Since their publication, back in 2002, the 4-CD set Far in the Mountains have been MT's best-selling production and - thanks to Mike Yates' generous decision to waive his rights to the 10% sales royalty - have done more than twice as much as any other MT publication to keep something in our piggy bank. In all seriousnes, we might not have survived these 17 years without this source of income.
And beyond this hugely beneficial effect, they are a wonderful source of splendid songs, tunes and stories. So it is with great pleasure that I announce the publication of Far in the Mountains, volume 5. Mike Yates writes:
William Marshall & Howard Hall: |
1. Train on the Island
2. Polly Put the Kettle On
5. Poor Ellen Smith
6. Pig in the Pen
7. Soldier’s Joy
8. Ten Little Indians
9. Granny Will Your Dog Bite?
Stella & Taylor Kimble:
11. Waggoner’s Boy
12. Sally Ann
Robert L Tate:
13. SallyAnn / Old Molly Hare / Baby-O
14. Down by the Stillhouse
15. Turkey in the Straw
16. Sally Gooden
17. Dicky Said to Johnny / Mirandy
18. Sail Away Ladies
19. Say Darling Say
20. The Little Mohee
21. Pretty Fair Miss All in Her Garden
|Charlie Woods: |
23. Eighth of January / Green Mountain Polka
24. Walking in the Parlour
Eunice Yeatts MacAlexander:
25. The Preacher and the Bear
26. Old Joe Clark
27. Bull Durham
28. Fisher’s Hornpipe
29. The Leaves are Green
30. Daddy Had a Billy Goat
31. Cripple Creek
32. Lonesome Road Blues
Robert L Tate:
33. The Lawson Family Murder
34. Shout Little Lula
35. Let her Go, Let her Go
36. Darling Cora
Walt Davis & J C McCool:
37. Under the Double Eagle
38. Whistling Rufus
39. Wildwood Flower
40. Silver Bells
41. Bully of the Town
Evelyn & Douston Ramsey:
42. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
Benton Flippen & Friends:
43. Breaking up Christmas
Far in the Mountains Volume 5 - Echoes from the Mountains is vailable now from the MT Records website. Price just £12.00.
Rod Stradling - 23.4.13
A Somerset Scrapbook (MTCD252) is now available from our MT Records website, and while it follows the same format as our House Dance CD-ROM of 2012, it was a rather simpler project to complete, although it should perhaps be of greater interest to most MT readers. It contains: mini-biographies of nine singers and the texts of 22 of their songs, all also available as MP3 sound files; mini-biographies of nine musicians with 12 of their tunes as MP3 sound files; mini-biographies of five story tellers with 10 of their stories as both text and MP3 files. There are also eight accounts of various Somerset traditions. All of the above are well illustrated by some excellent photographs.
The School was founded in 1951 with two great folklorists: Hamish Henderson and Calum Maclean. Among the first tapes to be deposited were Alan Lomax fieldwork recordings and for over six decades there have been strong links to many Folklore Departments from all over the world. Its Archive contains thousands of unique and irreplaceable recordings, a small number of which have appeared in public for the first time on several Musical Traditions CDs.
It seems only a short while ago that concerns regarding the fate of the Peter Kennedy Archive were uppermost in our minds. In my opinion, the School of Scottish Studies Archive is equally important - and equally endangered. And I don't imagine that there will be another Topic Records to ride to the rescue this time.
A student campaign is under way to persuade the University that the School of Scottish Studies and its resources must remain intact and accessible to researchers and the wider public. You can add your name to the campaign by following this link and signing the Change.org petition.
It was unusual in that the producer suggested that I should ask Ray Templeton to review it, as he'd expressed interest in the CD - and I was happy to oblige. Ray thought the record was wonderful! So did Ken Ricketts and Marya Parker, also regular reviewers of Irish music CDs in these pages. In fact, they liked it so much that they sent their review unsolicited ... and I can scarcely remember the last time that happened!
So, my doom-laden comments notwithstanding, it's very good to find some real enthusiasm for wonderful music out there. If only there were more such CDs ... and more such enthusiasts!
In truth, the CD-ROM never sold many copies (around half a dozen per year), and this last year has seen only three purchases. Accordingly, the task is no longer worth the time and trouble involved, and I have decided not to publish any further volumes. I will continue to supply the VWML and ITMA with simple copies, as they like to have them for reference purposes.
The other 2012 release was the House Dance CD-ROM : a study of the old 'octave style' anglo-concertina playing and the 'house dance' music it supported, up to around 1920. And it seems that the first release of 2013 will be another 'digital book with embedded sound files' - Bob and Jaquline Patten's Somerset Scrapbook, originally a book and cassette release from back in 1987, though fundamentally updated and re-formatted for release in this new format.
On the magazine front, things have also been fairly quiet, just 7 new Articles and the usual additions to the Enthusiasms, Letters and News pages, plus around 40 new Reviews. My thanks to all those hard working writers.
It's easy to blame the recession for this general slow-down in things - certainly our CD sales are only about half of what they were last year - but I have a feeling that it's more to do with people's enthusiasm for real traditional music. As was the case back in the '60s and '70s, when revivalist LPs were being released every week, singers and players found it so much easier to listen to, and copy, the 'big names' of the period than it was to take the trouble to come to grips with the far less approachable traditional performers. Ironically, it was in the 'lean times' of the last 25 or so years that interest in real traditional music began to flourish.
Sadly, it is now the case that pretty-well all the CDs of traditional singers and players possible have actually been made - I'm aware of very few sets of recordings available to me that could result in new CDs. Actually, there are three or four more such CDs to come from MT, but the difficulties in producing an acceptable accompanying booklet are presently proving insurmountable.
Today, with Sam Lee, Faye Hield et al at the top of the fROOTS Critics Poll, it's a bit dis-spiriting to find that CDs of previously unheard traditional material attract so little interest. As a friend of mine once said, "The survival of our music would only be guaranteed by it being made illegal!"
This trend is reflected in our website statistics - Musical Traditions Magazine (in paper and virtual forms) starts its 30th year of existence in six days' time and, while it's pleasing to note that our efforts are still reaching quite a number of people - the website had around 900,000 visitors in 2011 - this is around half of last year's number.
Once again, I'll remind you that Musical Traditions Internet Magazine exists to share our love of traditional music and musicians; if you have something to say about any traditional activity with a musical content, from anywhere in the world, please send it to me - the contact information is at the foot of the page.
So - in hopes of a much more active 2013, and in spite of all the cuts - may I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.
You can find the rest of last year's Editorials, in reverse order, at the end of 'The more-or-less complete compilation of past Editorial pieces' near the bottom of the Home Page.
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