SongNotes Butcher Boy, Jamie with Michael Smith and Bob Weber

Jamie uncovers a beloved ballad recording at the Old Town School of Folk Music

Jamie vocals
Bob Weber cello
Michael Smith guitar

Recorded 2004
Private recording
Listen to the Butcher Boy (there are a few seconds of air first)

About this song
My Trio performed opening for Maura O’Connell at the folk music center on Lincoln Avenue. I’d discovered this song in a book of Irish folk songs, and hadn’t heard the well-known versions. The first time I showed it to Michael, he knew just what the feel should be for the guitar. Bob’s cello solo is stunning. I find myself feeling and living in every lyric when I sing it.

I’ve known a broken heart. And I’ve known being in the thrall of love.
I’ve been surprised at how often the young woman is wronged in these old songs, and does herself in. That, however, I refuse to do.

Go dig my grave, both wide and deep
Place a marble stone at my head anf feet
And oe’r my grave, place a snow white dove
To show the world I died for love.

I recently heard Rory Mackem tell the story of how the Clancys and Tommy Makem came to learn this song from his grandmother’s Sarah’s singing.
I had the honor of playing in Tommy Makem’s New York City Pub with the Rogues in the late 80s. Wonderful memory.

I recorded Butcher Boy again at WFMT, with Peter Swenson and Michael on guitar in 2015. It’s on the I Know Where I’m Going CD.