Irish Songs and Other Thoughts

Posted On February 20, 2011

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Here are the lyrics to a song I remember from my childhood…and an old 78 rpm record.
A Capital Ship
(Charles Edward Carryl)

A capital ship for an ocean trip
Was the “Walloping Window Blind”
No wind that blew dismayed her crew
Or troubled the captain’s mind
The man at the wheel was made to feel
Contempt for the wildest blow-ow-ow
Tho’ it oft appeared when the gale had cleared
That he’d been in his bunk below

So, blow ye winds, heigh-ho
A-roving I will go
I’ll stay no more on England’s shore
So let the music play-ay-ay
I’m off for the morning train
To cross the raging main
I’m off to my love with a boxing glove
10,000 miles away

My mom liked to remind me when I played this song that my dad had been a sailor. I didn’t understand the words. Now, with Google and instant communications I’ve learned these nonsense words were written by an American poet/stockbroker. But the song appears in lists of tunes associated with Irish culture and it does have a very “Irish” sound to it. I’ve been practicing Molly Malone on my accordion and I very much would like to add A Capital Ship to my repertoire.


Posted On July 22, 2010

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I met an old friend who I remembered as a composer. He is still composing. He said my brother has a lot of music in him, and he asked “What is your forte?” I said I was a writer and he asked, immediately, “Would you consider writing a libretto?” I said yes, but I’m going to have to research this to see what I am up against. The subject he has been studying is about the Biblical King David. I thought to myself, what do I have in common with David? What can I grab onto that will keep my energy and interest level up? Not slaying a giant. Maybe the fact he was a shepherd? The way he put a soldier in the front lines so he could steal the man’s wife? Then….it occurred to me that David was a poet……