Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Roots Radio 17: Nothin' But A Man - Songs About Work & Working People, Part 2

Down At The Coal Face (Mines)
Shut Up in the Mines of Coal Creek - The Old Time String Band
Coal Tattoo - Hank Cramer
Springhill Mine Disaster -  Luke Kelly
New York Mining Disaster 1941 - Martin Carthy
Blackleg Miner - The Kingston Trio

Another Season's Promise (Farms)
The Farmer Is The Man - Otis Gibbs
The Field Behind The Plow - Stan Rogers
Where Corn Don't Grow - Waylon Jennings
Pastures Of Plenty - Eliza Gilkyson
Deportee - Martyn Joseph 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Roots Radio 16: Nothin' But A Man - Songs About Work & Working People, Part 1

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Ben Franklin's famous axiom that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes overlooks one other essential element: the work that may well drive us to death so we can pay those taxes. "By the sweat of your brow shall you earn your bread" is one of our oldest of old saws on work - a punishment for sin and a curse upon humankind. And truly, through much of the history of human experience, work has been just that. And yet - even within the context of often desperate necessity, our work has often had rewards beyond insuring mere subsistence. And that is the theme of my show this week - folk songs and blues songs and country songs and roots songs about people at work, about how what we do to earn a living can frustrate us, satisfy us, ennoble us, or crush us - sometimes all of them simultaneously.
This is the first hour of the original 2 hour radio broadcast  from June 18, 2016.

Show Theme: From "Forever & A Day" By The Kingston Trio
Opening: "John Henry" - John Cephas & Phil Wiggins

The Rush Of The Mighty Engine (Trains)
Old John Henry Died On The Mountain - Henry Grady Terrell
Jerry, Go Oil That Car - Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock
Linin' Track - Lead Belly
Casey Jones - Johnny Cash
Drill Ye Tarriers - The Chad Mitchell Trio
Pat Works On The Railway - The Cottars
The Erie-Lackawanna Line - Hank Cramer

Working The Mill (Factories)
Ten And Nine - Liam Clancy
The Work Of The Weavers - Alex Sutherland & His Cronies
The Four Loom Weaver - Karan Casey
Aragon Mill - Karen Matheson, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Babies In The Mill - Larry Penn

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Roots Radio 15: The Rising, Part 2 - More Songs From The Easter Rebellion And The Troubles

A bit later than I intended, but here is the second half of my April radio show entitled "The Rising." This second half includes songs from Ireland's Easter rebellion, the subsequent War For Independence, and the long period of the Irish civil war and the Troubles. The last song in the program would be of especial interest to folk fans. It is Dominic Behan himself singing the original and bitterly complete version of his composition "The Patriot Game," with all six verses intact. It is a rare recording, only recently digitized from vinyl, and has seldom been heard in the U.S. That's mostly because the late Liam Clancy, whose signature solo this became, elided two verses because he disapproved of Behan's condemnation of Irish rebel leader and later president Eamon de Valera in one verse and an endorsement of shooting police in another. This naturally enraged Behan (even more than Bob Dylan's purloining of the melody for his greatly inferior "With God On Our Side") because it reduced Behan's radical Irish Republican protest song to a generalized lament about the waste of war.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Roots Radio 14: The Rising, Part 1 - "To Tread The Upward Way"

Putting this show together was a labor of love, growing out of an interest in Irish history and folk music that extends back to my childhood days more than 55 years ago. Like love, the songs in the program are often tinged with the sadness of loss - but also like love itself, the music endures and points to a final if compromised triumph. And 'twouldn't be a sin to toss back a glass or two in memory of the heroes of '16 immortalized in these tunes. Hope you'll give us a listen! 
The Rising: Songs For The Centennial Of The Easter Rebellion 

Opening: O'Donnel Abu - The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem/Yeats - Easter 1916 - Ernest Lyons 3:34  

Part 1: To Tread The Upward Way 
Follow Me Up To Carlow - Planxty 2:21 
Young Ned of the Hill - The Pogues 2:42 
The Rising of the Moon - Patsy Watchorn 2:48 
The Wind That Shakes The Barley - Dolores Keane 4:18 
Kelly, The Boy From Killane - The Fighting Men Of Crossmaglen 2.34 
The West's Awake - United Irishmen 3:26 
Roddy McCorley - The Clancy Brothers/Tommy Makem 2:35  

Part 2a: A Terrible Beauty 
The Foggy Dew - SinĂ©ad O'Connor & The Chieftains 5:20 
Legion of the Rear Guard - The Flying Column/Margo Largery 2:50 
James Connolly - Dublin City Ramblers 3:22

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Roots Radio 13: Sunset & Evening Star, Part 2 - "Love Among The Ruins" & "Time & The River"

This is the second hour of the show "Sunset And Evening Star: Songs For The Last Of Life, For Which The First Was Made," originally broadcast on the Roots Music & Beyond program on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles on January 16, 2016. This half of the show presents folk and country songs that look at love lost and love preserved in the later years of life, as well as tunes that reflect on the changes wrought by time on us all as the decades pass. The program concludes with a two part tribute to the late folk and roots guitarist Pete Huttlinger, who died on January 15th of this year.  First, we hear Pete's instrumental version of the old American folk spiritual "Poor Wayfaring Stranger," whose lyric speaks of crossing over Jordan River and into eternity, and New England bluegrass band Salamander Crossing with their lovely musical setting for "Crossing The Bar," the widely-known poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in which the poet contemplates the approaching end of his life and from which this show derives its title - 

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea...

Show Opening: From "Forever And A Day" by The Kingston Trio

Love Among The Ruins
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine - The Weavers 3:44
When I Was Young - The Kingston Trio  2:23
La Chanson Des Vieux Amants - Judy Collins  4:38
The Dutchman - Steve Goodman  4:19
A Woman Half My Age - Kitty Wells 2:41
Angel From Montgomery - Bonnie Raitt  3:56
When You Are Old - Martina McBride  2:54

Time And The River
We'll Meet Again - Johnny Cash 2:58
Last Leaf On The Tree - Tom Waits  2:54
Age - Jim Croce  3:44
It Was A Very Good Year - Bob Shane  3:21
Poor Wayfaring Stranger - Pete Huttlinger 2:30
Crossing The Bar - Salamander Crossing 3:35

Monday, January 18, 2016

Roots Radio 12: Sunset & Evening Star - Songs For The Last Of Life For Which The First Was Made

I have a number of new song articles in the works, but until then - here is the first hour of my 1/16/16 KPFK radio show presenting songs about getting older. Lots of fun tunes here.

Show Theme: Old Friends/Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel 3:55

Looking Askance
The Remember Song - Tom Rush 3:14
Oh No - Christine Lavin 2:36
When You Are Old and Gray - Tom Lehrer 1:50
The Two Hundred Year Old Alcoholic - Liam Clancy 5:45
Maids, When You're Young Never Wed An Old Man - The Dubliners 3:28

Old Folks At Home
Silver Threads Among the Gold - Jerry Douglas and Mike Auldrid - 4:19
That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine - Gene Autry 2:46
That Ain't The Grandpa That I Know - Joe Diffie 5:26
Grandma's Hands - Bill Withers 2:00
My Grandpa's Hands - Chuck Pyle 6:06
Old Grandad - Fats Waller 2:46