Some of these rhymes and songs are local versions of old favourites, while others are little known, perhaps never published. I hope that readers, or better, singers, will agree that they do not deserve to be forgotten. For my part, I wish to express my warmest thanks to the people who gave them to me.
Hugh Shields, 1971

Hugh Shields collected and documented songs and music from oral tradition during the 1950s without the aid of sound recording equipment. It was not until 1961 that he acquired a Philips 4-track mains tape recorder.

Hugh’s methodology in documenting the material he collected, pre- and post- sound recording technology, is richly captured in the handwritten diary of children’s songs and rhymes featured below. Successive layers of handwritten words, music notation, information on source singers, references to Hugh’s field recordings and song notes bear witness to the evolving children’s song publication.

Extract from: Manuscript 1.  Handwritten children’s songs, rhymes and music notation / by Hugh Shields ; Lisa Shields

View Manuscript 1.  Handwritten children’s songs, rhymes and music notation / by Hugh Shields ; Lisa Shields.

A searchable index of this manuscript is available.

Dusty Bluebells [Ulster], 1970

By 1970 the concept of a children’s song publication had become a defined project with a focus on material collected in Ulster. Featuring transcripts of 85 songs and rhymes, the 60-page Dusty Bluebells: songs and rhymes for children taken from the oral tradition / by Hugh Shields was to be published to accompany a gramophone record of key sound recordings. 

Title-page: Dusty Bluebells [Ulster],1970

View the complete Dusty Bluebells [Ulster], 1970 Typescript.

Dusty Bluebells [Ireland], 1971

The Ulster-focused 1970 Dusty Bluebells Typescript was expanded and revised in 1971, to incorporate a wider all Ireland selection. Hugh Shields added 26 transcriptions in his own hand and the publication grew to 80 pages with a total of 130 items. 

Title-page and Contents  page: Dusty Bluebells [Ireland], 1971

View extracts from Dusty Bluebells [Ireland], 1971.

Linnets Like to Sing, 1975

Sometime after 1975, Hugh Shields renamed the project to “Linnets Like to Sing.” The new manuscript included songs collected up until 1975 and incorporated adult songs that the collector thought might prove appealing to children. The adult singers included Hugh’s own family, Eddie Butcher, Joe McCafferty, Paddy Tunney and Eileen Keaney.

Title-page: Linnets Like to Sing, 1975

View extracts from Linnets Like to Sing, 1975 Typescript.

Dusty Bluebells, 2019

For this Digital Exhibition Lisa Shields has created a new 2019 PDF edition of the Childrens Song and Rhymes Collection. It is an amalgamation based on Dusty Bluebells, 1970; Dusty Bluebells, 1971; material from Linnets Like to sing, 1975 and the Old Grinding Young LP Project

Title-page: Dusty Bluebells, 2019

View PDF of Dusty Bluebells 2019.