Categories
Album Release Concert Event Folk Music Recording Launch Upcoming

Chicks and Docklings at Portland United Church

CHICKS & DOCLINGS HATCH NEW CD  SATURDAY AT PORTLAND UNITED CHURCH

13CoolChicksJustHatchCDcoverExuberant…that describes their CD Just Hatched…but not humour inspired exuberance as anyone who has seen The Cool Chicks & Ugly Doclings perform would expect. This disc is a recording, vocally and instrumentally, exuberant in its sheer beauty.

Their new…and first…CD Just Hatched, is being launched this Saturday, 7 p.m., at Portland United Church, 50 Newport Crescent, just off Adelaide Street in Saint John’s North End. Known for their humour and nonsense rearrangements and re-writing of old favourites, the only thing nonsensical about this, their first recording, is it’s packaging.

The eye-stopping cover is a Disney-esque cartoon: a duck doc with a finger pointing to the album title, Just Hatched and a cool 1930’s Chick in a ball gown and fur boa neck piece, a finger pointing to the unique act’s official monicker, The Cool Chicks & The Ugly Doclings. The most novel idea for a record cover ever to be hatched in any incubator. But it’s such a far cry from the songs of deep emotion and inspiration encrypted on its tracks.

“What a terrific recording of Hallelujah!,” my wife Carol exclaimed on first hearing the CD: she’d heard its composer, Leonard Cohen, sing this powerful song of his at Harbour Station, a month earlier. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to make out all the words.”

She was referring to Brenda Brooks phrasing in such lines as : “I heard there was a secret chord, that David played that pleased the Lord.”

If you’re one of the unfortunate few that have not seen or heard the Cool Chicks & The Ugly Doclings in concert, then, for your edification, they are seven local health care professions and one teacher, who have been doing charity performances in southern New Brunswick for over ten years, raising money for not-for-profit organizations.

The album opens with Andrew Clark, an anaesthetist, singing lead on Cannibals, written by Mark Knopfler. Then Blue Bayou, that Roy Orbison wrote the lyrics for, is given one of the most beautiful treatments, that I have heard, by respiratory therapist, Jennifer Rooney. Next a song, Drinking Black Rum (and eating Blueberry Pie) sung by retired orthopaedic surgeon, John Acker but made famous on CBC-TV’s Singalong Jubilee by it’s writer James Lawrence (or just plain Jim) Bennet. And Andrew Clark, an anaesthetist and guitarist, vocally interprets his own Servant To The Music (the only original song on the disc). Then Wendy Stewart, a pediatric neurologist and singing accordionist from Scotland renders I Only Want To Be With You, by Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde. And nurse Brenda Brooks does a grand recital of Gordon Sumner’s Fields Of Gold.

That’s a half dozen enchanting songs and there’s another seven just as beguilingly sung and played on the CD: family physician, Steve Willis along with the ensemble do a rousing interpretation of Those Were The Days (My Friend, We Thought They’d Never End) a song written by Gene Raskin and made famous by England’s Maryanne Faithful and in North America by the Limelighters (Stephen plays guitar and mandolin, too). And Jerry Jeff Walker’s ever popular Mr. Bojangles gets a rousing revival, by respiratory therapist Mike Willis, who plays bass, guitar, bodhran and sings. Next the only instrumental track, an Irish Jig Set, is performed by the eight musicians. And, Joni Mitchell’s River, is stunningly sung by Maggie Bockus ( Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on); Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel (that Jay Secor wrote the music for) is intriguingly performed by Mike Willis, (Rock Me Mama, like a wagon wheels.) Then Brenda Brooks wonderful interpretation of Hallelujah and the final track 13, with a slight re-writing (here and there) of the Sherman’s You’re Sixteen (And You’re lovely, you come on like a dream, all peaches and cream) with the new closing lines “We’re the Chicks (voiced by the four Chicks) and The Doclings ( voiced by the Doclings), and we’re here. If you’re digging the songs just sing along. We’re not famous, we’re not rich. It’s the end of the show and we’ve got to go.”

This wonderful CD, you’ll play over and over again, Just Hatched, is available Saturday at it’s Portland United Church launch or you can phone the office of Dr. Wendy Stewart, 848-4622 for a copy.

Categories
Album Release Column Archives Country and Western Folk Memories Music

Stompin’ Tom’s Never Ending Story

Stompin’ Tom’s New CD – a Milestone in His Never Ending Story

Stompin' Tom 1936-2013
Stompin’ Tom 1936-2013

A perception once rooted is hard to disinter.

On page seven of Tom Connors own biography Stompin’ Tom Before The Fame he writes: I had been born Charles Thomas Connors at the stroke of midnight on February 9, 1936, in the General Hospital in Saint John, New Brunswick. My birth certificate shows my mother’s name as Isabel Connors.

Tom was in high school at Saint John Vocational (now Harbour View High) in 1950 when I was in the commercial art course there. He posed for several of the murals painted by Fred Ross that distinguished the corridors of that institution of learning for many decades. And long time RCA fiddling legend Ned Landry is Tom’s cousin on the Sullivan side of their families.

Yet even such an authority on the unique personalities that embroider the pages of Canadian history as Wayne Ronstad was amazed a couple of months ago to learn that Tom hadn’t been born on our Garden of the Gulf. And a favourite recording artist of mine Stew Clayton begins his Tribute To Stompin’ Tom with “From Skinner’s Pond in PEI”.

Part of the myth, of course, derives from Tom himself who for many years opened every concert and TV telecast with “Hello, I’m Stompin Tom from PEI” and, of course, his was the voice of PEI’s TV commercials in those years, as well. Tom in a letter to me, 15 years ago, explained the paradox this way:

“When interviewers ask what they believe to be a simple question they don’t want you to go into a long speech about your entire historical background. I therefor use the following rule of thumb.

Stompin' Tom Connors and Ned Landry
Stompin’ Tom Connors and Ned Landry

“When asked “Where were you born?”, I say Saint John, NB, because that is where I first saw the light of day. When asked “Where are you from”, I say Skinner’s Pond, PEI because that is the first place I could ever call home. When asked where is your home? I presume the question means right now, so I say, just outside Georgetown, Ontario.”

I was amazed a couple of years ago, giving a talk on New Brunswick songs at the Saint John Art Centre, how few of the audience realized Tom was from this city or that he had written songs about the province and Saint John.

In fact the first song he wrote, My Reversing Falls Darling was composed when he was attending Vocational. He, also, wrote and recorded Saint John Blues, The Don Messer Story, Tribute To Wilf Carter (with the line ‘Til the wood camps of New Brunswick hired Wilf for a better wage) and a great radio air-play hit New Brunswick and Mary.

And, now, on his new Ballad of Stompin Tom CD, there’s a very haunting song Rose of Silver Falls, perhaps inspired by a gypsy caravan he saw during his two years at the St. Patrick’s Orphanage near the Falls.The most hilarious song on it is an NB inspired one too, (Working In The) Bush of Bouctouche (because of a gal in Tatamagouche). And the title song Ballad of Stompin’ Tom affirms in its opening line the place of his birth, “I was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, by the sea.”
I think this is Tom’s most impressive and enjoyable album since his release of Fiddle & Song in 1988, an LP/cassette that included such powerful folk ballads as Return Of The Sea Queen, Entry Island Home, Wreck of the Tammy Anne, I Am The Wind and Lady k. d. Lang.

This new CD album of his resonates with the same powerful folk feel! He even includes a real Irish folk song, of IRA origin, Kevin Barry and Wilf Carter’s six decade old Take Me Back To Old Alberta.

Others with a definite folk gene include Birth of The Texas Gulf Mine, My British Columbia Home, Lady Slipper and Ottawa Lures.

And only Tom could take a bawdy song popular during the Second World War, Chase Me Charlie, change the lyrics, but keep its lilting racy rhythm, while transforming it into such a beautiful country love song, one you’ll be humming for days after hearing it. It’s something he did with a song of similar origin The North Atlantic Squadron 33 years ago.

Another selection so hilarious it should have you laughing from beginning to end (it did me) on this new CD is Chickee Pooh (curly eyes and laughing toes, and where did you get those?). And there is a variant of an English folk song that Hank Snow gave new life to in the 1940’s The Cowboy’s Broken Ring. Tom’s mother Isabel died last year, that her favourite song. And there’s another beautiful new song from Tom’s pen, the Bride And Groom Waltz.

The others are updated re-recordings of three of Tom’s greatest hits, The Olympic Song (with a verse about the 2009 Games in BC added), The Hockey Song and the Hockey Mom Tribute.

In his early recording years before details of Tom’s troubled childhood surfaced I wondered why neither he nor Donald Sutherland, who even then had appeared in an amazing number of Hollywood feature movies never mentioned Saint John, their birthplace, in interviews. Unhappy childhoods or, in Donald’s case, I understand, school years, aside, it seemed to me an apathy exist toward entertainers in NB giving Cape Breton and PEI a decided edge. Various international music authorities, in conversations over the years have accessed our province as having more gifted musicians and singers than either of those, The difference, they felt, was we just don’t merchandise tour talent nearly as well.

I had one dismaying example of that myself! When Tom came out of his 1980s decade long hiatus from entertaining and was planning an 80 concert 1990 Ontario to British Columbia and back across to the Atlantic tour his road manager Brian Edwards asked me to inquire if should their first Atlantic provinces concert be in Saint John would his birth city acknowledge the fact with some fanfare?

I took the proposal to the city’s much beloved mayor, a lady I had known since we were children. She thought it was a great idea and that she would present it to council..A week later I had a phone call from a city hall secretary saying council had turned it down. Summerside and Charlottetown, however, grabbed it up quickly, staging a parade, elaborate publicity and banner draped streets.

The new Ballad Of Stompin’ Tom CD should be available at music stores everywhere, or you can visit visit www.StompinTom.com

Categories
Album Release Folk Music Recording Launch

Christmas Folk Music Sale

Some of the World’s Greatest Folk CDs at Sale Prices

By today’s reckoning, Timberhead Music CD’s are unbelievably bargain priced at their regular catalog price of $16. But now slashed $3-only $12.99 a disc-during their Annual Christmas Holiday Sale, Nov. 22 to Dec. 22, they’re an incredible bargain. That’s considering that this Camden, Maine mail order service stocks some of the most excitingly beautiful folk music anywhere and Canadian and U.S. currencies now at par.

Moncton folk singer and traditional music garu Bernie Houlahan three decades ago expressed the feeling of many devotees of real folk music, when he said he’d ‘almost entirely given up interest in anything new called folk music.’ So many inept young songwriters releasing navel-gazing two month wonders and calling them them folk. Songs that would never be sung by anyone else of their own generation let alone survive decades of others singing them to meet the folksong designation. “ Then I discovered Folk Legacy Records,” he said, “ and realized there were still singers writing songs he could envision standing the test of time. The recordings Folk-Legacy were releasing restored my faith.”

And Gordon Bok, their most popular artist, had a lot to do with that. A folk song by original definition is one still sung after who wrote it is forgotten by the masses. It’s a song that has been enhanced by many singers and polished over time .

Gordon Bok’s first album, self-titled, on Verve Folkways album featured a song Fundy that became a favourite of mine. Another debut album The Magic of Mayo Muirby a goldenvoiced singer Anne Mayo Muir on 20th Century Fox Records soon filled a like niche. They’re still among our most played 40 years later. So when I read about an album Bay of Fundy by Gordon Bok with Anne Mayo Muir on Folk-Legacy I lost no time in acquiring it. That album opened the door to a whole new world of folk music and communication with the label for me.

Started by two great traditional singers Sandy and Caroline Paton with a friend Lee B. Haggerty, their studio was in Sharon, Connecticut. Their recordings were only available in Canada by mail-order or at import specialty stores. Gordon Bok after his first solo recording in 1971 Peter Kaggan And The Wind become their most recorded artist.

When Folk Legacy, due to the failing health of its founders, cut back recording operations, Gordon purchased his masters along with others from them and established his own distributing retailing company Timberhead Music. That label’s catalog now includes over 50 of his CDs. Those include solo albums, those of the trio of Bok, Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett, with whom he toured and recorded for three decades and various other duo and chorus alliances.

And over those years Gordon Bok has been a frequent visitor to the Port City and Hampton. Because of a Saint John Folk Club concert here he forged a chain between the club and the New England folk community which still exists 30 years later. And for travelling expenses he came up from Camden in the late 80’s to do a Bi-Capitol concert to raise funds used in purchasing the building that became Saint John’s Imperial Theatre.

And he took part in the original Marco Polo Folk Opera written by Rothesay’s Jim Stewart in that theatre, a presentation of towering stage sets and audio visual effects that which took $100,000 to mount in the fall of 2002. As well, many of his recordings feature songs of enduring beauty written by Stewart and other local songwriting musicians.

Gordon Bok in Concert

His recent Gordon Bok In Concert is Bok’s only live album except for the Bok, Trickett, Muir trio’s, Minneapolis Concert recorded in 1987. This solo In Concert CD will open your ears to the warmer, more humourous side of Bok, and the repore he shares with audiences. I was amazed by the reaction of a couple of friends we took to a trio concert at Harvard University years ago . Not aware of traditional balladry even as it turned out, they were amazed at the capacity audience singing along with the trio on songs those two had never heard of, much less heard. Sadly such songs are not on commercial radio or even CBC now.

In Concert begins with an introduction and the comedic ballad Queer Bungo Rye for instance; a salute to Nova Scotia’s Canso Strait; The Angelius; a nostalgic While The Cane Fires Burn, an inspired rendering of Let The Lower Lights Be Burning, the rare Oysterbed Road and boisterousScottish Hie Awa with it’s introduction make this a ‘live’ music experience you’ll want to relive often, 16 songs interspersed with humour and stories.

With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame
With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame

There is also the Bok Trio’s 1994 Languages of The Heart CD, it’s incredibly beautiful title song written by Rothesay’s Jim Stewart and Moncton’s Bernie Houlahan. Jim’s Marco Polo song is included as well and such rarities as Blue Mountain, Stephen Foster, Merlin’s Waltz and Ballinderry: 15 exquisite songs all beautifully sung.

And, also, 15 rare, lovely songs on Harbours Of Home by Gordon, Ed and Ann, such gems as: Australian Henry Lawson’s The Outside Track; Scotsman Dave Goulder’s Pigs Can See The Wind; a lyrical treasure The Great Valley’s Harvest; Jim Stewart and Gordon’s We Built This Old Ship; John Austin Martin’s entrancing Dancing At Whitsum; J.B. Goodenough’s Turning Of The Year and the title song by a favourite songwriter of mine, Joan Sprung.

Also in the Timberland catalog is the trio’s Turning Toward The Morning which includes two masterpieces of Gordon’s own, Isle Au Haut Lullaby and the title song plus the emotional Three Score And Ten, I Drew My Ship, Gentle Annie, How Can I Keep from Singing and six others.

These and many others including Jim Stewart’s Narco Polo Suite, are available for only $12.99 U.S.-some cassettes $5, by phoning (207) 236-2707, or visiting www.timberheadmusic.com

Categories
Album Release Column Archives Concert Event Folk Music

Gordon Bok’s New Release

Other Eyes Released by Timberhead Music

The hook-up of our local folk music community with that of central Maine began with a wild drive from Saint John to Wolfville, N.S. one cool, clear October night in the late 1970’s.

The tale of that trip is still told now and then at the twice yearly gatherings of performers from those areas 32 years later. That trip became an all night odyssey. I was the driver.

Our Saint John folk Club had its first sing-around in September 1975. Its founder, the late John Murphy, whose death last September is still painfully lamented, Bob Wallace, our then club president and Moncton folk authority and performer Bernie Houlahan were among those who went with me.

Gordon Bok was appearing in Wolfville at Acadia University that night. We hoped to hire Gordon to perform a Saint John concert for our club. And despite a late start and holdups we got there for the concert’s entirety, talk to him afterwards and he put us on his spring tour schedule.

 That event at the New Brunswick Museum began a cross border coalition. Since then Gordon has returned many times for the gatherings, to perform a Bi-Capital fundraising concert (Bi-Imperial by its end) and take part in Jim Stewart’s Marco Polo Suite in 2002 at the Imperial.

 

Gordon Bok "Peter Kagan And The Wind"
Gordon Bok “Peter Kagan And The Wind”

I first encountered the name Gordon Bok on a Verve Folkway LP in the 1960’s. That CD became a much played favourite at our house, especially the song Fundy (our Fundy Bay) about those who navigate its thick fogs and treacherous tides. Then in 1972 I discovered Connecticut’s Folk Legacy label just after they’d released their first Gordon Bok record, Seal Djiril’s Hymn ‘sang and told with Ann Mayo Muir,’ another extraordinary talent.

In the next three decades, Gordon would gain international fame as a star on Folk-Legacy, accounting for a major part of the label’s revenues. He released numerous LP’s as a solo artist and as the pivot of a beloved trio he formed with Ann Mayo Muir and Ed Trickett as well as with other collaborations.

Some years ago, however, with the label’s founder Sandy Patton’s health failing, his wife Caroline suffering vision loss and their partner Lee Haggerty dying, Gordon acquired his masters back. So they are now all available, more impressive sounding than ever on pristine re-mastered Timberhead label CD discs.

A small Camden, Maine publishing company, Timberhead Music is centered around the preservation, promotion and proliferation of Gordon Bok’s written and recorded music. But they do publish work by other lyric poets and musicians as well, Jim Stewart’s Marco Polo Suite included in those. Gordon, himself, as he says “now unbelievably 70′ continues to record, his voice still virtually as rich a bass baritone as when I first heard him and he has the same uniquely sensitive interpretative instrumental skills that combined have made him the definitive voice of the US east coast. In April of this year Gordon released a new album of 15 very focused songs Other Eyes, in some cases poems like The Beaches of Lukannon, by Rudyard Kipling (an intimate of Gordon’s grandfather, Edward Bok) set to music. All are songs that view man with conceivable believability through non-human eyes. The eyes of animals like Bold Reynolds, a fox who outruns hunters and hounds into old age, the eyes of feathered observers as in The Bird Rock,Heron Croon, Gulls of Morning, and those whodwell in waters both deep and shallow:The Seals and even the fishes from The Net.

 

With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame
With Jim Stewart of Saint John NB of Marco Polo Suite Fame

A long time mutual acquaintance, Scott Alarik, a performer and folk music reviewer for The Boston Globe wrote of this CD that: ‘Gordon Bok has a special genius for showing us the world through other eyes. In this beautifully conceived album he explores how the natural world sees us…offering visions at once earthly and ethereal, stunningly fresh and as old as tradition. Among the finest folk ballad singers this country has produced, Bok’s glorious bass voice has softened and warmed with age, like a fine old cello, drawing us closer into the spells he casts.’

Other selections on this CD include Captive Water, Sarabande’s Story, The Maiden Hind, Spell To bring Lost Creatures Home, Ocean Station Bravo, The Brandy Tree, The Shepherd’s Call and Sherry’s Song.

His most recent release before Other Eyes was a terrific, Gordon Bok In Concert, his only live album except for the trio’s, Minneapolis Concert in 1987. This solo CD will open your eyes, however, through your ears to Gordon’s warmer, more humorous side. Also to the deep connection he shares with his audiences. I was amazed a few years ago by the reaction of a couple of friends we took to a Bok Muir Trickett concert at Payne Hall on the Harvard University campus. Not even aware of traditional balladry as it turned out, they were incredulous at such a large capacity audience singing along unhesitatingly with the trio on songs they had never heard of let alone heard. Not commercial radio or even CBC fare now!

The introduction to the comedic Irish ballad Queer Bungo Rye for instance, a salute to Nova Scotia’s Canso Strait, The Angellus, the nostalgic Where The Cane Fires Burn, and an inspired rendering of Let The Lower Lights Be Burninjg, the rare Oystershell Road and boisterous Scottish Hie Awa with it’s introduction make this a music experience you’ll want to relive often, all 16 songs interspersed with humour and stories.

There is also the Bok Trio’s 1994 Language Of The Heart CD,its incredibly beautiful title song written by Rothesay’s Jim Stewart and Moncton’s Bernie Houlahan. Jim’s Marco Polo song is included as well and such beauties as Blue Mountain, Stephen Foster, Merlin’s Waltz and Ballinderry. The 15 tracks on it are all so beautiful.

 

Bok Trio Minneapolis Concert
Bok Trio Minneapolis Concert

And 15 also on Harbours Of Home by Gordon, Ed and Ann, including such exquisite jems as Australian Henry Lawson’s The Outside Track, Scotsman Dave Goulder’s Pigs Can See The Wind, TheGreat Valley’s Harvest, a lyrical treasure Jim Stewart and Gordon joined talents to write We Built This Old Ship, John Austin Martin’s entrancing Dancing At Whitsum, J.B. Goodenough’s Turning Of The Year and the title song by another favoured singer songwriter Joan Sprung.

Also in the Timberhead catalogue is the trio’s Turning Toward The Morning which includes two masterpieces of Gordon’s own, Isle Au Haut Lullaby and the title song plus such stirring emotional gems as Three Score And Ten, I Drew My Ship, Gentle Annie,How Can I Keep From Singing and six others.

These and many more of this world’s most thrilling folk CDs are available for only $16 US…some cassettes for only $5…by visiting www.timberheadmusic.com/

ST. ANDREWS TONIGHT, SUSSEX SATURDAY

St. Andrews area singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Adam Olmstead made quite a stir in the media three years ago with his first CD, A. G. Olmstead. Media icons heard in that album of original songs glimmers of the songwriting talents of the Mississippi blue yodeller Jimmie Rodgers and the late 40’s Hank Williams. Local CBCs and even Saturday Mornings’ Stan Carew interviewed and sang his praises.

But, although Adam has slipped out of sight of the media since then he has continued to perform regularly at the Red Herring Pub in St. Andrews. In fact, he is playing there tonight 6 to 9 p.m. And through the summer he’ll be playing there weekly at that time slot, singing old favourites, songs he’s written accompanying himself on any of the ten instruments he plays, often joined by Al Brisley, a gifted local musician. He also has a new CD recorded, ready to be mastered for release in late summer.

This Saturday night at 7 p.m. Adam will also be the featured entertainer at Sussex’s popular Broadway Cafe, performing old timey favourites, bluegrass and classic country, along with many of his own songs.

GARY BURGESS BENEFIT CONCERT

Gary Burgess’ many fans will be saddened to learn he has been diagnosed with cancer and is to begin treatments. Gary has hosted many fundraisers for others in the years he has headed Sussex Corner Jamborees. Now the Friends of Gary Burgess are hosting one for him on June 27 at the Canadian Legion Branch #20, Sussex on June 27. It will feature Art Boyd, Tom Burgess, Mike McQuarrie, Raymond Thebeau and guests. Mike Whalen will emcee. Dave Stewart and Jim McDermott are handling sound. Admission is a donation at the door.

Categories
Album Release Bluegrass Collector Concert Folk Local History Music

Bernie Houlahan and Eddy Poirier

BERNIE & EDDY INVITE YOU TO ENJOY THE CUP OF TEA.

 

CD cover
I don’t think it’s tea!

A picture on a CD, from Moncton, ten years ago I would have been sure was trick photography!

It’s a picture of New Brunswick’s veteran king of the bluegrass fiddle, Eddy Poirier, sitting across a circular table from a leading senior folk and Irish music interpreter, Bernie Houlahan, little tea cups raised. Eddy, on the left, a saucer in front of him and Bernie,on the right, an orange and black cat perched. Between them is a teapot….a Brown Betty, no less…objects I would never have associated with either.

Yet, I must admit years ago, whenever I’d meet Eddy at a festival he’s always invite me to: “Come over to my camper and have a cup of tea, We need to talk.”

Funny thing it never was tea. But it was served in mugs. Mugs! Not dainty little china cups!

Here’s another rub, too! They even named this album of six instrumental Irish fiddling tracks… each a medley of two tunes…and six Irish songs The Cup Of Tea- Irish Traditional Music.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise though. Eddy and Bernie have been getting together for years and have played the odd Moncton venue together. And each has always had a great admiration for the other’s musical talents. The surprise should have been that it took so long!

I have listened all night long to Eddy’s fiddle and banjo around campfires at early NB festivals that his Bluegrass 4 staged on the old Shediac Road! And on more nights until near daylight listening to Bernie sing dozens of songs from the inexhaustible repertoire he’s filed in memory during a lifetime dedicated to learning all the beautiful songs and melodies, he’d find, through ceaseless searching.

They’re two of my favourite musicians and people. But, so different in the perception of many who know them. Both driven, however, by the same unquenchable thirst to learn both old or new-to-them music and perform it for audiences in an effort to give such discoveries a deserved new life, the appreciation such treasures deserve!

‘Two veterans of the Maritime music scene,’ this CD’s back notes read, ‘have collaborated on a collection of their favourite Irish music. Although they’ve pursued somewhat different musical paths they’ve always enjoyed getting together to ‘play a few tunes’ around a kitchen table or to appear together in public performance.’

Well, in their words, “ it’s nothing fancy”, but to most of us who have known them since the 1970s this CD is a treasure. A wealth of Irish fiddle tunes…12 on six tracks… with six of the loveliest, and perhaps most enduring, Irish ballads thrown in to sweeten the pot… brew, that is!

The fiddle tunes played by Eddy, Bernie’s guitar backing him, include: Toss The Feathers, Woman of the House, Cup Of Tea (the title theme), Tarbolton Lodge, Home Ruler, Cross The Fence, Jackson’s Morning Brush, Tongs By The Fire, Cooley’s Reel, The Wise Maid, The Peeler’s Jacket and Love At The Endings.

Eddy Poirier has been featured on nearly a hundred albums…lps, cassettes, CDs and, I think, maybe an 8-track or two, over at least four decades. Many of those were as one of the Blue Diamonds during the decade that that quartet of singing musicians were Toronto’s leading country club band. Then he did a few with Smiley Bates, and with his wife Rose and Smiley. Then back home with various alliances of top NB performers called The Bluegrass 4, a number of solo recordings and an unknown number with performers Moncton to Toronto he’s backed at recording sessions in those years.

I first met Bernie Houlahan when he joined our Saint John Folk club in the late 1970’s.. By then he had belonged to several Moncton music groups and during at least one bluegrass flirtation was part of an alliance that brought in such legendary acts as Flatts & Scruggs, Mac Wiseman and others. At that time he was hosting a weekly Moncton radio folk music show that had a long run of nearly 18 years. And Bernie was a part of the Hal ‘n Tow folk trio, from the early 1980s until this past September, with composer, multi-instrumentalist James Stewart and the late, lamented great musican and vocalist John Murphy. For the last twenty he has been a member of the Miramichi’s Comhaltas Irish Chapter, too,

Some of the most treasured evenings of my life have been listening to Bernie and Portland, Maine’s Kendall Morse taking turns dredging up old songs from memory and performing them thrillingly downstairs at a club in Belfast, Maine during folk gatherings yearly .

On The Cup of Tea Bernie sings: The Blarney Roses, Welcome Paddy Home, Lord of the Dance, Bridget Flynn, Galway City and Far Away In Australia.

This great CD was recorded at E.J.P. Studio in Moncton, mi

xed and mastered by Eddy Poirier. For copies, phone Bernie at (506) 389-2042 or Eddy at (506) 384-8655.

Categories
2008 Performers Album Release Concert Country and Western

Stew Clayton’s Yodeling My Way Back Home CD Released!

Stew and Juanita Clayton
Stew and Juanita Clayton giving an impromptu performance

Seldom have I seen an audience rise so quickly to sweep in a wave across an auditorium floor to a CDs for sale booth than at intermission during the Stew and Juanita Clayton Concert at Exhibition Park, September 1. The nearly 800 rose almost as one to meet the father and daughter duo as they reached it and, at 5 a.m. when we drove them to the airport their CD cases were all but empty.

Seldom, either, have I had as many calls after a concert for a recording stars address saying “well, I bought one but I’d like to get a couple more” or “I bought Juanita’s because I only had enough for one, now I’d like to get one of her father’s” or “there were so many I couldn’t make up my mind. How do I contact them?”

That’s right, the long reigning star of Winnipeg’s Sunshine Record label has recorded over 30 lps, cassettes and CD’s in the past half century and he said while here that he was thinking of doing another.

That one Yodeling My Way Back Homearrived Christmas week! Stew records the old fashioned way: He walks into a studio with backing musicians and wings it the way Wilf Carter always did! And if you think that didn’t work for Wilf in fairly modern times…well, toward the end of his recording career in the early 1980s, Wilf’sWalking The Streets of Calgary RCA Camden lp according to a survey by a Sam the Record Man Halifax store manager, Jimmy Dean, of their outlets and other national distributors was the top seller of its release year but when R.P.M. Magazine, compilers of Canada’s Top 100 records at the time, didn’t even list it, their answer when he inquired was: “Oh, we don’t chart anyone over 60. They’ve no career left.”

Anyhow though it may never officially get its dues either, Stew’s new CD Yodeling My Way Back Homewill be a joy to the ears of anyone who remembers the great years of Country & Western music. An eleven times international yodeling champion Stew explains his choice of songs for this CD in this way: ‘For many years I have been asked why I don’t put more yodel songs on my recordings. When doing shows, folks who stop by my booth will nearly always ask ‘which album has the most yodel songs on it?”

“Well, on this new release there is only one selection…the Johnny Cash Song …that isn’t a yodel song. I sincerely hope all my fans and all those who have ever felt bereft at the lack of yodeling on records now will enjoy this recording. I made it especially for them.”

The yodel songs are: The Old Harvest Waltz, I Love To Hear Her Yodel, The Yodeling Trucker (a comedic demonstration of voice dexterity and endurance), Answer To My Little Yodel Lady, The Yodeling Farmers Song, Blue Mountain Yodel, My Little Artic Sweetheart, Yodeler’s Waltz and the title song: Yodeling My Way Back Home. All ten were penned by Stew.

Copies of it are available by calling him at (204) 242-2670. You will likely get the message: “Hello, this is Yodeling Stew from Manitou. If I’m not here I’m most likely out doing a show somewhere but leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” Which he will do! Or write: Stew Clayton, P.O. Box 147, Manitou, Manitoba, Canada R0G 1G0