the song
title : The Bantry girls’ lament
written by : traditional; arranged by Alec Finn, Eleanor Shanley and Eddi Reader
song copyright : public domain

the performance
Eleanor Shanley joint lead vocal
with :
Eddi Reader joint lead vocal
Alec Finn guitar, bouzouki
Frankie Gavin flute
Nickie Geddes cello
Tommy Keane pipes
Brian McGrath keyboards
key : A major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 84
form : V V ½v V V v V

musical form of each V: AA′BA′

The Bantry girls’ lament

oh who will plough the fields now
and who will sow the corn
and who will watch the sheep now
and keep them neatly shorn
the stack that’s in the haggard
unthreshed it may remain
since Johnny, lovely Johnny
went to fight the king of Spain

the girls from the Bánogue
in sorrow may retire
the piper and his bellows
may go home and blow the fire
for Johnny, lovely Johnny
is sailing o’er the main
along with other patriots
to fight the king of Spain

– flute lead, vocalise

ah boys will sorely miss him
when the moneymore comes round
and grieve when their brave captain
is nowhere to be found

{aah-ha-aah etc., behind:} the peelers must stand idle
against their will and grain
for the valiant boys who gave them work
now peels the king of Spain

at wakes and hurling matches
your likes we’ll never see {aah-ahh}
until you return again to us
a stoirin og mo chroi     ( = ‘dearest to my heart’ )
{aah-ahh etc., behind:} and won’t you trod the buckeens
who show us much disdain
because our eyes are not so bright
as those you’ll meet in Spain

– flute lead, vocalise

if cruel fate will not permit
our Johnny to return
this awful loss Bantry girls
will never cease to mourn
we’ll resign ourselves to our sad lot
and die in grief and pain
since Johnny died for Ireland’s plight
in the foreign land of Spain

Bánogue presumably the area around the bay?
Bantry Bay a long bay on the Atlantic Ocean, in Co. Cork, south-west Ireland
buckeen a poor but aspiring young man of the lower Anglo-Irish gentry
haggard a stack yard (Irish usage)
moneymore sorry: I haven’t been able to identify this person
peelers policemen of the Irish Constabulary (after Sir Robert Peel)
to peel to pillage
trod (verb) follow the track of
Eddi does the vocalise in the instrumental verses solo

the recording
produced by : Alec Finn
recorded by : Roy Dodds at Driftwood Studio, London
mixed by : Leon O’Neill? at Totally Wired Studios, Dublin
mastered by : ? in ?
signal path : DDD
track timing : 5:18
song timing : 5:15
released on
album : Eleanor Shanley & friends track 3