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The Green Fields of America / The Green Fields of Canada

[ Roud 2290 ; Ballad Index DTgrncan ; trad.]

Planxty sang the Irish emigration ballad The Green Fields of America in 1974 on their LP Cold Blow and the Rainy Night. The sleeve notes commented:

This beautiful song is from the great repertoire of Paddy Tunney of Belleek, Co. Fermanagh. Unlike most emigration songs the emigré in this song appears to believe he has done the right thing.

Paddy Tunney sang The Green Fields of Canada in February 1975 in a recording session in the crypt of St John the Baptist, Kensington, London. This was released in the same year on his Topic album The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow, and in 1998 on the Topic anthology Farewell, My Own Dear Native Land (The Voice of the People Volume 4).

Paul Brady sang The Green Fields of Canada in 1985 on the charity album Feed the Folk and the House Band recorded in the same your for their eponymous Topic album, The House Band.

The O'Halloran Brothers played the reel The Green Fields of America in 1976 on The Men of the Island and Martin Simpson played it in 1977 on the tribute album to British Fylde guitars, Fylde Acoustic.

Jon Boden sang The Green Fields of America as the March 17, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day. He noted in his blog:

I got this from Planxty. There’s also a nice version available on iTunes sung by Marguerite Hutchinson (Magpie Lane) with yours truly on Uileann pipes. I sold the pipes shortly afterwards so it may be the only surviving evidence of that particular obsession.

In this video, Martin Simpson played the tune The Green Fields of America at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California on November 19, 2008:

Lyrics

Paddy Tunney sings The Green Fields of Canada

Farewell to the groves of shillelagh and shamrock,
Farewell to the girls of old Ireland all round.
May their hearts be as merry as ever I would wish them
When far away across the ocean I'm bound.

My father is old and my mother quite feeble,
To leave their own country it grieves them full sore.
Oh, the tears down their cheeks in great drops they are rolling
To think they must die upon a foreign shore.

But what matters to me where my bones may be buried
If in peace and contentment I can spend my life.
Oh, the green fields of Canada they're daily a-blooming;
That I'll find an end to my misery and strife.

So it's pack up your sea stores and consider no longer,
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay;
With no taxes or tithes to devour up your wages
When you're on the green fields of America.

The sheep run unsheared and the land's gone to rushes;
The handyman's gone and the winder of creels.
Away o'er the ocean go journeyman tailors
And fiddlers who flaked out the old mountain reels.

But sure I mind the time when old Ireland was flourishing,
When lots of our tradesmen did work for good pay.
But since out manufacturies have crossed the Atlantic,
Sure, now we must follow to America.

So it's pack up your sea stores and consider no longer,
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay;
With no taxes or tithes to devour up your wages
When you're on the green fields of America.

And it's now to conclude and to finish my ditty;
If ever friendless Irishmen chances my way:
With the best in the house I will greet him and welcome
At home on the green fields of America.

So it's pack up your sea stores and consider no longer,
Ten dollars a week isn't very bad pay;
With no taxes or tithes to devour up your wages
When you're on the green fields of America.