Good songs for a Session?

Good songs for a Session?

Anybody got any good ideas for songs in a session?

Getting tired of the bog standard Irish session songs, - Christy Moore stuff, Mary Black stuff, Star of the County Down etc.

I do the odd Paul Brady song, but I’m trying to think of folky type songs that would work well too like artists like Dylan, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn etc.

Any ideas?

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Re: Good songs for a Session?

Dick Gaughan!!!!!!

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Parcel of Rogues

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Prefer the old Irish stuff like Ó Ró Sé do Bheath Abhaile, An Poc ar Buile, Mo Ghile Mear, Thady Quill - in fact most songs with a chorus so that we can all have a go!

Re: Good songs for a Session?

"Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time" by Luka Bloom. It’s based on the "Kesh Jig" melody, so as long as there is one melody player who knows what bit to play when, most other players at a session can join in.

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Any. It breaks up the monotony of that old fiddly dee, which all sounds the same.

"Let’s talk dirty in Hawiian" by John Prine goes down well.

My own blues composition "All the women love me" is the most popular item at our session. Maybe it needs me to put it across.

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The Ying Tong Song by those well known Celts Spike Milligan (Indian/ Irish) & Harry Secome (Welsh)!

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My Way…I’m not kidding, a guy actually sang it at a session one night. Which beggars the question "Why do crap singers, from the audience think that a session is just the place to sing rebel songs, or even worse ‘Willie McBride’ and then get nasty if you don’t accompany them.

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Good songs for a session? Oxymoron

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Dainty Davey. The Prickly Bush

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Who are you calling a moron?

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Lord Franklin, Little Pot Stove, Bold Riley - some good sea songs around with strong and often haunting tunes, and you don’t have to be a diva to join in.

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A good song to end with is the venerable "Parting Glass". Or for a more modern song, similar sentiment, "So Here’s to You". Somewhat more tear-jerking when sung at a funeral, which I plan to do this weekend.

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I do "Lord Franklin" on guitar/singing, badly, but no-one in N.Ireland has ever heard of the song so not a good choice. No good singing unless the punters know the song, isn’t that right Mr Llig?

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"Nine Old Hoors" always goes down well around here.
Or should it be "go" ?

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Re: Good songs for a Session?

Therre’s a deadly song called Fields of Athenry. Any time i’ve heard it sung, everybody always sang along. Really good atmosphere

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Sounds interesting copo24
maybe you should put the tune and words up here

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Re: Good songs for a Session?

I *like* The Fields Of Athenry! In England we don’t get it 24 / 7.

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Im not entirely sure of the verses, but i do know there’s a refrain of "HEY BABY LET THE FREE BIRD FLY" and then "SINN FEIN" followed by "IRA". Great fun. That’s what it must’ve been like in the old country house parlours centuries ago.

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I was in a session once and fella started to sing ‘Factory Girl’
at least 9 verses (and some i think he added just for fun)…..
Anyway! He forgot the last verse so he started again from the beginning….the longest 20 mins of my life.

Re: Good songs for a Session?

In this part of the world it is "F### the Queen" " and "Up the ‘Ra" so mercifully we were able to use that as an excuse not to sing "Athenry" ever again.

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I sang "The Lakes of Pontchertrain" last night at our session. I know it’s not really Irish ( ducks head quickly ). No, really, look up Dave Arthur’s authoritative sleeve notes on Rattle The Stovepipe’s CD. It is actually American, only came over to Ireland in about 1899 or so. Still a good song, despite Andy Irvine’s gloss on it - No, Andy, there is NO textual evidence that it is about an Irish recruit deserting from the Confederate army.
Still a good song, though.

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Bodhran, just to say that some people in Norn Iron do know Lord Franklin (I know at least 5 excellent renditions incl Martin Carthy & Andrew Murray). Hows about meeting up next time I’m in Belfast? You can sing your self compositions and I can sing mine, should clear the place quicker than a bomb scare !!

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I became enchanted by the song after winning an LP in a Folk Club in Sheffield, and "Lord Franklin" was on it, by "Pentangle". Mesmeric.

Actually Sinead O’Connor does an esoteric version, so maybe a few more people will have heard it.

I googled "Fermanagh" strayaway, and discovered it is a county in Norn Irelan. That may not be too far from Belfast.

Re: Good songs for a Session?

Johnny Jump Up - Was a favourite at a session I was involved in last year. Used to throw in the reel ‘The Road to Lisdoonvarna’ after the bit where the cripple threw down his crutches and danced on the street.
The Fields of Athenry - A lovely song written by Pete St John. Unfortunately it was hi-jacked and turned into a sectarian chant. Very hard to play it in a pub without some moron wanting to scream out about the IRA. The best rendition of that song is the rock version by Brush Shields. That… I like.

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I remember winning a Dick Gaughan LP in The Black Swan folk club in York……… Bodhran, we are soooooo similar.
Sinead also does an esoteric version of Raglan Road. Hold tight, we’re in this together!
I googled belfast and, apparantly, it is a "Hibernian Rio"
Bodhran, I’m outta here

Re: Good songs for a Session?

I actually never knew much about Sinead O’Connor until I saw her doing the "Irish" numbers. She does have a powerful voice, but does tend towards the esoteric. Her "Raglan Road" has strange phrasing, but she makes an owl come all ye like Molly Malone sound wonderful.

By the way, when I was a student for the first time years ago, the Student’s Union had a society called "The Esoteric Music Society", so anything slightly of the beaten track, I refer to as esoteric.

The EMS had concerts on a Sunday night. The first one I remember in late 1971 featured John Martyn. A little known new group called "Planxty" were the warm up group.

Some night that was.

By the way, I like the "Hibernian Rio" bit. I presume you are not in Fermanagh, or do computers work without electricity?

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That’s it, Bodhran, you’ve really done it this time. The trad Fermanagh way of settling this is to kick f**k out of you, but, as you are old and quite probably insane, I suggest a sing off in Fibber Magees. You’ve no chance

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"Old and insane" I may be, but more than a match for "young and foolish". Fibber’s is across the street from my work. Name the day and time, and bring your own second. Get the mail coach to Belfast, it is quicker.

Re: Good songs for a Session?

One Saint Patrick’s Day in western Kazakhstan, I got a request from the Russian bar manager of a Welsh pub to sing the well-known Irish song "3 birds"

"Don’t know it" I said.

"Everyone knows ‘3 birds’" she said, "All Irish people are singing this on St Patricks Day"

"Hmmm …… no"

"Yes. All Irish people , many people, English, Scottish, are drinking Guinness and singing this song"

"How does it go?" I asked "Can you sing it?"

She blushed and said "I can sing it a little"

"Go on then"

She took a deep breath and sang:
"Oh baby watch the 3 birds fly!"

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If the session is basically supposed to be one for traditional music, then how about replacing the tired old Irish pop (as you say, Christy Moore, Mary Black - good in their way, I dare say, but essentially pop) with traditional songs?
Is that an outrageous idea?

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Re: Good songs for a Session?

Yes. It is bad enough boring the regulars with tunes, after tunes, after more tunes, without singing obscure songs. Show a bit of respect for the natives.

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My new song list (i tend to get tired of songs fairly quickly) contains amongst others;

The town I loved so well,
(Scorn not his) Simplicity,
The Dutchman,
Mo Ghile Mear,
Older chests (because its usually requested)

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I’ll be saddlin up the ass and cart asap. I think this could be the event of the year in your little backwater. You’ve got a job! …. that’s just so "New Belfast", and they allow you to work after retirement age, now that’s real progress. And Kess, you started this so why not pop down as well.

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If you see Kay, will you tell her I love her!

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Having a "real" job is new to me, for years I was an alleged Self Employed Writer/musician, those were the days. Speaking of which, that always goes down well at a session, "Those were the Days". Great song.

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copo24:that song is called "the fields of athenry" and no,the political references were not part of the original lyrics!!!!please refrain from singing it at a session until every soul in the pub has either left or is too intoxicated to notice!:( :L

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right as i am bombarded with requests to sing anytime i enter a pub where anyone knows me (and plus im a trad singin teacher!) i know plenty of songs appropriate for a session!!!
the cobbler-a bit of humour always goes down well!
green grow the laurels-a good solid song just make sure that you aren’t outnumbered by men when you sing the last verse!!:L
nainsín bháin-lovely melody and since its "as gaeilge" not a lot of people will notice if you f@*$ up the words!!!!!
man of constant sorrow-not really your traditional pub song but nice all the same!!!

if anyone wants anymore songs or lyrics to the ones i’ve mentioned just click on me name and email me!!!!slán a cháirde!!!:L

Re: Good songs for a Session?

just a few years ago, posting a thread about songs on the session.org would get a reprimand and delete. Times have changed, I guess.

For the longest lived folk database of lyrics and forum
go to
http://www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm

Alice Flynn

Re: Good songs for a Session?

why not learn a traditional ballad, you might be surprised! (and actually get to like them!) why sing crap!!! that’s why tourists walk away from a good session bewilderd that someone sings rubbish ,that is also why musicians don’t wish to stop playing and let someone like yourself jump in and sing a ‘Beatles’, ‘Bob Dylan’, Frank Snaughter!’ number.
You may be old and insane but you are never too old to learn, try it (seriously) there are lots of ‘GOOD’ traditional singers in and around Belfast. Sit in with them and if you ask, they would be only too happy to give you a GOOD traditional song for you to sing in a session…
piper.