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One Fine Summer’s Evening
(Laws M23; Roud 1020)

Mikey Kelleher
Quilty and Depford, London
Recorded in London, 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Mikey Kelleher

One fine summer’s evening as I roved along,
It was down by a river I heard a nice song,
It was sung by a fair one and her voice was most clear,
Saying, “So happy would I be if my true love was here.”

In a few moments after her true love passed by;
With his red rosy cheeks and his sharp and blue eyes,
He saluted this fair one, and by her sat down,
It was known by her blushes that her true love came to town.

They walked and they talked ‘long the valleys so low,
Where nothing could be seen there but the ivy that grow.
She constantly cried out saying; “True love, come away,
For in those lonely valleys, no longer I’ll stay.”

She’s like a swan on the ocean from her neck and breast down,
Her teeth were like ivory and her hair was light brown.
She’s an ornament of beauty for all young men to see,
And her name in plain Irish, she’s sweet grá geal mo chroídh.

“Some tells me my love is still in Botany Bay,
Some more says he’s listed and gone far away.
And if ever he return it will be my pride and joy
And I’ll squeeze my hands around my lovely fine boy.

And a bunch of green laurel for my darling I’ll prepare,
A half yard of ribbon to tie around his hair.
I’ll meet him with laurel and I’ll crown him with joy,
And I’ll kiss the soft lips of my own lover boy.”


"There is a version of this given in the Sam Henry collection entitled Gragalmachree, which was obtained from James Kealey, a fiddler from Ballymoney, County Antrim. In the editor’s notes it is linked to Laws M23, though, apart from the titles of the songs Laws quotes, Gay Girl Marie (Ozark Folksongs), and Sweet Gramachree (New Green Mountain Songster), there appears to be no connection between these and Mikeen’s version. We recorded a similar version to Mikey’s from Mikeen McCarthy, a Traveller from Caherciveen. Mikeen sold it around the fairs and markets on a ballad sheet in Kerry in the 1940s."

Sam Henry’s Songs of the People, Gale Huntington (ed.).
American Ballads From British Broadsides, G. Malcolm Laws, Jnr.
Ozark Folksongs (revised ed.), Vance Randolph.
New Green Mountain Songster, Flanders, Ballard, Brown & Barry.
Jim Carroll

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