When Two Lovers Meet

by Sarah McQuaid

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about

When I first came across traditional Irish music as a teenager, what drew me was the fire and the passion. I began playing jigs and reels because I loved the feeling of being swept up and carried away by a tune, losing myself in the current of the music. I also loved the feeling of connection with other musicians when you’re playing together in a session and the spark happens, the flow of energy between one player and another.

It took me a while to discover that all these elements are in the quieter tunes and songs as well, that a soft approach can still be a source of joy, intensity, even wildness. On this recording I’ve tried to bring out that gentler side of the music.

I’m so very grateful to all the people who contributed to this recording. Thanks to Trevor for his endless patience, for letting us take over his sitting room and kitchen, for his Exciting Chicken Dish and for his excellent ears. Thanks to Johnny, Colm, Kevin and Rod for coming in and playing, to Niamh for doing the song with me and to Dermot for manning the board when Trevor was off playing the double bass in Australia. Thanks to my mother, Iarla and Nora for teaching me songs and to Dáibhí for making sure I got the words right on Táim cortha. Thanks to Noel for getting me started playing tunes and for being my encyclopaedia when I ring him up to pick his brain! The Irish Traditional Music Archive on Merrion Square has also been a wonderful source of information and illumination. Most of all, thanks to Gerry for making this album what it is, for letting the production be spare and lonely, for his wonderful musicianship, for fussing over the details and for making sure we all ate well and took our vitamins.

credits

released 01 February 1997

Recorded and mixed at Marguerite Studios, Dublin
Produced by Gerry O’Beirne
Engineered by Trevor Hutchinson and Dermot Behan
Mastered by Frank MacNamara at Park House Studios
Booklet design and original cover artwork by Mary Guinan
Photography by Colm Henry

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about

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: Sprig Of Thyme
In my garden grew plenty of thyme
It would flourish by night and by day
’Til along came a lad and he took all I had
Stole all my thyme away
Stole all my thyme away

And I was a damsel fair
But fairer I wished to appear
So I bathed me in milk and I clothed me in silk
I put the sweet thyme in my hair
Put the sweet thyme in my hair

In June the red roses in bloom
It was not the flower for me
For I plucked the bud and it pricked me to blood
As I gazed on the willow tree
Gazed on the willow tree

Now the willow tree it will twist
And the willow tree it will twine
And I wish I were clasped in my lover’s arms fast
’Tis he that has stolen my thyme
’Tis he that has stolen my thyme

And it’s very good drinking of ale
But it’s better for drinking of wine
And I wish I were clasped in my lover’s arms fast
’Tis he that has stolen my thyme
’Tis he that has stolen my thyme
Track Name: When A Man’s In Love
When a man’s in love he feels no cold
Like me some time ago
Like a hero bold to seek his girl
He’ll plough through frost and snow

The moon she gently shed her light
Along my weary way
’Til I arrived at that sweet spot
Where all my treasure lay

I rapped at my love’s window saying
My dear are you within?
Slowly she unlocked the door
And slyly I slipped in.

Her hands so soft, her breath so sweet
Her tongue did gently glide
I stole my arms around her waist
And asked her to be my bride.

Take me to your chamber love
Oh take me to your bed
Take me to your chamber love
For to rest my weary head

Oh to take you to my chamber love
My parents would never agree
But sit you down by yon coal fire
And I’ll sit close by thee.

Many’s the night I’ve courted you
Against your parents’ will
But you never said you’d be my bride
So it’s now my dear sit still

For tonight I’m going to cross the sea
To far Columbia’s shore
And you will never never see
Your youthful lover more

Oh are you going to leave me now
Oh dear what can I do?
I’ll break through every bond of home
And go along with you

Perhaps my parents won’t forget
But surely they’ll forgive
For it’s from this hour, my dearest dear
Along with you I’ll live
Track Name: Johnny Lad
Oh do you know my Johnny, he lives down in yonder lea
And he’s sneaking round and creeping, he’s always watching me
I’ve told him I’ve no love for him and that I never had
Still there’s none on earth can please me like my own Johnny lad
And it’s you, Johnny laddie, and it’s you, my Johnny lad
Still there’s none on earth can please me like my own Johnny lad

When the sheep are in the fold and the cows are in the byre
And the other lads and lasses sitting round the roaring fire
It’s me silly lassie, just as like as if I’m mad
Through the hoops and barley stooks and teasing you, Johnny lad
Teasing you, Johnny laddie, teasing you, my Johnny lad
Through the hoops and barley stooks and teasing you, Johnny lad

My Johnny’s blithe and bonny, he’s the pride of yonder lea
And I love him more than any though he’s always teasing me
He teases me and squeezes me and tickles me like mad
None comes near me that can cheer me like my own Johnny lad
And it’s you, Johnny laddie, and it’s you, my Johnny lad
None comes near me that can cheer me like my own Johnny lad

Johnny’s not a gentleman nor yet is he a laird
But I’d follow Johnny lad, although he tends a herd
Johnny is a bonnie lad, was once a lad of mine
And I’ve never had a better love though I’ve had twenty-nine
And it’s you, Johnny laddie, and it’s you, my Johnny lad
And I’ve never had a better love than you,Johnny lad
And it’s you, Johnny laddie, and it’s you, my Johnny lad
And I’d dance the buckles off my shoes for you, Johnny lad
Track Name: Charlie’s Gone Home
Charlie’s gone home now
I drove him downtown and dropped him off at the station
I’m sweeping the floors now
Changing the sheets and organizing the kitchen
And the house is so quiet, it feels so strange
Only one hour and everything’s changed
It seems so empty
I feel so alone
It was a party that lasted a week and a half
We played music together and we drank and we laughed
And now it’s over
’Cause Charlie’s gone home

He came here one evening
I wasn’t expecting such a happy surprise
With his jokes and his teasing
He had me laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes
And Charlie’s got a whole lot of stories to tell
He has an endless supply and he tells them so well
He’s had a wild life
He likes to ramble and to roam
He’s been filling my head up with the things that he’s seen
The scrapes he’s got into and the places he’s been
But now they’re fading
’Cause Charlie's gone home

When Charlie is with me, my life is on hold
He takes all my time, things get out of control
And I should be relieved that I’m finally able to breathe again

Charlie’s gone home now
I drove him downtown and dropped him off at the station
I’m sweeping the floors now
Changing the sheets and organizing the kitchen
And the house is so quiet, it feels so strange
Only one hour and everything’s changed
It seems so empty
I feel so alone
It was a party that lasted a week and a half
We played music together and we drank and we laughed
And now it’s over
’Cause Charlie’s gone home
Track Name: When Two Lovers Meet
When two lovers meet down beneath the green bower
When two lovers meet down beneath the green tree
When Mary, fond Mary, did say unto her lover
You have stolen my fond heart by the banks of the Lee

For I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely
There is no one in this wide world I loved more than she
Every bush and every bower, every tree and every flower
Reminds me of my Mary on the banks of the Lee

Don’t stay out late tonight on the moorlands, my Mary
Don’t stay out late tonight on the moorlands from me
For it’s little was our notion when we sailed upon the ocean
That forever we’d be parted from the banks of the Lee

For I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely
There is no one in this wide world I loved more than she
Every bush and every bower, every tree and every flower
Reminds me of my Mary on the banks of the Lee

I will pluck my love some roses, some blooming Irish roses
I will pluck my love some roses, the finest ever grew
And I’ll place them on the grave of my own true loving Mary
In the cold and silent churchyard where she sleeps ’neath the dew

For I loved her very dearly, so true and sincerely
There is no one in this wide world I loved more than she
Every bush and every bower, every tree and every flower
Reminds me of my Mary on the banks of the Lee
Track Name: Táim Cortha ó Bheith im’ Aonar im’ Luí
Tráthnóinín déanach ’s mé dul a’ bhálcaoreacht
’Sea do dhearcas an spéirbhean a’ caoi
Airiú, d’fhiosraíosa féin di - gur labhair sí a scéal liom
Táim cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí, im luí
Táim cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí

One evening of late as I carelessly strayed
I espied a fair maid in deep mourn
I asked her the matter, she quickly made answer
I am weary from laying alone, alone
I am weary from laying alone

A’s a mhúirnín donn dílis, suigh anso taobh liom
Agus aithris dom scéala ar t’aois
A cúig a’s a sé a’s a’ sárú dhá naoi
A’s táim cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí, im luí
Táim chomh cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí

My comely young damsel, sit down here ’longside me
And tell me the years that have flown
Oh it’s seven and one and eleven years long
That I’m weary from laying alone, alone
That I’m weary from laying alone

Dá bhfaighinnse ógánach éigin do thógfadh gan spré mé
A’s go mbeinnse ’ge féinig mar mhnaoi
Ní chéilfinnse ar éinne é ’s do neosfainn don saol é
Go bhfuilim cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí, im luí
Go bhfuilim cortha ó bheith im’ aonar im’ luí

If I’d a comely young man would take me without fortune
And make me a wife of his own
For the truth is I’ll say is I’ll die in despair
If I lie any longer alone, alone
If I lie any longer alone

Tá róisín breá néata sa gháirdín seo taobh linne
Á, baineam a’s déanam é fhí
Mar is ró-ghearr ’na dhiaidh san go mbeadh sé ró-thraochta
Leis a naoi bhíodh ná h-aonar na luí, na luí
Leis a naoi bhíodh ná h-aonar na luí

There’s a neat sweet little flower in this garden ’longside us
Take it away, sure ’tis your own
For the flower it will fade, and so also will the maid
For she’s weary from laying alone, alone
For she’s weary from laying alone
Track Name: The Parting Glass
A man may drink and not be drunk
A man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl
And perhaps be welcome back again

But as it has so ordered been
What is, once past, can’t be recalled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh if I had money enough to spend
I’d spend it in good company
And for all the harm that I have done
I hope it’s pardoned I will be

But as it has so ordered been
What is, once past, can’t be recalled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh of all the friends that e’er I’ve had
They’re sorry for my going away
And of all the sweethearts that ever I’ve had
They’d wish me one more day to stay

But as it has so ordered been
What is, once past, can’t be recalled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all