Concerning Of Three Young

The Voice Squad


  1. The Bonny Light Horseman
  2. As I Roved Out
  3. The Boar’s Head
  4. Carol Gabham Molta Bríde
  5. The Rambling Irishman
  6. Reconciliation
  7. Courting Is A Pleasure
  8. The Rich Man And The Poor Man
  9. Wondrous Love
  10. Lough Erne Shore
  11. The Bold Poachers
  12. The Night Visiting Song (I Must Away)

Sleeve Notes

Dedicated to the memory of Frank Harte, Seamus Heaney, Sean Mc Connell, Tom Crean,
Luke Kelly, Tom Mc Phail, Eithne Ni Uallachain, Barney Mc Kenna, Tomás Ó Canainn,
David Hammond and Seán Potts.

All tracks recorded by Gerry Horan at Rua/Red recording studios Tallaght, Dublin 24
All tracks mixed and edited by Catherine Considine, Finsbury Park, London.
All tracks produced by Gerry Cullen, Fran Mc Phail and Phil Callery (The Voice Squad)
All tracks mastered by Tom Leader, London
Album cover artwork by Joe Boske, Clifden, Co. Galway
Album Art layout by Helen Callery
The Voice Squad acknowledges financial support from The Arts Council of Ireland
Special thanks to Colm Toibin, Martin Moran & Liam Morrissey of Alternative
Entertainments, Christy Darby, Michael Coyne, Neala Mc Phail, Paul Flynn and the staff of
the Traditional Arts team in The Arts Council, John Butler, Barry Gleeson, Nicholas Carolan,
and especially Grace Toland of the Irish Traditional Music Archives, Merrion Square.
Nic Jones, The Unthanks, Martin Carthy, Luke Cheevers, Tony Harris, Sinead and
John Slattery, Jim Mc Keogh, Joe Dowdall.

Colm Tóibín Reviews - Concerning Of Three Young Men
The Voice Squad manage what is the most difficult and rare achievement for any artist. They combine great austerity and restraint and seriousness with a strange and deeply affecting passionate force. They approach each song, indeed each chord and note and word and phrase and pause, not as a way of displaying the singer’s personality but as a way of exploring and evoking and finding the actual song’s inner core, the song’s most hidden truth. In singing, they display an extraordinary talent and technique, and it should be emphasised that each one of them is a wonderful singer. But they also have a deep musical intelligence and a rare tact; they know how much emotion to hold in and how much to release. What is fascinating is how this varies from song to song, how they let the song itself dictate what happens with the singing and the harmonies and the tonal arrangement. (Notice the difference in tone and atmosphere and pacing in the open,
almost upbeat version of ‘The Rambling Irishman’ compared to the softer, darker, more haunting ‘Lough Erne Shore’; or the sombre tone used in ‘The Bonny Lighthorse Man’; or the melancholy in ‘Reconciliation’; or the textured singing in ‘As I Roved Out’; or the restraint and seriousness in the religious songs.) For anyone working as an artist – whether musician or writer or painter – they offer a nourishing example because of their sheer attention to detail and their sonorous mastery of form. The more closely you listen to one of their songs, the more pleasure you can get from small moments where the harmonies or the tones or the pacing or the use of the single voice can do
something surprising and unusual, always in ways that are subtle, nuanced and carefully controlled. This takes thought and planning, obviously, but it also takes imagination and skill, and it means taking risks which makes listening to these voices not only fiercely enjoyable but also
thrilling. In his poem ‘The Idea of Order at Key West’, the American poet Wallace Stevens sought to dramatise the connection between song and singer, and what a song can do to transform the world in which it is sung. This is always mysterious, and anyone who listens to the songs on ‘Concerning of Three Young Men’ will know the mystery, recognise it, and relish the deep and exalted engagement with beauty that is happening here, telling, as Wallace Stevens writes, ‘of ourselves and of our origins/ In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.’

Track Notes

The Bonny Light Horseman
When Bonaparte he commanded his troops for to stand,
And he planted his cannons all over the land;
He planted his cannons the whole victory to gain,
And he’s killed my light horseman returning from Spain.
Chorus: Broken-hearted I’ll wander, for the loss of my lover,
He’s my bonny light horseman, in the wars he was slain

If you saw my love on sentry on a cold winter’s day,
With his red rosy cheeks and his flowing brown hair,
All mounted on horseback the whole victory to gain,
And it’s on the battlefield great honour to gain.

And if I were a blackbird and had wings to fly,
I would fly to the spot where my true love does lie;
And with my little fluttering wings, his wounds I would heal,
And it’s all of the night on his breast I’d remain.

The dove she laments for her mate as she flies,
Oh where, tell me where, is my true love she cries,
And where in this world is there one to compare,
With my bonny light horseman who was shot in the war.

Oh! Boney, Oh! Boney, I’ve done you no harm,
So why, tell me why you have caused such alarm,
We were happy together, my true love and me,
But now you have stretched him in his death over the sea.

Roud number: 1185
We first heard this song form the singing of Mrs Mary Ann Carolan, who lived on the Hill O’ Rath, just outside Drogheda Co. Louth. (Songs of the Irish tradition Topic TSDL 362)
recorded in the singer’s home by Mr Roly Brown.
Napoleon Bonaparte was the most outstanding artillery officer of his day at military school in France.
This fact is acknowledged in the first verse of this song.

As I Roved Out
As I roved out on a bright May morning,
To view the meadows and flowers gay,
Whom should I spy but my own true lover,
As she sat under yon willow tree.

I took off my hat and I did salute her,
I did salute her most courageously,
When she turned around and the tears fell from her,
Saying: “False young man, you have deluded me.”

“For to delude you how can that be my love,
It’s from your body I am quite free,
I’m as free from you as a child unborn is,
And so are you my love Jane from me.”

“A diamond ring, I owned I gave you,
A diamond ring to wear on your right hand,”
But the vows that you made love you went and broke them,
And married the lady that had the land.”

“If I’d married the lady that had the land my love,
It’s that I’d rue until the day I die,
When misfortune falls sure no man may shun it,
I was blindfolded I’ll ne’er deny.”

Now at night when I go to my bed of slumber,
Thoughts of my own true-love run in my mind,
When I turn around to embrace my darling,
Instead of gold sure ‘tis brass I find.

Now I wish that the Queen would call home her armies,
From the West Indies, America and Spain,
And every man to his wedded woman,
In hopes that you and I would meet again.

Roud number 3479
This well known song was collected by Sean O’Boyle and Peter Kennedy from the great Mrs Brigid Tunney, Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, in 1953. It is a Pastourelle (a pastoral adventure song) which were very popular in Southern France.

The Boar’s Head Carol
The Boar’s head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary:
And I pray you my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivo (So many are in the feast)
Caput apri defero, (The boar’s head I bring)
Reddens laudes Domino (Giving praises to God)

The Boar’s head as I understand,
Is the rarest dish in all the land
When thus bedecked with a gay garland,
Let us servire cantico (Let us serve with a song)
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

Our steward hath provided this
In honour of the King of bliss,
Which on this day to be served is,
In Reginensi atrio (In the Queen’s hall )
Caput apri defero
Reddens laudes Domino

The Boar’s head in hand bear I
Bedecked with bays and rosemary
And I pray you my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivo
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino

19630-SR Folk Mag no.4
Wynkyn de Worde, 1534
Christmasse Carolles, 1521
Printer and publisher London And from the Oxford Book of Carols 1928.
This is a Carol I first heard sung by the Press Gang lead by the singing of Tom Crean. Other members of the group included Dave Smith, Niall Fennell and Sean Corcoran.

Gabham Molta Bríde
Gabham molta Bríde,
Ionúin í le hÉirinn,
Ionúin le gach tír í,
Molaimis go léir í.

Lóchrann geal na Laighneach
‘Soilsiú feadh na tíre,
Ceann ar óghaibh Éireann,
Ceann na mban ar mine.

Tig an geimhreadh dinn dubh
‘Gearradh lena ghéire;
Ach ar lá ‘le Bríde
Gar dúinn Earrach Éireann

We gratefully received this song from dear friend and singing companion Eithne Ní Uallachain of Co. Louth 1698-SP Na Casadaigh
GLCD 1123 Dáithí Sproule - A Heart Made of Glass

The Rambling Irishman
I am a rambling Irishman, in Ulster I was born in
And many’s the happy hours I spent, on the banks of sweet Lough Erne
But to live poor I could not endure, like others of my station
To Americae I sailed away, and left this Irish nation
Chorus: Ry tan tin-a-na, tan tin-a-na, Ry tan tin-a-noora- nandy.

The night before I sailed away, I spent it with my darling
From three o clock in the afternoon, ’till the break of day next morning
But when that we were going to part, we linked each other’s arms
Saying you may be sure and very sure, it wounded both our charms

The very first night I slept on board, I dreamt about my Nancy
I dreamt I held her in my arms, and well she pleased fancy
But when I awoke from my sleep, and I found my bosom empty
Well you may be sure and very sure, that I lay discontented.

When we arrived at the other side, we were both stout and healthy
We cast our anchor in the bay, going down to Philadelphia
So let every lad link with his lass, blue jacket and white trousers
And let every lass link with her lad, blue petticoats and white flounces.

Roud number: 3572
From the singing of Len Graham and Joe Holmes. Also sung and recorded by the great Galway singer Dolores Keane

When summer time has gone, and autumn winds are threatening
To blow our love away, its then love will be tested
Arm and arm we’ll stand, side by side together
To face the common foe, that would tear our love asunder.
Chorus: Tura lura lay, Tura lura laddie, Turra lura lay, Tura lu u, Ra lay

You fair-weather friends, where are you now I need you
Gone like the autumn sun, on dark December mornings
When hard times come around, like cold and stormy weather
There’s only you and I my love, to shelter one another

Now there’s a time to fight, and there’s a time for healing
As the sun will melt the snow, on clear bright April mornings
Our fight has run its course, now is the time for healing
So let us both embrace, sweet reconciliation.

Written by Ron Kavana (Proper Music Publishing). Having met with Ron at many singing gatherings throughout Ireland we asked him for this beautiful song “Reconciliation” It took us a long time to get around to recording it. We are very happy to include it here.

Courting Is A Pleasure
O courting is a pleasure, between my love and I
And it’s down in yon green valley; I will meet her bye and bye
It’s down in yon green valley, she is my hearts delight
And it’s with you lovely Molly, I will spend ‘til the broad day light.

When going to church last Sunday, my love she passed me by
I knew her mind was altered, by the roving of her eye
I knew her mind was altered, to a lad of high degree
And it’s Molly lovely Molly; your looks have wounded me

Then up stepped her love Willie, with a bottle in his hand
Saying drink of this dear Molly, for our courtship it ne’er will stand
Saying drink of this dear Molly let the bottle and glass go free
For ten guineas lie in wager, that married we ne’er will be

O never court a fair pretty maid, with a dark and a roving eye
Just kiss her and embrace her, never tell her the reason why
Just kiss her and embrace her, ’till you cause her heart to yield
For a faint hearted soldier, will never gain the field

O farewell Ballymoney, likewise the sweet Bann shore
Farewell unto Mc Cuskey braes, will I never see you more
America lies far away, that land I will go see
And may all bad luck attend the one, who parted my love and me.

Roud number 454
A very popular song from the North of Ireland. From the singing of Paddy Tunney and from the English Folk singer Nic Jones.

The Rich Man And The Poor Man
There was a rich man, his name it was Diviizium,
Glory Alleluia hi rogerum,
He held high dinners for the swanks of Jerusalem,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum.
Chorus: Hi rogerum, Hi rogerum, Skida malink a doodle um,
Skida malink a doodle um, Glory alleluia hi rogerum.

There was a poor man to work he wasn’t ableium,
He begged for the crumbs from the rich man’s tableium,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum.

The poor man died and he went up to heavenium,
He’d supper with the angels at half past elevenium,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum.

The rich man died, he didn’t do so wellium,
Ould Nick came and took him down to Hellium,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum.

The first thing he called for was whiskey and sodium,
But ould Nick roared out “This is no hotelium.”
Glory alleluia hi rogerum.

The next thing he called for was Jelly in a bowlium,
But ould Nick roared out shovel on the coalium,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum,

Now me song is ended so the truth to tellium,
And if you don’t believe me you can all go to Hellium,
Glory alleluia hi rogerum

Roud number 4571. Also Roud 477 – a version of Dives and Lazarus. Sometimes called Rye-Roger-Um as named by the collector Tom Munnelly from the field recording of John and Martin Lyons, Rahara, Co Roscommon. This version was collected by Gerry Cullen, mostly from the singing of Paddy Moynihan from Co. Cavan, whom he heard singing at a Feile na Boinne festival in Drogheda in the 1980’s.

Wondrous Love
What wondrous love is this my soul, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, O my soul
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul?

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down (2)
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul (2)

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing (2)
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I AM
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing (2)

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on I’ll sing on (2)
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be
Throughout eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on (2)

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul (2)
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul (2)

Roud number 5089
An American Sacred Harp Hymn (159) We learnt it from the singing of “The Young Tradition” Peter Bellamy. Heather Wood, Royston Wood.

Lough Erne Shore
One morning as I went a fowling bright Phoebus adorned the plain
It was down by the shades of Lough Erne I met with this wonderful dame
Her voice was so sweet and so pleasing, these beautiful notes she did sing
And the innocent fowl of the forest their love unto her they did bring.

It being the first time I met her, my heart it did leap with surprise
I thought that she could be no mortal but an angels that fell from the skies
Her hair it resembled gold tresses, her skin was as white as the snow
And her cheeks were as red as the roses that bloom around Lough Erne shore

When I found that my love was eloping these words unto her I did say
Oh take me to your habitation for cupid has led me astray
Forever I’ll keep the commandments; they say that it is the best plan
Fair maids who do yield to men’s pleasures the Scriptures do say they are wrong

Oh Mary don’t accuse me of weakness for treachery I do disown
I will make you a lady of splendour if with me this night you come home
Oh if I had the lamp of great Aladdin, his rings and his genie what’s more
I would part with them all for to win you and live around Lough Erne shore

Roud number 3476
A song from Paddy Tunney which he refers to in his publication “ The Stone Fiddle” where he relates that this song came directly from the hedge-school-master poets. We heard this song also from the singing of Paul Brady.

The Bold Poachers
Concerning of three young men, one night in January
According laws contrary, a poaching went straightway.

They were inclined to ramble, among the briars and bramble
All firing at the pheasant, which brought the keepers down.

The keepers did not enter, nor care the woods to venture
But outside near the centre, in them old bush they stood.

The poachers they were tired, and to leave they were desired
When alas young Parkins fired, and spilled one keeper’s blood.

He on the ground lay crying, just like some person dying
With no assistance nigh him, may God forgive this crime.

Fast homeward they were making, nine pheasants they were taking
When the other keeper faced him they fired at him also.

Then they were taken with speed, all for this inhuman deed
Which caused all hearts to bleed, for their young tender years

The scene before was never, three brothers tried together
Three brothers condemned for poaching, found guilty as they stood.

Exiled in transportation, two brothers they were taken
And the other hung as a token, may God forgive this crime.

Roud number 1686
From the singing repertoire of Fran Mc Phail. A great favourite sung at Mc Phail family gatherings through the years.

The Night Visiting Song (I must away)
I must away now, I can no longer tarry
This morning’s tempest I have to cross
I must be guided without a stumble
Into the arms that I love the best.

And when he came to his true loves dwelling
He knelt down gently upon a stone
And through the window, he whispered softly
Is my true lover within this room?

Wake up, wake up love, it is your own true lover
Wake up, wake up love and let me in
For I am wet love and oh so weary
For I am wet love unto the skin.

She raised her head up, from off her down white pillow
She raised the blanket up from her breast
And they were locked in each other’s arms
Until the long night had passed and gone.

And when the long night was passed and over
And when the small clouds began to blow
He’s ta'en her hand aye, they kissed and parted
He saddled and bridled and away did go.

Roud number 22568
This is a song we heard from the singing of the great Luke Kelly. This is a story of a clandestine meeting of true lovers, which there are many examples of in the singing tradition. There is a wonderful innocence, with no suggestion of seduction in the song. A very popular song collected by Luke while on one of his many trips to Scotland. It is included in a collection of songs (Come gie’s a song) 73 traditional Scottish songs / edited by Sheila Douglas.