If you listen to the CBC Music Radio Station you would know that this was deemed "Gordon Lightfoot Day" and the station was streaming music and interviews to mark the release of Gordon’s new album “All Live!.” Iterestingly… last night I was sitting with friends and happened to hit the Internet and –lo and behold- there was a music clip of Gordon and John Denver singing “An Irish Lullaby”. A tear came to my eye….a memory from the past…. but what a great memory.
There on You Tube was the clip of a concert I had attended on October 17th 1977. Now you might say yes and.. .but it wasn’t just any concert…it was what I would call my favorite of all time…
I had gone to the Syracuse’s Land Mark Theater after its restoration to see Harry Chapin in a charity concert and he mentioned that he was going to Detroit and that he was going to be joined by Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver & James Taylor in a benefit for his World Hunger cause.
My friend and I went home that night and both of us said…we “gotta” go to that concert! So we called around and got tickets and invited 2 of her friends to go...mistake in a way... We set out and made it with a bit of time to spare…found a cheap motel room for us…and I brought food which they were not too happy with and we set out for the concert which was being held at the Olympia Stadium.
We sat for what seemed like an enormous amount of time before they announced that there had been a huge accident on the main highway and they were waiting for the rest of the crowd to arrive...sold out to 17,000 people. I received flack from the friends...but we persisted and what followed was the concert of all times…it was the men themselves with their guitars and no bands……..What a treat……!!
The stage that rotated in a circle belonged to John Denver and the event was never to be recreated as each man sang two or three songs and then it went to the next……
About in the middle, I think - Gordon announced that John Denver and he had practiced a song as a special tribute to Bing Crosby who had died that week.. and so they sang “The Irish Lullaby”…with all the old words…to a rousing standing ovation. I will never forget it!
The song was written in 1914 by composer James Royce Shannon and became a major hit only two years before his death in 1944 when Bing Crosby sang it in the movie “Going My Way!" Everyone knows the chorus…Too-ra-loo-ra-lura… but do you remember the verse????
“Over In Killarney, Many years ago, My Mother sang a song to me In tones so sweet and low; Just a simple little ditty, In her good old Irish way, And I'd give the world to hear her sing That song of hers today. ”
“Oft, in dreams I wander To that cot again. I feel her arms a-hugging me As when she held me then. And I hear her voice a humming To me as in days of yore, When she used to rock me fast asleep Outside the cabin door.”
John’s dead, Harry’s dead … and the friends we took to the concert that night were so thankful they had been at the concert that ended in a standing ovation and lighters lit for World Hunger…17,000 of them!
Hunger is something we still have today in abundance…and is growing in our own country among the poor and elderly…as gas prices, medical bills and heat costs go up...there will be many more! We have got to stamp it out!
Well ... we are so lucky that someone took the time to tape this clip on their cheap tape recorder...and I so lucky to have found it!
So play the clip below…and enjoy ….. a bit of history and nostalgia from the “back street”…