What a Time

R. Kavana / R. Demick / T. Woods / Traditional

When eviction and the famine packed the ships that sailed from Cork
They were bound for Ellis Island in the harbour of New York
This new world, this land of plenty, must have seemed so very strange
But they had their fiddles, pipes and songs to help them through the change.

Chorus

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

There were Germans, Poles, Italians playin' polkas oompah-style
But the boys who had them reelin', they came from auld Erin's Isle
Touhy, Ennis, Coleman, Morrison, and the bands made up by Chief O'Neill
Daddy Rice he softshoe-shuffled while he fiddled jigs'n'reels.

Chorus

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

In the Appalachian mountains the tunes took on new names
Likewise in Philadelphia where the Irish Minstrels reigned
Every Friday night the Flanagans played the Tub of Blood, New York
Singin' Tura Lura Lura, My Irish Molly-O
Drinkin' rare auld Irish whiskey from Cavan and Mayo.

On the railroads, down the coalmines, in workcamps and vaudeville halls
Irish music met black rhythms with a sound that shook the walls
Such a joyful syncopation this odd couple then did make
At the time some called it crazy, it's called Rock'n'roll of late.

Chorus

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

What a time it must have been
When the century had turned
And all the music came together
In the brave new world

Can be found on the album What a Time