Journeys of the Heart

I Know My Love
(trad. Irish)
DC—vocals, octave mandolin; RP—ethereal background vocal harmony

A song from Cork City which I first learned from Cork singer Jimmy Crowley. The dance halls mentioned are, sadly, long gone from the Mardyke Walk.

(trad. Scottish)
DC—vocals, guitar, fiddles

I learned this from the singing of Dick Gaughan. The song is included in Child’s Ballads and most versions are sung in a broad Scots dialect. I translated much of the Scots idiom into more standard English here.

The Coleraine Jig/Green Hills of Glentown/Maids of Mt. Kisco
(trad Irish and Irish-American)
DC—fiddle, octave mandolin

Three fiddle tunes, a jig and two reels, that I’ve always liked. I got them respectively from Frankie Gavin, Dale Russ, and an old Michael Coleman recording.

True Thomas
(Danny Carnahan)
DC—vocal, guitar; Pat Klobas—double bass

I wrote this song around a very old Child ballad based on the 13th century legend of Thomas Rymer of Ercildoun. Thomas was said to have visited the land of Faery and returned with the gift of prophesy and a tongue that could not lie. Most recent versions of the ballad leave off at the point where Thomas is taken to the other world, but one 14th century version in Middle English recounts what happened afterwards and how Thomas returned to earth. I based my lyrics on this older story.

The Bailliff’s Daughter of Islington/The Mad Otter’s Holt
(trad English/Danny Carnahan, after trad. Scottish)
DC—vocals, octave mandolin, fiddle; RP—vocal harmony; Chris Caswell—bodhran

A Child ballad from near London with new lyrics and music added. I first heard a version of this ballad sung by Mary and Josephine O’Neill in Dublin. The tune at the end is an “unreel” based on a reel called “The Otter’s Holt.”

Breton Dances*
(trad. Breton)
DC—guitar, octave mandolin, DX7 synthesizer; RP—hammered dulcimer

Two slightly superimposed nameless dances from Brittany.

Turas Go Tír Na n’Óg
(trad. Irish)

This Gaelic lullaby I learned from Mick Fitzgerald who had it from his mother. Titled in English “Journey to the Land of the Young” it is a plaintive lament for lost youth, the singer wishing for the chance to sail away to a land “where there dwells charity of heart between houses in peace.” I am indebted to Jim Duran, Dennis King, and Aodh Og O Tuama for their help in translation and pronunciation of the Irish lyrics.

Loughrask/The Close Call
(Danny Carnahan)
DC—vocals, guitar, octave mandolin, DX7 synthesizer, fiddle; Michael Schippling—noise sculpture ocean sounds

Several years ago I was told a story in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare about a 1000 year old legend of the “Hag of Loughrask.” At a time when the O Lochlainn’s were Kings of the Burren, the craggy limestone plain in Clare, the Hag appeared over tiny Loughrask and warned the O Lochlainn army against fighting that day. O Lochlainn ignored the warning and he and his entire army died in the ensuing battle. The story seemed to be a particularly clear example of the futility of war and since no ballads dealt with it, I wrote this one. The tune played before the song as a march and after as a jig is one I wrote for my father.

Summer Nights
(Mick Fitzgerald)
DC—vocal, guitar; RP—vocal harmony, hammered dulcimer

Mick Fitzgerald penned this portrait of Dublin about ten years ago. The clock mentioned is a point of assignation where young lovers sneak off for clandestine meetings.

The Black Dodder
(Mick Fitzgerald)
DC—vocal, octave mandolin, cello; RP—vocal

I heard Mick sing this song the first day we met in 1978 and loved it immediately. The Black Doder is a tiny rivulet that empties into the Liffey just before the larger river flows from Dublin into the Irish Sea.

A Dram to Warm the Piper
(Danny Carnahan)
DC—vocals, guitar; RP—vocal harmony, hammered dulcimer

I wrote this as a toast to a house full of dear friends at a Twelfth Night party a few years back. I still save it mostly for holidays.

Produced by Danny Carnahan.
Engineered and mixed by John Altmann at Dave Wellhausen Studios, San Francisco, CA.
Photography by Irene Young.
Graphics by Danny Carnahan.
Production assistance by Peggy DeMouthe.
Copyright © 1984, 1989 by Danny Carnahan.
Originally released on cassette in 1984. The last three tracks were added for the 1989 CD release as DNA/Celtoid 70102.

* ”Breton Dances” was remixed in 1999 with synthesizer replaced by real fiddle and other instruments added (Barry Phillips on cello and percussion, Shelley Phillips on oboe) for the compilation CD “Celtic Voyage” (Gourd Music GM-128). This Gourd release and several others featuring Danny Carnahan are readily available. Check out