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Bring on the dirges (songs)

Art Thieme 11 Dec 98 - 01:49 AM
AndyG 11 Dec 98 - 06:26 AM
NSC 11 Dec 98 - 06:57 AM
Martin Ryan. 11 Dec 98 - 07:42 AM
NSC 11 Dec 98 - 07:53 AM
DonMeixner 11 Dec 98 - 07:56 AM
Susan-Marie 11 Dec 98 - 07:57 AM
AndyG 11 Dec 98 - 09:26 AM
Bill don'tgetmestarted Cameron 11 Dec 98 - 11:58 AM
Pete Peterson 11 Dec 98 - 12:57 PM
wlisk 11 Dec 98 - 01:06 PM
Barbara Shaw 11 Dec 98 - 02:09 PM
Nathan 11 Dec 98 - 02:42 PM
Art Thieme 11 Dec 98 - 07:38 PM
Barry Finn 11 Dec 98 - 08:15 PM
alison 11 Dec 98 - 08:38 PM
DonMeixner 12 Dec 98 - 12:45 AM
Sandy Paton 12 Dec 98 - 03:05 AM
Eric 12 Dec 98 - 04:12 AM
Will 12 Dec 98 - 02:46 PM
rich r 12 Dec 98 - 05:38 PM
The Shambles 12 Dec 98 - 07:34 PM
Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin 12 Dec 98 - 08:24 PM
Ferrara 12 Dec 98 - 09:23 PM
Art Thieme 13 Dec 98 - 01:54 AM
Sandy Paton 13 Dec 98 - 02:24 AM
DonMeixner 13 Dec 98 - 08:49 AM
Barbara 13 Dec 98 - 10:25 AM
Dale Rose 13 Dec 98 - 01:43 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Dec 98 - 02:21 PM
Barbara 13 Dec 98 - 03:41 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 13 Dec 98 - 08:03 PM
AndyG 14 Dec 98 - 05:49 AM
Bill Cameron 14 Dec 98 - 10:10 AM
Bill Cameron Again 14 Dec 98 - 10:58 AM
Bill D 14 Dec 98 - 02:43 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Dec 98 - 03:03 PM
The Shambles 14 Dec 98 - 03:41 PM
dick greenhaus 14 Dec 98 - 08:11 PM
Bill D 14 Dec 98 - 08:24 PM
Barbara 14 Dec 98 - 08:35 PM
Bill D 14 Dec 98 - 08:56 PM
Hey Shambles 14 Dec 98 - 09:01 PM
rich-joy 13 Feb 03 - 05:24 AM
Teribus 13 Feb 03 - 06:16 AM
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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 01:49 AM

As a unique bandit once said, "Dirges? We don't need no stinkin' dirges!" ;-)


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: AndyG
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 06:26 AM

I thought of these three, and (bonus) they're in the database.

Dalesman's Litany
What's the Life of a Man
Three Score and Ten

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: NSC
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 06:57 AM

How can you call 3 score and ten a dirge. It's a very good chorus song relating events which actually happened and was first printed in Grimsby around the 1890's as a poem. Itwas collected by the Waterson's in the 50's in the Robin Hood Bay area as a song.

Louis Killen gives a a great rendition on the first of his Chanty trilogy CD

George


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Martin Ryan.
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 07:42 AM

During a festival last summer, I met a fine singer called Niamh Parsons, emeging from a pub, looking disconsolate. "I'm all dirged out!", sez she!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: NSC
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 07:53 AM

Martin - i hopr you won't be singing too many dirges Saturday night in Rosscommon.

Was that festival in Nenagh??

George


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: DonMeixner
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 07:56 AM

I would submit, "That Old Time Feeling" as sung by Jerry Jeff Walkler on the Viva Terlinga album and "The Scarborough Settler's Lament" as sung by Stan Rogers or more dirgelike by Ed Trickett.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 07:57 AM

The Terror Time is a great depressing song about winter - it's so sad I usually don't sing the verse about the children crying because their beds are frozen to the ground.....(snif, now I have to go blow my nose).


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: AndyG
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 09:26 AM

George,

I checked and found that,
Dirge n Song of mourning sung at burial, or in commemoration of the dead; slow mournful song; lament. ... -OED

I don't see why a dirge can't have a good tune :-)

So, in fact it's The Dalesman's Litany that's not a dirge.... ooops.

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill don'tgetmestarted Cameron
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 11:58 AM

I'd have to argue that Scarborough Settler's...isn't a dirge, its the musings of a mildly depressed but alive Scottish emigrant to Ontario. (And if it's the Scarborough which is a large dreary suburb of Toronto now nicknamed "Scarberia", no wonder he's depressed, aside from a genetic predisposition...) I don't think they can be first person!

"Three Fishers", sung by Stan on the same album, pretty much qualifies, although its a romantic poem which I don't think is based on a true story.

My favorite dirges, both in the DT, are:

  • "Rogues in a Nation" although its a dirge for a country rather than a person--but on the brighter side its got tons of bitterness and recrimination...

  • "MacCrimmon's Lament" - which has a powerful economy of language and a brooding, stretched out melody, and clearly meets the textbook definition: Dick Gaughans' liner notes reveal that the tune is supposed to have been composed by the piper Donald MacCrimmon when he foretold his death (second sight eh), and the words were added by his sister after his death.

    Gaughan sings the chorus a differently than the DT version: his last two lines are:

    "Till comes the great (sad) day of doon and burnin
    MacCrimmon is home no more returning."

    Of course, it takes him about five minutes to sing that. He's the master deliverer of dirges, no doubt in my mind. Bill


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Pete Peterson
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 12:57 PM

not quite a dirge in the strictest sense, but Flatt and Scruggs' Over the Hill to the Poorhouse (covered by most bluegrass bands) is a song for deep winter of the calendar or the heart. Pete


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: wlisk
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 01:06 PM

How about Hard Times Come Again No More? Verse 4 has a direct ref to dirge. Bill


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 02:09 PM

"Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" by A.P. Carter is sort of a self-dirge, and I've heard it done with everyone whining and sobbing, picturing their own funeral!


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Nathan
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 02:42 PM

I guess "Babes in the Woods" would be considered a dirge, and how about "Only Remembered"? Not exactly a dirge but rather melancholy.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 07:38 PM

Sung as a round, over and over and over---

"Hindenberg, Hindenberg, Hindenberg, Hindenberg,
Hindenberg, Hindenberg, Hind,
Hindenberg, Hindenberg, Hindenberg, Hindenberg,
Hindenberg, hindenberg, Hind."

This, to my ears, is definitely dirgeable!!

Art


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Barry Finn
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 08:15 PM

Derwentwater's Farewell (it's in the DT), very much a dirge, imagine things so bad that you gotta beg to be buried in the same grave as your father,,,, after they hang you. Who says they still write them like they used to. Barry


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: alison
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 08:38 PM

Hi,

Kilkelly gets my vote

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 12:45 AM

I'd add to my list, Ewan Macoll's "The Lag's Song", "Bang The Drum Slowly" and "Scots Wha' Ha'e". And I'll stand by my selection of "The Scarborough Settler's lament", Thank You.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 03:05 AM

"Lonesome Roving Wolves" sung (and collected) by Rosalie Sorrels. "Flowers o' the Forest," of course. And more, when my mind gets back to work tomorrow.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Eric
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 04:12 AM

WOW! I'm going to need a new toner cartridge because of this.

Thanks, thanks, a million times thanks. I'm enjoying the suggestions and the comments (even the puns). Please keep them coming. My New Year's resolution is going to have to be to play only dirges (at least as long as my wife will let me), develop a moody personality and wear a lot of black.

Eric


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Will
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 02:46 PM

Sounds like much of the Leonard Cohen opus would fit. "Like a bird on a wire" comes to mind, though I don't think its in the DB.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: rich r
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 05:38 PM

The new recording by Gillian Welch "Hell Among the Yearlings"m is heavily laden with songs that may not be strictly dirges, but they are dark, dark, very dark songs.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 07:34 PM

Art

Shouldn't that read dirigible?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CARETAKER (Johnny Cash)^^
From: Bobby Bob, Ellan Vannin
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 08:24 PM

There was an old Johnny Cash song which I've never been able to keep a straight face for long enough to do. I thought I'd posted it before, but apparently the drink and technology do not mix. Pity really.

I live in the cemetery,
Old caretaker they call me.
In the wintertime I rake the leaves,
And in the summer I dig the weeds.
When a funeral comes, the people cry and pray,
They bury their dead, then they all go away.
But through their grief I still can see
Their hate and greed and jealousy.
So here I work and I somehow hide
From a world that rushes by outside.
And each night when I rest my head
I'm contented as the peaceful dead.

But who's gonna cry when old John dies,
Who's gonna cry when old John dies?

Once I was a young man,
Dashing with the girls.
Now no-one wants an old man,
I've lost my handsome curls.
But I wanna say, when my time comes,
Lay me facin' the risin' sun.
Don't plant flowers where my head should be.
Maybe God'll let some grow for me.
And all the little children that I love like my own,
Will they be sorry that old John's gone?

Who's gonna cry when old John dies,
Who's gonna cry when old John dies?


Lugubrious enough for anyone.

Bobby Bob.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Ferrara
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 09:23 PM

Try "The Vacant Chair." The last verse goes, "Sleep in peace, O early fallen,/ in thy green and narrow bed/ Dirges of the pine and cypress / mingle with the tears we shed." It's in the DT.

There's a wonderful spiritual called "I Don't Want to be buried in the Storm" which is not in the DT. I found it years ago in the Appendix or Notes or whatever, a separate book published with addenda to Carl Sandburg's American Songbag. I loved it and still sing it. Again, I'll type it in (and Bill can send the tune via some shareware tricks he knows) if you want. But Beware -- this one has probably been distorted by years and memory.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 01:54 AM

Seem to recall Guy Carawan doing the same tune as "I Don't Want To Be Lost In The Slums"

The reason I cry so hard is I don't wanna be lost,
The reason I try so hard is I don't wanna be lost,
The reason I die so hard is I don't wanna be lost,
I donn't wanna be lost in the slums...


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 02:24 AM

Hello all:

A favorite dirge around here (my wife sings it) is "The Grave Digger's Song," a splendidly sepulchral number written in the (gasp!) Locrian mode. I can only give you the first four lines, but perhaps someone else can supply the rest of it. I'd offer more, but Caroline keeps more reasonable hours than I do.

Digging graves is my delight,
Digging graves for you to lie in.
Digging graves from morn till night;
I makes my living from the dyin'.

Great song! Great tune!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: DonMeixner
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 08:49 AM

Yikes!

I'd better amend my second post on dirges before some one accuses me of poor folkloric knowledge. I only meant to state that "The Lag's Song" was by Ewan Macoll. Everyone knows that "Bang The Drum Slowly" and "Scots Wha Ha'e" were written Lennon and McCartney.

Don


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Barbara
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 10:25 AM

Locrian?? oooo, I want to hear it, sandy. You figure out how to post tunes yet, or can you say "it's on our tape, The Best of Carol and Sandy.." ?
For a different order of dirge, try "Bury Me in My Overalls," by Malvina Reynolds or "Old Blue Suit" on Ann Mayo Muir's recording, Sandy can tell you the number. (grin).
They're both in the database.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Dale Rose
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 01:43 PM

I would like to add Lament For The Death Of Reverend Archie Beaton (John Mason) on Natalie MacMaster's No Boundaries CD on Warner Canada 15697, Rounder 7023, Greentrax 142, and no doubt other companies in other countries as well.

If you punch up the Tunes link, go to Rev. Archie Beaton, track 13, and while you are there, sample some of of her other definitely non-dirge music!

Warner Canada has a full length version (but a bit crappy at 8kbs) somewhere in their Nat section It isn't working at the moment, so I could not find the exact url.

Anyway, Mr. Mason from the Orkneys has composed a beautiful, though mournful sounding piece, admirably rendered by Natalie. (I am assuming that it is the same John Mason who conducts the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra.)


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 02:21 PM

Hi, Barbara and all:

That absolutely smashing "Grave Digger's Song" is actually titled "Dust to Dust" (my error) and was written and recorded by John Kirkpatrick. Someone told him there were no tunes in the Locrian mode, since it was "the Devil's mode," so he said to himself, "There soon will be!" and wrote the wonderfully appropriate song. It's on his Trailer album (we have the vinyl. I don't if a CD has ever been made of it) titled Jump at the Sun -- LER 2033.

Have I learned how to post tunes? Lord, no! I've just got adding italics and bold, plus "break" figured out, thanks to Joe's helpful guidance. Maybe some of the genuine genii that post to this forum can help.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Barbara
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 03:41 PM

Sandy, the Beatles song "Within You, Without You", George Harrison, is in Locrian. Don't know of any others tho. I am going to HAVE to find some John Kirkpatrick CDs/tapes He's written a number of amazing songs that have come to my attention recently. The one I really want, isn't available in country (yet) and is his 1996 CD Earthling. At least I haven't found it in my net searches.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 08:03 PM

Is there is a technical difference between a dirge and a song that is merely sad? I like Vacant Chair, which IIRC is a southern US civil war tune, but I don't consider it a dirge. I suppose it might depend on how slow one sings it.

I don't think Scarborough Settler's Lament qualifies as a dirge, although it is a sad immigrant's song. It was allegedly written by A. "Sandy" Glendenning in about 1840 and it is to the tune of the Scottish tune O' A' The Airts The Wind Can Blaw, which is itself apparently based on an earlier strathspey. There is a version of the lyrics in the database but they are unfortunately corrupt. I think I might have posted a correction to them some time ago, but maybe not. I have always had a hunch, based only on my personal prejudices, that the song was originally in a much broader Scots and was watered down over the years as the descendants of the original settlers stopped speaking that language. I'll agree though, that Stan Rogers's version is the best one recorded.

Most of the songs in the Unfortunate Rake family might qualify as dirges though.

I have several CD's of Scots gaelic singing from Cape Breton Island, Natalie's home island, and although I can't understand a word of gaelic many of them sound mighty depressing to me. The English translation of the lyrics tend to bear this out.

Leonard Cohen, I think, was born with a dirge in his heart. I recognize his talent but he is too much even for my melancholy disposition. Perhaps some Prozac or St. John's Wort might help him, poor man. A collection should be taken up to offer him 100,000 dollars to write a song in jig or reel time, or a CD of Christmas classics.:)

It is remarkable though that some folk tunes that related the worse tales of woe and misery are often to a quite upbeat tune, with a derry down or fiddle de dee chorus.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: AndyG
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 05:49 AM

Barbara,
I do hope you find Earthling, (I thought the title was Earthsong), it's got at least one song on it for this thread of dirges, entitled something like "Little Dog".

AndyG


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 10:10 AM

Shambles, don't Fiddle with Art's Spellan.

Yule only anchorage him.

Bill I Told You Not To Get Me Started Cameron


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill Cameron Again
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 10:58 AM

Another dirge that really rocks, and is replete with the diddle-eye-oh chorus, is "The Battle of Harlaw", a Child ballad recently recorded by Old Blind Dogs. about a battle fought near Aberdeen about 1410.

"Gin anybody speir at ye for them ye sent awa' Ye can tell their wives and bairnies plain, They're sleepin at Harlaw With a diddle-eye-oh and a fall and a do and a diddle-eye-oh-eye-eh."

In DT.

BC


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 02:43 PM

It just hit me! You want about a moving a dirge as you can imagine? Try "I Know Moonlight" ...on the recording by Helen Scheyner (the midi in the database cannot do justice to what Helen does! besides, there is a '2nd' part and mid-verse variations...get the record/CD from Folk-Legacy)

I have heard Helen do this in person a number of times, but there was one time in particular, at a vegetarian coffeehouse in Bethesda MD, with a lot of her friends doing 'vocalized enhancements'..harmonies and humming, etc,...that stood up the hair on the back of my neck!...and Helen knew how to draw out, and slow a song like this down....just enough so it did not drag. I'm not sure the recorded version lives up to what I have heard her do with it...it is merely tremendous!


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 03:03 PM

Sorry, Helen's recording isn't on CD as yet. But it's still available. It may not reach the level of the live performance, Bill, but then, "Meeting in the Air" didn't have the pom-pom girls dancing behind her, either.

While we're still in the "dirge" mode: How could we have failed to mention "The Three Ravens?"

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 03:41 PM

Bill.

Is a spellan a sort of sporran that they wear in Meatskin County?

I have no intention of fiddling with it anyway.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 08:11 PM

The Scots had a way with dirges. Three Ravens, Earl of Murray, Bonnie George Campbell, Flowers of the Forest, Battle of Harlaw, Glencoe...The Irish did pretty well, too, in a more politicized vein: Dunlavin Green, Henry Joy McCracken, Boulavogue, Roddy McCorley, Sean South, Croppy Boy, Knockanure.... It seems to be a less popular form in the US, though Motherless Children stacks up against any of them.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 08:24 PM

*grin* Sandy..or the mouth trumpets of 'Beulah Land'!...(havs ALWAYS wished I could have seen that session!)


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Barbara
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 08:35 PM

Bill, at the SFFMC New Years camp a couple years back, I sang "Beulah land" for the first time, and I wasn't sure I could remember quite how all of it went. So, before I started, I turned to Lani Hermann and said, "If you see me falter, help me out, please."
To my surprise, instead of joining me on the song, she broke into the Eberhard mouth trumpet part immediately, and pretty soon we had a whole band, AND a tamborine going.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 08:56 PM

Barbara...*great big grin*..having met Lani twice, I can well imagine! (yep, the mouth trumpet routine was pretty popular around here for years) Tom McHenery & I still do it on rare occasions..(only a couple of local folk still do the song..*sigh* so many songs, so little time)


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Hey Shambles
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 09:01 PM

Bill.

Is a spellan a sort of sporran that they wear in Meatskin County?

I have no intention of fiddling with it anyway.

(The Shambles)

I sincerely hope not, on both counts.

No, Spellan's a person, as in the tune Spellan the Fiddler.

Bill Cameron

PS I'm just trying out MS Int. Explorer 4, which has solemnly warned me that I'm sending info to the Internet Zone and it might be possible for other people to see what I'm sending. Thanks Gates, I had no idea. Thought I was talking to a hyper-well-informed folk-music mega-computer with a malfunctioning sense of humour. You guys are real people? I'll be darned. Well that explains my Art Thieme album, although it doesn't excuse everything.


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: rich-joy
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 05:24 AM

Am about to add lyrics for John Kirkpatrick's DUST TO DUST (The Grave Digger's Song) - mentioned by Sandy above ...

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Bring on the dirges
From: Teribus
Date: 13 Feb 03 - 06:16 AM

I liked Dick's post above, the content of which reminded me of a comment someone made a long time ago, " The Scots are great at dirges, the Irish are great at whingeing ballads."


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