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MP3 Morgan McKay - Winters Turn

Traditional Celtic and English acoustic folk music. Morgan captures the traditional story telling of these old songs.

14 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Traditional Folk, FOLK: Gentle


1. Lord Franklin. (guitar tuning DADF#AD)

Lord Franklin was Governor of Tasmania, then Van Diemen''s Land, formed
1837 to 1843 when he was recalled to England. It is said that he was a humane man, and tried to better the lot of the convict population of Tasmania, which endeared him to the average person, but annoyed the administers and public servants.

On his return to England he was given the task of finding the Northwest Passage through the Artic, and set sail in HMS Erebus in May 1845. The Erebus got trapped in the ice of The Artic and the entire crew perished. It has been shown by postmortem analysis that the crew suffered from lead poisoning after eating from cans used to store food which were soldered to keep them airtight. There was also evidence of cannibalism.

His wife Jane Lady Franklin is reputed to have written this song when he did not return from the voyage.

2. As Sylvie Was Walking (guitar tuning DADGAD)

This song appears in "The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs". It was collected from a Mrs. Aston of Moonee Ponds Victoria, Australia.

She migrated to Australia in 1855, she was originally from Gloucestershire in England, and had learned the song from her uncle.
When collected Mrs. Aston was 80 years old, so it goes back a long way.

It is a song of lost love, to a simple but beautiful tune.

The last verse say''s: "I''ll set sail of silver and steer toward the sun".
It seems so appropriate for Mrs. Aston to sing these words coming from the cold of England to the warmth of Australia.

3. Sovey (guitar tuning DGDGBbD)

The story of a female highway man who challenges her lover to see if he is faithful. So in disguise she demands that he give her a ring that was a token of their love, but he refuses to give it up, even though he is certain the refusal will cost him his life. As it turns out his lover would have shot him if he had handed it over. I always think it is a bit unfair in the circumstances.

It has an unusual timing in the tune.

4. Bay of Biscay (Guitar tuning CGCGCE)

A song of lost love returning as a ghost. Even though her love is dead and she has waited seven years for him, she would give all she could ever have for just one kiss.
I would refer you to the notes in the booklet in the CD case.
5. When I Was Young (guitar tuning DADGAD).

A sad song put to an unusual but cheery tune. The lass was both happy and well shod until she got married. Now she is tied down by children and has holes in her shoes. She can''t go out to dance, or to sport and play, and she doesn''t even have a house to live in.

6. Planxty Irwin (guitar tuning DGDGBD)

Turlough O''Carolan an Irish harper was bourn in County Meath in 1670.
Around the age of 18 he was blinded by smallpox, and subsequently traveled he country playing his harp. He composed tunes or planxtys, and named them after his patrons, and thus earned a living.

This Planxty is one of his best known.

7. Rosemary Lane (guitar tuning DGDGAD)

The story of an innocent girl being led into prostitution. Bert Jansch recorded it on his "Rosemary Lane" album, also on this album was "As Sylvie was walking ". His recording familiarized me with this song, however I learned it from my friend Bev Lane. The essential truth of society dose not change much, and that is what is so strong about the traditional songs, they pass down fundamental truths that we can relate to in what ever time we live.

8. Your Bright Smile Haunts Me Still (guitar tuning DGDGBD)

I got this song from Jerry Epstine. It was collected by the Warner''s from a Mrs Eleazer Tillett from the Carolina Outer Bank, an area, that until recently, was isolated from the mainland. Jerry told me the Warner''s had collected many songs from her husband during the previous year, but he had died that winter.
There was a wealth of traditional songs in the area due to the isolation.
This song, lamenting the loss of love, is a beauty.

9. The Cruel Mother
This is a stark and frightening song. It tells of unwanted pregnancy, infanticide and punishment. A mother gets pregnant and aborts two babies, and takes their lives. She is later confronted by their ghosts and they condemn her to hell. I learned it from a recording of Frankie Armstrong, and asked her about the tune she uses when I met her at the National Folk Festival. I use a tune that is very sad, but she uses a tune that is very cold and remote. She said she uses that tune as it depicts the isolation a woman experiences when in such a position. It made me think of the different view a male has as to a female, the sadness of infanticide rather than the greater view of not only the death of the child but the position society puts a women in when she is pregnant out of wedlock.

10. My Donald (guitar tuning CGCGCD)

The story of a whaler told by his wife, who bemoans her lot, the death of her husband, and the frivolous use of the whale oil for perfume, for which her husband puts his life to risk.

11. Merrily Kiss the Quakers Wife (DADF#AD)

A tune I thought was Irish till I was told in no uncertain terms that it was American by an Irishman. He said where would find a f****** Quaker in Ireland.

12. The Shuttle Rins (guitar tuning DGDGBD)

A song about the weaving trade. It speaks of the hardship of the weaving trade. But adds how "the finest in the land wound pine without the weavers art". Refer to the sleeve notes.

13. Highland Laddie (guitar tuning DADGAD)

A song from my childhood. I like the words as they are strong and profound.. The myth of prince Charles continues even today, it seems to be on a par with the once and future king myth.

14. Sussex Bonnie Brest Knot.

15. A Morris dance tune. I''m not real flash on the button accordion, but I like to inflict my on unsuspecting audience.

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