Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brennan On The Moor

(Song starts at 01:33)
Traditional Irish

Rise Up Singing chapter: Ballads & Old Songs, p.8
I don't like the Rise Up Singing chords, so I'm not even going to write them here. They won't help you do it the way I do it. They'll work, but they won't rock. Probably whoever chorded it for Rise Up Singing had a slightly different melody in mind which fit a little more justly.

Verses: A - D A / / / D - A E
Chorus: A - C#m - / D A E A

These are the lyrics I sing. They come from here http://www.bobdylanroots.com/brennan....
although you'll see I've altered them slightly, of course, because that's the folk process, isn't it? Part of it, anyway. Enjoy.

It's of a fearless highwayman a story now I'll tell:
His name was Willie Brennan, and in Ireland he did dwell;
'Twas on the Limerick mountains he commenced his wild career,
Where many a wealthy gentleman before him shook with fear.

Brennan on the moor, Brennan on the moor
Bold, brave and undaunted was young Brennan on the moor
A brace of loaded pistols he carried night and day,
He never robbed a poor man upon the King's highway;
But what he'd taken from the rich, like Turpin and Black Bess,
He always did divide it with the widow in distress.

One night he robbed a packman, his name was [Pedlar] Bawn;
They travelled on together, till day began to dawn;
The pedlar seing his money gone, likewise his watch and chain,
At once encountered Brennan and robbed him back again.

When Brennan saw the pedlar was as good a man as he,
He took him on the highway, his companion for to be;
The pedlar threw away his pack without any delay,
And proved a faithful comrade until his dying day.

One day upon the highway Willie he sat down,
He met the Mayor of Cashel, a mile outside the town;
The Mayor he knew his features, "I think, young man," said he,
"Your name is Willie Brennan, you must come along with me."

As Brennan's wife had gone to town provisions for to buy,
When she saw her Willie, she began to weep and cry;
He says, "Give me that tenpence;" as soon as Willie spoke,
She handed him the blunderbuss from underneath her cloak.

Then with his loaded blunderbuss, the truth I will unfold,
He made the Mayor to tremble, and robbed him of his gold;
One hundred pounds was offered for his apprehension there,
And with his horse and saddle to the mountains did repair.

Then Brennan being an outlaw upon the mountain high,
Where cavalry and infantry to take him they did try,
He laughed at them with scorn, until at length, it's said,
By a false-hearted young man he was basely betrayed.

In the County Tipperary, in a place they call Clonmore,
Willie Brennan and his comrade that day did suffer sore;
He lay among the ferns which were thick upon the field,
And nine bullet wounds he had received before that he did yield.

Then Brennan and his companion knowing they were betrayed,
He with the mounted cavalry a noble battle made;
He lost his foremost finger, which was shot off by a ball;
So Brennan and his comrade they were taken after all.

So they were taken prisoners, in irons they were bound,
And conveyed to Clonmel jail, strong walls did them surround;
They were tried and both found guilty and the judge made this reply,
"For robbing on the King's highway you're both condemned to die."

Farewell unto my wife, and to my children three,
Likewise my agèd father, may he shed no tears for me,
And to my loving mother, who tore her locks and cried,
Saying, "I wish now Willie Brennan, in your cradle you had died."

They hanged Brennan at the crossroads, in chains he hung and dried,
But still they say that, in the night, some do see him ride
They see him with his blunderbuss, all in the midnight chill
All, along the King's highway rides Willie Brennan still!

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