A Review of the CD
"The Womansong Collection"
by Gerri Gribi
"The Womansong Collection"
by Gerri Gribi
P.O. Box 8021
Green Bay, WI 54308
ph: (800)-BUY-MYCD (orders only)
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 11/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
send me an email message
"The Womansong Collection" is indeed "a small, eclectic sample of a
rich heritage" as Gerry Gribi puts it. Blending autoharp, dulcimer, guitar,
mandolin and bass with her rich, vibrant voice, she has created much more
than a curiosity piece of "women's music". She is offering living, breathing
history here, timely and overlooked subjects useful as jumping off points
for discussion in high school and college classes. Acting as a pedagogue,
she covers women's rights, personal freedom, unionism, gender roles and
stereotypes, voting rights, societal violence, hunting, slavery, and unrealized
human potential among other subjects. What really makes the release work
is that the content doesn't harangue the listener, plus the music is professionally
presented and very enjoyable.
Opening with "The Hills of Kentucky," she offers a wistful tune about
being elsewhere but wanting to return to the Cumberlands to see the blossoms
of Spring. This cut has a nice rhythm and an "old-timey" sound to it that
fits right in with the geographical area being described.
"Mountain Song," a powerful Holly Near-penned piece is presented a cappella
and then dovetails into "Which Side Are You On?", probably best known recently
from its Dick Gaughan rendition. Both songs eviscerate the mining companies
and their long-standing history of terror-inducing tactics and thugs.
Peggy Seeger's composition "I'm Gonna Be An Engineer" is the best offering
on this release. The female subject of the song states:
"...When I went to school I learned to write
After enduring seemingly well-meaning but ignorant and selfish advice first
from her mother, then her boss at work and finally her husband, about what
her roles should be and how she should feel about them, she answers back:
and how to read
History, geography and home economy
Typing is a skill every girl is sure to need to while
away the precious hours until it's time to breed, and
then you have the nerve to ask me, what do I want to be?
I wanna be an engineer!..."
"...Now I listened to my mother
In "Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?", a turn-of-the-century parlor tune
set to words, she lampoons the "everpresent truths" on why women should
not be allowed to vote, Gribi sings:
and I joined the typing pool
I listened to my husband
and I put him through his school
If I listen to my boss,
I'm just a bloddy fool and an underpaid engineer
I've been a sucker ever since I was a baby,
as a daughter as a wife, as a mother as a dear
But I'll fight them as a woman, not a lady,
I'll fight them as an engineer."
"...Women have homes, there they should labor
The twist in the last verse goes:
Women have children whom they should favor
Women have time to learn of each neighbor
Why are they wanting to vote?..."
"...Women have reared all the sons of the brave
"The Craft Maid's Policy" is a wonderful old English song about the gentry
"having their way" with the lower classes but it offers a delicious twist.
Three gentlemen out riding come upon a maid and express faux concern for
her. She replies to one:
Women have shared in the burden they gave
Women have labored this country to save
And that's why we're going to vote..."
"..."Oh no, kind sir, you are vastly mistaken
The gentleman salaciously agrees to her "offer", dismounts and lets the
maid get on the horse in order to lead her over to a patch of land and
a nearby tree. She rides off only to be overtaken by another of the riders.
She pulls a gun, warns him away, and states:
to think this cold morning could do me some harm
There's one thing I crave and it lies twixt your legs
If you'll give me that, it will keep me warm..."
""...Oh no, kind sir, you are vastly mistaken
On taking full responsibility for oneself in "Prince Charming Doesn't Live
Here," after the subject endures a failed marriage, Gribi sings:
if it is his loss, well it is my gain.
And you were the witness that he'd give it to me"
And away she went galloping down the long lane.""
"...When he started to hit me, I finally woke up
She continues in her last verse:
Now it's and the kids alone, down on our luck
A business can go bankrupt, and start over again
But a single mom's a "Welfare Queen,"
Scourge of the land..."
"...Because there is no Prince Charming
Gribi wrote this song for the award-winning video documentary "Poverty
Shock: Anywoman's Story," based on discussions with women who had previously
been receiving welfare. As she writes in the liner notes,"...one shattered
myth which consistently arose was that of the "Prince Charming," the person
who would magically whisk them away and make their lives perfect.
there's no magic wand
I'm the one I've got to lean on if I'm gonna to carry on
I'm gonna get an education
then I'll set the system right
I'm not a "princess" or a "welfare queen"
and I've learned to fight."
"Whole People," is a touching and sweet composition about the roles
and masks we fall into and wear, based on society's gender expectations.
Gribi, covering the human spectrum, sings:
"...Young woman wanting to relate
There are twenty four "woman-positive" (as Gribi puts it) cuts offers here,
a combination of songs from two of Gribi's previous releases, plus two
new songs. Come for the message, stay for the music, or vice versa, or
both. You won't be disappointed.
If you're smart and strong, will you still date?
Be who you are, don't give up your voice
You'll find others like you and you will rejoice...
Young man where'd your feelings go?
You try so hard not to let them show
It's a heavy load, to have to "win"
It's ok to be human, it means we are kin..."
The musicians on this release are Gribi on vocals, autoharp, mountain
dulcimer and guitar; Kris Grimes on vocals, guitar and mandolin; Fawn Kehl
on vocals and double bass; Lee Nichols on vocals and guitar; Brian "Smokey"
Christenson on fiddle; and Randy Hoecherl on fiddle.
- The Hills of Kentucky (3:00) Gerri Gribi
- Single Life (2:03) Traditional
- Mountain Song/Which Side Are You On? (4:03) Holly Near/Florence Reece
- Cotton Mill Girls (2:00) Traditional
- I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart (3:10) Patsy Montana
- I'm Gonna Be An Engineer (4:00) Peggy Seeger
- Equinoxial and Phoebe (2:55) Traditional
- The Cruel Youth (2:55) Traditional
- When I Was a Fair Maid (2:40) Traditional
- Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be? (2:00) L. May Wheeler
- The Hunting Song (2:50) Gerri Gribi
- Lament For a Soldier (3:40) Gerri Gribi
- We Will Not Stop, We Will Not Go Away (2:00) Gerri Gribi
- Sister Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2:35) Traditional
- The Crafty Maid's Policy (2:25) Traditional
- Union Maid (2:28) Woody Guthrie
- Evergreen (3:05) Mary Lou (Layne) Chandler
- Bread and Roses (2:47) Lyrics: John Oppenheim/Tune adapted by Mimi Farina
- I Didn't Raise My Boy to be a Soldier (2:39) Lyrics" Alfred Bryan/Tune:
- Hushabye (2:21) Traditional
- The Old Maid's Song (2:04) Traditional
- Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here (2:34) Gerri Gribi
- Whole People (2:37) Beth Wamble Stiver
- The Wings of a Song (3:30) Gerri Gribi
Copyright © 1998-2015 Kevin & Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews. All rights reserved.
Ownership, copyright and title of this folk music CD review belongs
to me, Kevin
McCarthy. Ownership, copyright and title are not transferable or assignable
to you or other parties regardless of how or if you or other parties use,
copy, save, backup, store, retrieve, transmit, display, publish, modify
or share the CD review in whole or in part. Please read the "Terms,
Conditions and Disclaimer" section on my web site for additional information
about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.
Send inquiries to: send me an email message.
Return to Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk
Music CD Reviews home page.
To return to the last web page you visited, click the "Back"
button that appears immediately below: