Today is Father’s Day here in the U.S., and Jim Adams has chosen a fitting theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday: Dad/Father/Barbeque. My contribution is one of my late husband’s favorite songs, “The Old Man,” written by Irish composer Phil Coulter.
The first time we heard “The Old Man” was when John McDermott sang it during an Irish Tenors PBS performance. That performance touched a deep chord within my husband, whose father had passed away when Jerry was just 13. We saw McDermott perform the song live as a solo artist and saw Celtic Thunder’s George Donaldson perform it live and on TV many times. We had several CD’s that included “The Old Man,” and I often came home from work to find Jerry playing one. And no matter how many times Jerry heard the song, it reached him as if it were the first.
You can watch a video of Phil Coulter, himself, performing the song here and George Donaldson (with Coulter conducting the orchestra) here . As far as Jerry was concerned, however, no one could surpass John McDermott’s version. Here’s his Irish Tenors performance. (Lyrics are in the video’s commentary.)
One of my all-time favorite singing groups is Celtic Thunder. It just so happens that a song on their sixth album, “Heritage”, fits the bill for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, search. Phil Coulter wrote “Home from the Sea” in honor of his brother, who was lost at sea. The song tells a tale of a lifeboat crew’s search for a lost fishing boat. You’ll have to take a listen (or read the lyrics) to see how it works out. Note that the video features George Donaldson, one of the original Celtic Thunder members who I wrote about a couple weeks ago for the SLS “glass” theme.
“Home From The Sea“
On a cold winters night
With a storm at its height
The lifeboat answered the call.
They pitched and they tossed
Till we thought they were lost
As we watched from the harbor wall.
Though the night was pitch black,
There was no turning back,
For someone was waiting out there,
But each volunteer
Had to live with his fear
As they joined in a silent prayer.
Home, home, home from the sea
Angels of mercy, answer our plea
And carry us home, home, home from the sea
Carry us safely home from the sea.
As they battled their way
Past the mouth of the bay,
It was blowing like never before.
As they gallantly fought,
Every one of them thought
Of loved ones back on the shore.
Then a flicker of light
And they knew they were right.
There she was on the crest of a wave.
She’s an old fishing boat
And she’s barely afloat.
Please God, there are souls we can save.
And back in the town
In a street that runs down
To the sea and the harbor wall,
They’d gathered in pairs
At the foot of the stairs
To wait for the radio call.
And just before dawn
When all hope had gone
Came a hush and a faraway sound.
‘Twas the coxswain he roared
All survivors on board
Thank God and we’re homeward bound.