In previous posts I’ve mentioned the Shropshire singer Fred Jordan, but I think this is the only song I sing which I learned directly from him. I used to see Fred a fair bit in the eighties and early nineties at festivals such as Sidmouth and – especially – the National Folk Music Festival at Sutton Bonington. I was very taken with Fred’s singing of this song, and asked him to sing it one year in a singing session at Sutton Bonington. He readily obliged and, typically, even apologised afterwards for having muffed the words slightly.
The song was included on the Veteran CD A Shropshire Lad, where the notes say
Yet another song from Fred’s mother, although Fred probably also heard the Irish singer Margaret Barry performing it at English festivals. Surprisingly, we can find no trace of an author for the words, although the tune is well-known under a number of different titles, including Eochaill—which is the Irish name for the town of Youghal—or else Boolavogue.
The Galway Shawl