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Life Arts

Mother Machree

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                                Mother Machree                                              

"There's a spot in my heart that no colleen may own"

(The first line in the greatest of Irish MOTHER songs!)

It must be stated at the start that a large share of popular "Irish" songs were in fact American popular songs of their era.   Mixed into the repertory of "Irish music" were, of course, ample numbers of authentic Irish songs, which originated in the British Isles.

Mother Machree involved two songwriters, whose names are frequently noted among the great American-Irish songs: Chauncey Olcott and Ernest K. Ball.   (Mother Machree's lyrics were written by a woman, Rida Johnson Young.)


I first heard this song vocalized by my own dear mother, who had an endless repertoire of the old songs.   She did it well, (although she was French-American.)   I was a little boy, and she passed her songs on to me.   I owe her!


Many years passed before I learned that "Machree" was not Mother's proper name.   Rather, it is a term which means "dearest."    I think it's important that listeners realize this, because it gives the last line, "Oh, God bless you and keep you, Mother Machree even more emotional impact.                                 


This song was written in 1910 for the show, Barry of Baltimore , and the featured soloist was the great Irish tenor, John McCormack.   It is a favorite of Irish tenors everywhere...good ones and  (unfortunately) bad ones.

The last statement makes an important point, which invites the analogy, "Never judge a book by its cover."

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Listen to this beautiful song as you view its lyrics, (first verse only.)


Mother Machree


There's a spot in my heart which no colleen may own!

There's a depth in my soul never sounded or known.

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There's a place in my mem'ry, my life, that you fill,

No other can take it, no one ever will!

Sure, I love the dear silver that shines in your hair,

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I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)

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