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outlaws and dreamers
Tommy Sands
Let the Circle be Wide

Lyrics to the following songs from Let the Circle Be Wide were omitted from the CD’s booklet due to spatial constraints. But here they are, with Tommy’s notes . . .

5. Send for Maguire
(Tommy Sands) Elm Grove Music

In the wake of sometimes violent graffiti and hooded men with guns, there appears today in Belfast a mural of one man with a fiddle surrounded by his grandchildren and a sign in Irish: “Ceol gan teorainn” Music without frontiers. The man in the picture is the late legendary fiddle champion Sean Maguire.

This song is about the time my father, a fiddler also and a great pal of Maguire, declared in his sick bed, “It’s too late to send for the doctor, send for Maguire!” Maguire the maestro arrived, played all night, and the next day my father declared, “I’m better than ever I was!”

Maguire’s voice can be heard at the end saying “I have no time for imitators.” Words of praise and “good manning” come from Cathal McConnel, Jack O’Driscoll. Francis McPeake II and Francis McPeake III, Joe Burke, Paddy Glacken and Maureen Maguire.

My Da came home on a winter’s evening
Cold the night and the weather freezing
I’ve got no coal to light that fire
But I brought you home Sean Maguire
We gathered all around he was there in the middle
And he up with the bow and he out with the fiddle
The night time cold it soon departed
The neighbours came and the dancing started

Up to the bridge down to the wire
Over the top he’s a saint he’s a liar
You can take your fiddle down you can throw it in the fire
For you never heard the likes of Sean Maguire

Bred and buttered in Belfast City
Where the streets are tough and the tongues are witty
But don’t you try to put him in a category
He’s as wild and free as a butterfly
His voice gave in with the wearing tearing
So his fiddle took up his yearning
It learned to curse and it learned to swear
To laugh and to cry and to say his prayers

The years went by and my day grew older
Lying in the bed like a dying soldier
One last wish I would require
Don’t mind the doctor, send for Maguire
He came that night and he played to morning
Music magic cheerful charming
My father cried, “I feel no pain”
In no time at all he was back on his feet again

Up to the bridge down to the wire
Over the top he’s a saint he’s a liar
You can take your fiddle down you can throw it in the fire
For you never heard the likes of Sean Maguire

8. Rovers of Wonder
(Tommy Sands) Elm Grove Music

One day recently in the streets of Paris, I met a group of Mongolian throat-singers. Immediately drawn to them, I stood fascinated by how similar some of their melodies are to our own. Some of their dancing is also similar to our sean-nos dancing. I asked if they would be interested in some sort of musical alliance and this is the result. Their ancient horse head fiddles and natural out of-this-world harmonic voices need no modern technology to bring us all to that strange faraway land of unexpected homefulness. Strangely, or perhaps not strangely, when I tried to find them again a short time later they were gone without a forwarding address and without a trace.

Rise, arise, you rovers of wonder
How does it come wherever you wander
You bring me so far a-roving
Still I’m feeling nearer to home
And I can hear you be calling me

Higher than the highest mountain
Rising over clouds of silver
Charming angels standing, listening
Harmonising eagles whistling
I can hear you be calling me

Deeper than the deepest ocean
Mumbling tumbling grumbling motion
Lower than oul Beelze-bubbling 
Undermining all his shoveling
I can hear you be calling me

Boys, ah boys, you rovers of wonder
How does it come wherever you wonder
Some be drunk but drunks are sober
Over goes under and under goes over
And I can hear you be calling me

13. Rambling Wild and Free
(Tommy Sands) Elm Grove Music

To start out on a journey without first knowing the destination is for some a folly. For others it is the very reason for setting out in the first place, just  to find out where you are going and why.

Crack your whip and shine your buttons up, old growling station man
Will it fill you with fulfilment when I’m gone
Yes I know that I’ve been lying on the what I should be sitting on
And the last train’s gone, so long

He never liked the looks of me nor the likes of me
But you said he might have troubles of his own
Well his efficiency brought you and me together then
In that long cold night of stone

chorus:
Are you on your own, are you far from home
Are you rambling wild and free
Are you on your own like a rolling stone
Will you roll along with me

They say that rolling stones have no great moss collections
And there’s not much in that bag you’re sitting on
If we had eggs we could have bacon and eggs
(If we had bacon)
That’s an old one that they used to tell at home

If I only had that bannock that my mother baked
“You’ll follow crows for that someday,” she used to laugh
But all I see is a lonely cat on a lonely corner here
Tell me, lonely cat, who do you think that you are nyaming at

Who’s that standing at the window with no curtains on
Dreaming dreams of lovers calling in the dark
You know there is no key to open life’s sweet mystery
But the door to love it doesn’t have a lock

Now the band are tuning up the strings again
As the leaves they slowly curl up in the trees
And the swallows lining up upon the dancing line
All confused by their own certainty to leave

All Rights Reserved. Lyrics used by permission.

 

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