“Belfast, where David Hammond was born, is an industrial city flanked by green hills and looking out eastwards on a quiet sea-lough. For the last three centuries it has drawn its life-blood from the surrounding countryside and very few of its half-million inhabitants are more than two generations removed from the soil. In such surroundings David in early boyhood picked up a vast store of traditional songs—from the children playing with dim on the streets, from factory workers chanting and singing on the way home from their daily tasks and from old men and women who remembered in their city pent-houses the songs of the green fields of their youth.
Not all these songs were of Irish origin, for in Ulster’s history, English and Scots colonists brought to the province their own particular cultures, and their songs in time have become part of the Irishman’s tradition. He has modified them, of course, and dressed them frequently in the garb of Irish melody, so that only a skilled musicologist would dare to say they are not native to the soil. Belfast’s traditional songs are a most fascinating admixture of Irish, English and Scots elements.
In his early youth David, who spends a large part of his leisure time walking in the countryside, came to know and love the songs of rural Ulster. On his journeys through six of Ireland’s fairest counties, round by the shores of Lough Neagh and over the mountain passes of the Sperrins and the Mournes, he has collected for your entertainment and interest songs from shepherds, weavers, cobblers, fishermen and tinkers—songs of occupation and idleness, songs of love, sorrow and jollification, and even a few of those unblushingly senseless trifles that have amused simple folk all over the world since men first began to sing.
These native airs are not debased by alien graces and they are sung simply, with a minimum of accompaniment, in a traditional style which is not a carbon copy of anybody else’s. He has been described by a shrewd critic as a “creative traditionalist,” an entirely appropriate phrase. The personality of the singer shines through.” (sleeve notes)
I’m forever spellbound by the gentle tone of David Hammond’s voice. The sadder the ballad, the more sublimely expressive his delivery. The Wee Falorie Man is an Irish traditional classic, with a healthy handful of ultimate stunners therein. Big thanks to my brother Zack for putting “All Around the Loney-O” into my heavy rotation in the first place. Highly recommended. 320 vinyl rip by yours truly.