River Roe (The)

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X:1 % T:River Roe, The M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air S:Joyce – Old Irish Folk Music Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G G/A/|B2 B G2B| A3 G2E|D2E G2G|(G3 G2)c| B2A Bcd|e2e d2e|G2G AGF|(E3 E2)c| B2 A Bcd|e2e d2e|G2G AGF|E3 G2A| B2B G2B|A3 G2E|D2E G2G|(G3 G2)||



RIVER ROE, THE. AKA and see "Patrick Sheehan." Irish, Air (6/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. 19th century collector P.W. Joyce wrote: "Written from memory. I have a copy of the song all about a lady who went 'a-bathing in the Roe'. The air is also called 'Henry the Sailor Boy', about whom there was a song:--

The captain gave him fifty pounds the moment he did land;
'And that day young Henry married was unto his Mary Ann.'

The River Roe is in Derry county; and this is an Ulster air."

In County Derry the river flows through Dungiven, not far from Slieve Gallen (Gallen's Mountain). Cazden (et al, 1982) collected the tune in the Catskill Mountains of New York, married to several different sets of lyrics, especially one entitled "As I Went Down to Port Jervis," a song about two sons' leave-taking for the Civil War that was itself derived from an earlier Irish song about the Crimean War. Peggy Seegar calls it a 'general-purpose' air distributed widely among English speaking peoples and, in fact, upon reviewing pertinent musical literature Cazden finds the melody the vehicle for several songs, among them William Allingham's "The Winding Banks of Erne," and an Irish struggle song from the latter 19th century called "A New Song on the Manchester Martyrs, or The Smashing of the Van." In lumber-camps in the American Northeast and the Canadian Maritimes the melody was heard sung as "Driving Saw Logs on the Plover" and "John Ladner," and it has also been used for songs in Australia.


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 13, pp. 9-10. Roche (Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 1), 1912; No. 79, p. 36.

Recorded sources: -



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