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My Lagan Love
; Ballad Index
; words Joseph Campbell (Seosamh MacCathmhaoil), early 20th century, music trad.]
Margaret Barry sang My Lagan Love in a recording made by Ewan MacColl on 10 March 1956 on her 1956 Riverside album of street songs and ballads, Songs of an Irish Tinker Lady. This recording was also included in 1965 on her Topic LP of Irish street songs and fiddle tunes, Her Mantle So Green. Another recording made by Alan Lomax in 1953 was included in 1998 on her Rounder anthology I Sang Through the Fairs.
Dominic Behan sang Lagan Love in 1958 on his Topic album Irish Songs.
Paddie Bell sang My Lagan Love on her 1968 album I Know Where I'm Going.
Packie Byrne sang My Lagan Love in 1969 on his eponymous EFDSS album Packie Byrne.
John Goodluck sang My Lagan Love in 1974 on his Traditional Sound album The Suffolk Miracle.
Jean Redpath sang My Lagan Love in 1975 on her eponymous album Jean Redpath. She noted:
The composer Herbert Hughes was responsible for this happy marriage of an old Gaelic air to a poem written early this century by Seosamh MacCathmhaoil (Joseph McCall).
Barry Dransfield sang My Lagan Love in 1978 on his Topic album Bowin' and Scrapin'.
Boreen sang My Lagan Love in 1997 on their CD Enchanted Ways. They commented in their liner notes:
And old but still moving song, with a lovely melody and a slow chase through the depths of Irish musical moods.
Carnival of Souls sang Lagan Love on their 1999 album No Scone Unburned.
Moira Craig sang My Lagan Love on her 2000 album On ae Bonny Day. She noted:
I have no idea where I got this song. It has been recorded both by Packie Manus Byrne and Margaret Barry, but I only came across these recordings about 15 years ago. It seems to me I've been singing it for longer than that. It's a beautiful love song and the line “No life I own, no liberty, for love is lord of all” just says it all!
Barbara Dickson sang My Lagan Love on the second CD (“In Concert”) of her 2001 album For the Record.
Niamh Boadle sang My Lagan Love on her 2010 CD Wild Rose.
The Unthanks sang My Lagan Love in 2012 on their album The Unthanks with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.
Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin sang Lagan Love on their 2010 CD Live in the Living Room.
Linde Nijland and Bert Ridderbos sang My Lagan Love on their 2010 DVD A Musical Journey on the Road to Bhutan.
Hector Gilchrist sang My Lagan Love in 2018 on his WildGoose CD Gleanings. He noted:
This is a poem by Joseph Campbell, which was set to a traditional air, perhaps from Galway, by Herbert Hughes. There has been some dispute concerning the location but clearly the Lagan river runs South of Belfast and on of the original verses mention Lambeg near Belfast. Lagan or Laggan is from the Gaelic for a low place by a river and similar place names can be found in Ireland and Scotland. The song has been recorded by Margaret Barry and many others since. I have sung this for many years from from date in the 60s and recorded it previously on a cassette, produced by Richard Digance in 1985.
Ruth Notman and Sam Kelly sang My Lagan Love on their 2019 CD Changeable Heart.
The Haar sang My Lagan Love in 2020 on their eponymous Nimbus album The Haar.
Karina Knight sang My Lagan Love on her 2020 album of songs learned from her parents, From the Knee.
Richard Fariña set his poem The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood to the air My Lagan Love. Sandy Denny convered his song in 1972 on her self-titled album Sandy.
Boreen sing My Lagan Love
Where Lagan stream sings lullaby
There blows a lily fair
The twilight gleam is in her eye
The night is on her hair
And like a love-sick leannan-sidhe
She has my heart in thrall
Nor life I owe nor liberty
For love is lord of all.
Her father sails a running-barge
'Twixt Leamh-beag and The Druim;
And on the lonely river-marge
She clears his hearth for him.
When she was only fairy-high
Her gentle mother died;
But dew-Love keeps her memory
Green on the Lagan side.
And often when the beetle's horn
Hath lulled the eve to sleep
I steal unto her shieling lorn
And thru the dooring peep.
There on the cricket's singing stone,
She spares the bogwood fire,
And hums in sad sweet undertone
The songs of heart's desire.
Her welcome, like her love for me,
Is from her heart within:
Her warm kiss is felicity
That knows no taint of sin.
And, when I stir my foot to go,
'Tis leaving Love and light
To feel the wind of longing blow
From out the dark of night.
(repeat first verse)