Thank You for Hearing Me: The Definitive Sinéad O'Connor Discography

“I'll Tell Me Ma”

Traditional, arranged by Sinéad O'Connor/Dónal Lunny/Kieran Kiely/Steve Wickham/Alan Branch

1 version

2:24

Sean-Nós Nua album

Lyrics

(Source: Sean-Nós Nua)

I'll tell me ma, when I go home,
The boys won't leave the girls alone.
They pull my hair, they stole my comb,
And that's all right till I go home.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
She is the belle of Belfast city.
She is courtin' one, two, three.
Please won't you tell me who is she?
Albert Mooney says he loves her.
All the boys are fighting for her.
They rap at the door and they ring at the bell,
Saying, "Oh, my true love, are you well?"
Out she comes as white as snow,
Rings on her fingers, bells on her toes.
Jenny Murphy says she'll die
If she doesn't get the fellow with the roving eye.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
She is the belle of Belfast city.
She is courtin' one, two, three.
Please won't you tell me who is she?
Let the wind and the rain and the hail blow high,
And the snow come shovelling from the sky.
She's as nice as apple pie,
And she'll get her own lad by and by.
When she gets a lad of her own,
She won't tell her ma when she gets home.
Let them all come as they will,
But it's Albert Mooney she loves still.
She is handsome, she is pretty,
She is the belle of Belfast city.
She is courtin' one, two, three.
Please won't you tell me who is she?

Notes

Liner notes

Another song learned in childhood. It was originally a Belfast skipping song but was also popular among Dublin children, such as myself. The naming of local people in the song contrasts with the deliberate failure to name the girl whom the song is about, which of course, only serves to increase her allure.

Sinéad O'Connor (Source: Sean-Nós Nua)

Rings on her fingers, bells on her toes:

From the English nursery rhyme "Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross": "Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross/To see a fine lady upon a white horse/With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,/She shall have music wherever she goes." The "fine lady" is traditionally interpreted as Queen Elizabeth I, and the rings and bells were symbols of royal opulence.

Musicians

(Source: Sean-Nós Nua)

Sinéad O'Connor vocals
Abdullah Chhadeh quanun
Nick Coplowe Hammond
Dónal Lunny acoustic guitar, bouzouki, keyboard, bodhrán, bodhrán bass
Kieran Kelly whistle
Skip McDonald electric guitar
Rob Ó Géibheannaigh flute, strings
Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie drums, bass, piano
Bernard O'Neill acoustic bass
Professor Stretch drum programming, bass programming
Sharon Shannon accordion
Steve Wickham mandolin, banjo

All artwork, lyrics, and liner notes are copyrighted by their respective owners, and are used without permission. Every effort is made to properly attribute copyrighted content, when known. Everything else © copyright Jason R Tibbetts 2007-2016. All rights reserved.

Questions, comments, or corrections? Email me at jason@thankyouforhearingme.com.