Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 18 2010-03-16T17:55:00Z 2010-03-16T17:55:00Z 13 2653 15126 Timberhead 126 30 18575 9.6926

Bok      Trickett        Muir

Harbors of Home

 

This recording, our ninth, coincides with the completion of our first quarter century of work together.  While impossible to do justice to the many nurturers of our collaboration, we are comforted by knowing that you know who you are and we know who you are.

Thank you for your support over the past 25 years

 

Gordon Bok                                         Ed Trickett                                    Ann Mayo Muir

 

September 1998

 

Credits

Produced by Charlie Pilzer

Recorded and mixed by Heidi Gerger at Bias Recording Studio, Springfield, VA

Edited by Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering, Springfield, VA

Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering, Boulder, CO

Graphic design by Tracy Pilzer

Photography by Neal Parent

Social and Culinary Support:  Dina Birman

 

© (p) 1998 Timberhead Music

PO Box 840

Camden ME 04843

All rights reserved.  Printed and Manufactured in the USA

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Great Valley's Harvest

Words and  Music: Helen Kivnick

 

Gary Garner once sent me a tape of songs he had sing (mostly a capella) that his wife Helen Kivnick had written.  This poignant portrait was among them, and I set the accompaniment to it and brought it Ed and Ann.  (GB)  I've known Helen for almost 30 years now, and she continues to amaze me!  (ET)

 

 

It's up and down the valley we go 12 months of the year

In chilling fog in winter and in summer hot and clear

We spend out days a 'laboring in the bounty of what grows

But a barren shack and an aching back is the night the migrant knows

 

We see the valley's beauty in the trees and on the ground

While almond blossoms dress the orchards white for miles around

And offer with their fragrance the promise of good yield

But we'll never taste of the nuts that fall, we'll be off to another field

 

We work among the peaches before the break of day

We stand on shaky ladders with out hands we feel our way

We see the dawn through branches as we watch the peaches glow

Though we choose the best and we load the rest, the worst is all we know

 

To pick the ripest plums we work among the angry bees

To reach the sweetest cherries we climb high into the trees

In vineyards our shears flash as we work two along the vines

Others eat the fruit we pick and we drink the cheap jug wine

 

It's up and down the valley all 12 months of the year

Burnt brown in summer's oven and chilled in winter drear

We live among the richest crops this country has to grow

Through our hands the valley's treasure, our nation's health and pleasure,

a taste not ours to know.

 

 

From the Lambing to the Wool

Words and  Music: Judy Small

 

Sue Ribado taught me this song of a woman so busy surviving she never had a moment to question the difficult life she chose as the wife of a cocky (or cockatoo) farmer. (AMM)

 

My father was a cocky as his father was before him

And I married me a cocky nearly fifty years ago

And I've lived here on this station

and I've seen the seasons changing

From the drought round to the flooding

From the lambing to the wool

 

Chorus:

And there've been times when I wonder

if it all was worth the doing

And there've been times when I thought

this was the finest place there is

For though the life is never easy and

the hours are long and heavy

I'm quite contented nowadays to have

joined my life to his

 

Together through the thirties

while others' lives were broken

We worked from dawn to twilight

to hold on to what was ours

And at night we'd sit exhausted

and I'd stroke his dusty forehead

With him too tired to talk to me

and me to tired to care

 

Chorus

Instrumental

 

Then the children came unbidden

bringing laughter to the homestead

And I thank the lord my sons were young

too young for battle then

And I counted myself lucky to lose no one

close to family

Though my neighbors lost their only son

sold up and moved to town

 

Chorus

 

And the children have grown and

left me for careers in town and city

And I'm proud of them but sadly

for none chose station life

And now I smile to hear them talking

'bout the hard slog in the office

For when I think of working hard

I see a cocky and his wife

 

Chorus

 

 

 

Napoleon Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel/Flight of the Haggis

Music: Bob Zentz

 

Two great tunes of semantic significance from Bob Zentz.  (ET)

 

 

We Built This Old Ship

Words and Music: Jim Stewart and Gordon Bok

 

Jim Stewart of St John NB released his thundering great epic "The Marco Polo Suite" in 1992 about that famous ship from the same town.  My wife Carol and I helped in the original production and recording and I helped with the assembly of this particular song.  (GB)

 

We gathered the tamarack, oak, birch and pine

We took from the forest and took to the shore

And we gave her her strength and her breath and her line

With the skills we had learned from our fathers before

 

We worked in the rain and the heat and the cold

We cursed and rejoiced in our pride and our pain

And we never imagined our hands would grow old

And her like on the water we'd not see again

 

Chorus

We built this old ship with our sweat and endeavor

She ran with the wind and the wind set her free

And we once dared to dream she would sail on forever

But although she was ours she belonged to the sea

 

There's more in her making than canvas and wood

More in her leaving than going away

And maybe we loved her much more than we should

For a part of us left when she sailed from the bay

 

And will those that she carries to each far off place

Remember her song when the voyage is done

Will the empty horizon still carry a trace

When the rocks break her heart or she's too old to run

 

Chorus

 

Will there be a monument held by each wave

Will the gulls sing a dirge as they circle above

When the length of the sky at last marks her grave

Will her name be remembered with wonder and love

 

For they say that a new age soon will beset us

Their engines and boilers will soon rule the day

And the time will arrive when time will forget us

Like the sawdust around us we'll all blow away

 

Chorus

 

 

 

 

Pigs Can See The Wind

Words and Music: Dave Goulder

 

From our friend Dave Goulder comes this impish elaboration of an old expression.  (ET)

 

Chorus:

Well be the summer may (can) come

and the summer may (can) go

And the pigs can see the wind

The autumn goose brings down the snow

And the pigs can see the wind

 

Me father used to say to me

as he locked 'em in the sty

They say that pigs can see the wind

and I'm going to tell you why

 

Chorus

 

There's some will chase the crafty fox

o'er valley, hill and dale

There are 30 hounds and 30 clowns

for one old fox's tail

 

Chorus

 

There's some will sit and fish the stream

in the howling wind and rain

They sling 'em back to come next day

and catch 'em all again

 

Chorus

 

There's some will fight in foreign wars

and meet a bloody end

And if you can see the sense in that

then pigs can see the wind

 

Chorus           

 

 

 

The Outside Track

Words: Henry Lawson;  Music: Gerry Hallom

 

This poem is another from the great Australian bush poet Henry Lawson.  Gerry Hallom, a British songmaker, set it to this lovely tune and sang it an Eisteddfod Festival where he and I found ourselves one year.  The swagman's wandering life was not conducive to family-making, so if he wanted to  marry he'd have to give it up – the bad and the good together.

 

The port lights glow in the morning mist

That rolls from the water's brim

As over the railing we grasped his fist

'til the dark tides came between

We cheered the captain we cheered the crew

and out mates times out of mind

We cheered the land he was going to

and the land he had left behind

 

Chorus

For they marry and go and the world rolls back

They marry and vanish and die

But their spirits shall live on the outside track

long as the years go by

 

We roared lang syne as a last farewell

but my heart seemed out of joint

I well remember the hush that fell

as the steamer cleared the point

We drifted on home through the public bars

we were 10 times less by one

Who sailed out under the morning stars

and under the rising sun

 

Chorus

 

And one by one by two they've sailed

from the wharves since then

I've said goodbye to the best I knew

the last of the careless men

And I can't but think that the times we had

were the best times after all

As I turn aside with a lonely glass

and drink to the barroom wall

 

Chorus

 

 

 

Gaelic Farmer/Lady's Triumph

Music:  Traditional

 

Two fine tunes learned from friends in the heartland.  Gaelic Farmer from good friends Cathy Barton and Dave Para in Boonville, Missouri, and Lady's Triumph from Phil Cooper and Margaret Nelson from the Chicago area through Lorraine Lee.  (ET)

 

 

 

Farthest Field

Words and Music:  David Dodson

 

David was at a music party in Vermont on a highland farm.  Above the farmhouse was a long field that ran up to the height of the land.  One sunset, everyone went up to that field and sang hymns – the call-and-response kind.  "I was impressed that everyone knew these hymns, and I wanted one of my own.  You could see the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont and Canada, and I thought that heaven would look like that…"  (GB)

 

There is a land high on a hill

Where I am going there is a voice that calls to me

The air is sweet the grasses wave

The wind is blowing away up in the farthest field

 

Chorus

Walk with me and we will see the mystery revealed

When one day we wend our way up to the farthest field

 

The sun will rise the sun will set

Across the mountains and we will live with beauty there

The fragrant flowers the day and hours

Will not be counted and peaceful songs will fill the air

 

Chorus

 

I know one day I'll leave my home

Here in the valley and climb up to that field so fair

And when I'm called and counted in

The final tally I know that I will see you there

 

Chorus

 

Oh, my dear friend I truly love

To hear your voices alifted up in the radiant song

Though through the years we all have made

Our separate choices we've ended here where we belong

 

Chorus

 

 

 

Velveteen Love Song

Words and Music:  Bob Franke

 

Through the eyes of love we become beautiful.  My daughter Christina taught me this song.  (AMM)

 

My coat is all tattered and word to shreds

my whiskers have wandered away

I picked up some dirt in some flower beds

I think that it's in there to stay

But deep in your eyes are a needle and thread

and a wonder that scrubs me so clean

I see in their mirror I'm beautiful

I pose and I laugh and I preen

 

My bottom's as stout as it's always been

maybe a little bit more

I never believed it was good for much

'cept keeping my ears off the floor

But then when you hold me and toss me high

I fly like the fleetest gazelle

And the joy that my dusty heart takes in your touch

is more than a rabbit can tell

 

My eyes are just buttons of two penny glass

they're either too brown or too green

One of them might not stay on too much longer

and there's plenty they've both never seen

But they see their way clear to a home in your heart

I live in the love that you feel

And there of all places a place of my own

where a velveteen rabbit is real

 

 

 

Old Man's Song

Words and Music:  Bill Scott

 

Bill Scott, folklorist, poet, and author of books for children, was born in Bundaberg, Australia in 1923.  He worked at many trades, including cane cutter, steam engine driver, miner, and publisher before becoming a professional writer in 1974.  (GB)

 

When I was a young man I followed the gold

Down in a mineshaft all muddy and cold

Deep in the dark with the flickering light

And nary a nugget to gladden me sight

 

Chorus

And it's way aye now I am old

The mornings were silver the sunsets were gold

 

When I was a young man I followed the sea

Cold wet and shivering often I'd be

Rocked in the rigging or rolled down below

Or sweating me soul out where the gulf traders go

 

Chorus

And it's way aye now I am old

The oceans were sapphires the beaches were gold

 

Now I'm an old man I sit in the sun

Thinking and dreaming of the things that I've done

Remembering laughter forgetting the pain

And I'd go out and do it all over again

 

Chorus

And it's way aye lift it along

What good is your life if it isn't a song

 

 

 

Harbors of Home

Words and Music:  Joan Sprung

 

Our old friend Joan Sprung sent this to me many years ago and it has told its truth in some odd places where English is spoken.  To me it felt like Nova Scotia, but Joan told me she made it in my own waters.  I think it has found a fine voice with Ann,  (GB)  You can hear Joan's singing of it on her Folk Legacy recording.  (ET)

 

Chorus

The sun in the morning used to call me to the day

And the wind from the sea would blow my cares away

But I'll nevermore go down to watch the boats come in the bay

Watch the boats from the harbors of home

 

Just like it was yesterday I hear the church bells toll

And the time it takes forever and the hours slowly roll

Though they tell me passing days will surely heal a wounded soul

My tears would fill the harbors of home

 

Chorus

 

Good sailors on the Mary Anne the finest pledged to me

He went under with the others when the boat went down at sea

And gone with him are all our dreams of happiness to be

Waiting for us in the harbors of home

 

Chorus

 

The ocean gives us fish and the fish it buys our bread

Strike a bargain with the devil so that all of us are fed

But nothing's given free and now our bonny boys are dead

All our young men from the harbors of home

 

Chorus

 

 

 

Rowan Davies

Music:  Phil Cunningham

 

A lovely tune learned from Neal McMillan and written by one of the best.  (ET)

 

Dancing at Whitsun

Music:  Traditional                 Words: John Austin Martin

 

In many places where ritual spring dances were done,  women were a part of them, though when you think of the Morris you usually think of men dancing.  I'm told there came a time when England's men were fighting on so many fronts around the world that women had to step in help remember and fill out the teams, to keep the tradition alive.  (GB)

 

It's 50 long spingtimes since she was a bride

But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide

In a dress of white linen with ribbons of green

As green as her memories of loving

 

The feet that were nimble tread carefully now

As gentle a measure as age will allow

Through groves of white blossoms by fields of young corn

Where once she was pledged to her true love

 

The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow free

No young men to turn them or pastures go see

They are gone where the forests of oak trees before

Have gone to be wasted in battle

 

Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones

Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons

There's a fine roll of honor where the maypole once stood

And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

 

There's a straight row of houses in these latter days

All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze

There's a field of red poppies a wreath from the queen

But the ladies remember at Whitsun

And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun

 

 

Wiscasset Schooners

            Words and Music © 1985 Lois Lyman

 

            Lois made this song for the cargo schooners that were beached in the river of Wiscasset Maine where she spent many days of her childhood clambering over their hulls.  She taught me this song and we arranged it.  Lois, her husband, and I recorded it together on my album "Schooners" and here t is in the original TBM version, with all our thanks.  (GB)

 

            Do you remember riding home before a dying summer breeze,

            Your topsails gleaming golden, setting sun among the trees,

            And the osprey wheeling slowly through the shadows by the shore,

            Where the towering cliffs of granite plunge ten fathoms deep or more,

            And the eddies swirl and flow down below.

 

            You were solid-built of Douglas fir and oak and yellow pine,

            Two hundred feet, sailed by a crew that numbered only nine,

            Hauling lumber through your timberports, and dyewood from the south

            Running home from Norfolk bringing coal to heat the north

            And whatever they could stow down below.

 

            For the winter is upon you now, and time is passing slow

            And the tides ebb and flow down below.

 

            You served them well for fifteen years, your canvass all unfurled

            When New England sailing ships were found in ports around the world,

            But spars gave way to smokestacks, clouds of white to black and grey,

            There was nothing left for you to do but waste your time away.

            And the rot was spreading slow, down below.

 

            And the winter…

 

            From Wiscasset to the China Lakes the Narrow Gauge did run,

            To push it northward to Quebec was old Frank Winter's plan –

            And schooners were to bring his cargoes in to meet the train,

            When he found you idle on the dock, he brought you down to Maine

            Where the tides ebb and flow down below.

 

            You know he tried the best he could, by he just couldn't make it pay

            So he ran you both aground, and turned around and walked away;

            You've been waiting here for fifty years, but no one set you free,

            Now you're broken down and dying, lying open to the sea,

            And the tides ebb and flow down below.

 

            And the winter…

 

            Now the people come to stare at you with wonder in their eyes

            For times have changed since men knew how to work a ship your size.

            The seas you sailed are running black; in time we'll know our loss –

            It's too late now for you, and is it too late now for us?

            Can you teach what you know before you go?

 

            And the winter is upon you now, and time is passing slow

            And the tides ebb and flow down below.

 

 

Turning of the Year

Words: J.B. Goodenough            Music:  Gordon Bok        

 

Judy Goodenough, whose three volumes of poetry were a tribute to a tough and wily mind, has given us many songs over the years.  She sent these verses as additional thoughts to my song "hearth and Fire" (by my request).  They seemed so unique and self-standing that I made this tune for them and made a chorus of the second verse.  (GB)

 

Dark the sky, dark the land, dark the running sea

oh lay your hand upon my hand

and share the night with me

 

Chorus

To friends we had and foes we had and those that held us dear

We raise the glass to lad and lass at turning of the year

 

One more road, one more hill, one more stony shore

One more river to cross until

we're going home once more

 

Chorus

 

Fish for silver, dig for gold, so run the years away

And when we're weary, when we're old

we come back home to stay

 

Chorus

 

So friend or foe, we wish you ease

however far you roam

Who sail the seven salty seas

or walk the hills of home

 

Chorus