Banter V Songs and Tunes

A Bit of Banter: 55- Back Home in Derry

a-muso-imageThere’s no fool like an old fool, they say, so what happens when a bunch of oul’ coots (plus one middle-aged son) gather together to make music? The next series of posts may enlighten you as to the question just posed and may also, perhaps, enrage or entertain. These songs were the result of a few sessions around a table laden with alcoholic beverages of various kinds. Plonked in the centre of the table is, now,  an iPad with connected mic that has somehow survived the knocks and spillages that are part and parcel of the sessions.  So here we are, up and ??running?? again…

Song 55: Back Home in Derry– There have been books written on the life and times of Bobby Sands. Among other things, he was a songwriter who, had circumstances been otherwise, might have entered the legions of singer-songwriters of Ireland and fared well (or not-so..) in this avocation. But circumstances saw him elevated to the pantheon of Republican heroes and martyrs. He borrowed the melody for this song from Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and wrote these well-known lyrics which commemorates the transportation of Irish prisoners to Van Diemen’s land (present-day Tasmania).  We had returned to Ireland in 1979 and were living in Cushendall, Co Antrim, when the Republican prisoners in the H-Blocks of the Maze prison started to agitate for political status. I tell some of this story in another part of this blog- The Summa Quotidian Entry 34- This Cold Bed. I had written the lyrics and music but my wife thought my chords and melody were too-clever-by-half. Of course, she was right, so I “borrowed” a melody she hummed as she read the lyrics.

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