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CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway

MMario 19 Jun 04 - 02:04 PM
InOBU 19 Jun 04 - 02:39 PM
MMario 19 Jun 04 - 04:18 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Jun 04 - 09:00 PM
InOBU 21 Jun 04 - 11:02 AM
Marion 19 Jul 04 - 01:27 AM
alanabit 19 Jul 04 - 02:54 AM
InOBU 19 Jul 04 - 10:23 AM
InOBU 19 Jul 04 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Anne G. Staten Island Snug Harbor 17 Jan 10 - 09:57 AM
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Subject: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: MMario
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 02:04 PM

or 'The Best of Lorcan Otway is yet to come!' to give it it's full title.

InObu has been giving me some mild tweaking as I haven't commented on this yet and he gave it to me the night of Rick's Memorial concert - in fact he called me a one-man "hung jury" in a recent PM.

Which - at least in regards to this CD is an accurate description. Now understand, I do not have the ear, knowledge or experience to give any sort of true musical analysis - but I *like* the thing - even the "uncomfortable" parts (more on that later)

On the other hand - part of me want to throw it across the room - shouting "Damn you Larry Otway - Who the HELL are you to make me feel shallow, complacent,hypocritical and uncaring!!!!!" (the answer being an extremely talented man, with what must be incredible depths of compassion and the convictions to practice what he preaches - who better?)

I am probably a prime example of those who SHOULD, perhaps NEED, to listen to Larry's songs. I wear my rose coloured glasses by choice - the world is more comfortable that way. I am comfortable and don't want my middle class life disturbed. And Larry doesn't so much as cloak his songs of injustice in allagory or metaphor - they are in-your-face; wake-up-and-smell-the-cow-manure; LISTEN TO ME! songs.

Not all gloom and doom either - especially the tale of the 11 year old more or less passing the threshold of manhood in becoming a conductor on the undergorund railway. He has taken the pertinant information from various incidents and crafted them and performed them as moving, deeply meaningful works of art.

Is this a CD I'm going to throw on when I want a relaxing musical interlude? NO. Though I am perfectly honest in saying I enjoyed the purely instrumental parts and even the musical backgrounds on the "disturbing" songs.

Will I listen to it again? Assuredly! Probably MANY times.

The Best of Larry Otway is yet to come - I don't doubt that - especially since I found out the bugger is younger then I am - but even there I am a "hung jury" - I can't figure out whether I am quivering in anticipation - or dreading that not-so-niggling feeling that I'm going to be forced to open my eyes to something I would rather not see. On the other hand (three hands?) I can't think of many people I'd trust to rip away those rose-coloured lenses more then Larry.

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 02:39 PM

Ah Mmario:
I'm humbled... Thanks for the kind words... a wee note about the Underground Railroad song... It is actualy a single true event, told to me by Anna L. Curtis, when I was much younger than 11, and included in her book Storries of the Underground Railroad. She was the granddaughter of a conductor on the same. The only piece of fiction in the song, when the mother gives the slave catchers a candle (she did) I thought, a Quaker woman would say "take care that thee should not curse the dark"... the only poetic licence in the song, the rest, right down to the name of the escaped slave the night that young Richard Murray became a part of the family secret... is true.
Again, thanks for the excellent CD your self... and nice to see a kind jury.

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: MMario
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 04:18 PM

Well - the saying goes "It is better to light a single candle then to curse the darkness" - and FAR better to light a candle then ignore the darkness - you've lit an entire candleabra!

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 09:00 PM

Larry, a few days ago I spent some time pottering around places like Yealand Conyers, Pendle Hill, Cartmel stone circle, etc, and wondered if you've been to any of the "1652" landmarks. If not, it's well worth doing. They're mostly in wonderfully unspoilt countryside. I suggest you plan another expedition - my ticker's firing on all cylinders again now - and bring some of those CDs with you.

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: InOBU
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 11:02 AM

Dear Friends: My lates maximum opus, is a work I composed in responce to a Nigerian Scam letter, so do go to the post, "the Best Nigerian Scam Letter" in the BS posts and see the same. Thanks to my many (two) fans.
Lorcan "Larry" "Oskrump" Otway

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: Marion
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 01:27 AM

Hi Larry. I've had your CD on several times over the last couple weeks, and have gathered up some thoughts:

- I think the standout track, and the one I am most likely to start singing, is "Who Will Marry Me?" Though opportunities where I want to sing it will probably be infrequent, it's very moving, especially the line "who would ever marry me?" and I could feel that the character was communicating with me.

- I also like the story about the Quaker boy. I'm a sucker for anything to "Star of the County Down", but also I found it a good and original angle on the escape story, being told from the boy's point of view. So often the challenge to writing historical songs is to find that good angle instead of just writing a history text in rhyme - and you found it.

- My other favourite is Yvette's song. It's becoming more and more clear to me that repeating verbal motifs (i.e,. oh how ----------- ran) is an important secret to good songwriting. Also, I liked the melody - is it yours? If it's a folk melody, I might like to use it for something myself.

- I do have some reservations about the CD as a whole, specifically how consistently miserable the themes are and how openly activist your treatment of them is. If your goal in making the CD was to introduce some recent originals to other potential singers, then fair enough. But if you want it to get you gigs (does it reflect your live show, or do you also do fun songs?), or if it's intended to be a "general release" to be listened to for its own sake, then I think the heaviness is a drawback. There's only so much misery that anyone wants to listen to in a sitting, and I don't think many people like songs that are overtly political - they'd rather just hear the story and draw the conclusions themselves.

I get the feeling that you have a real sense of calling in your songwriting, to address the pain of the world and move the listener to respond in a given way. And if that's what you gotta do, then I guess that's what you gotta do. But it does, I believe, take away the opportunity you might have to have your songs loved by many people. If that's a sacrifice you're willing to make, then that's a sacrifice you're willing to make - I just want to be sure that you're making it with your eyes wide open.

Best wishes, Marion

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: alanabit
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 02:54 AM

I find Yvette's Song inspiring and the way it is set against (an ironically) jaunty melody lends her dignity. This is important, because a less careful selection of melody would have made it sound downbeat and arouse only sympathy rather than respect. I liked all the songs you did Marion, but I particularly liked the one about the incident between the Quakers and the Native Americans. Larry gave the story elsewhere here on Mudcat. It is probably one of the most optimistic songs I have ever heard.

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 10:23 AM

Dear Alanabit and Marrion:
Thanks to you both for the kind words. It shows I am behind in sending you the latest Alanabit... do PM me, and I will send you the CD about which Marrion is speaking. As to the grim subject matter, Yup... I actually through this one together to address the present state of things in the US, for the progressive radio stations such as WBAI (bless their little red hearts!) I must admit, the songs I write are about grim stuff, generally, Genie will not let me sing the songs I write about her in public... but I always concider a good highway man (or highway person song in the case of Sovay...) to be an upbeat change in the program. One of the unfortunate aspects of Irish tradition is the rather black nature of the music, all rain, murder and oppresion, whereas often the IRish American crowd lean more to the funny Irishman songs, but, well, we are a product of our past and present, and the USA of today is rather inspiring to dark songs. BUT, I'm off to Quebec soon, and I am looking into moving to Canada, for perhaps a permanant change, so maybe I can play more happy music
(At home in Canada, the land of the free,
I hope I can make enough money for my wife to join me?)
BUT, I'll have to send some of my upbeat songs to you Marrion, the song Alanabit writes of is the ballad of Judith Folger. A bit of a coincidence, I was at the Quaker graveyard in Prospect Park, last Seventh Day, for a meeting of the Quarter, and sang the song about which you write, the Ballad of Richard Murray (the underground railroad song. ) That history was told to me by Anna Curtis, who learned about the underground railroad from her Grandmother, a conductor on the same. Her Grandmother's grandmother, was Judith Folger, who was present at the Peace Feather incident, about which the song Alanabit writes, and my song is from the oral history of Anna's family, as told to me by Anna Curtis. Well, having sung the ballad of Richard Murry, I quite unexpectedly came accros Anna Curtis' grave at the cemitary, on a wooded hill... a plain and simple stone, which was so in keeping with her life and her witness to the same.
There is a new (and I am afraid, not very happy song) by me which mentions Anna Curtis, it should be a few weeks back on Mudcat, I believe the thread name is a Song about a lost treasure...
Well, I am off to empty this half empty cup of coffee and fill it half full, and try to think of something happy to sing about!
All the very best and thanks for the kind words
(from the dark well of my despair ;-) )
Just kidding about the dispair
Well not really
Well, kinda
Pulling your leg
Or pulling my own leg
Or who knows these days
Did you hear the joke about the duck and the chemist?
at this point I should close again
Thanks and cheers

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: InOBU
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 10:38 AM

OH... Marrion... forgot to answer a few of your questions.. got off on a tangent... Yes Yevette's song is to a traditional tune, from the west of Ireland. AND, though Who Will Marry Me, is about a forgotten part of the world, Bangladesh, I do sing it at events about the war against women which accompanies every war started by men I can think of... after truth women's bodies are the next casuality. The companion song to that is the song of the Third World, which speaks of the division of religious hatred as being a weapon of war...

Song of the Third World.

Who profits, who profits, from all of our pain
While pointing their fingers at our ancient shame
while we stand divided, neighbor's blood on our hands
The industrial nations bleed the wealth from our lands

Its not about difference, we are all the same
We are all the pawns in the colonialist game
my neighbor and I worship God differently
so industrial nations turn my brother against me

My sister was murdered, for the wrongs of the past
In the Chitagong Hills, on the streets of Belfast
In Ramalah, or Gujarat, in corners far away
while our poverty feeds gluttony in the USA

What more can I say now to finish this song
Don't look to your neighbor to pay for the last wrong
There is not enough blood to cleanse hatred from the past
But a third world united may end hunger at last

BUT For you and Alanabit... here is a more upbeat one, in the mode of the ballad of Judith Folger... another true story from my Quaker childhood, from the actual account written by Thomas Lurting...

Thomas Lurting

Oh my name is Thomas Lurting, and a press gang has taken me
on board of a well found vessel, to fight the Irish on the sea
It being in the time of the long Parliament, I, but a lad of fourteen years
and amid the smoke and the thunder, I became a man immune to fears

I became a Bos'uns Mate and, two hundred sailors were at my command
'til we pressed some Quaker fellows while fighting in a distant land
They would not conform to worship, when called upon to sing and pray
and I was told to beat them, but a voice within me my hand did stay

And so it was I became convinced, and even my captain's sword I faced
But I was so changed completely, I was discharged with some small haste
for fear our gentle leadings, would spread like vines amongst our crew
and I was placed ashore then, to find my life had begun anew

I joined a Quaker vessel, and was bound out from Venice Town
while off Spanish May York, by Turk corsairs our Katch was found
we offered them no battle, but welcomed them as a Friend to me
and they ordered us to sail for, Algeria and our slavery

At length they grew to trust us, one night they all asleeping lay
And I crept amongst them all, for to take their knives and swords away
we locked them in the cabin and, set sail upon our former course
but soon there came a great wailing, and their captain comenced this grim discourse

Should you take us to your home, Englishmen, there hanged we all will surely be
of this we are well frightened and beg of you some small pity
we spoke our crew together, and then in spite of all our fear
we would return our captives, to their own shore which they called Algere

We soon lay off their homeland our eyes searched for their men of war
Myself and two others chose to row the Turks to their bleak shore
We reached those stranger's sandy beach, and feared we all seize-ed would be
for there were ten Turkish pirate men, and far from our ship we were but three

But we set them on their native land, and they embraced us with tears of joy
and waving as we rowed away, such was the love we did enjoy
we set our sails for England but our story had before us flew
and Charles our King, and the Duke of York, awaited us, I tell thee true

King Charles viewed us darkly, "Why did you not bring these foes to me?"
Said I, "I thought, it better they dwell in their own country."
The king gazed at we Quakers as grim and stern as he could be,
then laughing he embrace-ed us, and here I will end my tale for thee

So rest in that which can do good, when evil shall show a face to thee
let this be the way of all true Friends, when thee confronts adversity
fear not upon the wildest shore, but lovingly look in the stranger's eye
and remember thy Friend Thomas Lurting, for now in my final peace I lie.

And remember thy Friend Larry - cheers

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Subject: RE: CD:The Best of Lorcan Otway
From: GUEST,Anne G. Staten Island Snug Harbor
Date: 17 Jan 10 - 09:57 AM

Hey, Larry, how's it going? Did you know my dad used to work at Ladder 9?

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