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Slieve Gallon Braes

[ Roud 1420 ; Ballad Index DTslievg ; trad.]

Kathleen and Francis McPeake sang the exile song Slieve Gallon Brae on the McPeake Family's 1963 Topic album Irish Traditional Folk Songs and Music. This track was also included in 1966 on the Topic sampler Men at Work, in 2009 on the family's Topic compilation CD, Wild Mountain Thyme, and in 2009 on Topic's 70th anniversary anthology, Three Score and Ten. The original album's liner notes commented:

One of the airs Carl Hardebeck arranged. An exile song, associated with Slieve Gallon in the Sperrin Range. Romantic writers have associated the air with the Ossianic Enchantment of Finn Mac Cool, but there's no firm ground for this.

Packie Manus Byrne sang Slieve Gallon Brae in 1969 on his eponymous EFDSS album, Packie Byrne.

Bob Davenport and the Rakes sang Slieve Gallon Braes in 1977 on their Topic album 1977, referring in the sleeve notes to the McPeake Family.

Lis Johnston and Danny Spooner sang Slieve Gallon Braes on the 1978 album Danny Spooner and Friends. Danny Spooner noted:

It is not difficult to find songs about the Irish having to leave their native home, but there are few as poignant as this one.

The harsh taxed that were imposed on the Irish by the English are just one of the many reasons that to many Irish were forced to leave their country.

Swan Arcade sang Sliav Gallion Braes in 1990 on their CD Full Circle.

Colin MacAllister sang Sliabh Gallion Braes on Ian Walker and Sétanta's 1993 Fellside album Crossing the Borderlines. The album's notes commented:

This song of emigration is one of two songs bearing this title that Colin has sung for many years. Its traditional Gaelic air made it very popular during the revival of interest in Irish songs in the 50s and 60s. Experts agree that it was originally penned in the Irish language.

Carnival of Souls sang Slieve Gallen Braes in 1999 on their CD No Scone Unburned.

Peta Webb sang Slieve Gallon Braes in 2000 on her and Ken Hall's Fellside CD of songs and duets from English, Irish and American traditions, As Close As Can Be. This track was also included in 2006 on Fellside's 30th anniversary anthology, Landmarks. They noted:

Slieve Gallon Braes was learnt from our good friend and mentor the late Freddy McKay, a great singer and monologuist. It is associated with Freddy's compatriots The McPeake Family of Belfast.

Alistair Russell sang Slieve Gallion Braes in 2002 on his CD A19.

This video shows Sam Lee singing Slieve Gallon Braes in May 2015 live on In Tune on BBC Radio 3, accompanied by Kathryn Tickell:

Lyrics

Kathleen and Francis McPeake sing Slieve Gallon Brae

As I went a-walking one morning in May,
To view yon fair valleys and mountains so gay,
I was thinking on these flowers, all going to decay,
That grows around ye bonny, bonny Slieve Gallen brae.

'S not for the want of employment at home,
That causes the sons of dear Ireland to roam.
It's the taxes getting higher and I can no longer stay,
So farewell unto ye bonny, bonny Slieve Gallen brae.

Oft o'er these mountains with my dog and my gun,
I've rambled these mountains for joy and for fun,
But these days are now all over for I am far away,
So farewell unto ye, bonny, bonny Slieve Gallen brae.

Colin MacAllister sings Sliabh Gallion Braes

As I was a-walking one morning in May,
To view yon fair valleys and mountains so gay,
I was thinking on yon flowers, all going to decay,
That bloom around you bonny, bonny Sliabh Gallion Braes.

'Tis often I wandered, my dog and my gun,
I wandered these mountains for joy and for fun.
But these days they are now over, and I can no longer stay;
So farewell unto you bonny, bonny Sliabh Gallion Braes.

'Tis often I wandered, and the sun is in the west,
I've roamed hand in hand with the girl I love best.
But the hopes of youth are vanished and I must far away;
So farewell unto you bonny, bonny Sliabh Gallion Braes.

It's not for the want of employment at home
That causes the sons of Old Ireland to roam
But the taxes getting higher, and I can no longer stay;
So farewell unto you bonny, bonny Sliabh Gallion Braes.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Sliabh Gallion Braes.