As well as his song writing, Shane MacGowan is to be commended for taking traditional music from the British Isles and making it exciting again. I love English folk music, but I do wish there was someone around who could inject this sort of excitement into it.
MacGowan often cites The Dubliners as one of his biggest inspirations. You can tell he’s really enjoying performing this traditional Irish song with them. At the start of the song he has a fag in one hand and drink in the other, but by the end of the song he’s copying Ronnie Drew’s hands-in-pockets stance. It’s so cute, like watching a five year old boy and his dad.
One thing to note in this tune is that the chord progressions are slightly different for the verses sung by Ronnie Drew and those sung by Shane MacGowan. The difference occurs in the last line of the verse. In MacGowan’s verses, there is a G followed by a quick D then G on ‘Rover’. In Drew’s verses, the chords go straight to D and holds it until the G at the end of the line. The instrumental verses also mix it up. The first instrumental verse follows the MacGowan chords and the second Drew’s.
Make sure you change the line, “There was awl Mickey Coote who played hard on his flute,” to, “There was awl Mickey Coote who played hard on his uke.”