The Iron Behind The Velvet

Christy Moore


  1. Patrick was a Gentleman
  2. The Sun is Burning
  3. Morrissey and the Russian Sailor
  4. The Foxy Devil Three Reels:
  5. The Newly Mowed Meadow; Farrell O'Gara's Reel; (No Name)
  6. Trip to Jerusalem Three Reels: Tommy Coen's; The Youngest Daughter; Flax in Bloom
  7. Patrick's Arrival
  8. Gabriel McKeon's
  9. Dunlavin Green
  10. Joe Mc Cann
  11. John O'Dreams

Sleeve Notes


Christy Moore - Vocals, Guitar, Bouzouki, Bodhran
Andy Irvine - Mandolin, Harmonica, Valdolin, Dulcimer, Bouzouki and Vocals.
Barry Moore - Guitar and Vocals.
Noel Hill - Concertinas (C / G and Bb / F Systems).
Tony Linnane - Fiddle.
Gabriel McKeon - Uilleann Pipes : Concert set made by Bruce Duve from Spiddal . C set made by Coyne (Circa 1800) and obtained from Matt Kiernan of Dublin.
Jimmy Faulkner - Electric, Acoustic and Slide Guitars.
Rosemary Flanagan - Cello.

Produced by

Brian Masterson and Christy Moore.
Recorded and mixed in Ireland at Lombard and Keystone Studios, Dublin.
Engineered by Brian Masterson.
'John O'Dreams' Produced by Donal Lunny & Recorded at Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin.

Song Notes

1. Patrick Was A Gentleman C Moore.

Patrick was a gentleman was adapted to suit this common air, it is followed by a polka which was suggested by Andy, who had no knowledge of its title or source.

Patrick was a gentleman came from decent people
He built a Church in Dublin town
and on it put a steeple
His father was a Gallagher
His Mother was a Grady
His aunt was an O'Shaughnessy
His uncle was a Brady
The Wicklow hills are very high
And so is the hill of Howth sir
But there's a hill much higher still
Much higher than them both sir
On the top of this high hill
St. Patrick preached his sermon
Which drove the frogs into the bogs
And banished all the vermin
There's not a mile of Eireann's Isle
Where dirty vermin musters
But there he put his dear fore-foot
And Murdered them in clusters
The frogs went hop and the toads went pop
Slapdash in to the water
And the snakes committed suicide
To save themselves from slaughter
900,000 reptiles blue.
He charmed with sweet discourses
And dined on them in
Killaloe On soups and second courses
Where blind worms crawling in the grass
Disgusted all the nation
Right down to hell with a holy spell
He changed their situation
No wonder that them Irish lads
Should be so gay and risky
Sure St. Pat he taught them that
As well as making whisky
No wonder that the saint himself
Should understand distilling
For his mother kept a sheebeen shop
In the town of Enniskillen
Was I but so fortunate
As to be back in Munster
I'd be bound that from that ground
I never more would once stir
There St. Patrick planted turf,
Cabbages and praties
Pigs galore, mo gra , MO store
Alter boys and ladies

2. The Sun is Burning Ian Campbell.

This song was written by Ian Campbell of Aberdeen in the early sixties but is more significant in the seventies. I first heard Luke Kelly sing this song and more recently, learned the words from Andy Turner, Glasgow.

The sun is burning in the sky
Strands of clouds go slowly driftin by
In the park, the dreamy bees are droning in
the flowers among the trees
And the sun burns in the sky.

Now the sun is in the west
Little babies lay down to take their rest
And the couples in the park are holding hands
And waiting for the dark
And the sun is in the west.

Now the sun is sinking low
Children playing know it's time to go
High above a spot appears, a little blossom
Blooms and then draws near
And the sun is sinking low.

Now the sun has come to earth
Shrouded in a mushroom cloud of death.
Death comes in a blinding flash of hellish
heat and leaves a smear of ash
And the sun has come to earth.

Now the sun has disappeared
All that's left is darkness pain and fear.
Twisted sightless wrecks of men go crawling
On their knees and cry in pain.
And the sun has disappeared.

3. Morrissey and the Russian Sailor Trad. Arr. C. Moore.

Morrissey and the Russian Sailor was learned from the Bard of Dalymount, Johnny Moynihan . The song has been previously recorded by Joe Henry, Johnny Mc Donagh and Frank Harte.

Come all you true born Irishmen wherever you may be
I hope you'll pay attention and listen unto me
I'll sing about a battle that took place the other day
Between a Russian sailor and Johnny Morrissey.

'Twas in Terra Del Fuego in South Americay
The Russian challenged Morrissey, these words to him did say
I hear you are a fighting man, you wear a belt I see
Indeed I wish you would consent, to have a fight with me.

Up spoke Johnny Morrissey with heart both brave and true
I am a valiant Irishman that never was subdued.
I can whack the yankee, the saxon bull or bear
In honour of old paddies land the laurels I'll maintain.

They shook hands and walked around the ring commencing them to fight.
It filled each Irish heart with joy for to behold the sight.
The Russian floored Morrissey up to the 11th round
With Yankee, Saxon Russian cheers the valleys did resound.

But the Irish offered 10 to 1 that day upon the grass
No sooner said than taken up they than brought down the cash
They parried away without delay up to the 18th round
When Morrissey received a blow which brought him to the ground.

Up to the 32nd round 'twas fall and fall about
Which caused the foreign tyrants to keep a sharp lookout
The Russian called his seconds, to pour a glass of wine
Oh! Begod say's Johnny Morrissey this battle will be mine.

The 33rd decided all, the Russian felt a smart
When Morrissey with a dreadful blow, struck the Russian on the heart
They sent for the physician to open up a vein
Says he , it is quiet useless , she'll never fight again.

Our hero conquered Thomas, the Yankee clipper too,
The Benica boy and shepherd, he nobly did subdue
Let us fill a flowing glass and here's a health galore
To noble Johnny Morrissey who came from Templemore.

4. The Foxy Devil Joe Dolan.

The Foxy Devil was written by Joe Dolan, one of the founder members of Sweeney's Men with Andy and Johnny Moynihan. He wrote the following Sleeve Note.'' A hymn to the celtic representative of Bacchus -- written in appeasement on a summer's morning when threatened with the dreaded headstaggers. The term ' Foxy Devil' is apparently an old one conceived no doubt by some other unfortunate who had felt the iron behind the velvet.

When I was young and handy in my prime
In taverns I would sit and bide my time
Its there I met your company
I'd sit and drink my fill
Its there that you took hold of me
I think you've got me still.

Your the foxy when you like
You set my mind at ease and then you strike.
You set my head a reeling
You make me shout and sing
My memory frees I get no ease
Till I have a little drink.

Your the crafty rogue and thats for sure
For your company there is no cure
I've squandered all my money
And the best years of my life
All on your charms , in spite of harm
In spite of peace and strife.

Whiskey in the morning or at night
Gives strength to sing and dance, to love and fight
And so despite misfortune
I'll take you as you are
The best of friends and enemies
The best I've known by far.

5. Three Reels;

''The newly Mowed Meadow'' was the first tune Noel ever learned. It was played on Concertina by his mother, Margaret Hill of Lissycasey, Co Clare. It is often associated with ''The Silver Spear''.

''Farrell O Gara's Reel'' was learned by Tony from his father , Pat Linnane of Corifin (R.I.P.).

The Third Reel was learned from an early recording of Sean Keane. We have no name for it.

6. Trip To Jerusalem Joe Dolan

The Trip To Jerusalem was also written by Joe Dolan who wrote the following; ''I wrote this song in my salad days (back in 1965) when I worked on an archaeological expedition to Masada in the Negev desert. I was on general duty on top of the mountain with a walkie talkie as a weapon and the temperature around 120 degrees in the shade. I was thinking of how I'd got there''.

I'm a stranger here from Ireland's shore
Been on the road six months or more
Hikin' Working' travel in style
I'm a vagabond from Ireland's Isle
My sunburned thumb stuck up in the air
Many's the lift from here to there
Cars buses vans and trains
In the punishing heat, the snow and rain
Whack fol de diddle fel de diro deh
Whack fol de diddle fel de dero
Mrs. Dolan your son he isn't workin'.

I came from Dublin to Jerusalem town
Had a drink or two on the journey down
At a railway station called Gere du Nord
I missed my train through garglin hard
Three days later in Napoli
On a Turkish boat I sailed to sea
Slept in a hot hole down below
Travellin tourist class you know.

When the promised land came into sight
The customs man gave me a fright
How much money have you got with you Joe ?
I bluffed and said fifty pounds or so
He said Shalom I said good day
Grabbed my gear got fast away.
Down to the desert then I went
Diggin up history , livin in a tent.

It was in the Gulf of Acaba
I met some paddies and we had a fleadh.
Danced through the streets of Elat Town
Sang Sean South of Garryowen.
I was travellin I don't know
You pack up your gear get up and go
Leave the crack for another bout
Could damn well do with a pint of stout.

7. Three Reels :

''Tommy Coen's'' has a more common version which is known as ''The Castle Reel'' in CO Clare. This version was taken from that originally composed by Tommy Coen (R.I.P.) who lived the last years of his life in Salthill, CO Galway.

Tony learned ''The Youngest Daughter'' from Paul Brock, an accordion player from Athlone. It was originally learned from the fiddle playing of the legendary Paddy Canny who lives near Tulla, CO Clare.

The ''Flax in Bloom'' came to Noel from Paddy Murphy, the great concertina player from Connolly, CO Clare. And is always associated with that part of the Country.

8. Patrick's Arrival C. Moore

I used to hear Andy Rynne of Prosperous sing ''The night before Larry was stretched'' and adapted the air to suit.

You've heard of St. Denis of France
He never had much far to brag on
You've heard of St. George and his lance
Who killed D'old heatherish dragon.
The saints of the Welshmen and Scot
Are a couple of pitiful pipers
And might just as well go to pot
When compared to the patron of vipers.
St. Patrick of Ireland my dear.

He sailed to the Emerald Isle
On a lump of pavin stone mounted
He beat the steamboat by the mile
Which mighty good sailing was counted.
Says he the salt water I think
He made me unmerciful thirsty
So bring me a flagon to drink
To wash down the mullygrups burst ye
Of drink that is fit for a Saint.

He preached then with wonderful force
The ignorant natives a teaching
With wine washed each discourse
For says he I detest your dry preaching
The people in wonderment struck
At a paster so prious and civil
Exclaimed we're for you my ol buck
And we'll heave our blind Gods to the devil
Who dwells in hot water below.

This finished our worshipful man
Went to visit an elegant fellow
Who's practise each cool afternoon
Was to get most delightfully mellow
That day with a barrel of beer
He was drinking away with abandon
Say's Patrick its grand to be here
I drank nothing to speak of since landing
So give me a pull from your pot.

He lifted the pewter in sport
Believe me I tell you its no fable
A gallon he drank from the quart
And left it back full on the table
A miracle! Everyone cried
And all took a pull on the Stingo
They were mighty good hands at that trade
And they drank 'til they fell yet, by jingo
The pot is still frothed o'er the brim.

Next day said the host its a fast
And I've nothing to eat but cold mutton
On Fridays who'd make such repast
Except an unmerciful glutton.
Said Pat stop this nonsense I beg
What you tell me is nothing but gammon
When the host brought down the Lamb's leg
Pat ordered it turned into Salmon
And the leg most politely complied.

You've heard I suppose long ago,
How the snakes, in a manner most antic
He marched to the county Mayo
And ordered them all into the Atlantic
Hence never use water to drink
The people of Ireland determine .
With mighty good reason I think
For Patrick has filled it with vermin
And snakes and such other things.

He was a fine man
as you'd meet from Fairhead to Kilcrumper
Though under the sod he is laid
Let's all drink his health in a bumper
I wish he was here that my glass
He might by art magic replenish.
But since he is not why alas
My old song must come to a finish
Because all the drink it is gone.

9. Gabriel Mc Keon's

''Cailin Deas Cruaite Na mBo'' was learned from Leo Rowsome (R.I.P.) who was Gabriel's first tutor. '' Gilbert Clancy's was learned from Willie Clancy (R.I.P.) and is sometimes called ''The West Wind''.

10. Dunlavin Green C. Moore.

I have known this song for many years but cannot recall who taught it to me. This is a version from one of Colm O Lochlainn's books and it has been recorded by Gay and Terry Woods.

In the year of 1798
a sorrowful tale the truth undo you I'll relate
of 36 heroes to the world they were left to be seen
By false information they were shot on Dunlavin Green.

Bad luck to you Saunders their lives you sold away.
You said a parade would be held on that very day
The drums they did rattle and the fifes they did sweetly play
Surrounded we were and quietly marched away.

Quiet easy they led us as prisoners through the town
To be shot on the plain we than were forced to kneel down
Such grief and such sorrow in one place it was ne'er before seen.
As when the blood ran in streams down the dykes of Dunlavin Green.

There is young Andy Ryan has plenty of cause to complain
Likewise the two Duffys who were shot down on the plain
And young Mattie Farrell whose mother distracted will run
For the loss of her own darling boy her eldest son.

Bad luck to you Saunders, bad luck may you never shun
That the widow's curse might melt you like snow in the sun
The cries of those orphans whose murmurs you shall never screen,
For the loss of their own poor fathers who died on the Green.

Some of our boys to the hills they have run away
More of them have been shot and some have run off to sea
Michael Dwyer of the mountains has plenty of cause for the spleen,
for the loss of his own dear comrades who died on the Green.

11. Joe McCann Eamonn O'Doherty

Come all you fine people wherever you be
I'll sing of a brave Belfast man
Who scorned the army's might , though they'd shoot him on sight
And they shot down Joe McCann, Joe McCann
They shot down Joe McCann.

He fought for the people of the markets where he worked.
In the defence of the rights of man
But the hired branch crew told the soldiers what to do
And they shot down Joe McCann , Joe McCann
They shot down Joe McCann.

In a Belfast bakery in the August of the year,
When internment was imposed throughout the land
Six volunteers from Belfast held six hundred troops at bay
And their leader was Joe McCann, Joe McCann,
The Leader was Joe McCann, Joe McCann.

He carried no gun so he started to run,
To escape them as many the time before
One bullet brought him down, as he lay on the ground.
They shot him ten times more, ten times more,
They shot him ten times more.
He fought for the rights of the people of this land
The Protestant and Catholic working man
He caused the bosses fear, for this they paid him dear
When they murdered brave Joe McCann, Joe McCann
They murdered brave Joe McCann.

Joe McCann was written by Eamonn O' Doherty of Derry who wrote the following note; ''Joe McCann was shot dead by British Paratroops in April 1972. He was alone and unarmed. He had worked tirelessly to politicize Protestants and Catholics and unite them in their recognition of the common oppressors, imperialism and class. His killing was seen by many as a calculated move to remove the leadership of the Official Republican Movement, viewing their policies as potentially more dangerous to the establishment than the more violent provisional I.R.A.''

12. John O' Dreams Trad. Arr. C. Moore

When midnight comes and people homeward tread
Seek now your blanket and your feather bed.
Here comes the rover, his journey over.
Yield up the night time to old John O' Dreams.
Yield up the night time to old John O' Dreams.

Across the hill the sun has gone astray,
Tomorrow's cares are many dreams away.
The stars are flying, your candles dying.
Yield up the darkness to old John O' Dreams .
Yield up the darkness to old John O' Dreams.

Both man and master in the night are one.
All things equal when the day is done.
The prince and the ploughman , the slave and the freeman.
All find their comfort in old John O' Dreams.
All find their comfort in Old John O' Dreams.

When sleep it comes the dreams come running clear.
The hawks of morning cannot reach you here.
Sleep in a river, flow on forever,
And for your boatman choose old John O' Dreams.
And for your boatman choose old John O' Dreams.

There are many indirectly associated with the making of this album. I would like to specially thank Gerry Joyce for singing '' Trip to Jerusalem'' in Spiddal, Andrew Robinson for making my Bouzouki, Joe Kelly of ''The Brow'' for making my tambourine, John Munnis and Paul for being patient on the tour, and Val and Andy for being always patient.

Christy Moore.