Change can be such a daunting challenge. Almost immediately following the passing of Tom Rowe, we agreed that replacing him was not possible, especially after an uninterrupted twenty-nine years as a trio. This album will sound a little familiar and a little different, reflecting the natural change of becoming a duo. Some of these songs we’ve known for decades. "Sullivan’s John" was one of the first songs Schooner Fare learned together in 1975. "Castles In The Sky" was written in the early 1970s. "The Boys of The Island" was written over a century ago and rearranged only days before this recording. What has not changed over the decades is our love of folk music, storytelling, harmony and performing. This album reflects a return to our roots as brothers playing together, sometimes with our Dad, sometimes with other family members, sometimes with a friend or two, sometimes just by ourselves. We will always hear Tom as we hope you will too. We are grateful for the encouragement of so many loved ones, both known and unknown, whose blessing affords us "a boat that can carry two." -- Chuck and Steve
Boys of the Island | Waters of Tyne | Ar Fal La La Lo/Mingulay Boat Song | The Lady Elgin | Leave Her, Johnny | We're Here to Drink the Whiskey | Inland Tern | Sullivan's John | Mairi's Wedding | Castles in the Sky | Katahdin | The Water is Wide/Seeds of Love
THE BOYS OF THE ISLAND Larry Gorman/Arr. S. Romanoff Larry Gorman, born on Prince Edward Island (P.I.) in 1846, worked the Maine woods and the river drives. His classic "come all ye" story describes the greenhorns from P.I. who, in their new, clean homespun clothes were the brunt of jokes by veteran Maine woodsmen. A "kennebecker" was a carpet bag suitcase. Tim O'Leary was a former woodsman-turned-sheriff who enforced local law by locking up drunken woodsmen at Bangor's Haymarket Square jail. Special thanks to Sandy Ives for his research, singing, and devotion to preserving Maine's folk music heritage. All you sporting young fellows from Prince Edward island, Come listen to me and I'll tell you the truth, From a lumberman's life it has been my intention To advise all young men and all sensible youth, Now the boys of the Prince Edward farms are unhappy, They say, "Let us go, we are doing no good." Their minds are uneasy, continually crazy For to go o'er to Bangor and work in the woods. Chorus In Bangor they poison the youth with bad whiskey, To the devil they'll banish all brandy and alse, And when on the corner they find the boy tipsy, They'll send for Tim Leary and march 'em to jail. So a new suit of clothes is prepared for the journey, A new pair of shoes made by Sherlock and Clark, A fine kennebecker all stuffed with good homespun, And then this young island boy he does embark, When he reaches Bangor, gets off at the station, Old bushmen look at him all with a keen eye, Take a look at the clothes that young fellow is wearing, And that will soon tell you he comes from P.I. Chorus Now if this is the law, by the mother of Moses, They've got better laws among heathen Banshee, Where a man can get drunk and come in and get sober, And then sleep it off under the shade of a tree, Now a lumberman's life is of short dur-i-ation, Made up of tobacco, bad whiskey and rum, And according to Scriptures there's still the hereafter, So the worst of our days, boys, is yet for to come. Chorus WATERS OF TYNE Scots Traditional We first heard this song during a singing visit to Halifax where we made some lifelong friends with Nova Scotia’s folk music ambassadors, McGinty. I cannot get tae my love if I would dee For the waters of Tyne run between him and me And here I maun stand wi a tear in my ee All sighin and sobbin, my true love to see Oh where is the boatman, my bonny hinney Oh where is the boatman, go bring him to me For to ferry me over the Tyne to my honey Or scull him across the rough waters to me Oh bring me a boatman, I'll gi all my money And you for your trouble rewarded shall be If you'll carry me over the Tyne to my honey And I will remember the boatman and thee. I cannot get tae my love if I would dee For the waters of Tyne run between him and me And here I maun stand wi a tear in my ee All sighin and sobbin, my true love to see AR FAL LA LA LO Scots Traditional This is one of the many songs we learned from John Allan Cameron, one of Canada's most beloved troubadours (and St. FX University classmate of Chuck's), when folk music was at every campfire, dormitory and coffee house. There's lilt in this song I sing, there's laughter and love There's song of the sea so blue and heaven above Of reason there's none, no, and why should there be for why As long as there fire in the blood and a light in the eye Ar fal la low ha row ere fal la la le Ar far la low ha row ere fal la la le Ar far la low ha row ere fal la la le Fa le fa low ha row ere fal la la le Ar fal la low, etc. And whether the blood be high, lowland or no And whether the skin be black or white as the snow Of kith and of kin we are one be it right be it wrong As long as our voices join the chorus of song MINGULAY BOAT SONG Traditional/Hugh Roberton In 1938, Sir Hugh Roberton wrote these stirring lyrics to an old Scottish air for his Glasgow Orpheus Choir. Mingulay is an uninhabited island in the Outer Hebrides of northern Scotland. It is the home to thousands of sea birds (like Outer Green Island, Casco Bay, Maine) past which fishermen would sail on their way home to Barra and other islands. We learned this from Tommy Makem, Liam Clancy, and "John A." Chorus Heel yo ho, Boys, let her go, Boys, Bring her head round into the weather, Heel yo ho, Boys, Let her go, Boys, Sailing Homeward to Mingulay What care we though, white the spray is, What care we for the wind and weather, Pull her round, Boys, and we’ll anchor, 'Ere the sun sets on Mingulay. Chorus Wives are waiting by the pier head All looking seaward from the heather, Heave her round, Boys, and we’ll anchor, 'Ere the sun sets on Mingulay Chorus THE LADY ELGIN Words and music by Steve Romanoff In 1860, Milwaukee's City Hall was run from the largely Irish Third Ward, known as "The Bloody Third." Their militia, disarmed by the Governor, prompted hundreds of Milwaukee's leading Irish politicians to sail aboard the side-wheeler Lady Elgin to Chicago to hear Steven Douglas campaign for the presidency against Abraham Lincoln. After raising money at the Chicago rally, they sailed home that night for Milwaukee. Making its way up Lake Michigan in the fog, the Lady Elgin collided with the Augusta, a lumber schooner headed for Chicago. The Augusta's captain claimed the Lady Elgin had sailed on into the fog without seeking his aid. However, the Lady Elgin soon broke up and sank off the coast of Winnetka, IL., taking hundreds with her. The loss of most of Milwaukee's Irish political leaders resulted in the transfer of power in Milwaukee politics from the Irish to the Germans. Chorus Has anybody seen the Lady Elgin, Has anybody seen The Bloody-Third, They Left Chicago in the night to make Milwaukee by daylight, I'm sorry, Son, there hasn't been a word. Has anybody seen the Lady Elgin, Has anybody seen The Bloody-Third, If she'd run into a storm she still could make it by the morn, Anyway, we surely would have heard. Going to Chicago-Town no matter what the weather, Gonna raise a little Hell for the worse or the better, Gonna raise a little money if we all go together, So meet me in the morning. We’re going down to Chicago-Town, Gonna listen to a man of great renown, And pass the helping-hat around, So meet me in the morning, We’re going down to Chicago-Town, Gonna show them we can stand our round, By midnight we’ll be homeward-bound, So meet me in the morning. Chorus One-hundred forty years, or so, September, Eighteen-Six-and-OH, The Lady Elgin sank below, So early in the morning, Milwaukee's Third Militiamen, Returning from their mission when They sank in cold Lake Michigan, As the day was barely dawning. Chorus A schooner running east-by-south, With a "bone of water" in her mouth The Augusta rammed her square and stout Without a breath of warning. The Augusta she just ran her down, She never even turned around, She left four-hundred souls to drown And a thousand children mourning. We’re going to Chicago-Town no matter what the weather........ Chorus LEAVE HER, JOHNNY Traditional Both a capstan (weighing anchor) and a fo'c'sle (relaxing off-duty in the crew's quarters, or forecastle) song, it tells of the difficulty some men had when it came time to leave the ship at the end of a long voyage. For many, the ship it was their only home and trade. For others, it meant that they were finally free to go home or find another ship. Oh, I thought I heard the Old Man say, Leave her, Johnny, leave her, It's a long hard pull to the next pay-day, And it's time for us to leave her. Chorus Leave her, Johnny, leave her, Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her, For the voyage is done and the winds don't blow, And it's time for us to leave her. WE'RE HERE TO DRINK THE WHISKEY Words and music by Chuck Romanoff One winter’s evening in 1981, Neil Martin and Herb Ludwig, upon arrival at a lively social gathering, boldly announced: "We're here to drink the whiskey." Sometimes, a great song title almost writes the song for you. Captain Silver commandeered half the Spanish fleet, A dozen brigs and fishing rigs to make the day complete. Then ashore to a dusty tavern with his weary, thirsty crew, Crying, "Landlord! Throw away the cork! We'll likely have a few!" Singing, we're all here to drink the whiskey. We're all here for nothing less. Raise your glass and toast your neighbor, Turn and toast the rest. For it's one, two, three rounds, We're hellish glad we’re here. We're here to drink the whiskey And then we'll drink the beer. Lord Faversham of Henley took his pleasure, one might say, From serving sherry in the garden in the evening of the day. He shared with the cooks and chambermaids his hospitality, 'Til eventually there were seventeen and two at four for tea. It was four in the morn on New Year’s Day, we all said our goodnights. The wife and I fell into bed and snuffed out all the lights. And just as we were nodding off, came a pounding at the door. In marched MacNamara with his drum and bugle corps. INLAND TERN Words and music by Steve Romanoff Ever wonder about those terns who seem lost in the mid-western states like Iowa and Indiana? Maybe they were left behind by the receding inland sea that millenia-ago covered much of middle-America. Maybe the terns were cut off from other birds who waited in vain for them to rejoin them. Geo-eco-love song? There's a tern in the woodland, a tern in the lea, There's a tern who flies out to the edge of the quay, Will she ever fly over the water to me? It's a lesson I never may learn, I'll be waiting for my inland tern. Long ago when blue waters lay over the sand, And the gull and the kestrel had nowhere to land, I gave her my promise, she gave me her hand, With a promise someday to return, So I'm waiting for my inland tern. Then the endless dark winter blew down from the north, And it swallowed the great inland sea, All the stars in the heaven, every prayer sent on high, Could not carry her homeward to me. If you find your heart wandrin' through the wind and the rain, Where the lakes and the prairies are all that remain, You may hear her song calling you over again, It's a song very easy to learn, That's the promise of my inland tern. There's a tern in the woodland, a tern in the lea, There's a tern who flies out to the edge of the quay, Will she ever fly over the water to me? It's a lesson I never may learn, I'll be waiting for my inland tern. SULLIVAN'S JOHN Pecker Dunne This is one of the first few songs we learned when we first formed in 1975. It, too, has aged well. Although Pecker Dunne credited himself with its creation, contemporaries claim that the song was sung long before of a wealthy North Cork man, John Sullivan, who gave up his fortune to marry a tinker girl. Oh, Sullivan's John, to the road you've gone far away from your native home. You’ve gone with the tinker's daughter for along the road to roam. Oh, Sullivan's John, you won't stick it long 'till your belly will soon grow slack. And you’re traipsing the road, with a heavy load, and your toolbox on your back. I met Katy Caffrey and her wee baby behind on her back strapped on. And in her hand an oul ash plant for to drive her oul donkey along. Enquiring in every poor farmer's house, as along the road we passed, Oh where could she find an old pot to mend, and where would we swap an ass. There’s a hairy ass fair in County Clare in a place they call Spancil Hill, Where my brother James got a rap of a hames, and poor Paddy they tried to kill. They loaded him up in an oul ass and cart, as along the road to go. Oh, bad luck to the day that he roved away for to join with the tinker band. MAIRI'S WEDDING Scots Traditional Few things are more joyful than the wedding of one loved by all. This Scottish classic challenges anyone to not tap their toes. Step it gaily, on we go Heel for heel and toe for toe, Arm in arm and on we go All for Mairi's wedding Over hillways up and down Myrtle green and bracken brown, Past the sheiling through the town All for sake of Mairi. Plenty herring, plenty meal Plenty peat to fill her creel, Plenty bonny bairns as weel That’s the toast for Mairi. Cheeks as bright as rowans are Brighter far than any star, Fairest o' them all by far Is my darlin’ Mairi. CASTLES IN THE SKY Words and music by Steve Romanoff An allegorical ditty exhumed from the Watergate days when idealistic youth lost their faith in national leaders who dissembled ..... "to put on a false appearance..... to conceal facts." -Webster's. Our dreams and faith in what we can be should never be compromised by others. There was a time not long ago, at least an old man told me so, Before the castles had to go, before they went away, There used to be a land of dreams with towers in the sky, They used to call them castles and they used to build them high. Chorus Now we need to hear your reason why, You've been hiding all the castles in the sky, Who'd believe a king could tell a lie, You've been hiding all our castles in the sky. There was a dream, across the land, in every boy, in every man, Before the castles made of sand were left to wash away, There used to be a land of dreams with towers on the wall, They used to call them castles and they used to build them tall. Chorus KATAHDIN Words and music by Steve Romanoff A tribute to Maine’s mountain, the home of Glooskap, the archetypal higher power of the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy people and their forebears, the "People of the Dawn." Chorus She rises high above the morning, She stands a mile above the sea, She is our pride, our Mount Katahdin, She is the very heart of ME, She is the very heart of ME. A billion years before the glacier Began to carve this land we know, A mighty mountain raised her shoulders Above the valley far below, Katahdin's spirit lives forever, Just like The People of the Dawn, Who named the spirit of Katahdin, Who blessed this land we walk upon. Chorus No one can own a mighty river, Or dare to claim the mountain tall, This is the lesson of The Giver, This is the promise to us all, Katahdin's spirit lives forever, Just like The People of the Dawn, Who know the spirit of Katahdin, Who know her truth will carry on. Chorus THE WATER IS WIDE/SEEDS OF LOVE Arranged: C. Romanoff and S. Romanoff Most likely Irish in origin, this song dates at least to the early 17th century. The "Seeds of Love" is an early 17th century air with lyrics written by Mrs. Fleetwood Habergam around 1690. Some songs withstand the test of time and say what words alone cannot. Both of these gems are dear to us....and, it seems, to each other. The water is wide, I cannot get oer Neither have I the wings to fly Give me a boat that can carry two And both shall row, my love and I A ship there is and she sails the sea She’s loaded deep as deep can be But not so deep as the love I’m in I know not if I sink or swim I leaned my back against an oak Thinking it was a trusty tree But first it bent and then it broke So did my love prove false to me Oh love be handsome and love be kind Bright as a jewel when first it is new But love grows old and waxes cold And fades away like the morning dew I sowed the seeds of love. I sowed them in the springtime, Gathered them up in the morning so soon While small birds sweetly sing. My garden was planted well With flowers everywhere. I had not the liberty to choose for myself The flower I held so dear. Now, the willow tree may twist And the willow tree may twine. I wish I was lying in that young woman's arms That once held this heart of mine. When cockle shells turn silver bells Then will my love come back to me When roses bloom in winter's gloom Then will my love return to me The water is wide, I cannot get oer. Neither have I the wings to fly Give me a boat that can carry two And both shall row, my love and I.
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