THE SET OF THE SAIL
Many of the songs on this CD have connections to England. We've had the good fortune to travel there often and meet many, many wonderful folk music enthusiasts and fabulous singers.
Go From my Window is one of those unusual sea songs where the female resists the charms of the sailor, telling him to be on his way. No details are revealed but, while she continues to address him as "my love, my dear" there is no doubt that Jack will be looking for his lodging elsewhere. Often sung a cappella at British folk clubs, we take some liberties here, but that's just what we do.
Linda Kelly lives near the port city, Hull and sings with Hazel Richings as the duet, Hissyfit. Linda's husband was once a fisherman setting out each day to make his living on the sea. She made use of his experiences to craft a number of fine songs including Northern Tide. Continuing our nautical theme, we follow it here with the traditional Irish jig, Out on the Ocean.
Also based in England's Northeast, songwriter John Conolly is best known for writing the 'traditional' song Fiddler's Green. The Trawling Trade is his look back in time to when a hard working fisherman could still make his fortune on the sea.
Both Fanfare and Adieu les Filles de mon Pays are traditional French tunes given to us by our dear friend and hurdy-gurdy builder Mike Gilpin a few years ago in his charming cottage in beautiful Swaffam Bulbeck.
The Dreadnaught, a favorite forebitter for years, was learned from Louis Killen's singing. The Dreadnaught was an American clipper packet launched in 1853, famous for her many speedy passages across the Atlantic. She was wrecked in 1869 while rounding Cape Horn. The instrumental motif came to me last year in Yorkshire and attached itself to the song like a barnacle. The opening melody, One Ship Drives East comes to us from the Digital Tradition database of songs. We searched for sea songs and were pleased to find this sweet little tune to use as an introduction to this cut as well as an inspiration for the title of the album.
Women going to sea disguised as males happened more often than you’d imagine. I first heard a version of The Handsome Cabin Boy from Seattle singer Stan James. Our melody is lifted from Bannero via the singing of England's superb a capella group, Craig; Morgan; Robson.
Tom Bowling was written by 18th Century British songwriter Charles Dibdin and is said to have been Henry David Thoreau's favorite song. Dibdin, who wrote over a thousand songs, came up with this one upon the death of his brother.
We learned it through the singing of Chris Roe in Seattle.
Our friend, Minnesota singer/scholar Bob Walser introduced us to this version of Fire Down Below which deals less specifically with flaming cargo or social disease and more with the on-shore adventures of a sailor in California's San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1800's.
In a similar vein, Jack Tar Ashore tells of the temptations of any Sailor Town. Usually connected to a fast, jaunty tune, I recently re-examined the lyrics to find them altogether less jaunty.
Mother Dinah is a capstan shanty that comes straight from the pages of Stan Hugill's immortal Shanties From the Seven Seas.
Several versions of Rolling Down to Old Maui are floating around out there. This one is loosely based on one found in Gale Huntington's Songs the Whalemen Sang. We heard it at a shanty sing and went straight to work mixing and matching lines and choruses. One can only imagine what it meant to sail into the Hawaiian Islands after endless months of suffering freezing weather and back breaking work in the northern whale fisheries.
Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed the journey. Please sail with us again.
For more detailed, and easily readable notes -- please find our Web Page at www.pintndale.com.
This CD is dedicated to the memory of Felicia's father, Captain E.L. Dale, who sailed the seven seas for most of his life, and unfailingly supported our musical endeavors with incredible generosity.