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The Bad Year
John Lyons
Recorded 1974

Carroll Mackenzie Collection

John Lyons

As I stand on the land and I look at the sky,
And I watch the rain pour, I could lie down and die.
The meadow’s a pool and the turf’s gone to suds,
Sure I hadn’t the heart to go digging the spuds.

The hens got the gapes they gave up laying eggs,
When the pig tried to grunt he got weak in the legs.
The back yard is a pool and the garden’s a bog,
Oh the poor farmer’s life isn’t fit for a dog.

Well I got wrinkled and old and me hair it turned grey,
While the torrents of rain made manure of me hay.
The cows they went dry ‘twould bring blood from a stone,
To watch the poor creatures go all skin and bone.

The child got the measles, me wife got upset,
Meself got the flu from me clothes getting wet.
Coughs and colds I contacted a crop of chillblains,
While me joints they swelled up with most terrible pains.

Ah but that’s over now for this year is a gift,
I’m a rich man at last by good farming and thrift.
It can rain, it can snow, it can blow a monsoon,
For I’m all for the caper above in Lisdoon.


"This is included in the published collection ‘Ballads of the County Clare’, edited by Seán Ó Cillin, privately published in 1976 and now, sadly, unavailable. It is credited as anonymous and the tune given is 'Mountains of Mourne', though this is not the one John Lyons uses here."
Jim Carroll


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