From the album One For the Road

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© Ralph McTell

Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: lead vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Bowerman: vocals, tinwhistle
Tara McCullough: fiddle

Best known for his classic song of homelessness, "Streets of London", Ralph McTell has been an influential figure in the British folk-scene for over four decades. "From Clare To Here" appeared on his 1976 release, "Right Side Up". The lament was written (as Ralph introduces it) after the chance comment by a young Irish lad he once worked with on a building site, "...its a long way from Clare to here." It is an artfully-composed song, with a melody that wanders from major to minor, evoking, as it goes, sentiments that wander from wistful to hopeful. Perhaps the greatest compliment to be paid to a songwriter is that Ralph has managed to infuse so timeless a quality into this song that people commonly mistake it for being traditional.

Lyrics

There's four who share the room, and we work hard for the crack. Sleeping late on Sundays, I never get to Mass.

And it's a long, long way from Clare to here. It's a long, long way from Clare to here. It's a long, long way, it gets further day by day. It's a long, long way from Clare to here.

And it almost breaks my heart when I think of Josephine - I told her I'd be coming home with pockets full of green.

And it's a long, long way from Clare to here, &c

When Friday night comes 'round and I'm only on for fighting... my ma would like a letter home but I'm too tired for writing.

And the only time I feel alright is when I'm on for drinking - it eases up the pain a bit, and levels out my thinking.

And it's a long, long way from Clare to here, &c

And I dream I hear a piper, but maybe it's a notion. I dream I see white horses dance upon that other ocean.

And it's a long, long way from Clare to here, &c