MT logo Letters 2015

Re: Devil in the Strawsack/Sail Away Ladies

There is a track on Volume 5 of the CD Far in the Mountains (MTCD513) titled Sail Away Ladies.  The track is played on the fiddle by the late Tommy Jarrell of North Carolina.  At the end of the tune Tommy clearly says that he has just played Sail Away Ladies.

Robert Alfredsson has now contacted Musical Traditions to say that, although Tommy calls it Sail Away Ladies, he had, in fact, played another, similar sounding, tune, one called Devil In the Strawsack.

I had actually included a recording (a different recording) of Tommy playing Devil in the Strawsack on volume 4 of Far in the Mountains (MTCD503-4) and, now listening to the two tracks, it is obvious that Robert is correct.

I am sorry not to have spotted this and would like to thank Robert, whose ear is obviously much better than mine, for pointing this out.

Mike Yates - 4.11.15

Complete MT Records' downloads

Dear Rod

Thanks for this note.  I have hard copies of Far In The Mountains and Meeting's A Pleasure and glad to have them, even though it was beyond my limited means.  I'm so glad that I've been able to acquire a few more of your great productions this way.

Best Wishes,

Joel Shimberg, fiddler - 18.6.15

Re: MT Records' Downloads

Dear Rod

I'm really happy about your decision to offer downloadable versions of the MT CDs.  Since I always convert my music CDs and cassettes into MP3 files and listen to them via PC, this is a very welcome option for me.  I like how the MP3s are embedded into the HTML booklets - that way I can easily look at the transcriptions while listening to the songs.  I also think that your prices are very generous!  I really hope that this new, easy way of getting access to the MT catalogue leads to more sales of this wonderful and sadly neglected music.

Best regards,

Helmut Siebertz - 26.5.15

Dear Rod

I bought another four or five.  I certainly never begrudged paying for the physical copies, of course, but one only has so much disposable income.  At £2 or £4 for a download, it just seems daft not to buy anything in which I have the slightest interest, and I suspect others will feel the same.

All the best

Andy Turner - 26.5.15

Re: The Mansfield Manuscipt

Hi Rod,

I'm writing a review of Ronnie's book for the FMJ, so I can't really review it here, but I would like to say this is a very important publication on several accounts.  It was made by Elizabeth St Clair, a member of Edinburgh high society in the second half of the 18th century.  As you would expect most of the material comes from current songsters, but there are significant numbers of Child ballads and folk songs as well.  Only a few of the ballad versions given here found their way into Child's collection by roundabout routes, as the manuscript had gone underground by the time Child started hoovering them up.

The book is also extremely cheap.  Full marks to Ronnie.

Steve Gardham - 13.5.15

Re: Editorial

Hi Rod,

As regards your comments this morning - I can only add that yesterday the turkeys voted for Christmas!

Mike Yates - 8.5.15

The Mansfield Manuscipt

Hi Rod

Folk might be interested in The Mansfield Manuscipt, a book that has been recently (privately) printed by Ronnie Clark of The Glasgow Ballads workshop.

Here's a link:

Another link with some background on the book:


Bob Blair - 11.4.15

William Clarke, et al

Hi, Rod

Here's an item that might be of interest to some MT readers.  The article by Harry Bradshaw about the Uilleann piper William Clarke, published in MT 9, and subsequently available on the website, recounts how Clarke recorded in 1928, as part of a project entitled Pipes Of Three Nations, alongside Pipe-Major James Robertson on Highland pipes and Anthony Charlton on Northumbrian pipes.

A set of three 78s was issued on the Columbia label, on which Clarke and Charlton had one side each, Robertson had two sides, and the remaining two each featured all three pipers playing a shorter tune, in turn.

I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Pipes Of Three Nations has never been reissued in its entirety.  But you can hear all six sides, courtesy of the Bibliotheque National De France, whose excellent Gallica project has made them available for listening online.  There's all sorts of riches of early recordings avalable on Gallica and it's well worth exploring - but the three links below will take you directly to the three Pipes Of Three Nations discs.  You click the little Play button above the image to listen, and click the green arrow button, to turn the record over.

Ray Templeton - 5.3.15


Rod Stradling - e-mail:  Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos  GL5 2HP, UK

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