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My Singing Bird

[ Roud V43844 ; words Edith Wheeler, tune trad.]

The McPeake Family sang My Singing Bird in 1963 on their Topic album Irish Traditional Folk Songs and Music, with the first verse sung in Irish. This track was also included in 2009 on their Topic compilation CD Wild Mountain Thyme. Bert Lloyd noted:

The melody is of a Munster folk tune. The words are by the Irish poetess, Edith Wheeler. The song came to the McPeakes from Cathal O'Byrne, who organised stage ceilidhs at which Francis senior played as a young man.

Alex Campbell sang My Singing Bird in 1966 on this Transatlantic album Yours Aye, Alex. This track was also included in 2005 on his Castle anthology Been on the Road So Long.

Master fiddler Dave Swarbrick played the tune of The Singing Bird in 1976 on his eponymous Transatlantic album Swarbrick. He was accompanied by Savourna Stevenson on clarsach.

Ian Giles sang The Singing Bird, “a song I learnt from Mick Henry, a great Irish singer long residing in Oxford”, on his 1997 WildGoose CD The Amber Triangle.

Beryl Graeme sang The Singing Bird on her 1999 CD of “songs in the traditional manner”, Moth to a Flame. She noted:

Another traditional Irish song. Backed here with uillean pipes and vocals by Brien Howard. It was Keith Scowcroft's dad's favourite.

Lyrics

Ian Giles sings Singing Bird

I've seen the lark soar high at morn,
Heard his song up in the blue.
I have heard the blackbird pipe his note,
The thrush and the linnet too.
But there's none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird, as you,
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah
My singing bird, as you.

If I could lure my singing bird
From his high cosy nest,
Then I would take my singing bird
And would warm him to my breast.
For there's none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird, as you, …

Then I'll go climb a high, high tree
And I'll rob that wild bird's nest,
Then I'll take home my singing bird
To the arms that I love the best.
For there's none of them can sing so sweet
My singing bird, as you, …

(repeat first verse)

Beryl Graeme sings The Singing Bird

I have seen the lark soar high at morn,
Heard his song up in the blue.
I have heard the blackbird pipe his note,
The songbird and the linnet too.
But there's none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird, as you,
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah
My singing bird, as you.

Oh I'll go climb yon high, high tree
And I'll rob that wild bird's nest,
And I'll bring back that singing bird
To the arms that I love the best.
For there's none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird, as you, …

If I could lure my singing bird
From his own coy nest,
Then I'd take back that singing bird
Any lay it on my homeless breast.
For there's none of them can sing so sweet,
My singing bird, as you, …

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: My Singing Bird.