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Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)

curmudgeon 14 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM
Anglo 15 Feb 05 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,JennyO 15 Feb 05 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,sandra in sydney 15 Feb 05 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 15 Feb 05 - 08:16 AM
SINSULL 15 Feb 05 - 11:30 AM
radriano 15 Feb 05 - 02:19 PM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM
GUEST 16 Feb 05 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Charley Noble 16 Feb 05 - 09:05 AM
Naemanson 16 Feb 05 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 17 Feb 05 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 17 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Charley Noble 17 Feb 05 - 05:09 PM
radriano 17 Feb 05 - 05:16 PM
radriano 18 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM
Charley Noble 21 Feb 05 - 12:07 PM
JudyB 22 Feb 05 - 11:41 AM
Peter Kasin 22 Feb 05 - 10:51 PM
Charley Noble 23 Feb 05 - 08:27 AM
Barry Finn 28 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM
Fidjit 01 Mar 05 - 05:29 AM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 05 - 09:06 AM
Fidjit 01 Mar 05 - 02:24 PM
Charley Noble 01 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Amos 30 Mar 05 - 03:15 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 05 - 10:29 PM
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Subject: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: curmudgeon
Date: 14 Feb 05 - 01:35 PM

Subtitled "New Songs & Old Songs," this CD is a collection of songs by Charlie Ipcar, better known to Mudcatters as Charley Noble.

Some of the songs, such as "Swabbing Days' and "Freedom Schooner Amistad" are Charlie's original creations.Others are reworkings,and tweakings of poems by C. Fox Smith, Robert L. Stevenson, John Masefiled, and Lincoln Colcord set to "new" tunes by Charlie. Some of my favorites include "Yangtse River Shanty,"   "Shanghai Passage,"and "Hell's Pavement."

For more details, lyrics, MP3 cuts, go to Charlies website.

Fine songs, well worth hearing and well worth learning -- Tom


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: Anglo
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:18 AM

Well, I've learned some of Charlie's settings, so I look forward to raiding this lot.

Cheers--JR


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: GUEST,JennyO
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 07:47 AM

John and I listened to it as soon as we got it, and really enjoyed it. He's going to listen to it again tomorrow and I've directed him towards this thread. It's hard to tear him away from his trains at the moment. He is building a whole new setup in a different scale and has hardly been near his computer.

Charlie, I'll put links between this thread and your Roll and Go thread too - Mudcat Thread-New Roll & Go Website

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: GUEST,sandra in sydney
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 07:52 AM

it's a great album (or am I just prejudiced?)

It's good to hear rather than just read 'Pastures of Memories' & I wonder if we can get 'Wake up Susiana' into the Shanty festival next month!! Perhaps I'd better ask the Shanty Master.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 08:16 AM

Here's the list of songs that's included on this CD:

West Indies Blues---------3:00
Flying-Fish Sailor--------3:52
Christmas at Sea----------4:20
Windlass Chanty-----------1:58
Outward Bound-------------2:30
Yangtse River Shanty------2:54
Shanghai Passage----------5:30
Hell's Pavement-----------2:23
Limehouse Reach-----------1:51
Mariner?s Compass---------3:18
Widgery Wharf-------------3:52
Wake Up Susiana-----------3:00
Swabbing Days Are Gone----3:12
Pearl Diver---------------1:48
Cowardly Act--------------2:58
Wreckers' Song------------3:26
Freedom Schooner Amistad--4:13
Port o' Dreams------------4:29
Mariquita-----------------4:23
Pastures of Memories------4:11

My wife JudyB did the recording, editing, and website.

For me, producing the CD at this time is primarily an attempt to draw attention to some nautical poems by others that I think make great songs as I've musically arranged them. I feel similarly about the songs I've found that have lost their tunes and that I've musically arranged. The "Pearl Diver" is in another category, the only song included that I haven't tampered with but it's there because I felt that it needed to be re-introduced before it was completely forgotten. My own songs may or may not hold up to my same standards but they're at least out there for consideration.

I have no objection to anyone singing any of these songs that are my composition or musically arranged by myself. However, if you're planning to RECORD one please contact me to secure a legal release.

I would love to hear the shanty session aboard the James Craig in Darling Harbour, New South Wales, putting together a version of "Wake Up Susianna."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:30 AM

For those of you attending the Press Room Shanty Sing this is a goldmine of material. All you have to do is wait for Charley to go to the Men's Room! For those who haven't heard it yet, it is a wonderful collection of shanties, poems, and humor performed in Charley's forthright, plain and simple style that lets the twinkle in his eye shine through. And the man plays a banjo...need I say more?
SINS


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: radriano
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 02:19 PM

I had the pleasure of meeting Charley and his wife when they visited San Francisco awhile back. Charley has a real knack for adapting poems to singing and his enthusiasm for sea music really shines through on his new cd "Uncommon Sailor Songs."

My personal favorites on this album are "Windlass Shanty", "Yangtse River Shanty", and "Hell's Pavement." I would have liked to hear more a cappella singing or more concertina accompaniment. Although I am not adverse to the banjo I found a bit too much similarity in the banjo arrangements from one song to the next.

There's a wealth of great material here and I've slated several songs for immediate learning. Melody-wise the only song I did not agree with was "Limehouse Reach" - the poem is about lost love and I much prefer Dave Weber's melody especially because of its mournfulness.

All my nitpicking aside, I like this album very much and am looking forward to introducing some of Charley's songs to the shanty sing in San Francisco.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 04:27 PM

Radriano-

I much prefer your frank opinion, and the same from anyone who has had a chance to listen to this CD.

I also agree with you that I'd like to hear a fuller treatment of several of these songs, and I expect we'll get that from Roll & Go in our forthcoming Rolling Down to Sailortown CD. The alternative is multitracking and I'd rather not go there. That being said, I am tempted to try singing a couple of these songs and then filling in with the concertina on a separate track. But I don't think I'll try providing my own harmonies or wall of sound, or multiple instruments.

"Mariquita" is about as sentimental as I ever want to get. My interpretation of what's going on in "Limehouse Reach" is, yes, there is wistfulness about lost love but determination to move on. In the final verse the sailor is not tossing himself in the harbor. He's shipping out and there are "girls as sharp in every port." But not to worry. The song also works well with the Weber melody if you prefer to wallow in sentiment!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 08:51 AM

If you like it a bit more upbeat, "Limehouse Reach" also goes well to the tune of "Rolling Down To Old Maui" (or even vice versa!)


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 09:05 AM

Guest?-

Not a bad suggestion for "Limehouse Reach." Although I'm not sure what you do when you get to the grand chorus.

"Windlass Chantey" also elicited this comment from Gordon Bok which I proudly reprint:
    I like what you did with Colcord's "Windlass Chantey." Ordinarily I'd be loath to add to some boney-fide square-rigger shellback's work, but I thought your additions were right in line and of the same feeling and genre as his -(more literary and poetic than those that might have festered in the focsle, but just as tight and energetic.) I think he'd have bought you a beer for those verses, did he drink...

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Naemanson
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 11:23 PM

Charley sent me a copy of ths album around Christmas time and I did listen to it. My life has been somewhat hectic lately with Christmas visits from a child and my wife's illness so I could only listen once.

One thing it did for me that it cannot do for many others was to evoke the homesickness I occasionally feel now that I have left Maine behind. I sang with Charley for nigh on to 10 years and listened as these creations took shape. Thanks for the present, Charley.

Having said all that let me say that this is a very nice album and needs to be heard by anyone interested in songs of the sea. Charley has a nice touch and combines tunes and words well. I have a few nitpicking difficulties with one or two songs but I prefer to focus on what's done right and that far outweighs anything else.

I have sung West Indies Blues, Shanghai Passage, Wake Up Susiana, and Yangtse River Shanty in concert with Roll & Go to very appreciative audience reaction. I have sat in a coffeehouse with Gordon Bok when Charley was performing and heard him ask with interest, "Who made that song?" Charley's style is very unique and straightforward. It adds a lovely note to many of his songs.

I get a real kick out of Wake Up Susiana because we try to make it sound like the Everley Brothers rewrote an old chanty.

West Indies Blues is a nice rhythmic piece of music that I kept getting stuck in my head whenever we rehearsed it.

Yangtse River Shanty is one of those songs that is headed out into the world. I wouldn't be surprised to see it on a future album just marked TRAD.

Mariner쳌fs Compass is a fun little drinking song with a nasty twist in the chorus that keeps tripping me up.

Swabbing Days Are Gone is a mournful lament about how the Coast Guard no longer makes their sailor's keep the facilities clean. All that work is contracted out.

I will never forgive Charley for inflicting the Cowardly Act upon the world. He will spend a long eternity in the lower depths of hell for that song.

I could go on but I think it suffices to say that this is a good album and should be enjoyed by as many people as can get it.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 12:37 PM

Nice to hear from you, Brett, and thanks for providing the most detailed remarks about my CD.

"Cowardly Act" by the way was inspired by a Dave Barry column about a cow sinking a Japanese trawler. Dave deserves at least half the blame for promoting this nautical legend.

"Wake Up Susiana" is a sea shanty parody of the Everley Brothers' "Wake Up Little Suzie" and I like to suggest in concert that their version was ripped off from the traditional song, but it ain't true. Roll & Go will NEVER record this one and I have to agree with the other members that once you hear it and enjoy the joke, you're less interested in hearing it again.

Here some more positive remarks from a respected singer of traditional sea songs, and someone who is also a composer of some fine new sea songs:

Rick Spencer, Program Coordinator, Project CHARLES W. MORGAN
Mystic Seaport Museum

"The new recording looks really good and sounds great as well. The simple arrangements really work well. I'm glad that you're continuing to press on with the music. It's important to keep the traditions alive and vital. It seems to me that you've always walked the right side of the line between honoring the tradition and being willing to experiment with it. Good work. Keep it up, and keep me posted on your work."

And if you would like to hear what these songs sound like, as I've mentioned above, you can access a MP3 sample of any of them from my personal website: Click here!

You can also order CD's from this same website.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 04:30 PM

I think I can claim to be Charley's oldest (longest-term, not age) fan, having first heard him sing and play 43 years ago. As such, I'm delighted to have this cd to go with my 3 versions of the Roll And Go album and a living room tape made back in 1966. I hope he'll record more often.

Rick, I don't believe one can have too much banjo in most contexts. Charley's style is pretty uncluttered, but it took me many years to figure it out. I enjoy it as much as his singing. Of course the concertina is nice too.

I am a sentimental sort, so my favorite song is "Pastures of Memories". My wife agrees.

And I think his producer is beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: GUEST,Charley Noble
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 05:09 PM

Hmmm?

Is that you, Franz, posting via the backdoor?
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: radriano
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 05:16 PM

C'mon, now, I never said there's too much banjo on the album.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: radriano
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 07:15 PM

Refresh, please.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 12:07 PM

Here are some more remarks from Gordon Bok that I cherish for the traditional wreckers song that a friend of John Audubon collected near Key West and which I fitted to a traditional style tune and did some lyrical surgery:

"Tis 'The Wreckers' Song' I'm most impressed with. Good thinking to set it to that tune (only sounds vaguely familiar to me, which I take to be an excellent fit). I also like the way you have brought it into our parlance ? where the poet was getting a bit tone-y, you hauled it back into useful language, and cleaned up some little bits of poetic wandering that weren't helping it slide into this century's language. All in all a very nice job of setting in and tightening up."

I'm not sure how far I should go in promoting this thread. I'd much rather hear what people have to post about this CD who haven't been in direct communications with me.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: JudyB
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 11:41 AM

I suppose I might be a bit biased, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well the CD holds up to repeated play. As any of you who have put together a CD know, you listen to each track a LOT while you're fine-tuning and balancing the songs. You record them in several different ways, and play them back to back for what seems like hours trying to decide if (for instance) this one is working better with concertina or acapella or if we should redo that one with the banjo a little louder or softer. And as we had some trouble burning the CDs, I also listened to at least part of a cut or two on each one to make sure it was static-free (note to self - next time, don't try to pack quite so much material on each CD) (note to anyone else with that problem - it may be a function of my computer, but Maxell discs worked better than Memorex for me).

In spite of all that, I've had a copy of the CD since mid-December, and it's still in the changer in my car (there's always heavy competition for those 6 prime slots!) and I still enjoy listening to it. There are some songs I like better than others ("Flying Fish Sailor" is one Charlie's sung for a long time that's really grown on me since I've been listening to the CD - there's a lot going on there that I didn't really catch until I had the CD in the car and was listening to it regularly) but even the ones that aren't my style are sounding good enough to my ear that I don't skip over them. I suppose that shouldn't be surprising - but my taste in music is not identical to Charlie's, and I have a lot of albums that were interesting for a couple of plays, then sort of drifted off into the big heap of "stuff I might want to listen to again some day" while I'm still discovering new little images or phrasings when I listen to Uncommon Sailor Songs.

However, I am a bit worried about what Charlie may decide to do for an encore....

JudyB
(the other half of Ipbar Productions)


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 10:51 PM

I heard Charlie sing "Shanghai Passage" in the C. Fox Smith workshop at Mystic, and again during Charlie and Judy's visit to San Francisco, and it's a very, very good melody. Danny and Joyce Mcleod also sang their setting of that poem at the workshop; very different from Charlie's and also very, very good. If Cicely Fox Smith knew how her poems are being kept alive through today's musicians, and are being turned into memorable songs, it's a safe bet she would have been pleased.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 08:27 AM

Chanteyranger-

I too would like to think that Cicely would have been pleased that so many people are arranging her sea poems to music. I'm sure she had tunes in her head for most of them and I wish whatever notes she made had survived, or a diary of her experiences while she was collecting traditional sea shanties and writing her poems.

Danny McLeod does have a personally annotated manuscript of her poems, which includes a few that were never published.

My own musical arrangements may not be the ones that ultimately survive but they're now out there. Give them a listen by accessing the MP3 sample files on my website: Click cheerily!

I'll be paying a visit to the Vancouver, BC, area this August, one of Cicely's old stamping grounds. Maybe I'll unearth some clues of how life there in the early 1900's, or maybe I'll create some new clues for subsequent researchers!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 05:48 PM

Hi Charlie

I really do think you've got a great knack for finding words & tunes
& producing remarkable marriages that work very well. Some of those same words & tunes you've been finding, I swear come more from you than you'll credit yourself for. You know how much I love your Yangtse River Shanty (stole it out from under your nose, took only a New York second too) & you claim you've married it to the tunes "Tommy's Gone To Hilo" & "Congo River", bullshit! I hear far more of your tunesmithing in that shanty than I do of those two other songs, you're just to humble to claim your part in such a great song.

Some of my other favorites are "West Indie Blues". I don't know what the blues version of this sounds like but it sounds like you took it from one genre & perfectly placed it into another. Again another great marriage you've performed is the "Limehouse Reach". You mention in your notes about "Mariner's Compass" that you were able to channel a tune for it. Does that mean that you found a tune, and/or adapted it or wrote it yourself? Whatever way it works well.
"Widgery Wharf" actually sounds (IMHO) more of a traditional version from the Cruisin Round Yarmouth family than a contemporary parody. In that "Wrecker's Song" it shows you've got a keen ability as a matchmaker, once again, another great marriage. I got a good kick from listening to the "Cowardly Act", very amusing.
You're taking of the present day contemporary sea situation of outsourcing in "Swabbing Days Are Gone" & turning it around so it sounds traditionaly like an age old dilemma is beautiful, works wonderful.

Those are the ones that jumped out at me & slapped me in the face & in the case of "Yangtse River Shanty" caused my socks to roll up & down like window shades. I'd have to agree with Richard about hearing a little more of the concertina & a bit less banjo. Sorry, I just couldn't get past the notion of Little Susie(anna) & the Everly Brothers hauling on a hal'y'ard, faces caked with salt, hair all matted & backs all raw, singing shanties to a host of screeming pre-teens. Outside of some of these personnal flaws in my taste, the CD is the 'cat's meow', the 'dog's bullocks' you might even say 'the stuff of snuff' or the 'cock of the walk', well done Charlie.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Fidjit
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 05:29 AM

from one Charlie to another. The "Mystic Seaport" sessions look a lot like our "Straw bear" ones.


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 09:06 AM

Barry-

Nice words from someone I have great respect for! Now, if you'll just borrow a couple of these songs and folk process them further we'll know they have legs. I'm gonna have to include your graphic words, "caused my socks to roll up & down like window shades," on the next printing of my CD. I may even be able to persuade Judy B to create a short cartoon video for the website!

I really would like to hear more concertina on some of these songs but I'm still having a hard time getting the concertina to follow my voice, rather then the other way around. This is something I need to practice on, or try recording with more than one track. "Mariner's Compass" really should have continuous concertina and when I tried that it just sounded too regimented. By the way when I say I "channeled" this tune, I mean it's as if I managed to hook on to it directly from a production called "The Two Little Savoyards" put on at the Adelphi Theatre in 1808. The tune is a distant cousin of "Rosin the Beau" which is what I started with. Roll & Go will be recording it for sure on our forthcoming ROLLING DOWN TO SAILORTOWN CD,

As for "Wake Up Susinana," I'd like to think of it being adopted by the young crews of Maine's windjammer fleet, as it's descriptive of their Saturday nights ashore and their shipping out Sunday afternoon all hung over with another schooner chock-a-block with summer tourists. I also agree, however, it's one track I tend to skip over when listening to the CD again.

Fidgit-

Where in the wide world do you hail from? "Straw bears"?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Fidjit
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 02:24 PM

Come on, you have to keep up! The "Straw Bear" is famous in the fens of England (Not the New England kind) Get there via my web. http://chasclark.net


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 05 - 02:33 PM

Charlie-

OK. It's all clear now. Nice website and when we visit the UK in a year or so, you can buy me an ale!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: GUEST,Amos
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 03:15 PM

This CD, which I have lately come by in fair exchange, is a delight to an old sailor's ear. Charlies evokes the magic of the days of full-rigged China clippers and men of iron, with the same art with which he captures the amazing sea-tale of the kidnapped cow from Russia that sank a fisherboat, or the re-construction of the spirit of the Amistad's journey to freedom.

All in all, a pleasure to have coloring my day in shades of sea-wind, tarred rope-ends and hearty nights in strange ports. I love Shanghai Brown in particular for the spirit of the times it captures.

Thanks, Charley, ya done a favor to sailors everywhere.

Amos


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Subject: RE: Review: Uncommon Sailor Songs CD (Ipcar)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 05 - 10:29 PM

Thanks, Amos. You've got my permission to record any of these songs I've worked up. I'd love to hear how they would sound if you sang them. I'd like to think that Shanghai Brown's old pals would also get a kick out of "Shanghai Passage." Too bad that Cicely Fox Smith isn't around as well.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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