I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning

by Sarah McQuaid

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about

Dedicated to the memory of my mother, Jane Addams Allen Guthrie (1935-2004)

My mother never performed professionally, but she had a lovely natural style of singing and playing guitar. She grew up in Chicago, and as a teenager she spent her summers volunteering at Quaker work camps run by the American Friends Service Committee in Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia. I believe that’s where she first became acquainted with the music of Jean Ritchie, Peggy Seeger and other folk singers and song collectors.

My mother died in January of 2004, and it’s only since then that I’ve developed the urge to revisit the songs she and I used to sing together when I was a child. When I discovered traditional Irish music at the age of 18, it had such a powerful impact on me that for many years I had no interest in singing or playing anything else. My first album, When Two Lovers Meet, consisted entirely of traditional Irish material, bar one song that I wrote myself.

I still love Irish music, but in recent years I’ve been turning more and more to the Southern Appalachian songs and tunes that I grew up with. I can’t help feeling that this is part of a cathartic process that has to do with my mother’s death, the births of my son the year before she died and my daughter the year after, and the fact that I’m now living, with my husband and children, in what was once my mother’s house.

All the songs on this recording have powerful emotional resonances for me, and all are connected one way or another to my mother, so it’s appropriate that I dedicate this album to her. I miss her more than I could ever express in words, and it will always be a source of great sorrow and regret to me that she and her grandchildren never had the opportunity to get to know one another.

Back in 1997, I made my aforementioned debut CD in Trevor Hutchinson’s home studio in Glasnevin, Dublin, with Gerry O’Beirne producing and Trevor at the controls. A decade on, I returned to the same place to record the follow-up with the same team. I’m so very glad that I did. Gerry and Trevor, I can’t thank you enough. Thanks also to Liam, Máire and Rosie for their contributions; it’s an honour to have five musicians of such a high calibre on my album. Thanks to Mary Guinan, my son’s godmother and my great friend, for her lovely artwork and design and for letting me use her Dublin flat as a crash pad during the two weeks of recording. Thanks to Alastair for the photos and to Sander for the mastering. And infinite thanks to my husband, Feargal Shiels, for his patience, tolerance and love. Eli and Lily Jane are lucky children to have you as a dad.

Since making this recording I’ve had a beautiful new guitar made for me by Andy Manson (www.andymanson.com), but at the time I was still playing my 1965 Martin D-28, which I’ve owned for almost two decades and still love dearly. Both guitars are fitted with Fishman Matrix pickups, and when playing live I use a Trace Elliott Acoustic pre-amp. The strings I use, again on both guitars, are made by John Pearse (www.jpstrings.com); I use his 80/20 Bell Bronze set, Medium gauge – .013 to .056 – and would highly recommend them to any player.

credits

released 28 October 2008
Produced by Gerry O’Beirne
Engineered by Trevor Hutchinson
Recorded and mixed at Marguerite Studios, Glasnevin, Dublin
Mastered by Sander van der Heide at Polyhymnia International, Baarn, The Netherlands
Design and original cover artwork by Mary Guinan
Photography by Alastair Bruce
Supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon under the Deis funding scheme for the traditional arts

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Sarah McQuaid Penzance, UK

Rising star Sarah McQuaid’s voice has been likened to malt whiskey, melted chocolate and “honey poured into wine” (Minor 7th). A captivating performer, she seduces her audience with cheeky banter and stories from the road, as well as with stunning musicianship; in her hands, the guitar becomes much more than merely an accompanying instrument. ... more

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Track Name: The Chickens They Are Crowing
The chickens they are crowing, a-crowing, a-crowing
The chickens they are crowing
For it is ’most daylight

The boys they come a-courting, a-courting, a-courting
The boys they come a-courting
And then they stay all night

I won’t go home ’til morning, ’til morning, ’til morning
I won’t go home ’til morning
I’m staying away all night

My mother she will scold me, will scold me, will scold me
My mother she will scold me
For staying away all night

My father he’ll uphold me, uphold me, uphold me
My father he’ll uphold me
He’ll say I done a-right

And the chickens they are crowing, a-crowing, a-crowing
The chickens they are crowing
For it is ’most daylight
Track Name: West Virginia Boys
Come on all you Virginia gals and listen to my noise
Don’t you mess around with West Virginia boys
If’n you do your ration will be
Cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea

When he comes a-courtin’ he’ll bring along a chair
First thing he’ll say, my daddy killed a deer
Next thing he’ll say, before he sits down
Honey can you bake your Johnny cakes brown

When he comes a-courtin’, tell you what he’ll wear
Long tail coat, just about to tear
Pair of old boots with the tops turned down
Pair of cotton socks that he wears the year round

When he comes a-courtin’ he’ll whisper in your ear
First it’s honey lamb and then it’s dear
After you’re married, no such thing
Get up and fix my breakfast, you good-for-nothin’ thing

Come on all you Virginia gals and listen to my noise
Don’t you mess ’round with West Virginia boys
If’n you do your ration will be
Cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea
Track Name: Uncloudy Day
Oh they tell me of a land far beyond the skies
Oh they tell me of a home far away
Oh they tell me of a land where no storm clouds rise
Oh they tell me of an uncloudy day

Oh they tell me there’s no sickness or danger there
Oh they tell me of that home far away
Oh they tell me that He smiles on His children there
In the city that is made of gold

Oh they tell me of a land of eternal sun
Oh they tell me of a home far away
Oh they tell me of a land where my friends have gone
To the city that is made of gold
Track Name: Wondrous Love
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, O my soul
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss
To send such perfect peace to my soul, to my soul
To send such perfect peace to my soul

To God and to the Lamb I will sing (repeat as before)
To God and to the Lamb who is the great I am
And Christ the son of man, I will sing (repeat as before)

When we’re from sorrow free, we’ll sing on (repeat as before)
When we’re from sorrow free, we’ll rise and joyous be
And through eternity we’ll sing on (repeat as before)
Track Name: Only An Emotion
Cheer up, it might never happen
Said the stranger in the street
Well, it already did
But that’s life
And loss is nothing new to me
The doctor says I need a little something
To get me through this difficult time
But I’ve got a reason
For my state of mind

Chorus:
It’s only an emotion
There’s no problem here to solve
It’s natural
I’m feeling sad
That’s all

Since when did grief become
An illness to be cured
We don’t wear black any more
We don’t mourn
We don’t talk about it, that’s for sure
We smile like obedient children
And we swallow the pills prescribed
’Cause the power of our anguish
Has us terrified

(Chorus)

And today I saw a funny thing
That made me crack a smile
The colours all seem brighter
And my soul is getting lighter
It just takes a little while

(Chorus)
Track Name: In The Pines
The longest train I ever saw
Came down that Georgia line
The engine passed at six o’clock
And the cab passed by at nine

Chorus:
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun never shines
And we shiver when the cold winds blow
Ooh ...

I asked the captain for the time of day
He said he throwed his watch away
It’s a long steel rail and a short cross tie
I’m on my way back home

(Chorus)

Little girl, little girl, where’d you stay last night
Not even your mother knows
Well I stayed in the pines where the sun never shines
And we shiver when the cold winds blow

(Chorus)
Track Name: East Virginia
I was born in east Virginia
North Carolina I did roam
There I met a fair pretty maiden
Her name and age I do not know

Her hair it was of a brightsome color
And her lips were a ruby red
On her breast she wore white lilies
There I long to lay my head

I’d rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun refused to shine
Than to see you another man’s darling
And to know you’d never be mine

For in the night I’m dreaming ’bout you
And in the day I can take no rest
Just the thought of you my darling
Sends aching pains right through my breast

And when I’m dead and in my coffin
With my feet turned to the sun
Come and sit beside me darling
Come and think on the way you done

For in my heart you are my darling
And at my gate you’re welcome in
At my door I’ll meet you my darling
If your love I could only win
Track Name: The Wagoner’s Lad
Oh hard is the fortune of all womankind
We’re always controlled, we’re always confined
Controlled by our fathers until we’re made wives
Then slaves to our husbands for the rest of our lives

I am a poor young girl, my fortune is sad
For once I was courted by the wagoner’s lad
He courted me fairly by night and by day
And now he is loaded and going away

Your parents don’t like me because I am poor
They say I’m not worthy to enter your door
I work for my living, my money’s my own
And if people don’t like me they can leave me alone

Your horses are hungry, come feed them some hay
Come sit down beside me as long as you stay
My horses ain’t hungry, they won’t eat your hay
I’m going to Wyoming, they can graze on the way

Your wagon needs greasing, your whip is to mend
Come sit down beside me for as long as you can
My wagon is loaded, my whip in my hand
So fare thee well, darling, no longer to stand

Then he cracked his big whip and away he did go
And that was a grief to this girl, you must know
If ever I see him I’ll crown him with joy
And I’ll kiss the sweet lips of my wagoner boy

I can love you right lightly or I can love long
I can stay with an old love ’til a new one comes on
I can court him and kiss him and keep him with ease
Then turn my back on him and court whom I please
Track Name: Last Song
When I was a little girl tucked in my bed at night
I’d have the door cracked open and I’d watch that thread of light
I’d listen to my mother as she played her old guitar
I’d say, do ‘Froggy Went A-Courtin’ for the next one
She’d say all right, but now this has to be the last song

Chorus:
Are you still awake
Go to sleep, child
The sun is down, you’re safe and sound
The sandman’s on his way
Honey, close your eyes
Time to be quiet now
’Til you wake up in the morning
And start another day

Years have passed and now I’m trying to learn some sweet old tune
In the hall I’ve got the light on so it shines into your room
You’re talking to your teddy bears and playing with your dolls
You should have been asleep an hour ago I’m thinking
Is it my mother’s voice or mine that I hear asking

(Chorus)

She left this world too soon to ever know you
She never got to see your little face
And I wish with all my heart
That she’d lived long enough to hold you
Long enough to kiss your cheek
And stroke your head and say

(Chorus)

Froggy went a-courtin’ and he did ride, mm-hmm
Froggy went a-courtin’ and he did ride
Sword and pistol by his side, mm-hmm