1. Grey Funnel Line
English songwriter Cyril Tawney wrote this song about how he longed for home during his time in the navy. Sophie first heard it when she lived in Edinburgh. Jack Foster of the Edinburgh Garden Sessions (a folk podcast) played her a recording of the song by Emmylou Harris, Dolores Keane and Mary Black. Sophie loves to sing it when she feels fed up with her job. Singing this is an immediate comfort. For the lyrics, click here.
2. Polly Vaughn
Margot took up this traditional song for our murder ballad session in Mulligans when Halloween fell on a Wednesday. A very old and apparently true story of a man who mistakes his true love for a swan and kills her while hunting. For the lyrics, click here.
3. Hush Hush
This story by Jim McLean about forced migration is set to a traditional melody. A mother tells her baby not to cry despite the pain of their eviction from the Scottish Highlands. Sophie heard this song first at the session in The Royal Oak, Edinburgh, sung by a man and his daughter. Several years later, one of the Mulligans regulars – Phil Rook – pulls up this piece of scrap paper from his pockets and shows it to Sophie. “Do you know this song? It’s got great lyrics”. Weirdly enough, the melody came straight back to her and this is how it became part of our repertoire. For the lyrics, click here.
4. Across the Blue Mountains
We thank Irish singer Alan Burke for bringing this Appalachian traditional to our attention. It tells of a mother who warns her daughter not to take off with a married man. But love cannot be moved… For the lyrics, click here.
5. Eileen Óg
She is the most beautiful girl in town yet no man dares approach her. A lovely song from the pen of Irish songwriter Percy French. Everyone knows this song from the Dubliners, but Sophie came across a version by Cathy Jordan, the Dervish singer, which inspired her own. The backroom session in Mulligans did the rest! For the lyrics, click here.
6. In The Pines
The daughter in this American traditional story prefers to reside in the pines rather than at home, perhaps because her home is neither very safe nor very warm. While we were recording this song, back room session regular Erik Kriek was drawing the pictures for his graphic novel with the same title. Check out the results of that version of In The Pines here. For the lyrics of our version of the song, click here.
7. Cobbler’s Daughter
We heard this from Kate Rusby who translated it from French. A comic tale in which a mother ends up in jail while her daughter remains happily unmarried. For the lyrics, click here.
8. Fare Thee Well
A traditional song that has received renewed attention thanks to being featured in a recent movie about a folk singer (Inside Llewyn Davis). The oldest recording of this song, sung by a woman called Dink, was made in 1909 by ethnomusicologist John Lomax. It tells the story of a girl who takes charge of her own fate after getting pregnant. For the lyrics, click here.
9. Old Cook Pot
Mothers try to create something from nothing to feed their babies. We love this song written by Shawn Byrne and Chuck McCarthy, made famous by the Henry Girls. For the lyrics, click here.
10. Dimming of the Day
Needless to say, Richard Thompson is one of our favorite songwriters. One day we will make an album with only RT covers ;) For the lyrics, click here.
11. The One I Love
When we first heard this Bill Monroe song we instantly fell in love with it. One of the Mulligans regulars, Vincent Koopman, made us aware of its existence. One of our favorites to perform live, we just had to record it. For the lyrics, click here.
12. Ae Fond Kiss
Sophie heard Scottish songstress Rachel Sermanni sing a beautiful version of this Robert Burns’ poem. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. For the lyrics, click here.
13. Stretched on Your Grave
A very old Irish poem translated to English by Frank O’Connor and set to music by Philip King. It tells of a man who will not leave the grave of his dead lover. We thank Victor Lacken for singing the lead on this song and, more importantly, we want to thank him for bringing The Lasses together by organizing the Wednesday session. For the lyrics of our version, click here.