Week #553 ~ Fields of Athenry

  1. Barbara Shultz
    Barbara Shultz
    This week's winner is Fields of Athenry.

    I couldn't find this tune of my normal go-to site, thesession.org, so here it is on abcnotation.com

  2. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is the way we sometimes play this song with our group. Nothing fancy, just mandolin and tenor guitar chords, with the only enhancement the addition of mandocello doubling the mandolin on the chorus for a bit more depth. When we play it, there is also a simple harmony line, but I don't have a copy of that part in my folder.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  3. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    That is very nice, Martin. I like your tremolo which is makes this slow song flow better. I have a version of it in my files I did a while ago but never got the tempo right - it is supposed to be like yours but mine is, I think too fast. It feels the way that the lyrics intend it to be played.
  4. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Ginny. As with many songs, it helps to be familiar with the phrasing of the vocal version and sing along silently in your head when playing. As it's a slow song, there is scope for interspersed fills -- not something in my skill set, but Frank is a master of it, so maybe we will get a version from him.

    I've always thought the song was traditional, but looking it up I found that it is not all that old. Written by Pete St. John in 1979. One of the few occasions where a Youtube content match actually brought up the correct copyright for one of my recordings.

    Little bit of trivia: our arrangement is by our late former member Tony Judge, who was a big Liverpool FC fan. The song is a popular terrace song for Liverpool supporters, with the changed title "The Fields of Anfield Road" and new words written by Edward R Williams from Wallasey -- which is where we meet every week. The Anfield version was released as a charity single in 2009 and became a Top 20 UK chart single.

  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for posting your fine rendition, Martin. I was wondering who would be first to put his/her head above the parapet on this one. I love this song and I think it is so unfortunate that it has become caught up in the sectarian tensions which still plague parts of my homeland. As you pointed out above it has become an anthem for the fans of Liverpool Football Club but also for the fans of Glasgow Celtic here in Scotland. It is one of those songs that you sometimes have to be aware of where you are before performing it, but those of us here on the Cafe SAW Group can appreciate the tunes and songs we hear for their own merit, I am sure.

    Here is my version, backed with guitar and mandolin. I recorded vocal and guitar together then added the mandolin track.

  6. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Fine performances Gents!
    John, amazing singing, really nice to hear, thanks.

    Yes. It is so good to be able to play music here on the Song a Week social group without what they call in France ‘une prise de position’.
    I have to work on this every day...
    Thanks again.
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice, John! Always a pleasant change to have a vocal recording and hear our members' voice. Your vocals remind me very much of the delivery of Eric Bogle, in style, phrasing and timbre. Of course, Eric Bogle is also originally Scottish, and although he did not write this one, many of his best-known songs are very much in this style (The Band Played Waltzing Mathilda, or The Green Fields Of France, for example).

  8. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two very nice renditions of this song written in 1979 and John's vocals as a bonus. I didn't know this song, but every time I read the title, like Martin, I thought it was a traditional. I downloaded the sheet music with chords from Fanz Dorfer https://www.franzdorfer.com/t/the-fields-of-athenry. and when I had a look at it, it was clear that it's a creation of recent times. There are phrases of six measures, something that never happens in traditonally grown music, where a phrase is usually 4 bars. But after some playing, the melody seemed quite organic.
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all three of you. Always a bit out of the comfort zone when recording vocals, which seem so much more personal than just playing instrumentals.

    Martin, I am flattered by your reference to Eric Bogle. He is one of my favourite singers and songwriters and Australia's gain is Scotland's loss since he emigrated. I especially like his If Wishes Were Fishes, and it is one I am often asked to sing.

    An interesting point you make about the six-bar phrases, Christian, and one I had never thought about, but then I have never seen the tune written out in any form. I learned it first years ago at local open sessions here at home.
  10. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    All of these are wonderful!! John your voice is lovely and suits this song to a tee. I also used to sing this song in the pub but I was one of a crowd of slightly (?) inebriated patrons. You sound so much better then we did - from what I remember.
  11. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks so much, Ginny. Aye,those pub nights when the more you drank the better you thought you were playing or singing! I think I remember them through the mists of time, long before this song was written, in fact.
  12. Frithjof
    Three fine versions - each with its own charm. But of course John’s singing is outstanding!
  13. John W.
    John W.

    I’m looking to share my first video with this group…in fact, my first activity on the Mandolin Cafe since registering in 2018!

    I’ve recorded a version of the song on YouTube, and copied/pasted the url above…I’m hoping this now works!

    Great to hear the different versions provided already…and I can’t compete with Paddy Reilly or John Kelly re the singing!
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hi, nhjow. Your video is not appearing as you need to edit the url rather than paste in the entire url. The part to retain is what is placed to the right of the last forward slash. Also, do not reply on this page but go to the Go Advanced button at the bottom right of this screen and put your posting there.

    In my case the url is https://youtu.be/sG07m1zttgA, so I paste only the /sG07m1zttgA part of the url in the YT box.

    I tried to find your posting on YT but could not see it there - maybe it is marked as Private? Hope this helps you, and I look forward to seeing and hearing your offering.
  15. John W.
    John W.
    Hi John

    Thanks for alerting me/trying to educate me/advising what to do…I could view the video whilst logged on to MC…however, I’ve tried to amend according to your advice/instructions…let’s see if I get it right this time!

    The nhojw relates to the John Williamson channel on YouTube. Hence, if you searched for nhojw it wouldn’t have appeared.


  16. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    That is working now, John. Good clean picking and playing.

    Who is the builder of your mandolin? I noticed that there is a 9th fret marker (which is what I have on my own builds) rather than the mandolin-preferred 10th fret, so I am assuming perhaps a British builder?

    You are right - I looked for your posting on YT under your "nhojw" signature.
  17. Frithjof
    Hi John Williamson, you brought up a very fine tremolo version of the song. Want to hear more. Thanks.
  18. John W.
    John W.
    John - Well observed…and it is British…it’s made by Fylde (a Signature Touchstone Mandolin, which I picked up on eBay around 7 months ago).

    Frithjof - Glad you enjoyed the tremolo…and I hope to engage with this group more from here on.
  19. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    After I posted my query I went to your YT channel and saw the logo on the headstock in another of your videos, John. It is a lovely instrument and sounds really good. Looking forward to more from you.
  20. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Very fine playing John W, and welcome to our little group.
  21. OldSausage
    No mandolin content, only electric folk instruments were used Happy Halloween!
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I really like your version, David, even though no mandolin presence. I would love to know the instruments you have used on this arrangement. Thanks for posting.
  23. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Excellent David, with lots of feeling, I was imagining this being played at a huge football stadium.
  24. OldSausage
    Thanks John and Simon! The guitar is my old Telecaster, with Flamma FX100 amp and cabinet simulations for the lead and rhythm. The bass is the Cherry Audio DCO-106 (Roland Juno 6 synth emulation) and the strings are provided by Spitfire Audio in their free LABS samples collection.
  25. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for the info, David. Thought I heard a Fender in the mix! It is amazing how the samples and other synth software have developed over the years since we started out in our home recording efforts.
  26. Don Grieser
    Don Grieser
    Enjoyed everyone's playing on this song.

    John, I really enjoyed your singing on this one. Just right. And David, that's an amazing version and fantastic arrangement. If I had a lighter, I would have waved it in the air.
  27. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    Nicely done David. Lovely lush arrangement... kind of reminds me of some of Mark Knoffler's movie music.
  28. Frankdolin
    Prison, Heartache, Despair, and a Girl. Right up my alley. Beautiful renditions by all from Martins slow and easy to Christians western feel. Love the way you sang this John, I was feeling bad for you. John W., Righteous first vid! Really fine pick'n, and hope to hear more.
  29. John W.
    John W.
    Thank you for the kind words, Frank. There are lots of talented members in this group, and I have no doubt I will learn from you all. If I’m also able to post some videos that some people find pleasing, then I shall be happy.
  30. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Frank, thanks for kind comments and sympathy! We oldies know how to milk the sentiment from a set of lyrics.
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