Songs of Murder, Madams and Mayhem

To celebrate Culture Night 2013 Marino Library held an evening of Dublin ballads with Anne and Niamh Buckley. The sisters delighted the packed audience with ballads that ranged from hearbreaking to gruesome. With these songs of murder, madams and mayhem perhaps staff member Anne is falling under the influence of the ghost of Marino born Bram Stoker and the library's Gothic Literature Collection!

If you'd like to hear more, good listeners are always welcome at An Góilín, Traditional Singer's Club based in The Teacher's Club, Parnell Square, Dublin. 

Niamh Buckley and Anne Buckley

The Bonny Light Horseman

The Bonny Light Horseman is a traditional English lament from the Napoleonic wars. This version is from Oisín and Geraldine MacGowan's 1980 LP Over the Moor to Maggie. Planxty also recorded a version on their 1979 album After the Break.

Listen to Anne Buckley and Niamh Buckley singing 'The Bonny Light Horseman', a traditional English lament from the Napoleonic wars, in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

Pirate Jenny

Pirate Jenny is from The Threepenny Opera by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill. It was adapted from The Beggar's Opera (1728) by John Gay and was first performed in Berlin in 1928. Check availability The Collected Plays of Bertolt Brecht in the library catalogue.

Listen to Anne Buckley and Niamh Buckley sing 'The Pirate Jenny' from The Threepenny Opera in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

The Spoons Murder

The Spoons Murder is a grisly murder ballad written by an extraordinary Cork man, Con "Fada" Ó Drisceoil. Con is a singer, songwriter and accordian player and member of The Four Star Trio. Con's humourous songs and ballads are published in Spoons Murder and other mysteries which also features a CD (2006).

Listen to Anne Buckley singing 'The Spoons Murder' in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

Madam I'm a Darling

Frank HarteThis is Frank Harte's version of Madam I'm a Darling. Frank Harte (1933-2005) was a Irish traditional singer, song collecter, architect and lecturer from Chapelizod, Dublin. He collected and published traditional folk songs and ballads of Dublin in Songs of Dublin.  He is celebrated every September with the annual Frank Harte Festival.

Listen to Anne Buckley and Niamh Buckley singing Madam I'm a Darling in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

The Two Sisters

The Two Sisters is Child Ballad number 10. The Child Ballads are a collection of 305 traditional songs collected by Francis James Child in the 19th century. They were originally published as Popular English and Scottish Ballads between 1882 and 1898. The Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads are available for reference in the Music Library.

Listen to Anne and Niamh Buckley singing Child Ballad number 10, 'The Two Sisters', in front of a live audience at Marino Library on Culture Night, 20 September 2013.

Good Bye George.

I lived to tell it all

This year witnessed the passing of one of the greatest country singers who ever lived, Frank Sinatra referred to him as “the second best male singer in the world”, George Jones.
His story is a dramatic rags to riches tale with broken marriages and alcohol problems, subjects which are often the content of country songs. 

His recent auto biography I Lived to Tell It All is available in Dublin City Public Libraries.

As a child he would play the guitar and sing for pennies. He rode on the bus for free because the driver would want to hear him sing. His first hit was White Lightening in 1959, even though he did not pen most of his own hits, like Elvis he was the great interpreter.

Man in Black: Johnny Cash (1932-2003)

I walked the lineJohnny Cash, American country singer and songwriter died nine years ago today. Cash established an international profile as an ambassador of American roots music. He overcame personal demons to reach superstar status in the late 1960s and continued to carve out his own career musically through the 1980s and 1990s. A prolific songwriter and an astute selector of songs from the pens of others, his music appeals to both rock and country audiences. Cash has been honoured for his commanding position in music history through election to the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992), and as a recipient of the Grammy Legend Award (1990).

He grew up in NE Arkansas during the Depression, where he worked in the cotton fields with his family, absorbing country and gospel music. He served four years in Germany in the US Air Force, where he first began to sing and write songs. When he returned from Germany, he successfully auditioned for the Sun Studios in Memphis in 1954, and there he found himself working alongside Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. He had hits in the country music charts, including  I walk the line which launched his career nationally and has become his signature tune. A move to Columbia Records in 1968 enabled him to appeal to both country and folk audiences, and, like Woody Guthrie, his song-writing chronicled life at the margins, often drawn from his own experiences.

Where Were You?

Where were you A very important and fascinating book was published this year, "Where Were You? Dublin Youth Culture & Street Style 1950-2000" by Garry O'Neil and Niall McCormack.

The book is a compilation of photographs documenting social and fashion scenes in Dublin. What sets this book apart is that there are no staged fashion shoots or celebrities, just amazing photographs of everyday people wearing what was in style and ordinary people with extraordinary style.

It's a very intimate account of street culture in Dublin. This feeling of intimacy is directly linked to the way in which the material was sourced. Posters were hung up in cafes, bars and shops around the city asking people to send in photos, rather then all the material being collected in newspaper archives.

Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)

Bound For GloryThis year sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, American folksinger and songwriter. He wrote more than 1000 songs, which were all influenced by his travels, and dealt with such themes as the hardship of the Depression, the "Dust Bowl" drought and the Unions. He is best known for the song "This land is Your Land" and "So long it's been good to know ya". Many of the songs he wrote during his illness were lost as they were not recorded.

In 1940, Alan Lomax began recording Guthrie's songs for the American Library of Congress. Around this time, he also met Pete Seeger in New York where Guthrie also performed with other activists, such as Lead Belly. During the 1950s and 1960s he became famous as a folk hero, influencing the younger generation of protest singers, such as, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and others.