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Songs, Ballads and Snatches Playlist

“In this part can be found odd verses out of songs the singers have largely forgotten. People usually remember the best of something, so these snatches are interesting. Some of the other songs seem complete. The Bride stolen by fairies [Saturday night is Halloween night] is a scrap of an old ballad rounded off as a story. John Barbour is another old ballad telling its own story in fourteen verses. B’fhearr liom réal beag is an Irish version of I love sixpence. Johnny Jow is The little red fox worn down to one verse. And the last snatch, Good-bye [Oh Molly dear are you going away?], belongs to a song sung by the mill girls in a Belfast linen factory when a mistress they liked particularly was leaving their department.

Many of these songs could be learned as party pieces, or just for fireside amusement.”— Hugh Shields, 1971

Enjoy the 34 recordings in the Songs, Ballads and Snatches Playlist and explore the Songbook for more detailed information on each item. Please note the Songbook may contain extra songs and rhymes which Hugh and Lisa documented only in writing and no sound file exists.

Songs, Ballads and Snatches