A Review of the CD
"Harbors of Home"
by Gordon Bok, Ed Trickett & Ann Mayo Muir
"Harbors of Home"
Copyright 1998, THD-CD010
by Gordon Bok, Ed Trickett & Ann Mayo Muir
P.O. Box 840
Camden, ME 04843
This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Blending their well-known warm harmonies with pleasing solo segments,
Gordon Bok, Ed Trickett and Ann Mayo Muir provide a solid sense of place,
a connection to a multitude of legacies, in their latest release "Harbors
of Home." Traversing from the worlds of migrant farm workers, to Australian
sheep ranchers and itinerant Aussie wanderers, to shipbuilders, sailors,
boats and fishermen, this trio authenticates pieces of history, remembrances
of people, places and events too often shunted aside into undeserved obscurity.
Presenting, as always, a smoothness and clarity in their vocals, Bok,
Trickett and Muir also provide a sense of poignancy in a number of their
tunes through their emotive harmonizations. Pulling at the heartstrings
with "We Built This Old Ship," depicting the transition from canvas sailing
ships to those powered by engines and boilers, they harmonize:
"...We built this old ship with our sweat and endeavor
Continuing on, they add:
She ran with the wind and the wind set her free
And we once dared to dream she would sail on forever
But although she was ours she belonged to the sea..."
"...Will there be a monument held by each wave
"The Outside Track," a heartfelt Henry Lawson poem set to music by Gerry
Hallom, is another remarkably affective cut. Describing the emotional void
created as swagman after swagman (itinerant wanderers) marries, settles
down and depletes the ranks, it goes:
Will the gulls sing a dirge as they circle above
When the length of the sky at last marks her grave
Will her name be remembered with wonder and love..."
"...For they marry and go and the world rolls back
Judy Small's "From the Lambing to the Wool" provides a litany of the difficulties
facing cockies, Australian sheep farmers in the Outback. Written from the
wife's ambivalent perspective, these hard times "and there've been times
when I wonder if it all was worth the doing" are buffered by a sense of
fulfillment "and there've been times when I thought this was the finest
place there is." The song concludes with a drollful statement of pride:
They marry and vanish and die
But their spirits shall live on the outside track
long as the years go by..."
"...And the children have grown and
Portraying the life of migrant workers in "Great Valley's Harvest," they
describe the various hardships endured by these harvesters. With incisive
irony, the song closes with:
left me for careers in town and city
And I'm proud of them but sadly
for none chose station life
And now I smile to hear them talking
'bout the hard slog in the office
For when I think of working hard
I see a cocky and his wife."
"...It's up and down the valley all 12 months of the year
The allegorical spiritual "Farthest Field" is the consummate vehicle for
vocal harmonizing. Describing a joyous and deserved final resting place,
the song goes:
Burnt brown in summer's oven and chilled in winter drear
We live among the richest crops this country has to grow
Through our hands the valley's treasure, our nation's health and pleasure,
a taste not ours to know."
"...Oh my dear friends I truly love
"Wiscasset Schooners" is another wistful piece reliving the time when "spars
gave way to smokestacks" and boats that dutifully served their purpose
were sent aground and abandoned. The last verse is:
To hear your voices alifted up in radiant song
Though through the years we all have made
Our separate choices we've ended here where we belong...
...Walk with me and we will see the mystery revealed
When one day we wend our way up to the farthest field."
"...Now the people come and stare at you
"Turning of the Year," a well-placed selection that closes out the release,
presents the warmth and wisdom made possible through age and experience.
As a bidding to all, the last lines are:
with wonder in their eyes
For times have changed since men knew
how to work a ship your size
And the seas you sailed a'running black
in time we'll know our loss
It's too late now for you but is it too late now for us
Can you teach us what you know before you go..."
"...So friend or foe, we wish you ease
This is the kind of music from the kind of performers you want to invite
into your home. You know your life will be touched and enriched by doing
so. Bid them soon.
however far you roam
Who sail the seven salty seas
or walk the hills of home...
...To friends we had and foes we had and those that held us dear
We raise the glass to lad and lass at turning of the year."
- Great Valley's Harvest (3:23) Words and music by Helen Kivnick
- From the Lambing to the Wool (5:32) Words and music by Judy Small
- Napoleon Crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel/Flight of the Haggis
(5:35) Music by Bob Zentz
- We Built This Old Ship (4:00) Words and music by Jim Stewart and Gordon
- Pigs Can See the Wind (2:21) Words and music by Dave Goulder
- The Outside Track (4:39) Words by Henry Lawson, music by Gerry Hallom
- Gaelic Farmer/Lady's Triumph (4:54) Traditional
- Farthest Field (3:31) Words and music by David Dodson
- Velveteen Love Song (4:02) Words and music by Bob Franke
- Old Man's Song (3:41) Words and music by Bill Scott
- Harbors of Home (4:10) Words and music by Joan Spring
- Rowan Davies (4:20) Music by Phil Cunningham
- Dancing at Whitsun (3:15) Words by John Austin Martin, music traditional
- Wiscasset Schooners (4:49) Words and music by Lois Lyman
- Turning of the Year (3:26) Words by J.B. Goodenough, music by Gordon Bok
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