Memory Trigger 15. A Song And An Irish Troubadour.

My friend Sandeep was listening to this song while having lunch at home in the UK and sent me a WhatsApp message asking me to listen to it too. Little did he know that this will trigger off a great memory of a great friend, alas no more.

I quote his WhatsApp messsage – “I Forget what a van Morrison fan I am sometimes. Hugely underrated, and with a lyrical ability on par with Bob Dylan and a better musician. Has at least 5 truly great albums that have never got the global acclaim they deserve. A true Irish troubadour.”

When I was a bachelor salesman in Madras of the early sixties of the last century, I met a remarkable Irish fellow called TW. This fellow had had all kinds of adventures as a seaman and had jumped ship in Madras and was working as a steward in a restaurant. He enjoyed my company primarily because he could talk to someone in English and for a few months that he stayed in Madras, we were good friends.

After he returned to Ireland he wrote regularly and we kept in touch with each other by mail. He came back to india in 1978 when I was in Bombay. He spent three unforgettable days with us then and he gifted an album to us which had this song in it. It was the first time that my late wife and I were introduced to Irish music and we were completely zapped by the beauty of it. This album stayed with us for many years till we eventually got rid of all LPs when the CDs came into the market. I somehow never went back to Van Morrison and this message from Sandeep not only took me back to the music but also to TW.

TW came from a fairly well to do family of Dublin and had an adventurous life. I met him in Dublin in 1987 and spent a weekend with him at his ancestral home. He was in the final stages of his life with serious cirrhosis of the liver and by December of 1987 he died of drink. He was 46 years old.

Thank you Sandeep for bringing this song back to me and also the memories of a good friend long gone.

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
Oh the color
Of the day wore on
And our heads
Were filled with poetry
And the morning
A-comin’ on to dawn

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
And gay perfusion
In god’s green land
And the gypsy’s rode
With their hearts on fire
They say “We love to wander, ”
“Lord we love, ”
“Lord we love to roam”

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow
In a drenching beauty
Rolling back ’til the day
And I saw your eyes
They was shining, sparkling crystal clear
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow
And our souls were clean
And the grass did grow

And as we walked
Through the streets of Arklow

Written by Van Morrison • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

12 thoughts on “Memory Trigger 15. A Song And An Irish Troubadour.”

  1. Van Morrison – according to several session players that worked on his albums and toured with him that I corresponded with years ago is one of the worst human beings ever put on the earth. But his talent is immense – they did acknowledge that. Personally, I prefer U2 as an example of Irish music and even back in the 60s, they had what were termed Irish Show Bands – purveyors of excellent pop music. A good friend of mine fronted one of those bands – The Blue Aces.
    It always interests me to see what music stirs memories for my friends – a fave question of mine is “what is the first thing you think of when you hear (insert song title).

    Regarding Van Morrison, I have the same issue as with Bob Dylan – I find his singing voice difficult to understand.
    shackman recently posted..History

    1. I suppose that all of us have different tastes. Like you, I could not digest Bob Dylan, but somehow this resonated with both of us. Perhaps due to its novelty. U2 came into our lives much later thanks to our son.

  2. Hi Rummy,

    I was never a Van Morrison fan. And the same goes for Bob Dylan, even though some of his poems are beautiful. Just not my cup of tea.
    When I think of Irish music, I tend to go more traditional: Enya, Loreena McKennitt (born in Canada from Irish and Scottish parents) and the likes of them. Here’s a taste of Loreena’s work (The Mystic Dream):

    So sorry about TW, may his reincarnation be peaceful.

    Cheers, my friend

  3. I listened to Van Morrison during the 70s, and loved him. He typifies a poignant, somber type of musician with a message many may find obscure. I don’t know if he was or wasn’t a good person—when it comes to music that stirs us, it really doesn’t matter!

  4. what a bittersweet post. bless your old friend TW and the memories you have of him.
    i’m like max coutinho who commented. i like the more ethereal sound of irish music.
    there is something very mysterious and ancient and lyrical in that emerald land.
    and in the music of loreena mckinnitt or even the singers of celtic woman. it seems to speak to me more.
    tammy j recently posted..moving on old bean

    1. There is a lot of similarities between the Irish and the Indians Tammy and their music resonates with me because in a strange way, it reminds me of our folk music which too goes back to centuries.

  5. My favorite of Van Morrison’s is “Into the Mystic”. It holds a lot of family memories. Music has provided a wonderful soundtrack to my life.

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