She Moves Through the Fair: McCormack and MacEwan″

John McCormack, “She Moved Thro’ The Fair” (1941). YouTube.

McCormack (1884-1945), an Irish tenor, was responsible for an early wave of popularity for the song. He may have been singing it earlier than the stated date, which is that attached to a recording.

He sings a modified version of Colum’s lyrics (verses 1, 3 and 4). In the first verse, he sings mother/father, not brothers/parents, and he commences the final verse, I dreamt it last night /That my dead love came in. There is a distinct emphasis on the word dead.″

Sydney MacEwan, “She Moved Thro’ The Fair”. Youtube.

A Scottish tenor and Catholic priest, MacEwan (1908 – 1991) was also a friend of McCormack’s. He was active as a singer throughout the 30s, 40s and 50s, but I have been unable to date his recording of this song. The lyrics he sings are essentially the same as those sung by McCormack, with the following variation at the beginning of the last verse: Last night she came to me /My dead love came in.


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