The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25199   Message #294701
Posted By: GUEST,Jim Dixon
10-Sep-00 - 05:22 PM
Thread Name: Info: Joseph Spence (1910-1984)
Subject: RE: Joseph Spence
I have a CD called "Out On The Rolling Sea: A Tribute to the Music of Joseph Spence & the Pinder Family -- The Fourth Hokey Pokey Charity Collection," various artists, Green Linnet Records, GLCD 3095, 1994.

Spence himself doesn't appear on the album. Unfortunately the liner notes usually don't identify a writer/composer. Obviously, Spence didn't write all of them. Some cuts seem to be there only because the artist was influenced by Spence's guitar style. Here's the list of cuts, with the names of the performers: (Instrumentals are marked with an asterisk.)

1. On the Rolling Sea When Jesus Speak to Me - Van Dyke Parks, keyboard & vocal.
2. Kneelin' Down Inside the Gate - Jody Stecher, Kate Brislin & Larry Hanks, a capella vocals.
3. Afindrafindrao* - David Lindley, bouzouki.
4. Sloop John B. - Ron Kavana.
5. Blow Wind Blow - Taj Mahal, guitar & vocal.
6. Tsiaro - Tarika Sammy.
7. People Get Ready* - David Grisman, mandolin & Marc Silber, guitar.
8. Although the Lord Be High Above - Victoria Williams.
9. Tsy Fotoana Mahafinarita Ve Izao? (Won't That Be a Happy Time?)*/ I Ain't Got Long On This Island* - Rossy, Paul & Pana.
10. The Crow - Wavy Gravy, vocals; Henry Kaiser, bass guitar; & Steve Kimock, guitar.
11. Great Dreams from Heaven* - Michael Chapman, electric guitar.
12. A Chilling Tale: Harcourt Drowned / Troublesome Water - 3 Mustaphas 3.
13. Don't Let Nobody Burn Down Burma Road* - Tom Constanten, keyboards.
14. Stealin' - Ralph McTell, guitar & vocal.
15. Carmen Goes to Bimini* - Mitch Greenhill & Wayne Smith, guitars.
16. Good Morning Mr. Walker / Wait Till Tomorrow - Niles Hokkanen et al.
17. Goodnight Irene - Japheth Dean, guitar.
18. Out on the Rolling Sea When Jesus Speak to Me - Jim Dickinson, vocals, et al.
19. I Bid You Goodnight - Blue Murder, a capella vocals.

It's a good album, but IMHO there is one cut that alone was worth the purchase price (I bought the CD used) is #19: "I Bid You Goodnight." (Blue Murder, in case you didn't know, is Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, the Watersons, and 3 other guys!) The words are in DT, but the words alone don't do justice to the arrangement. It's performed in a contrapuntal style, one line overlapping another. (If you don't know what that sounds like, think of the Red Clay Ramblers singing "Daniel Prayed.")

Incidentally, I have a correction for DT: The line given as "Jesus and Moses shall follow me on" should be "Goodness and mercy shall follow me on."

The liner notes identify Joseph Spence (1910-1984) and Edith Pinder (1909-1980), and give the following discography:

The Complete Folkways Recordings - Smithsonian/Folkways 40066
Happy All the Time - Hannibal HNCD 4419.
The Real Bahamas - Electra/Nonsuch 9 79300.2.
Bahamian Guitarist - Arhoolie 394.
Living on the Hallelujah Side - Rounder 2121.
Glory - Rounder 2096.
The Spring of Sixty-five - Rounder 2110.