Salley Gardens ...(2:32)
Writer: Lyrics - William Butler Yeats (Public Domain), Music – Traditional
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Curtis McPeake: Banjo
Andy May: Guitar
Aubrey Haynie: Fiddle
Tim Dishman: Bass
True to the folk process, Andy and Curtis merged two ballads to come up with this arrangement. It all started when Curtis played his instrumental arrangement of the old murder ballad, Willow Garden, for Andy. Andy loved it, but though he used to render this song with great feeling as a youngster, he hadn’t sung it in a long time. Preferring to avoid such dark lyrics these days, Andy sought out alternate words that would work with the tune and do justice to Curtis’ arrangement. He chose Down by the Salley Gardens, a poem by William Butler Yeats which is often set to the traditional Irish air, The Maids of Mourne Shore. Yeats himself wrote the poem based on a fragment of an Irish ballad he had heard, possibly The Rambling Boys of Pleasure, a song which may, in fact, be related to Willow Garden in its origins. To our knowledge, however, this is the first time Yeats’ words have been sung to the Willow Garden tune.