'The Streets of New York' by Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones

Enjoy this video of Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfe Tones performing one of the quintessential Wolfe Tones songs, "The Streets of New York."  Derek Warfield and one of his Young Wolfe Tones, banjo player Damaris Woods, will be joining us for a LIVE hangout in The Wild Geese Virtual Síbín in November.

Click here for more details.

I was 18 years old when
I went down to Dublin with a fistful
Of money and a cartload of dreams
"Take your time" said me father
Stop rushing like hell and remember all is not what it seems to be
For there's fellas that would cut ye for the coat on yer back
or the watch that you got from your mother so take care me young bucko
And mind yourself well and will ya give this wee note to me brother

At the time Uncle Benjy was a policeman in Brooklyn
And me father the youngest, looked after the farm
When a phonecall from America said
'Send the lad over'
And the oul fella said 'Sure wouldn't do any harm' for I've spent me life working this dirty old ground
For a few pints of porter and the smell of a pound
sure maybe there's something you'll learn or you'll see
And you can bring it back home make it easy on me

So I landed at Kennedy and a big yellow taxi
Carried me and me bags through the streets and the rain
Well me poor heart was thumpin around with excitement
And I hardly even heard what the driver was sayin
We came in the Shore Parkway to the faltlands of Brooklyn
To me Uncle's apartment on East 53rd
I was feeling so happy I was humming a song and I sang "You're as free as a bird"

Well to shorten the story what I found out that day was that Benjy was shot down in an uptown foray and while I was flying my way to New York
Poor Benjy was lying in a cold city morgue.
Well I phoned up the old fella told him the news
I could tell he could
Hardly stand up in his shoes and he wept as he told me
'Go ahead with the plans
And not to forget be a proud Irish man'

So I went to Nellies beside Fordham road and i started to learn about lifting the load
But the heaviest thing that I carried that year
Was the bittersweet thought of my hometown so dear
I went home that December 'cause the oul fella died
Had to borrow the money from Phil on the side
And all the bright flowers and brass couldn't hide
The poor wasted face of me father

I sold up the oul farmyard for what it was worth and into my bag stuck
A handful of earth then I boarded a train and I caught me a plane
And I found meself back in the US again
It's been 22yrs since
I've set foot in Dublin
Me kids know to use the correct knife and fork
But I'll never forget the green grass and the rivers
As I keep law and order in the streets of New York.

Views: 504

Tags: Traditional Music, United States

Comment by Bit Devine on October 15, 2013 at 12:47pm

Always a favourite.... I more sang along than I read the lyrics... ;-)

Comment by Eamon Loingsigh on October 15, 2013 at 12:50pm


Comment by Gerry Regan on October 15, 2013 at 4:56pm

My first impression -- Derek and the band deserved a more attentive audience. THIS was a TOUGH crowd.

What a poignant song, so evocative of an era and choices immigrants and would-be immigrants face confront. I admire their courage in making the journey!

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on October 15, 2013 at 5:02pm

Indeed, Gerry.  Here's another video of them performing this song with a slightly less raucous audience:

Comment by Bit Devine on October 15, 2013 at 6:42pm

Unfortunately, the first video seems to be shot in a an area where the focus was more on drink and socializing.... They do seem to be appreciatively and enthusiastically joining in once he begins singing


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