When Breakthrough Banjo member Ryne M. suggested I tackle this song and linked to a YouTube sample, I wasn’t prepared for the rush of nostalgia that was about to ensue (click here to read Ryne’s “Banjo Breakthrough” story).
*I know that voice*, I thought.
From where though?
Ah yes, the Pogues, that’s where!
Back in my teen years when I and my small circle of friends were feverishly searching for obscure music our top 40 loving peers would’ve never heard of, the Celt trad-punk band the Pogues, fronted by lead singer Shane McGowan, were a treasured find.[Aside: Shane MacGowan, Blarney, Dungannon,…it’s really not fair. How did such a small island country end up with all the best names?]
So when Ryne’s link led me to MacGowan’s rendition of this week’s song, Come to the Bower, I took it as a sign, and got to work.
The song itself, a patriotic anthem of sorts, was written in the 19th Century as a call for Irish exiles in Europe and America to return home (the “Bower” here refers to Ireland).
I was tempted to render my best impersonation of MacGowan’s rough, 3-sheats-to-the-wind sounding brogue, but thought better of it.
Thanks again to Ryne for suggesting this fantastic song as an addition “The Vault.”
(click here for a current list of all the clawhammer songs and tunes currently available inside of The Vault)
Note on the video: Some of you may recall that last fall my wife visited the Bower, taking a week-long bike trip around the Ring of Kerry. The pics used in the background of the video were a few from that trip of a lifetime.
Come to the Bower
aDADE tuning, Brainjo level 3
Notes on the Tab
In this arrangement, I’ve tabbed out the part I play in the banjo “solo,” as well as the vocal backup I play on the banjo while singing.
Notes in parentheses are “skip” notes – to learn more about skips and syncopated skips, check out my video lesson on the subject.
For more on reading tabs in general, check out this complete guide to reading banjo tabs.
PRIOR SONG OF THE WEEK EPISODES
- Episode 1: “Ain’t Gonna Work Tomorrow”
- Episode 2: “Gumtree Canoe”
- Episode 3: “Crawdad Hole”
- Episode 4: “Oh Susanna”
- Episode 5: “Freight Train”
- Episode 6: “Grandfather’s Clock”
- Episode 7: “Hop High Lulu”
- Episode 8: “Been All Around This World”
- Episode 9: “I’ll Fly Away”
- Episode 10: “Leaving Home”
- Episode 11: “Poor Orphan Child”
- Episode 12: “Mr. Tambourine Man”
- Episode 13: “Swanee River”
- Episode 14: “Big Sciota”
- Episode 15: “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms”
- Episode 16: “Darling Corey”
- Episode 17: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”
- Episode 18: “America the Beautiful”
- Episode 19: “Bury Me Beneath the Willow”
- Episode 20: “Way Out There”
- Episode 21: “New Slang”
- Episode 22: “I Saw the Light”
- Episode 23: “Amazing Grace”
- Episode 24: “Blowin’ in the Wind”
- Episode 25: “Yankee Doodle”
- Episode 26: “Budapest”
- Episode 27: “Wildwood Flower”
- Episode 28: “Paradise”
- Episode 29: “Mountain Dew”
- Episode 30: “Blue Tail Fly”
- Episode 31: “Otto Wood”
- Episode 32: “Down on the Corner”
- Episode 33: “City of New Orleans”
- Episode 34: “Big Rock Candy Mountains”
Level 2 arrangements and video demos for the Tune (and Song!) of the Week tunes are now available as part of the Breakthrough Banjo course.