This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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This 5-song sampler, a "coming attraction" of Lee Murdock's just-released 20-song, live, double CD, provides the listener with a solid taste of what to expect: stories, songs and the lore of shipping and sailing on the Great Lakes. He performs solo and also backed by the Blue Water Band on both the sampler and the double CD.
Murdock opens the sampler with the Stan Rogers-penned song "White Squall," offering a different and more subtle version than on the Rogers' recording "From Fresh Water."
"The Great Lakes Song" follows, an upbeat tune mixed with a nice touch of harmonica.
The third offering, "Low Bridge, Everybody Down" is apparently the "real" title of the song we all learned in school, "15 Miles on the Erie Canal." In fact, according to Murdock, the actual song title really is "15 Years on the Erie Canal."
"The Mules That Walked the Fo'c's'le Deck" is a fine example of the historical lore that is passed on and kept alive through the medium of music. Murdock utilizes historical research to come across many of the songs he performs.
The last offering on the sampler, "The Christmas Ship" is a Murdock favorite about the lumber schooner Rouse Simmons. Captained by Herman Schuenemann, the Rouse Simmons annually carried Christmas trees to Chicago until it went down in a storm off Wisconsin in 1912. Schuenemann's widow, Barbara, then nobly stepped in and carried on the tradition of delivering Christmas trees to Chicago by ship for the next 22 years.
Murdock has a solid voice and the musicianship here is first-rate. For those wishing to learn some history about the Great Lakes and be entertained at the same time, this CD will do the job.
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