Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 39 2010-02-26T18:17:00Z 2010-02-26T18:17:00Z 15 3048 17376 Timberhead 144 34 21338 9.6926

Neighbors   

(p) © 1996 Timberhead Music   THD CD 008

 

I first heard Gordon early in the 1970s in a Cambridge, M.A. livingroom, when a good friend's mother thought I might like to hear a new favorite of hers, Tune for November, Gordon's first recording for Folk-Legacy.  (I did like to!) 

            Gordon first saw me, ten years later, on the cover of my first Folk-Legacy album, Working on Wings to Fly – he like the rock I was sitting on (and was delighted with the music…)

            In 1983, Sandy and Caroline Paton suggested we join music in a concert or two, and the result was so much fun that we continued to do so, on occasion, over the next few years.

            Twelve years later, after we'd become Just-About-Neighbors, we remembered these songs we'd loved, our musical common ground, and recorded them here, for you, we hope, to enjoy.

                                                                                    Cindy Kallet

                                                                                    Rockland, Maine

                                                                                    April, 1996

 

Produced by Cindy Kallet and Gordon Bok

Recorded, engineered and mastered by Bruce Boege at Limin Music, Northport, ME

Mixed by Bruce Boege, Cindy Kallet, Gordon Bok, Richard Knisely, and Michael Cicone

Photos by Alison Shaw

Cover Graphic Design by Sue Dawson

Inside Graphic Design by Tim Seymour Designs

 

            Special thanks for all kinds of help and encouragement go to Carol Rohl, John Blodgett, Ron Pinkham, Bruce Boege, Richard Knisely and Michael Cicone.

            We greatly appreciate the help we had from numerous babysitters, song-sleuthers, computer-assisters and title advisers.

            Special thank yous also to Sandy and Caroline, Alison and Sue, and Arthur Woody and Gabriel.

 

The one's for Carol and John

 

 

Rantin' Laddie   

Traditional, Scots

 

I first heard this in the late 1960s on the radio, sung by the great collector, singer and writer Ewan MacColl.  Soon after, I ran across the words and learned it, and taught it to Cindy when we met in the early 1980s.  The chords and bouncy rhythm are ours, but I'd still call this Ewan's version.

 

G: 12- String                           C: steel 6-string                                                              

 

Oft have I played at the cards and dice

With my bonnie Rantin' Laddie

But now I'm sitting in my father's hall

Singing ba to my bastard baby

 

Oh, if I'd been wise as I've been nice

And done what my bonnie lad told me

I'd have been married a year or more

To my bonnie Rantin' Laddie

 

Oh, my father dear, he knows me not

My mother she ignores me

My friends and relations slight me all

And the servants, they quite hate me

 

Is your love a lord or is he a laird

Or is he but a caddie

That you so oft call on his name

Your bonnie Rantin' Laddie

 

If I had a horse at my command

As oft times I've had many

I'd ride away to the gates of Aboyne

To my bonnie Rantin' Laddie

 

Then up and spake a kitchen boy

Saying, though I'm but a caddie

It's I will run to the Gates of Aboyne

With a letter to your Rantin' Laddie

 

And as he ran through Buchanshire

And Buchan shone so bonnie

It's there he spied the Earl of Aboyne

That they call the Rantin' Laddie

 

And when he looked the letter on

Oh, but he was sorry

They've been cruel and fell unkind

To my bonnie Rantin' Lassie

 

Oh, my father dear…

 

Go get thee out 500 men

And see that they ride so bonny

We'll bring the lassie back to Aboyne

The bonnie Rantin' Lassie

 

When she was up behind his back

Wrapped in her hieland plaidie

The birds in the trees sang never so sweet

As the bonnie Rantin' Lassie

 

And they rode on through Buchanshire

And Buchan shone so bonnie

Rejoice, rejoice ye bonnie maids all

An see that ye be not sorry

 

If you lay your love on a lowland lad

Be sure that he'll betray ye

But lay your love on a hieland lad

He'll do all that he can to raise ye

 

 

Geordie   

Traditional

 

A combination of long-ago Joan Baez, a chord I think Alex Sinclair played, and a verse from somewhere

 

C: steel 6-string               G: cellamba                                                                                             

As I walked out over London Bridge

One misty morning early

I overheard a fair pretty maid

Lamenting for her Geordie

 

Oh, my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain

'Tis not the chain of many

He was born of the King's royal breed

And lost to a virtuous lady

 

Go bridle me my milk white steed

Go bridle me my pony

I will ride to London's court

To plead the life of Geordie

 

Oh, my Geordie never stole nor cow nor calf

He never hurted any

He stole sixteen of the king's royal deer

And sold them in Bohenny

 

Two pretty babies I have born

The third lies in my body

I'd freely part them everyone

If you'd spare the life of Geordie

 

The looked over his left shoulder

He said, fair maid, I'm sorry

He said, fair maid, you must be gone

For I cannot pardon Geordie

 

I wish I was in yonder grove

Where times I have been many

With my broad sword and my pistol, too

I'd fight for the life of Geordie

 

Oh, my Geordie will be hanged in a golden chain

'Tis not the chain of many

Stole sixteen of the King's royal deer

And sold them in Bohenny

 

 

Homeward Bound

poem by D.H. Rogers      music © John Broomhall APRA

 

Roger Ilott and Penny Davies of Queensland, Australia, sent this song (and many others) in trade for royalties.  The pictures ring true to the waters and vessels I've seen, and it speaks well of the trust sailors gave the old vessels, no matter how hard set they were.  I deliberately changed only one line: "When we've dropped the deep-sea pilot o'er the rail."  I know we "drop the tugs" and I'll take the "deep-sea pilot" on faith (not having sailed in Australian waters), but with the exception of certain "State Pilots," dropping the chap over the rail still seems a bit harsh.  G.B.

 

G: cellamba                            C: 12-string and heave                                                                                                              

They will take us from the moorings

They will tow us down the Bay

They will pluck us up to windward when we sail.

We shall hear the keen wind whistle

We shall fee the sting of spray

When we've dropped the deep-sea pilot o'er the rail.

Then it's Johnnie heave an' start her

Then it's Johnnie roll and go

When the mates have picked the watches

There is little rest for Jack.

But we'll raise the good old chanty

That the Homeward Bounders know

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

In the dusty streets and dismal

Through the noises of the town

We can hear the West wind humming through the shrouds;

We can see the lightning leaping

When the tropic suns go down

And the dapple of the shadows of the clouds.

And the salt blood dances in us

To the tune of Homeward Bound.

To the call to weary watches

To the sheet and to the tack.

When they bid us man the capstan

How the hands will walk her round! –

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

Through the sunshine of the tropics

Round the bleak and dreary Horn

Half across the little planet lies our way

We shall leave the land behind us

Like a welcome that's outworn

When we see the reeling mastheads swing and sway.

Through the weather fair or storm

In the calm and in the gale

We shall heave and haul to help her

We shall hold her on her track
And you'll hear the chorus rolling

When the hands are making sail

For the girls have got the tow-rope

An' they're hauling in the slack.

 

 

Danze Della Valle Borbera/ Danze di Bagolino

© M. Martinotti and B. Greppi/ unknown

 

The first tune is from a recording by the group La Ciapa Rusa; the second from the group Canto Vivo's Leva La Gamba.  Thanks to Mauro Quai for these.

 

G: nylon 6-string                           C: steel 6-string                                                  

 

 

 

Right Said Fred  (Cup of Tea)

© 1962  Myles Rudge (lyrics) and Ted Dicks (music)  Harry Fox Agency

 

We both heard Greg Clarke sing this one.  He heard David Jones sing it, and David found it on a recording of Bernard Cribbons'.  The words following are the original ones.

 

"Right," said Fred, "Both of us together

One each end and steady as we go."

Tried to shift it, couldn't even lift it

We was getting nowhere

And we had a cuppa tea and

"Right," said Fred, "Give a shout for Charlie."

Up comes Charlie from the floor below.

After strainin', heavin' and complainin'

We was getting nowhere

And so we had a cuppa tea.

And Charlie had a think, and he thought we ought

   to take off the handles

And the things wot held the candles.

But it did no good, well I never thought it would

"All right," said Fred, "Have to take the feet off

To get them feet off wouldn't take a mo."

Took its feet off, even took the seat off

Should have got us somewhere, but no!

So Fred said, "Let's have another cuppa tea."

And we said, "Right-o."

 

"Right," said Fred, "Have to take the door off,

Need more space to shift the so-and-so."

Had bad twinges taking off the hinges

And it got us nowhere

And so we had a cuppa tea and

"Right," said Fred, "Have to take the wall down,

That there wall is gonna have to go."

Took the wall down, even with it all down

We was getting nowhere

And so we had a cuppa tea

And Charlie had a think, and he said, "Look Fred,

I get a sort of feelin'

If we remove the ceilin'

With a rope or two we could drop the blighter through."

"All right," said Fred, climbing up a ladder

With his crowbar gave a mighty blow.

Was he in trouble, half a ton of rubble landed on the top of his dome.

So Charlie and me had another cuppa tea

And then we went home.

(I said to Charlie, "We'll just have to leave it standing on the landing, that's all…

Trouble with Fred is, he's too hasty… Never get nowhere if you're too hasty.")

                                                                                                           

 

 

October Song

© 1966  Robin Williamson, Warner-Tamarlane Publ. Co., BMI

 

I heard this many years ago on the Relics of the Incredible String Band and found it nudging me from time to time over the years.  When we stoked up the "fiolamba grosso," its "mellifluous" tones sparked this version of a song I've always loved.

 

C: viola                       G:cellamba

 

I'll sing you this October song

There is no song before it

The words and tune are none of my own

For my joys and sorrows bore it

 

            Beside the sea, the brambly briars

            In the still of evening

            Birds fly out behind the sun

            And with them I'll be leaving

 

The fallen leaves that jewel the ground

They know the art of dying

And leave with joy their glad gold hearts

In the scarlet shadows lying

 

            When hunger calls my footsteps home

            The morning follows after

            I swim the seas within my mind

            And the pine trees laugh green laughter

 

I used to search for happiness

And I used to follow pleasure

But I found a door behind my mind

And that's the greatest treasure

           

            For rulers like to lay down laws

            And rebels like to break them

            And the poor priests like to walk in chains

            And God likes to forsake them

 

I met a man whose name was Time

And he said I must be going

But just how long ago that was

I have no way of knowing

 

            Sometimes I want to murder time

            Sometimes when my heart's aching

            But mostly I just stroll along

            The path that He is taking

 

Janko (Yanka)

Traditional, Serbian

 

Working in Philadelphia in the 60s, I met Sara Stepkin Goripov and Nadja Stepkin Budschalow, two Khalmyk Mongolian sisters from Serbia, who gave me and taught me many songs in Khalmyk, Russian, Serbia, Tibetan – and even a couple from Germany, where they had lived in the D.P. camps.

            They sang hundreds of songs and chants in many styles; Cindy and I sing Yanka the way they did, in what Sara calls the "Western style." Once, when I asked them if I should be singing their songs without the ballast of the sound or the people behind me, they said: "Better the songs survive with you than they die in purity."

            The three Turkish young men (soldiers) honored Yanka, their enemy. They gave him every way out, and his pride wouldn't let him take those ways, and it is his mother who must ask the question.  G.B.

 

GB: 12-string              C: steel 6-string

 

Je ste li vidili moga sina Janka?

Nismo ga vidili, alismo culi glasa

Da su ga napali, tri turcina mlada

Prvi mu kaze: "Skoci u vodu, Janko."

"Nisam vam zaba, da u vodu skocem."

Drugi mu kaze: "Kleknaj nam se, Janko."

"Nisam vam sluga, da vam se poklanjem."

Treci mu kaze: "Predaj nam se Janko."

"Nisam vam bab, da vam se predajem."

Jedan mu kaze: "Bez(i) u goru, Janko."

"Nisam vam jelin, da u goru skocem."

 

"Have you seen my son Yanka?"

"No, but we heard his voice…"

"…that he was captured (attacked) by three Turkish young men."

 

The first one said "Jump in the water, Yanka."

"I am not a frog to jump on the water for you."

 

The second one said "Kneel to us, Yanka."

"I am not your servant, to kneel to you."

 

The third one said "Give yourself up, Yanka."

  (We don't want to fight you.)

"I am not an old woman (coward) to give myself up."

 

One of them said "Okay, go away."

"I am not a deer to run away from you."

(You see, they didn't want to hurt him.  They knew who he was and respected him, even though he was an enemy they were supposed to kill.  N.S.)

"Have you seen my son Yanka?"

"No, but we heard his voice."

 

 

Blood on the Sails

Words: © Phil and June Colclough

Music: © Dick Swain

 

Dick Swain found this in a book, as a poem, and put his own tune to it, which Cindy and I arranged for our own voices.  Since then, Dick found a recording of a tune that Phil wrote himself, that we have not yet heard, so this will be the Dick Swain version!

 

GB: 12-string              C: drum

 

May the harpoon rust, may the cold steel be gone

May the seas all be clear where whalefishes run

May hook, knife, dart, and line

            all be lost in the brine

May the blood on the sails

            all be fishermen's tales

 

May the whalesmen's breath

            no more hang like the mist

May he never face danger or take any risk

May boat, gun, oar and mast all be lost in the frost

May the blood on the sails all be fishermen's tales

 

May the women on shore never have any fears

May smiles touch the cheeks

            that once ran with tears

May ship, deck, rope and bells all grow cockle shells

May the blood on the sails all be fishermen's tales

 

May the seas ne'er be red where whalefishes bled

Nor shine like the wine when the whalefish is dead

May fleets, planksheds and quays

            all be lost in the seas

And may the blood on the sails all be fishermen's tales

 

 

Farewell to Nova Scotia

Traditional

 

I learned this from Kendall Morse.  I used to sing it when I worked in "the cities to the westward," homesick for my own coast; hence, the pensive mood.  Dick Swain tells us that Helen Creighton, in Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia, describes a similar version as a combination of contributions from various people.  G.B.

 

C: steel 6-string                GB: 12-string             

 

The sun was sinking in the West

The birds were singing on every tree

All nature seemed to be at rest

But alas, there was no rest for me

 

            Farewell to Nova Scotia. your seabound coast

            Let your mountains dark and dreary be

            When I am far away on the bring ocean tossed

            Will you ever heave a sigh or wish for me

 

I grieve to leave my native home

I grieve to leave my comrades all

My parents whom I love so dear

And the bonny bonny lass I do adore

 

I have three brothers and they are dressed

Their arms are folded on their breast

But a poor simple sailor just like me

Must be tossed and driven on the deep dark sea

 

The drums are beating, the wars do alarm

My captain calls, I must obey

Farewell, farewell to Nova Scotia's charms

It's early in the morning, I am bound far away

 

 

 

King Jim/Thanxty Al Stanley

© Gordon Bok, BMI

 

Commemoratives.  King Jim is James Stewart of Saint John, NB: poet, composer and co-conspirator.  Al Stanley is a musician and blacksmith from Prince Edward Island.  This is my thank you for Al's teaching me Carolan's Concerto, long ago (He wrote a thanxty for this thanxty that I still can't play…).

            When the arrangement settles down, it will probably be Cindy's fault…

 

GB: nylon 6-string                           C: steel 6-string 

 

 

 

Frolic (for Guitar and Small Elephant)

© Gordon Bok, BMI

 

Folk and classical people have always swiped good licks from each other.  Here's a small pile of them.

 

GB: cellamba                          C: steel 6-string 

 

 

High Barbary

Traditional

 

Jack Sulanowski sings this accompanied by Tom Goux's trio of bass recorders (played simultaneously) on their Folkways album, Born of Another Time.  He says they found it in Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas.  I love the contrast between, and the compliment of, the mournful tune and the oft-told tale of battle sea.  C.K.

 

C: steel 6-string                                       GB: cellamba

 

There were two lofty ships from old England come

            Blow high, blow low, and so sailed we

One was the Prince of Luther and the other Prince of Wales

            All a'cruising down the coast of the High Barbary

 

Aloft there, aloft there, our bully bosom cried

Look ahead, look astern, look to weather and alee

 

There's naught upon our stern, sir, there's naught upon our lee

But there's a lofty ship to windward and she's sailing fast and free

 

Then hail her, oh, hail her, our gallant captain cried

Are you a man of war or a privateer, cried he

 

Oh no, I'm not a man of war nor privateer, cried he

But I'm a salt pirate all a'looking for my fee

 

Then broadside and broadside, a long time they lay

Til at last the Prince of Luther shot the pirates' mast away

 

Oh quarter, oh, quarter, those pirates they did cry

But the quarter that we give 'em was to sink them in the sea

 

With cutlass and gun, well, we fought for hours three

The ship it was their coffin and their grave it was the sea

 

 

 

 

Peace on Earth

Poem: © William Carlos Williams from The Collected Early Poems © 1921

Music: © Gordon Bok

 

I saw this poem in the children's magazine Cricket, and I made a tune for it.

 

C: steel 6-string                                       GB: 12-string

 

The archer is wake!

The Swan is flying!

Gold against blue

An Arrow is lying

There is hunting in heaven –

Sleep safe till tomorrow

 

The Bears are abroad!

The Eagle is screaming!

Gold against blue

Their eyes are gleaming!

Sleep!

Sleep safe till tomorrow.

 

The Sisters lie

With their arms intertwining

Gold against blue

Their hair is shining!

The Serpent writhes!

Orion is listening!

Gold against blue

His sword is glistening!

Sleep!

There is hunting in heaven –

Sleep safe till tomorrow.

 

 

Sergei's Yupanqui Tune

Yupanqui/Cherkassow

 

Sergei Cherkassow escaped his native Bulgaria (at the second try) and lived next door to me in my Philadelphia winters.  The Khalmyks brought him to me, and for a couple of years, music and food were our common languages.  This is one of the tunes he taught me.  When he had learned enough "English" from me and my Khalmyk an Russian friends, he told me that the great Argentinian guitarist/singer/songwriter Atahualpa Yupanqui had played this tune at a concert in Bulgaria which Sergei had attended.

            This is Sergei's remembrance of the tune, which he worked out for two guitars.  He taught me both parts before he was killed in an auto accident.  The way Cindy and I play it is pretty improvisational. 

            The original tune (which Nick Apollonio found, by the way) is called La Andariega. It's a great tune too, but different.

 

C: nylon 6-string                                       GB: nylon 6-string

 

 

 

One for Winter/ Colrain

© Cindy Kallet and Gordon Bok, BMI

 

We were looking for a song to sing alongside a favorite tune, Colrain.  Since we couldn't think of one we knew, we made one up.  We're still not sure how it came together, or how many more times it will change…

 

C: nylon 6-string                                       GB: nylon 6-string

 

As I looked out on the April rain

Come down the valley streaming

I counted the winter days alone

And spring was a long time coming

 

            One for winter, two for spring

            Three for the evening sky

            All you need is a little sign

            But spring is a candle in the wind

                Hey-o, say-o, oh for the joy you bring

 

I come over the Sharon Hills

The mountain stone a'shining

And all the world was wild with rain

And the mountain grass a'greening

 

There's days I sing and days I don't

And days I let go by

And days I long to walk these roads

And see the kestrel fly-o

 

            One for winter, two for spring

            Three for the evening sky

            All you need is a little sign

            The warm and the wind to blow you home

                Hey-o, say-o…

 

There's days I dance and days I don't

And days I watch the rain

And days the littlest lead will shine

And the smallest bird will sing

 

As I come over the hills of home

I heard the kestrel cry

And all the hills gave on the song

And the word was full of sky-o

 

            One for winter, two for spring

            Three for the evening sky

            All you need is a little sign

            And all the world will breathe again

                Hey-o, say-o….

 

 

Padstowe Chantey

Words:  Anonymous

Tune:  (Attributed to) Mervin Vincent

 

A.K.A. Padstowe Farewell, A.K.A. Farewell Chantey.  That fine old man Eric Ilot gave this to The Boarding Party, who found more verses and recorded it for Folk Legacy Records.  ('Tis Our Sailing Time).  I quote from that album: "It was discovered in a 19th century chapbook by Mervyn Vincent of North Cornwall."  I'm assuming the tune is Mr. Vincent's. 

            I seems I've adjusted it to "local apparent reality" and have personalized it somewhat. G.B.

 

G:  cellamba                                       C: viola

 

It is time to go now

Heave away your anchor

Heave away your anchor

'Tis our sailing time

 

Get your sails upon her

Haul away your halyards

Haul away your halyards

'Tis our sailing time

 

Set her on her course now

Haul away your foresheet

Haul away your foresheet

'Tis our sailing time

 

Feel the seas run under

Haul away down channel

Haul away down channel

On the evening tide

 

When your days are over

Haul away for Heaven

Haul away for Heaven

God be at your side