Friday, 22 August 2008

The Baby Rover

A bit of fun last night tinged with a real sense of sorrow.

The legendary Dubliners frontman Ronnie Drew sadly died last Saturday after a long illness. I was brought up to the sound of his gravelly tones. And, as I got older, I've drunk to them on more occasions than I'm able to remember (for fairly obvious reasons).

Since the news broke, I've waited patiently for BBC Northern Ireland to air a tribute of some sort and, last night, it hit our screens.

It came in the form of an old Dubliners studio gig in Belfast and many of the favourites - including Seven Drunken Nights which I wrote about a few weeks ago - were in there.

One of my current fatherly duties is to give Jamie his last feed before putting him down for the night (well, about three hours for now but you get the idea).

He's recently got used to his little music box and normally, within about five minutes of it going on, he's under.

But last night, I timed everything to ensure I was feeding him whilst the Dubliners were on the telly. The plan was to wait until the show was over before attempting to get him off to sleep but he finished his supper quicker than I expected.

There was no way I was turning the telly off before Ronnie had sung his final note so I decided to see if Ronnie could get Jamie off for me instead.

As I placed him into his Moses basket, our hairy hero was thanking the audience and introducing the last number - The Irish Rover which, I'm sure you know, became famous when the Dubliners teamed up with The Pogues to release it as a single.

By the time Ronnie had reached the first chorus, Jamie's arms and legs were gyrating to the music and, by the second, his head was rolling from side to side. Indeed, it was probably my proudest moment yet!

The concert over, I turned the telly off and the music box on. Jamie didn't complain but also didn't go to sleep for another half an hour.

A bizarre but entertaining end to the day and all thanks to the late, great Ronnie Drew.

If you have speakers on your computer, click on to this link and enjoy the definitive live version of the Irish Rover from the TV special broadcast 21 years ago to celebrate The Dubliners' quarter century in music.

But a word of advice - don't put it on if you're planning to sleep any time soon.

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