There are few songs, at least in modern times that evoke as much feel for the Irish than the great Pete St John’s “Rare old times”. The line that strikes at the core is the iconic “Raised on songs and stories” I think it is what separates a true Irishman from the rest.
This Saturday night last I went to the local Irish Cultural Center in Canton Ma. to hear a young girl and her acoustic guitar play a few tunes. The bar was full of Rugby players fresh off the pitch and some aspiring footballers taking in some pre season practice. The songs she sang were mainly American country songs with a few pop hits thrown in. I know, I know, what does this have to do with Raised on songs and stories? Be patient I’ll get there.
When the boys are fresh off a match, or watching a match, the discussions and attentions in the pub afterwards are about the match. The music is an after thought, a nice after thought, but not the main attraction.
The young lady did know one Irish traditional song, and with a slight introduction that it was her father’s favorite song and hoped she did it the justice it deserved she belted out her version of “Grace”. Well you know those Rugby players all stopped their banter as a really nice, passionate, version of “Grace” caught them. At the songs conclusion, a round of applause from all, a bless his soul for Jim McCann for he has recently passed, and did she know any Luke Kelly.
Raised on songs and stories, The songs about Irish heroes forever retold in music, forever appreciated by generations young and old. The telling of the story is important, the singing of the song is important, that doing the song the respect it deserves is of utmost importance. I suppose that’s what Pete ST. John instinctively knew when he wrote that line, that all Irish are held together with a thread of story and song.
Not a bad way to be raised at all, I can think of no better,