McCarthy
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, Spanish guitar
Pat McNamara, accordion

THE BALLYCANNON BOYS

Words, Bert Ahern
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, nylon-strung folk guitar, mandola
John Crone, guitar
Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, uilleann pipes

THE BANKS OF MY OWN LOVELY LEE

Words, Dick Forbes
Music J.C Shanahan
Jimmy Crowley, harmonium, nylon-strung folk guitar
John Spillane, guest vocals, nylon-strung guitar

THE DAGENHAM FOUNDRY

Words, Gus McLaughlan
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

THE ROSE OF COBURG STREET

Words, Pat Daly
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, bouzouki
Áine Whelan, backing vocals
John Crone, guitar
Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, uilleann pipes
Gus O’ Carroll, tenor saxophone
Paul Frost, double bass
Brian Morrissey, oud, percussion

THE ANGEL OF CORK

Words, Pat Daly
Music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, cuckoo bass, Spanish guitar
Pat McNamara, accordion

WITH A BANJO BY MY SIDE

Words, Margaret Barry and Jimmy Crowley
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, bouzouki

CORK’S OWN CHRISTY RING

Words, Brian McMahon
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

 STAILC AN TSEANDÚNA

Words and music, Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, dordán, mando cello, mandola, guitar (Harmony Sovereign) 
John Crone, backing vocals

THE BALLAD OF KATTY BARRY

Words, Jimmy Crowley
Music, traditional
Jimmy Crowley, the human voice

BEAUTIFUL CITY

Words, John Fitzgerald
Music, traditional with new music by Jimmy Crowley
Jimmy Crowley, nylon-strung folk guitar
Featuring the Spike Island Mandolin Quartet:
Daphne Daunt, mandolin
Esmeralda Wilmot, mandolin
Ezekiel McGroarty, mandola 
Renzo Spike, mando-cello

THE DOLL IN CASH’S WINDOW

Words, traditional with additional words by Pat Daly
Music, traditional
Featuring Stokers Lodge:

Jimmy Crowley, dordán
Johnny Murphy, backing vocals, guitar
Mick Murphy, backing vocals, mandolin
Eoin Ó Riabhaigh, uilleann pipes, tin whistle

Recorded at Manor Studios, Cobh, County Cork, Ireland
Produced by Jimmy Crowley and John Crone
Engineered by John Crone
Additional recording, Louise McCormick
Mastered by Jack Talty

An unCorked bottle of effervescent music…