Steve wrote the words to Ramblin' The Moors as a tribute
and affectionate farewell to his parents, Alice and Joe, who,
in their youth, spent many happy Sundays on the moors of Cheshire
and Derbyshire, in Northern England. Georgiana Hennessy, of
Atlantic Crossing, wrote the music.
Speaking of Georgiana, Steve and Michele learned Jessica's Polka,
by Mick Hanly, from her many years ago, in another band. Kesh Jig
is a favorite at local jams and sessions, and it was Brad's idea to
tie them together.
Southwind is well known as an instrumental, but we didn't know
there were words to it until Betty Glasser, our first publicly declared
groupie, steered us to these from the singing of Archie Fisher. In the
song, an Irishman who is in the southern province of Munster asks the
warm south wind to carry his kisses northward to his beloved County
Mayo. This song goes a long way toward confirming our suspicion that
the Irish are congenitally homesick. Al Missbrenner adds button
accordion to this piece.
This set starts with Farewell, a traditional Scottish air that Laurel
found in Robin Williamson's Tin Whistle Tutor, but as it progresses,
farewells turn to hellos, and a travelling lad meets the girl of his
dreams in the ever-popular Irish ballad The Star Of The County
Down. The third verse is rarely-sung, and Dan found it in an Irish
song anthology. Laurel adapted her alto recorder harmony from a
recording by The Barolk Folk.
Dan literally chased Glendale-based harper Dennis Doyle all over
Southern California to learn The Red-Haired Man's Wife, an old
and (what else?) unhappy love ballad. It was originally translated
from the Irish by Sean Cannon, who was able to maintain much of
the intraline rhyming that is common in Gaelic poetry. A tribute to
the never-say-die romantic spirit! We are pleased to have Bruce
Boyer and Barry Fisher playing guitar on this piece.
Karen learned Searching For Lambs from Sylvia Woods. The tune
is found throughout the British Isles, and several vocal versions have
been recorded. June found the traditional Scottish MacKinnon Brook,
and Michele came up with the happy idea of linking the two.
Sir Hugh Roberton wrote the words to The Mingulay Boat Song in
the 1930s, for his Glasgow Orpheus Choir. For the tune, he used a
traditional air from the region of Loch Treig. Mingulay is a now-
abandoned fishing village in the Hebrides (or Western Isles), off
Scotland. See Derek Cooper's The Road to Mingulay, (Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1985).
The words to The Sailor Is Home were written by Steve, and
Jessie Kelly supplied the tune. Andy Fitzpatrick was the much-
beloved head of the Sea Scout base in Newport Beach for many years,
and Steve and Michele enjoyed several trips on the Scouts' topsail
ketch, Argus. Andy died in 1989, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
The first song written for the group by Karen, Take Me Away was
inspired by the love of sailing that she shares with her husband, Ed.
This is for all of us who would rather be somewhere away from the
Just to prove that Steve writes about subjects other than death, we
include I Wish We Could Waltz There Again, for which Laurel
wrote the music. Several of the Tinkers met for the first time at the
contra dances held at the Anaheim Cultural Arts Center, a wonderful
old hall that is now a parking lot. Reminiscing about those nights, and
lost and found friends, inspired the song. We have Lois Boyer, of
Cottonwood, to thank for her original February Waltz, on which she
also plays hammered dulcimer, while her husband Bruce adds a guitar part.
Canadian novelist Charles de Lint published The Tinker's Black
Kettle in his book The Little Country, and kindly gave us permission
to record it. It fits in very nicely with our signature tune, The Jolly
Tinker, which Dan learned from (who else?) the Clancy Brothers.
Lois Boyer suggested this medley of traditional Irish dance tunes,
although we changed the order. Starting with O'Keefe's Slide we
proceed along The Road to Lisdoonvarna (site of a famous marriage
festival) and reach a rousing conclusion with The Swallowtail Jig,
on which we are again joined by Al Missbrenner.
A former kingdom in Northwest Spain, Galicia was populated by Celtic
peoples in the 9th Century. Traces of this Celtic culture remain today,
especially in family and place names, and such tunes as this Galician
Waltz, which June learned at a Maggie Sansone workshop.
Back to our home page!