The Irish Rover
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|"The Irish Rover"|
|Single by The Pogues and The Dubliners|
|from the album If I Should Fall From Grace With God|
|Format||7" and 12" Vinyl|
|The Pogues chronology|
"The Irish Rover" is an Irish folk song about a magnificent, though improbable, sailing ship that reaches an unfortunate end. It has been recorded by numerous artists, some of whom have made changes to the lyrics.
The origins of the song are uncertain but it is usually attributed to a little-known songwriter/arranger named J.M. Crofts. Crofts is listed as the author in the 1966 publication, Walton's New Treasury of Irish Songs and Ballads 2.
Some of the lyrics have become corrupted over time. For example, the opening line of one of the verses is often presented as: "We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out". Measles is actually a corruption of mizzens, which refers to the third and smallest mast on a ship. Both measles and mizzens are now commonly used in versions by different performers.
The singer describes a gigantic ship with a colorful crew and varied types of cargo in enormous amounts. Each successive verse is ever more malarkey about the wonders of the great ship. The seven-year voyage comes to a disastrous end after losing its way in the fog, striking a rock, and spinning nine times around before sinking with most of the crew (and the captain's old dog) - everyone except the singer, who in the last line of the song is revealed to be the lone survivor of The Irish Rover's ill-fated final voyage, so there is no one alive to contradict the tale.
The Pogues & The Dubliners
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||8|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||25|
- The Irish Rover is one of the most popular Scottish country dances and is set to the music of the song.
- The Irish Rovers, created in 1963, were named after the traditional song "The Irish Rover" by their mother in Ballymena, N. Ireland. They first recorded the song on their 1966 debut album, The First of the Irish Rovers.
- Slugger O'Toole - a character referred to in The Irish Rover has been adopted as the name of a major political website in Northern Ireland.
- In issue 26 of DC/Vertigo series Preacher when Cassidy describes his drinking buddies in New York City, the names are all taken from the Irish Rover.
"The Irish Rover" has been recorded many times by a variety of artists. Versions are listed below by notable artists in descending chronological order.
- 2013 - The Pogues and The Dubliners on the Pogues' album 30:30
- 2012 - Santiano on their album Bis ans Ende der Welt
- 2012 - The Mudmen on their album Donegal Danny
- 2011 - Fiddler's Green on their album Wall of Folk
- 2011 - Dropkick Murphys on their album Going Out in Style
- 2010 - Patrick Clifford on his album American Wake
- 2010 - The High Kings on their album Memory Lane
- 2009 - Culann's Hounds on their album One for the Road
- 2007 - Tommy Makem on the posthumous release The Legendary Tommy Makem Collection
- 2005 - Liam Clancy on his album Yes... Those Were The Days: The Essential Liam Clancy
- 2005 - Bounding Main on their album Lost at Sea, with an added chorus
- 2005 - Blaggards on their album Standards
- 2001 - The Tossers on their album Communication & Conviction: Last Seven Years
- 2000 - Sons of Maxwell on their album Sailor's Story
- 1998 - The Corsairs on their album The RED One
- 1996 - The Irish Descendants on their album Livin' on the Edge
- 1994 - Orthodox Celts on their self-titled début album
- 1987 - The Dubliners with The Pogues on The Dubliners' album 25 Years Celebration
- 1975 - Ronnie Drew on his self-titled début solo album
- 1966 - The Irish Rovers on their début album, The First of the Irish Rovers
- 1962 - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem on their album Hearty and Hellish
- 1960 - Dominic Behan on his album The Irish Rover
- "Chart Track: Week 00, 1967". Irish Singles Chart.
- "Archive Chart: 1967" UK Singles Chart.
- "Charts.org.nz – The Dubliners Man – Maids When You're Young". Top 40 Singles.