I'm A Free Born Man

image image image
  • I'm A Free Born Man
    • 1972 - Harmony KH 31343 LP (CAN)
  • Side One
    1. God Bless England (Whack Fol The Diddle) (P. Kearney)
    2. I'm A Free Born Man (E. MacColl)
    3. The Leaving Of Liverpool
    4. Lament For Brendan Behan (F. Geis)
    5. (Down By The Glen) The Bold Fenian Men (P. Kearney)
  • Side Two
    1. A Medley Commemorating The 50th Anniversary Of The Uprising Of 1916
      1. Foggy Dew
      2. From Seán O'Casey's "Drums Under The Window"
      3. From W. B. Yeats' "Easter 1916"
    2. When We Were Under The King
    3. Lord Nelson (T. Makem)
    4. Row, Bullies, Row
    5. Gallant Forty Two (Arr. Adpt. Clancy Bros & T. Makem & D. Hammomd)

  • Credits
    • Front cover photo: John Lewis Stage
    • Back cover photo: Don Hunstsein
    • Arr. Adpt. Clancy Bros. & T. Makem, unless otherwise noted.
    • © 1972 CBS, Inc./Manufactured by Columbia Records CBS

Sleeve Notes

Jay-sus, they took away our lands, our religion and our language; but they couldn't harness our tongues, so we sang about them, and we did it beautifully.

Brendan Behan
(from a conversation with the author, Dublin, 1963)

Music to the Irish has always been more of a Declaration of Life than a mere branch of the Arts. Like the sun when it shines, music is not taken for granted. They do not treat it as just a supplement to their daily due; they embrace it as a complement to their very existence. Every shade of life is poured into their music-their joy, their grief, their loneliness and nostalgia, their love of God and freedom, even their casual acquaintance with the Devil ("Sure the poor man has to make a living too") -no subject is sacred and no man immune. When they were restricted, under penalty of death, to speak of liberty, they sang out in guise, loud and clear, of their love for Cathleen Ni Houlihan and their tolerance for John Bull, and somehow their pain was eased.

Because of the latter's suppression and discouragement, a complete catalog of Irish songs was never documented. The list of folk songs alone reportedly totals 5,000 and that does not include ceili instrumentals, traditional hymns, marching songs (one for every County), and local extemporaneous happenings, which on their own would frazzle the heads of most composers. The Irish have never been hard-pressed to turn any event into song-if itmovedand lookedslightly peculiar, they sang about it.

Throughout its hindered history Ireland has fostered a multitude of singers-turned-exiles who thankfully brought their music with them and passed it on from generation to generation. Consequently, no matter where you roam in the world today you're bound to run into her heirs, and on a good night, if pressed, they will share their legacy with you. They'll tell you about The Minstrel Boy and The Bard of Armagh (later adoptee in Nashville as The Streets of Laredo); then they'll move on to The Bold Fenian Men and the Gallant Forty Two; and bring you up to date with The Patriot Game and Derry's Bloody Sunday. In the process they may caress or cut each tale, but they will surround it with love and laughter, and if you listen well you will taste, touch, hear, smell, and see the quintessence of Ireland's past and present; and you will fully understand the dreams and rights of all Free Born Men.

-Shaun Considine