Latest update on 02/02/2015

Artist: Lena Bourne Fish
Author: traditional
Label: Appleseed
Year: 1941

Frank Warner recording, the same folklorist who digged up Tom Dooley and who also had a hand in the oldest House Of The Rising Sun recording (see there). Reissued on the Warner collection Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still. Mrs. Bourne Fish from Bourne, Massachusetts was the last of a dynasty of song collectors. Just when she thought her treasure would die with her, there's this song catcher at her door with ambulant recording equipment. No wonder she lived up to sing him everything she knew. Her Gilgarrah Mountain was rather a corruption of existing mountains in Ireland. Irish versions of the song mention the Wicklow Mountains, Kilmagenny Mountain, Cork & Kerry Mountains or Kilgarry Mountains.



Seamus Ennis [Alan Lomax recording as Whiskey In The Jar, released on 12 inch lp for Columbia in '55, probably the first lp of traditional Irish music ever released, by an American who later repeated this pioneering songcatching in England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania, Russia, Africa and India]


Ewan MacColl [idem]


Chad Mitchell Trio [with Roger McGuinn]


Bob Gibson [as Gilgarry Mountain (Darlin' Sportin' Jenny)]


Highwaymen [idem]


Two Tones [Tommy Whelan and Gordon Lightfoot on live abum (Chateau)]


Peter, Paul & Mary [idem]


Dubliners [idem]


Thin Lizzy [also Irish; intended as a joke, fooling around with the Clancy Brothers' approach (a bit like Elvis did with Blue Moon Of Kentucky - see there)]


Spinners [not the US soul group but the UK folk ensemble]


Pogues [and Dubliners]


Jerry Garcia & David Grisman [idem]


Metallica [Thin Lizzy fans]


The King [genuine Elvis impersonator]


Roger McGuinn [with Tommy Makem of Clancy Brothers fame]


Irish Tenors [all as Whiskey In The Jar]

Immortal folksong, originally from County Kerry (Ireland), about an outlaw highwayman who steals for booze and broads. According to Alan Lomax this rawdy ballad probably predates John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1720s), also featuring Robin Hood-alike highwaymen. Versions from Ireland to Nova Scotia and West Virginia. Picked up by emigrated Irish in America like The Clancy Brothers, passed on to The Highwaymen during the folk boom and so back to Ireland and The Dubliners. Why are there no older Irish versions? We all to easily assume pub singing is an age old Irish tradition. It is not. It only became popular since women were allowed in these places.


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

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