Recorded at Patchwork Green Farm by John and Erik during three afternoons in December, 2011. All tracks, for better or worse, captured live with no overdubs by a Fostex MRD-8 recorder using two AKG C 1000 S microphones. Mixed by Erik and John on Center Ave. in Decorah, Iowa.
Credits: Thanks to David Cavagnaro for permission to use his collage photograph for our CD cover and also for permission to use his kohlrabi photo on the inside. Thanks to our Contratopia buddy Pat O’Loughlin (co-proprietor, with Margie O’Loughlin, of Sandhill Photography) for taking some shots of John and Erik and for permission to use one of his photos as well. Thanks also to Benji Nichols for the loan of some studio monitors. Special thanks to Braham Ketcham for layout and design assistance. Photos of Patchwork Green Farm courtesy of Erik Sessions.
1. Sheehan’s (trad.) / Cold Market Morning (Goodin) -- Sheehan’s is a classic Irish reel that we often play in the Contratopia band. Cold Market Morning was written in Fall 2011 and first performed in public by Erik and John on a cold Saturday morning at the Decorah Farmer’s Market in front of the Patchwork Green Farm tent. We also played this set of tunes as our contribution to the annual Burning Bright holiday concert in Decorah on December 17, 2011.
2. The Rights of Man / Coleraine / Grace Hay’s Delight (trad.) -- part of the idea of this recording was to play more traditional tunes and fewer of our original numbers. The Rights of Man is one of the first two or three fiddle tunes that John learned back in the mid-70s. He plays it here in the key of Dm, rather than the usual Em, because that is how he learned it from Robin Williamson’s 1976 collection of fiddle tunes. Coleraine needs no introduction and Grace Hay’s Delight comes from the 18th century collections of Nathaniel Gow by way of Susan Songer and Clyde Curley’s Portland Collection vol. 2.
3. Coleman’s March (trad.) -- one of those great tunes supposedly composed by a fiddler on his way to be hanged, in this case Kentuckian Joe Coleman around 1899. While Coleman may or may not have played the tune on his way to the gallows it seems to be a good deal older than him and is also sometimes known as Old Hickory.
4. Grape-vine Twist (trad.) -- Erik remembers learning the Grape-Vine Twist from a Mel Bay book of fiddle tunes but we have been unable, so far, to find any tune by that title which resembles what we play here.
5. Kitchen Waltz (Goodin) -- a simple jazz-flavored tune that we play often at dances with Contratopia.
6. Ain’t Broke / Two Days to Maine (Goodin) -- a pair of tunes that we have been playing with Contratopia for a few years and we hope they will be featured in a full quartet arrangement on a future Contratopia CD. We tried not to pilfer too many tunes from the stash that we have been saving up for the next band CD but these two seemed like a good fit for this project.
7,8. The Junquill: Air Moderato & Giga Vivace (James Oswald) -- James Oswald (1711-1769) composed and published 96 short sonatas for violin/flute and continuo in two collections of 48 Airs for the Seasons. Each sonata was titled after a different plant. The Junquill is a Spring sonata and this may well be the first recording of the piece featuring violin and mandolin.
9. The New Henrietta (Goodin) / Kohlrabi Stomp (Sessions) -- the first tune was inspired by the Henrietta Hornpipe published in the 1882 Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of fiddle tunes. Erik’s veggy tune, Kohlrabi Stomp makes a fine companion and together the set provides a little tonal variety to our program, moving away from the keys of D, G, A and C into a refreshing combination of F and Bb.
10. Aubrey & Andrew’s Wedding (Goodin) -- John wrote this one for a very special young couple and it has been performed many times since by our duo, as well as by Contratopia and the Western Home String Band.
11. Young Terence MacDonough / Planxty Irwin (Turlough O’Carolan) -- two compositions from Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738). The somber air in G minor leads into a stately version of the more frequently played second tune, although here it appears in the key of C rather than the more common D major.
12. Splinters on the Banister / Revelry Reel (Sessions) -- a pair of Sessions’ reels, often played by Contratopia at dances. Revelry Reel is featured on our first Contratopia CD, Hands Four, and for years was used by the band as the first tune of the night at dances around the country.
13. Chief O’Neill’s Favorite (trad.) / Carolan’s Draught (Turlough O’Carolan) -- Oneill’s Favorite is another one of the first tunes that John learned to play. He has fond memories of performing it regularly with his old friends in the band Trolley in Louisville, Kentucky back in the late 70s. Here it leads into one of our favorite O’Carolan compositions, arranged for fiddle and mandolin.
14. The Road to Lisdoonvarna / Irishman’s Heart to the Ladies (trad.) -- two jigs, one in E minor and the other in A major, that Erik has played for a long time. We often play the Irishman’s Heart to the Ladies just after a wedding ceremony, while the guests are leaving the church.
15. King’s Landing (Goodin) -- King’s Landing is the name of a living history village nestled along the St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. John has visited the settlement several times and always comes away refreshed and inspired by the place and its tranquil setting.
All tunes by John Goodin are registered with ASCAP.