Dark Horse on the Wind – Liam Weldon
Liam Weldon 1933-95 Singer and songwriter from Ballyfermot in Dublin. Best -known for his songs "Dark Horse on the Wind" and "The Blue Tar Road." The CD reissue of Liam's album "Dark Horse on the Wind" (1976) has been released by Mulligan Records (LUN CD 006). Full of strong, honest singing of strong, honest songs - it is essential listening for lovers of the Irish tradition. Insert includes the words of all songs, a lovely biographical introduction by the poet Pearse Hutchinson and Liam's own notes on the songs. Video

Oh those who died for liberty
Have heard the eagle scream
All the ones who died for liberty
Have died but for a dream
Oh rise, rise, rise, Dark horse on the wind
For in no nation on the earth
More broken hearts you'll find.

The flames leaped high, reached to the sky
And seared a nation’s soul
In the ashes of our broken dreams
We’ve lost sight of our goal
O rise, rise, rise, Dark horse on the wind
And help our hearts seek Róisín (Rō-sheen)*
Our soul again to find

Now charlatans wear dead men’s shoes
Aye and rattle dead men’s bones
‘Ere the dust has settled on their tombs
They’ve sold the very stones
O rise, rise, rise, Dark horse on the wind
For in no nation on the earth
More Pharisees you’ll find

In grief and hate our motherland
Her dragon’s teeth has sown
Now the warriors spring from the earth
To maim and kill their own
O rise, rise, rise, Dark horse on the wind
For the one-eyed Balor still reigns king (Bā-lor)*
In our nation of the blind.

*Balor was the one-eyed evil god of Irish mythology.
*Black Róisín, a code name used by the Irish when referring to Ireland during the invasion, when natives were forbidden to practise their Catholic religion, speak their own language, or speak of an "Ireland". Hence writings were disguised as love songs, and poet's names usually concealed.

Recorded by Susan McKeown, "Lowlands" (Green Linnet, 2000)
"Dark Horse on the Wind" Written by Liam Weldon, it is both an ode to and a lament against the battle for Ireland's freedom. McKeown tackles this one a cappella with stunning results. Her powerful voice is clear yet wavers with the raw emotion this song demands, and she delivers it with such a grace and passion that the listener can be moved at once to tears over the horrors of war and a patriotic rage -- no matter where your place of birth – against those who seek to use and twist that battle for their own purposes.

The Sunday Tribune Weekly Traditional Music Column by Fintan Vallely

Lyric champion of the underdog. The opening of Scoil Samhradh Willie Clancy next weekend emphasises the centrality of the rural in defining Traditional music. It focuses mainly on instrumental music and set dance, somewhat less on song. But last month's launch of a CD collection of the songs of singer/songwriter the late Liam Weldon - 'Dark Horse on the Wind' - at the Cobblestone bar at Smithfield, draws attention to the singer in city. This was verified on Wednesday last with the unveiling of a plaque to his memory at Ballyfermot library. Born in Dublin in 1933, Weldon was passionate about song words and singing. He learned from the Travelling people and from the remnant of the broadsheet ballad singers, and his own songs reflected a strong awareness of poverty, disadvantage and exploitation. Uncompromising, these challenged the middle-class complacency of the Irish Free State, dangerously he trod ground shared with critics of a Irish national identity which he believed in. His personal ballad style had features of other genres, but the precision of intent in his abrasive lyrics was unmistakable and did not endear him easily to the keepers of the intensive care unit that incubated the Celtic tiger. Six years working in England from the age of sixteen tempered this awareness, but yet his lyrics often have deep lyric sensitivity. He sang first at the Central Bar in Aungier St., Dublin, and with wife Nellie ran gigs and clubs through the 1970s. His Blue Tar Road, is an indicts us for our indigenous racism implicit in the eviction of Traveller families by Dublin Corporation at Cherryorchard; Dark Horse on the Wind, from 1966, criticised the 1916 commemorations in the face of what he saw as the failures represented by emigration and poverty: In the ashes of our broken dreams / We've lost sight of our goal / Oh rise, rise, rise, dark horse on the wind. Dublin singer Frank Harte regards Liam Weldon as someone who gave Dublin people an awareness of the culture of the city they occupied, and for Christy Moore he was "one of the great singers". Liam Weldon had other standards too - about performance, and in Harte's memory "he never tolerated anything but silence for a song." A collector too, he is noted by Tom Munnelly of the UCD Dept. of Folklore as "the only urban-based singer with a genuine interest in the lives and song of the Travellers". Liam Weldon had his brushes with the possibility of stage success too, playing in the pre-Bothy Band group '1691' with Tony MacMahon, Tr’ona N’ Dh—mhnaill, Peter Browne and Donal Lunny; his songs are sung by such as Mick Flynn, Kevin Mitchell and Tim Lyons. Perhaps his power as a singer is summed up best by close friend Colm Keating who recalls the intense silence which he generated at the Ballyfermot Phoenix Folk Club while singing Patrick Galvin's James Connolly: "the dishwasher filling up sounded like a waterfall". . ©Fintan Vallely, IrishMusicInfo.com