Week 140 – Down By The Shannon Side

I learned this song from the Cornish traveller Charlotte Renals, who is featured along with her sisters Betsy Renals and Sophie Legg on the Veteran cassette Catch me if you Can (now available in expanded form as VT119CD). Her version has several two and three line verses. I’ve filled in the gaps, and put the verses in a more logical order, with the help of a very complete set of words collected by Cecil Sharp in August 1905 from Captain Robert Lewis of Minehead in Somerset.

In Charlotte Renals’ version the male protagonist is Captain Walters. A perfectly respectable name. But in Captain Lewis’ version the bounder’s name is Captain Thunderbold:

My name is Captain Thunderbold
It’s a name I will ne’er deny

Well why would you deny a name like that? And how could I resist including it in the song?

Looking at the numerous broadside versions available via Broadside Ballads Online  the name seems to be universally given as ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ and this is the title Phoebe Smith has for her version of the song.

The Shannon Side – broadside from the Bodleian collection, printed by H. Such, between 1863 and 1885.

The Shannon Side – broadside from the Bodleian collection, printed by H. Such, between 1863 and 1885.

I had let this song lapse for several years, but recently relearned it, and I must say it’s good to have the song back in my repertoire.

Down By The Shannon Side


2 Comments to “Week 140 – Down By The Shannon Side”

  1. What a great song and sung so well. Weirdly before the end it went into another song… it could be my sulky computer but have a listen. Cheers, Caroline

    ======================================== Message Received: Apr 26 2014, 09:10 AM

  2. Thanks Caroline – bit of a cock-up on the audio editing front. Should be sorted now. Meanwhile, hope you enjoyed the sneak preview of week 142!
    P.S. none of the 5 people who have so far “liked” this on Facebook had pointed out the error. Glad someone took the trouble to listen all the way to the end!

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