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> The Albion County Band > Songs > Banks of the Bann

Banks of the Bann

[ Roud 889 ; Laws O2 ; Henry H86 ; Ballad Index LO02 ; Bodleian Roud 889 ; trad.]

Joseph Higgins sang The Banks of the Bann in a recording made by Peter Kennedy for the BBC in May 1953. It was included in 2012 on the Topic anthology Good People, Take Warning: Ballads sung by British and Irish Traditional Singers (The Voice of the People Series Volume 23).

A.L. Lloyd recorded Banks of the Bann in 1966 for his album The Best of A.L. Lloyd, accompanied by Alf Edwards on concertina. Lloyd wrote in the album's sleeve notes:

The pearl of separation song, not so much for its text as for its grand and graceful tune. The words seem like an amiable specimen of poetry made in the 10th century by some tattered heir of a bardic tradition. The tune sounds as if it may be at least a century older, composed at a time when the folk harpers and fiddlers were becoming acquainted with Händel and Corelli. The River Bann is in north-eastern Ireland. The song was doubtless brought to England by Ulster labourers. I've not seen a printed set of it.

Shirley Collins sang Banks of the Bann in 1971 on her and the Albion Country Band's album No Roses. In the album's sleeve notes she quoted A.L. Lloyd as her source and she commented:.

I knew the tune as a child. The hymn Lord of All Hopefulness, Lord of All Joy was set to it. It's an Irish tune, of course, and much better suited to a love song.

This recording was also included in 1974 on the compilation Rave On and in 2002 on Shirley Collins' anthology Within Sound.

Bram Taylor sang Banks of the Bann in 1986 on the Fellside 10th Anniversary anthology Flash Company and in 1997 on his Fellside album Pick of the Grinner.

Mick Ryan & Pete Harris sang The Banks of the Bann in 2006 on their WildGoose CD The Island of Apples. They commented:

This was learned from Sean Cannon, and comes from the north of Ireland. Anyone who has been to South Armagh will recognise the description of ‘those lovely green mountains’ as especially vivid.

Andy Turner learned Banks of the Bann from Shirley Collins' album. He sang it as the January 7, 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

The Norfolk Broads sang The Banks of the Bann on their 2017 CD In the Valley of the Flowers.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Banks of the Bann

When first to this country a stranger I came
I placed my affection on a maid that was young,
She being fair and tender, her waist small and slender
Kind fortune had formed her for my overthrow.

On the banks of the Bann it was there I first met her,
She appeared like some goddess or Egypt's fair queen,
Her eyes were like diamonds or the stars brightly shining.
She's the fairest of all in this wide world I've seen.

'T was her cruel parents that first caused a variance
Because she is rich and above my degree.
But I'll do my endeavour for to gain my love's favour
Although she is come of a grand family.

My name is Delaney, it's a name that won't shame me
And if I'd saved money I'd never have roamed.
But drinking and sporting, night rambling and courting
Are the cause of my ruin and me absence from home.

Oh had I the riches that are in the Indies,
And half of the treasure that's in the Queen's store,
It's there on the banks of the lovely Bann River
In all kinds of splendour I'd live with my dear.

Shirley Collins sings Banks of the Bann

When first to this country a stranger I came
I laid my affections on a girl that was young,
She being fair and tender, her waist small and slender
Fond nature had formed her for my overthrow.

On the banks of the Bann it was there I first met her,
She appeared like an angel or Egypt's fair queen,
Her eyes were like diamonds or stars brightly shining.
She's one of the fairest in the world that I've seen.

It was her cruel parents that first caused a variance
Because they are rich and above my degree.
But I'll do my endeavour to gain my love's favour
Although she is come of a high family.

My name is Delaney, it's a name that won't shame me
And if I'd saved money I would never have roamed.
But drinking and sporting, night rambling and courting
Are the cause of all me ruin and absence from home.

Now had I the riches that are in the Indies,
I'd put rings on her fingers and gold in her ears.
It's there on the banks of the lovely Bann River
In all kinds of splendour I'd live with my dear.

Acknowledgements

Lyrics copied from the Digital Tradition at the Mudcat Café and adapted to the actual singing of A.L. Lloyd by Reinhard Zierke.