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Joan Sprung - Pictures to My Mind :

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CD73 -

Joan Sprung - Pictures to My Mind

Pictures to My Mind
Cabin By the Side of the Road
Row Us Over the Tide
Cabin By the Side of the Road
California Stage Company
Death of Queen Jane
Fiddler of Dooney
Field of Monterey, The
His Music
John of the Hazelgreen
Mistletoe Bough, The
No, Never No
Pictures to My Mind
Pilgrim's Song, The
Prisoner For Life
Prisoner For Life
Row Us Over the Tide
Where Have the Dancers Gone

Joan's second Folk-Legacy recording offers another fine program of old songs and new, most of which are of Joan's own making. The title song tells us that "to hear the old songs once again brings pictures to my mind." Think about it; isn't that how we all feel?

Pictures to My Mind

The songs I care about have intrinsic and irresistible hooks: beautiful language, imagery; wonderful melodies, modes, and rhythms; wit and great stories. They define and document the past in a more intimate way than a history book can, and are more relevant than much of today's over-produced and superficial music.

I'm ever grateful to folklorists and collectors in the field who have done the hard part, allowing me the pure pleasure of paddling reverently through seas of scholarly works, old song-books, and records hoping to be caught by a good song.

Most of the songs on this album are American: native and naturalized. I am most at home in that idiom, but you will notice I step fearlessly out of it now and then.

I hope the songs I love have hooks in them for you, too; that they bring pictures to your mind. They are a glass turned backward on other times and consciousnesses. They are a communication more joyful than speech. They hold the sea, high hills, roads winding to anywhere, and the music of a faraway dance hall. They bring back dust in an attic, sunlight patterns on a kitchen floor, and old wood. Just listen!

Often the backup musicians on a record are faceless voices and instruments. I'm always curious about what sort of people are actually making the music I hear. Everyone on this one is a friend and, in one case, a close relative as well. I'm grateful to them all for giving their music, support, and energy.

Bob Emery really cares about each song sounding right, and his beautiful harmonies and incredible guitar work can also be heard on my first Folk-Legacy album, Ballads and Butterflies. At present, Bob is the head of the English department at a private school in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Marty Sachs is my son and my friend. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a pilot, and performs often as a bluegrass bassist (he and Bob were both members of the now defunct group, "Northern Lights"). Marty's versatile bass, Jew's harp accompaniments, and harmony singing on this album are all part of his good musicianship. Sometimes I indulge myself by thinking that some of my genes helped. (His comment: "Your genes are too small.")

Dave Kiphuth, of Stony Creek, Connecticut, is a fine instrumentalist and singer in folk and bluegrass styles. He plays clawhammer banjo, guitar, and sings harmony on three songs. In his other real life, Dave is a fine artist. His wildlife drawings are superb.

Eleanor Ellis, a lover of traditional music, plays psaltery here. Having lived in England for a time, she has a large repertoire of songs of the British Isles. It's her version of "Queen Jane" that I use on this album. Ellie now lives in the little town of Brookfield Center, Connecticut, not far from my house in Sandy Hook, so we see each other often to share music, tea, and ideas.

Lani Herrmann was living in New Jersey when we recorded this, but is now a Californian, and the music we share is by cassette tape. Her artistry with the bow and pen may be heard and seen on several Folk-Legacy records and books, and demonstrate but a small part of her interests and skills.

Ed Trickett's fine singing and playing may be heard on his own two Folk-Legacy albums, as well as with Gordon Bok and Ann Mayo Muir, and with the several "Golden Ring" recordings, not to forget the many records on which he has been a supportive and inspired helper. I'm pleased he was there to help on "Row Us Over the Tide."

Joan Sprung
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
February, 1980

Side 1, Band 1.
One of the lovely things songs can do is evoke images and memories of people and places, along with all the feelings that go along with them. The berries of my memory were wild strawberries; most other kinds appear in late August. Bob Emery does second guitar and vocal harmony here.

Don't know if I remember all the words, I'll hum along.
Brings back pictures to my mind to hear the good old songs.

Sing it one more time; it brings back pictures to my mind.
To hear the old songs once again brings pictures to my mind.

Berries in the fields in spring, goldenrod in fall;
Lullabies my mother sang hold scenes I still recall.

Sunset on the distant hills, maples in the rain;
Gray barn boards all rough with age; please sing it once again.

I can see a little child; I remember home;
And songs I thought forever lost were never really gone.


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