Songs You May Have Missed #702

Don McLean: “Mountains O’Mourne” (1973)

From Playin’ Favorites, his collection of folk and rock ‘n roll covers from 1973.

McLean’s gentle, affecting rendition of “Mountains O’Mourne” actually reached #2 on the Irish singles chart.

Its lyric is in the form of a letter from an emigrant laborer in fashionable late nineteenth-century London to his love back home in County Dublin.

Its tone is both whimsical and sad, as the narrator’s heart is clearly more in the natural beauties of his homeland than his stylish but artificial surroundings.

Nobody does melancholy like the Irish.

Oh, Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight
With people here working by day and by night
They don’t sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat
But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street
At least when I asked them, that’s what I was told
So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold
But for all that I’ve found there, I might as well be
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

I believe that when writin’ a wish you expressed
As to how the fine ladies of London were dressed
But if you’ll believe me, when asked to a ball
They don’t wear no tops to their dresses at all
Oh, I’ve seen them myself and you could not in truth
Tell if they were bound for a ball or a bath
Don’t be startin’ them fashions now, Mary McRee,
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

There’s beautiful girls here, oh, never you mind
Beautiful shapes Nature never designed
Lovely complexions of roses and cream
But let me remark with regard to the same
That if at those roses you venture to sip
The colors might all come away on your lip
So I’ll wait for the wild rose that’s waitin’ for me
In the place where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

You remember young Denny McClaren, of course
Well, he’s over here with the rest of the force
I saw him one day as he stood on the strand
Stopped all the traffic with a wave of his hand
As we were talking of days that are gone
The whole town of London stood there to look on
But for all his great powers, he’s wishful like me
To be back where the dark Mourne sweeps down to the sea

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #399 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

See also: Songs You May Have Missed #69 | Every Moment Has A Song (edcyphers.com)

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