The Village Green
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lyrics by Melissa L. Tatum
music trad./MacArthur Road*/Calliope House*
*MacArthur Road and Calliope House
composed D. Richardson, published Gilderoy Music, Edinburgh, Scotland and used with permission
arranged by Dave Firestine and Claire Zucker
recorded by Púca
vocals & bodhran Claire Zucker
octave mandolin Dave Firestine
guitar Frank Daley
recorded at Cavern Studios, Tucson, AZ
recording engineer Bill Cashman

Here’s a preview sample of the song.

I had been writing lyrics for about a year when I took a songwriting course from Jim Malcolm at Swannanoa the Gathering. At that point, my biggest frustration was my inability to compose music. I learned a lot about songwriting that week, but two of Jim’s comments really stuck with me. The first was his observation that a wealth of traditional melodies existed in the public domain, just waiting for lyrics. That sparked a hunt through tunes looking for ones I thought might make good songs. The second comment, that words sometimes stick to notes, didn’t make much sense to me at the time. A few months later, I stumbled across this tune and as I played it a couple of times, the phrase “I am the Village Green” kept floating through my head as I played the last few notes. I suddenly understood what Jim meant.
In the spring of 2008, I landed my dream job, and Chris and I began packing up our life in Tulsa to move to Tucson. We were already deeply involved in the traditional music world at that point and had started our house concert series. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I discovered that Tucson had an active traditional music scene and I popped into the local session one Sunday while in town to handle some pre-move logistics. The session was run by the members of the band Round the House, which included Dave and Claire. Everyone immediately made us welcome, but Round the House went out of their way to help us integrate into the local music scene and supported our efforts to move our house concert series. They are great people and wonderful musicians.

Púca consists of Claire Jamieson Zucker on vocals, bodhrán, and concertina and Dave Firestine on mandolin, bouzouki, and vocals. Both Dave and Claire have garnered numerous awards and regularly teach workshops across the United States. They are joined by guitarist Frank Daley, who plays with Scatter the Dust and New Potatoes.  

Look at Angus Campbell behind the tinker’s stall
His continued flirting will be his downfall
He simply can’t resist any redhead lass with curls
He just broke the heart of the Laird’s eldest girl

CHORUS:As the seasons change, as each new day appears
I listen to their hopes, I hear all their fears
From first to last step, And all that comes between
I’m a silent witness; I am the village green

Just two months ago, Jaime boarded on a train
Now his family and friends are huddled in the rain
They’ve come to carry home young Jaime McNeill
Last week he gave his life on France’s battlefield

The clock strikes the hour; the church bell starts to chime
You’ll see Beth and Susie at the stroke of nine
Sisters of the heart for over fifty years
I have been a witness to their laughter and their tears

Countless lovers tryst beneath the ancient yew
Tonight it’s Duncan Keith who pledges to be true
He offers Meg a ring, and drops to bended knee
Her smile lights up the night, warms this frosty Christmas Eve

On the first of May, this village holds a fair
Young Andrew and Sinead have brought their newest bairn
He waves his little fist and he watches from his pram
They fade into the crowd and the cycle starts again