CD on  Harbourtown HARCD 028 in 1994
Track List
1 PRODIGAL SON Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: vocals

One of my favourite old-time songs from Dock Boggs. His unique banjo tunings always give that unsettled edge to a tone or a song and it certainly is so with this ballad. You can't go back in time much further than the New Testament and the story of the prodigal son. The song has a strong blues feel to it and is a fine illustration of the crossing-over of black and white music in the South. The tone is one of those that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
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2 STATE OF ARKANSAS Sara Grey: vocals & banjo

An Irish/American ballad of the "savvy" working an the railroad in Arkansas. I hoard this version song by Joe Hickerson of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. who learned is from Gale Huntingdon's research so Sam Henry's "Songs of she People". Sam Henry collected it from a Co. Antrim singer The tune resembles a song I sing from the Canadian logging camps - "Save Your Money While You're Young"
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3 BANKS OF KILREA Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: guitar

Sung by Jimmy Butcher in 1966 and published in "Shamrock Ruse and Thistle" by Hugh Shields in 1961. It is also known as The Banks of Sweet Drumreagh. Kilrea, on the Derry side of the lower Bann River is the setting of this song in all but one of the few known versions. Social conditions of the nineteenth century are fitted into an older framework so that the dialogue which the poet eavesdropper overhears is an emigrant's farewell. Eddie, John and Jimmy Butcher all sang this sung and their flowery air is a favourite in Ulster tradition.
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4 UNFORTUNATE RAKE Sara Grey: vocals & banjo

Also known as 'The Soldier Cut flown in His Prime" in Child. This ballad had its roots in Britain and when it mused across the Atlantic it found its way into several regions of the United States - when it travelled south it evolved into 'The St James Infirmary Blues" and when it moved west during westward expansion the cowboys coveted it and it became 'The Streets of Laredo" - an to this time the central character was male but when it moved into the Midwest it changed more drastically from a male figure to a woman and took on quite a strong social significance as the subject of "social disease" was considered a taboo subject in songs -especially with reference too woman, so they skirted around the issue in mixed company by the wonderful colloquial phrase "my body's salvated and I'm bound to die". I learned this woman's lament from the singing of two of America's great ballad singers Holly Wood and Texas Gladden.
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5 AS I ROVED OUT Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: mandolin

A mixed version from an early recording of Doc Watson and various other versions I've heard over the years.
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6 MISS JULIA Sara Grey: vocals

I learned this little song from a good friend and lovely singer Lucy Simpson of how York City and Blue Hill, Maine. She says it came from a tongue-in-cheek collection called "Howes One Hundred Ethiopian Songs"
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THE DAY I FOUGHT DWYER Sara Grey: vocals

This is probably a vaudeville or music hall song that may have boon printed as a broadside. A related song is listed as "Johnny Dwyer" among songs the Warners collected from Lena Bourne Fish in New Hampshire. According to Harold W. Thompson, Dwyer claimed to be the Americas Heavyweight Champion in the days before the sport was regulated. Challenged by Paddy Ryan, Dwyer did not show up for the bout. Mrs. Fish's Johnny Dwyer however has Johnny a bantamweight who can out-fight heavier men. Igot the song from Everett Pitt who sang it an "Up Agin The Mountain", a Marimac field recording by Anne Lutz. These were versions of old English and Scottish ballads hooded down by the Pitt family. Everett Pitt a son of Sibo Pitt was born in 1886. Their branch of the Pitt family had lived for some generations in the Eastern Ramapos and in the vicinity of Wesley Chapel and Ladentown, north east of Suffern, New York. Ma Pitt recalled a family tradition of descent from a British soldier who escaped when the American forces stormed Stony Point in July 1779. The man took to the hills, found some friendly folks, and simply became one mane settler in the woods till the revolution was oven His descendants have been woodsmen, builders of stone walls, farm workers, house painters, nurses and at times, makers of traditional splint baskets and wooden ladles. When the ballads were recorded in the 1949's Everett Pitt had been living for some years in Upper Saddle River New Jersey, where ho lived until his death in 1954. Everett Pitt had learned some of the old ballads from his mother who was Fanny Yeomans before her marriage. Other songs he had heard from neighbours and friends such us the Conklins. People evidently had gotten the words of some songs from songsters or broadsides, perhaps on trips to New York City. However similarities between some ballad versions in the Ramapos and those in the Catskills suggest that the woodsmen may have travelled between the two areas in search of murk. Itinerant workers such us the tinker mentioned in "The Tinker's Story" may also have brought sorts into the area.
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THE KISSING SONG Sara Grey: vocals

Prom Bob Coltman
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7 SWEET WILLIAM Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: mandolin

In Child's collection this is known as "Earl Brand" (Child No.7). Some versions from North Carolina end with "the blood red rose grew from her breast and out of his a briar - growed to the top of the church etc true loves knot'. Several mention "her father's heart tumbling by her foot". In one version "Sweet William died of wounds - Barbary died for sorrow - his mother died far the love of both and buried en Faster Monday". Tests without tunes can be found in Gavin Greig's "Folk Song of North Fast Scotland". Texts with tunes can he found in "Northumberland Minstrelsy" and Cox's "Folksongs of the South". In one version several Scottish and Lancashire dialect words are found. The song is a close parallel with the Danish ballad "Ribold and Guldborg" and could be of Germanic origin. The lavish version fills in key incident it the fight scene that no version in English retains. As Ribold prepares for the onslaught he warns his beloved that in no case whatsoever no matter how hard pressed he appears, is she to call his name. But seeing all her family slaughtered and her lover about to dispatch the final survivor her youngest brother Guldborg calls out "Ribold, Ribold put up your sword!". At that very moment, Ribold receives his death wound. Operating ever this incident is the primitive belief in name taboos. Ribold is fighting with supernatural fury, to call his name is to reduce him in human strength. Also Ribold's adversary gains magical power over him by learning his personal name. It is also known, in Mr. Motherwell's "Minstrelsy" of 1827, as "The Douglas Tragedy" Sweet William being Earl William Douglas. Sir Walter Scott also includes it in his "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border". 'The ballad of The Douglas Tragedy is one of the few in which popular tradition has ascribed complete locality. The Blackhouse, in Selkirkshire, is said to have been the scene of this melancholy event. This wild scene, now part of the Traquair estate, formed one of the most ancient possessions of the renowned family of Douglas; for Sir John Douglas, eldest son of William, the first Lord Douglas, is said to have sat in a parliament of Malcolm Cranmore, held at Forfar It is said to have derived it's same Blackhouse from the complexion of the Lords of Douglas, whose swarthy hue was a family attribute...From this ancient tower Lady Margaret is said to have been carried by her lover Sever large stones, erected upon the neighbouring heights are shown, as marking the spot where the seven brethren were slain, and the Douglas Burn is averred to have been the stream, at which the lovers stopped to drink. Many copies of this ballad are current among the vulgar, but chiefly in a state of great corruption, especially such as hove been committed to the press in the shape of penny pamphlets. The copy used in this edition was supplied by Mr Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe..."
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8 MY GOD HE IS A ROCK Sara Grey: vocals, Mark Dowding: vocals, Betty & Norman McDonald: vocals

One of the best gospel hymns I know, I learned it from the singing of Berta and Wally MacNow of Maryland.
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9 BETSY LIKEN Sara Grey: banjo, Brian Peters: guitar

A fiddle tune from Henry Reed of Glenlyn, Virginia. I heard it from the playing of Jeff Davis.
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SADIE AT THE BACK DOOR Sara Grey: banjo, Brian Peters: guitar

I got this one from Jere Carob and Bob Carlin. Bob learned it from Jere's brother Greg. Based upon the sounds the cat made at thre front door immediately after being let out of the back door!
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10 THE LADY GAY Sara Grey: vocals & banjo

(Child No.79) This is also known as "The Wife of Ushers Well" or 'The Three Babes". A mother's uncontrolled grief over her recently dead son disturbs their repose. They return for a visit, but as incorporeal wraiths but Os flesh and blood, using corpses - the typical ballad revenants. Only their birch hats - birch protects ghosts against the influence of the living and their compulsion to be off before daylight mark the sons as ghostly visitors. The text from Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of she Scottish Border" has often been praised, especially poignant is the hint in the last line that one of the sons is leaving behind a sweetheart as well as a mother A version from Shropshire in "Shropshire Folk-Lone" edited by C.S. Burro, 1883, points out the pagan superstitions with a heavy coat of Christian colouring, while a version from Tennessee, sung by T Jeff Stockton at Flag Pond in 1916, found in Child's "English Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians'.makes the whole visit a dream, thus deleting the supernatural altogether. One odd feature of many American versions of this ballad is a pair of verses in which one of the sons chides his mother as she makes the bed and sets the table, for her excessive pride. Observe also that the sons of the older versions have become babes in America. Dr "Child Ballads Traditional in the United States'., Library of Congress OAFS L58, '1133001 by Mrs Texas Gladden at Salem, Virginia in 1941-recorded by Alan Lomax.
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11 JOHNNY BARDEN Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: fiddle

Song by Mrs Mary McCrath of Bridgetown, Co. Wexford in 1974. The recording is in the archive of the Department of Irish Folklore, University College Dublin Learnt when Mary was "about five from an oul travlin' man of Wexford he's dead years" This appears to be the only version of "Willie of Winsbury" (Child no. 108) or "The Laird o' the Windy Wa" recorded in the Southern Irish tradition. I got it from a tape called "Songs of the Irish Travellers" A version is in "Songs of the People" John Milden's selection from the Sam Henry Henry collection where it is called "The Rich Ship Owners Daughter" It is also known as "John Barbour", Tom The Barber" or "Tom Barbary". It is a song about a pregnant girl although this version only hints at this in the second and third verses. Other versions finish the second verse "or has lain with some young man". Another often found feature in these songs is the pour suitor who turns out to be rich, here he is again.
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12 GOING TO LEAVE THIS COUNTRY Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Jeff Davis: fiddle

I have arranged this old Carter Family song which was sung by Sarah Carter. It's a fine old-time woman's song from the great depression of the '30's.
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13 HIGH TONED DANCE Sara Grey: vocals

I heard this song from the singing of Dick Swain of Orono, Maine - a fine singer and a collector of songs. He learned it from Glenn Orlin, a rodeo rider story teller and singer whom I used to see often when I was living in Missoula, Montana - a great singer and character. A wonderful song.
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14 THE MILLINER'S DAUGHTER Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Mark Dowding: guitar

I got this one from the singing of Art Thieme of Illinois. It comes from the logging camps along the Au Claire River the natural boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It has also been found in the north western corner of the state of Maine. Several French place-names are mentioned in south east Wisconsin. The mention of she shanty-boy comes from the shanty on shetty camp, the French-Canadian name given to the makeshift dwellings that housed the loggers during their seasonal work in the woods. One of the most dangerous jobs the shanty-men had to do was to raft down the white water rivers with long poles to keep the logs from jamming on the rocks so they would reach their destination down-stream at the mill. It was a very precarious job and the fate of the shanty-man in this ballad was a typical one.
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15 LAST WINTER WAS A HARD ONE Sara Grey: vocals & banjo, Brian Peters: guitar & vocal

From the singing of Jon Hickerson. Another Irish/American song from a time in America when ethnic groups were exploited and played off against each other by contractors to keep wages low. It appeared, Joe Hickerson says, "as early as 1880 entitled "When McGuinness Gets a Job" and appears in the wonderful collection of Abelard Folk Songs from upstate New York. I love the unique may in which the song is set up with two Irish women discussing their husbands weaknesses against other ethnic groups of men.
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16 ACROSS THE BRIDGE Sara Grey: vocals, Mark Dowding: vocals

I heard this song sung at a traditional festival near Springfield, Missouri five years ago and was told that it was an old Carolina hymn.
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