Samhain's March: A Winter Journey

by James Olin Oden

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about

Samhain is both an ancient Celtic holiday and in the Celtic calender it is the month that falls around November. It marks the beginning of the Celtic year and the beginning of winter, the dying time. A time we must all march through every year reminding us of our mortality and the winter that comes to our own lives. It is a march through a barren land where the distant light of Spring’s promise is not visible to the eye but can be seen by our hearts alone. It is a march to be made bravely and without trembling. It is Samhain’s March.

credits

released May 20, 2011

Produced by James Olin Oden and Greg Elkins
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Greg Elkins at Desolation Row
Art Work by Jay Pfeill, jaypfeil.com

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about

James Olin Oden Raleigh, North Carolina

It's always been about what moves the heart. The songs I sing are compelling stories whose telling must be told over and over again. The stories range from dark acts that should not be forgotten to the silly revelries that we should never forsake. My hope is that as my heart is moved by the music so too may yours be moved.

Sláinte Mhór...James

Licks and Lyrics Interview on WCOM 103.5: http://t
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Track Name: Traditional - Lakes of Pontchartrain
It was one bright March morning, I bid New Orleans adieu,
I rode the roads to Jackson town, me fortune to renew,
I cursed all foreign money, no credit could I find,
Which made me heart long for the Lakes of Pontchartrain.

I stepped on board a railroad car, beneath the morning sun,
I rode the roads till evening, I laid me down again,
All strangers there, no friends to me, till a dark girl towards me came,
I fell in love with a creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.

I said me bonnie creole girl, “Me money here’s no good,
If it weren’t for the alligators I’d sleep out in the woods.”
“Kind sir your welcome her, though our house is very plain,
We never turn a stranger out from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.”

She took me to her mammy’s house, and treated me quite well,
The hair upon her shoulder’s in jet black ringlets flowed,
To try and paint her beauty I’m sure would be in vain,
So handsome was my creole girl from the Lakes of Pontchartrain.

I asked her if she’d marry me, she said “this ne’er could be,”
For she had got another and he was far at sea,
She said that she would wait for him and true she would remain,
Till he returned for his creole girl by the Lakes of Pontchartrain.

So fare the well, me bonny old lass, I never will see you no more,
But I’ll ne’er forget your kindness in the cottage by the shore,
And at each social gathering, a flowing glass I’ll raise,
I’ll drink a health to my creole girl by the Lakes of Pontchartrain.
Track Name: Traditional - "P" Stands for Paddy
(chorus)
“P” stands for Paddy, I suppose,
“J” for my love John,
And “W” stands for false Willy-O,
But Johnny is the fairest one.

Johnny is the fairest one my dear,
Johnny is the fairest of them all,
And I don’t care what anybody thinks,
Johnny is the fairest one.

As I went out one May morning,
To take a pleasant walk,
I sat me self down upon an old stone wall,
To hear two lover’s talk.
To hear what they might say, my dear,
To hear what they might say,
That I might learn a little more about love,
Before I go away.

(chorus)

“Come sit you down beside by me, he said,
Together and agree,
It’s been three quarters of a year, or more,
Since you and I have been.”
“I’ll not sit by you, no love,
Now or any other time,
For you’ve gone and found yourself another little girl,
And your hearts no longer mine!
“Your hearts no longer mine!”, she said,
“Your hearts no longer mine!
It’s been three quarters of a year, no more,
And your hearts no longer mine!”

(chorus)

Now I’ll go climb the tall tall tree,
And rob the wild bird’s nest,
And when I come down, I’ll give a little love,
To the girl I love best!
To the girl that I love best, my dear,
The girl that I love best,
When I come down I’ll give a little love
To the girl that I love best!

“P” stands for Paddy, I suppose,
“J” for my love John,
And “W” stands for false Willy-O,
But Johnny is the fairest one.
Johnny is the fairest one my dear,
Johnny is the fairest of them all,
And when I go on I’ll know a little more,
About love before I travel on...
Track Name: Traditional - The Well Below the Valley
A gentlemen was passing by,
He asked for a drink as he got dry,
(refrain)
At the well below the valley-O
Green grows the Lilly-O,
Right among the bushes-O.

Me cup is filled up to the brim,
If I was to stoup I might fall in.

If your true love was passing by,
You’d hand him a cup if he got dry.

She swore be grass, she swore be corn,
That her true love had never been born.

He said “Young maid your swearing wrong,
For six fine children you have born.”

She said, “If you be a man of noble deed,
You’ll tell to me the father of them.

There’s two be your uncle Dan.

There’s two be your brother John.

There’s two be your father dear.

I you be a man of noble ‘steem,
You’ll tell to me what did happen to them.

There’s two buried neath the stable door.

There’s two buried neath the kitchen door.

There’s two buried beneath the well.

If you be a man of noble deed,
You’ll tell to me what will happen me self.

You’ll spend seven years a ringing the bell.

You’ll spend seven more a portin’ in Hell.

I’ll spend seven years a ringing the bell,
But the Lord above may save me soul,
From portin’ in Hell,
At the well below the valley-O
Green grows the lilly-O,
Right among the bushes-O.
Track Name: Wake Up and Smell the Whiskey
There I was standing in the bar,
Sipping on the waters of life.
My mind being cloudy, my thoughts unclear,
Till a sure clarity came over me.

(chorus)
Wake up and smell the whiskey,
Don’t let your life pass you by,
Life can be hard, a heart can grow numb,
So wake up and smell the whiskey!

Standing with me mates, all around me,
There was no other place I’d rather be,
And who’s to say that life’s true purpose,
Isn’t like social meetings.

(chorus)

The day’s toil, it breaks my back,
And leaves my mind in disarray,
It makes me want to lay me down, and dream my life away,
But I know that the dream is really here.

(chorus)
(chorus)
Wake up and smell the whiskey!
Wake up and smell the whiskey!
Track Name: Traditional - Dowie Dens Of Yarrow
There was a lady in the north,
You could scarcely find here morrow,
She was courted by nine noble men,
And here ploo-man boy O-Yarrow.

As he gae dar yon high high hill,
And doon a path sae narrow,
It was there he spied nine noble men,
Come to fight with him on Yarrow.

Three he slew, and three withdrew,
And three lay dying wounded,
Till here brother John stepped in behind,
And pierced is body through-O.

“Gae hame, gae hame, ye false young man!
and tell your sister sorrow,
For here true love, John,
Lies dead and gone, and a bloody corpse on Yarrow!”

As he gae dar yon high high hill,
And doon a pass sae narrow,
It was there he saw his sister dear,
She was coming fast for Yarrow.

“Oh brother dear, I’ve dreamt a dream,
And I hope it won’t prove sorrow,
For I dreamt that ye were spilling blud,
On the dowie dens O-Yarrow.”

“Well, sister dear I’ll rede your dream,
And I know it will prove sorrow,
For your true love John, lies dead and gone,
And a bloody corpse on Yarrow.”

Well this maid’s hair was three quarters lang,
And the color O it was yellow,
She’s tied it roon his middle so sma,
And she’s carried him hame through Yarrow.

“O dochter dear, dry off your tears,
And dwell nae mair in sorrow,
For I’ll wed you tae a far higher degree,
Than your plooman boy O-Yarrow.”

“Oh faither dear, yeeve siven braw sons,
Ye could wed them all tomorrow,
But a fairer floor there ne’er was born,
Than me ploomen boy of Yarrow.”
Track Name: Always in Bloom
Darling, you’re beautiful in the morning time,
Honey, you sparkle in the moon shine,
And all the flowers that bloom in the day or night,
They just don’t compare to you.

Your smile is like the morning sunshine,
Your eyes they sparkle like the stars at night,
And standing here with you is all I ever want,
In the day or the night.

(Chorus)
The morning glories wake to kiss the dawn,
The moon flowers bloom in the evening time,
But you darling are always in bloom,
You are always beautiful!

Some flowers they bloom in spring time,
Others bloom on into the summer time,
But you darling are always in bloom,
Even in the winter time.

Darling, your beautiful in the morning time,
Honey, you sparkle in the moon shine,
And all the flowers that bloom in the day or night,
They just don’t compare to you.

(Chorus)
You are always beautiful!
Track Name: First Shoots of Spring
Don’t leave me love, don’t leave me love, don’t leave me all alone,
But I see now that you’re already gone,
The cold winter winds have come take you away,
And left me here all alone within this land so grey.

(chorus)
Like to a newborn child, a lullaby we sing,
Hope is born anew on the first shoots of spring,
When winter passes by and all seems dead,
Hope is born anew on the first shoots of spring.

A darkness love, a darkness love has come over me,
The light is dim, the night so bleak, I can hardly see,
Now all alone I hope and pray for the dawn,
Till first I see the gentle rays of the rising sun.

(chorus)

A journey love, a journey love, I have made,
Through Samhain’s March I dared to cross unto Beltaine,
The dying time has left me so bitter cold,
I journey now, I journey now, into the Spring!

(chorus)
(chorus)