The Rails “Bonny Portmore”

Bonny Portmore is an Irish traditional folk song which laments the demise of Ireland’s old oak forests, specifically the Great Oak of Portmore or the Portmore Ornament Tree, which fell in a windstorm in 1760 and was subsequently used for shipbuilding and other purposes.

The Rails is a folk rock band from London, England, composed of husband and wife James Walbourne and Kami Thompson. Kami Thompson is the daughter of British folk rock legends Richard Thompson and Linda Thompson and her brother is musician Teddy Thompson.

lyrics (traditional)
O bonny Portmore, you shine where you stand
And the more I think on you the more I think long
If I had you now as I had once before
All the lords in Old England would not purchase Portmore. Continue reading

Listed: Linda Thompson’s Top 10 Traditional Songs


“I’m up to my ass in traditional songs,” Linda Thompson says in the extensive Q&A published today on theartsdesk. When she talked to me she also discussed her early adventures in traditional folk music. “I was already interested in folk singing in Glasgow,” she said. “Great people like Archie Fisher. When I came to London I got friendly with Sandy Denny, who was singing at The Troubadour. I’d been singing seriously since I was 18, in folk clubs, with Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, all those people. I really liked the music. I’d grown up with American music, so had never heard anyone sing with a British accent. And I started to do that, it just seemed the right thing to do.”

While claiming to know “22,000” traditional songs, she managed to whittle down a list of ten favourite performances, in no particular order. Where available, a YouTube performance accompanies each of her choices.
1. “Bogey’s Bonny Belle” by Sheila Stewart

We know about the Stewart family. They were tinkers, they liked to be called Tinkers in Scotland, not Romanies or Gypsies. They were amazing singers and this is a great song.

READ MORE: Listed: Linda Thompson’s Top 10 Traditional Songs | reviews, news & interviews | The Arts Desk