From the recording One For the Road
Traditional melody, lyrics by Fred Weatherly
Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: lead vocals
Rachel Bowerman: vocals
Tara McCullough: fiddle
"Danny Boy" is the first of four songs that Lloyd requested we include on this recording. It was written by an English lawyer, Frederic E Weatherly (1848-1929), who was also a radio-entertainer and a prolific songwriter (with 1500 published lyrics). In 1910, he wrote a song he titled "Danny Boy" that didn't quite catch on. A year later, Percy Grainger, an Australian composer, composed and published a highly-regarded setting of a traditional melody called "Air from County Derry" (later "The Londonderry Air"). Another year later, Margaret Weatherly (Fred's sister-in-law, now living in Ouray, Colorado) heard some Roe Valley gold-prospectors playing the lovely tune, immediately thought of Fred, and persuaded them to let her have a copy of the tune, which she sent to him. Fred noticed that the melody perfectly fitted his "Danny Boy" lyrics and published a revised version in 1913. It was an immediate success, and went on to become his most acclaimed work. Ironically, as far as is known, Weatherly never set foot in Ireland. Obviously, "Danny Boy" is one of our most-requested pieces. We began doing a simple guitar-and-voice arrangement of it rather early in our performing as a band, and (some of us... Mary...) never really saw the need to ornament it much - which is as much a compliment to Mary's beautiful delivery as it is to the charm of the song.
Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling - from glen to glen, and down the mountainside. The summer's gone, and all the roses falling, 'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide. But come ye back when summer's in the meadow, or when the valley's hushed and white with snow. It's I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow. Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
But when ye come, and all the flowers are dying... if I am dead (as dead I well may be) you'll come and find the place where I am lying, and kneel and say an Avè there for me. And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me, and all my grave will warmer, sweeter be - for you will bend and tell me that you love me. And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.