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The Streets of Glasgow/Lost Souls

After a stint in London working as a journalist, Dermod returned to Glasgow searching for Norah. He had bumped into her on a street in Glasgow previously, and realised she was now working as a prostitute.
One night he came across Moleskin Joe, who agreed to help him in his quest. Eventually they found her with Gourock Ellen, who had taken her in after finding her cast away in the mud. At this stage she had contracted tuberculosis and was not long for this world.


And as the smoke wreaths rise, meseems
I live in Ind or Babylon,
And share the hopes of poets gone,
The dreamers of aesthetic dreams.

Or sing of Rome, or bleed for Troy,
Or dwell in Tyre or Nineveh –
But ah! ‘tis fancy’s boundless play,
The wayward dreamings of a boy.

‘Tis sweet to write it down in verse,
Or think of it, but all the same,
If e’er you try you’ll find the game
Is hardly worth a tinker’s curse.

The open road is passing grand
When skimming on a motor car,
But dossing ‘neath the pallid star
Is something you don’t understand.

In fact you’ll hardly realise
While lounging in your drawing room,
How drear December’s dirge of doom
Across the snow-clad level flies.

Or how the frosty crowbar sears
The hand that lifts it from the drift –
You learn it on the ten-hour shift
Where I was learning all these years.

You’ll likewise learn the useful rule,
The motto of the navvy man,
To do as little as you can
And keep your pipe and stomach full.

The song I sing is very rude,
In sin mayhap my life I live,
But ye are wise and will forgive
As none of us are very good.

We sin – we’ll sorrow later on!
We laugh – some day we’re sure to weep!
We live – by night we’ll fall asleep,
And none may waken us at dawn!

And we are brothers one and all,
Some day we’ll know through Heaven’s grace,
And then the drudge will find a place
Beside the master of the hall.


from The Road Across the Hills, released February 22, 2019
Music composed by Gráinne Brady with 'A Navvy's Philosophy' by Patrick MacGill

Gráinne Brady – fiddle
Andrew Waite – piano accordion
Innes White – guitar, mandolin

Megan Henderson – violin
Feargus Hetherington – viola
Su-a Lee – cello

Jack Houston – spoken word


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Gráinne Brady Glasgow, UK

Gráinne Brady is a Glasgow based fiddle player and composer, originally from Co. Cavan, Ireland.

"Irish/Scottish and contemporary influences infuse Brady’s vibrant rhythms and rich lyrical patterns, illuminating peaks and troughs of the emigrant experience and the extremities of poverty. Arrangements evoke both adversity and lively inner strength." Bryony Hegarty, RnR Magazine 5*****
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