Hard to believe this day Next week is Christmas Day!
I find that generally this last quarter of the year I would have spent a lot of time in Theatres, with some of my own Autumn dates but also attending some plays in the Abbey so I think this Story and Song is fitting. Hope you all enjoy.
This is a song written by Sean O’Casey and is sung in what must be his greatest play, ‘The Plough and the Stars.’ Set in Dublin during the Easter Rising, Jack Clitheroe, a young member of the Irish Citizen Army sings it to his wife, Nora, before leaving her heartbroken, to take part in the fighting, from which he never returns.
O’Casey took the air from an old song called, ‘Maggie’, which was popular in the music halls of the time. It was a massive hit for Foster and Allen, both here and in the U.K.
I first heard it in a production of the play on the opening night of the new Abbey Theatre in 1966, and I fell in love with it straight away. I recorded it in 1968, and it became my third number 1 hit.
It has been sung and recorded in many different versions and by many different singers since then, often with an inaccurate mix-up between the two songs, causing great confusion at times.
I have sung this lovely song for so many years now and in so many different concert halls throughout the world, that even though I did not write the song (although I did write the last two lines), people often regard it as my song.
I used to introduce it each night with a soliloquy from O’Casey’s autobiography ‘Drums Under the Windows’which always helped to create the mood.