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Rick Fielding - Lifeline

Angus Fraser
Angus Fraser
Bachelor's Hall
Birth of Robin Hood
Company Town
Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts
Docherty's Jig
Handful of Songs
Hutchison's Ramble
If Jesus Was A Picker
Jim's Polka
La Bastringue
Margins of My Neighborhood
Obray's Fancy
Old Time Riverman
Pitman Blues
Rag, Eh?
Same Old Song
So Long Charlie
Voices of Struggle
Wild Goose

Rick Fielding - Lifeline
A veritable cornucopia of fine folk music from a great Canadian musician. Here Rick plays about ten instruments and throws traditional songs, fiddle tunes, banjo breakdowns, class conscious mining songs, lyrical stories, a radical music anthem ("Voices of Struggle"), great guitar and mandolin picking, and plenty more into this great acoustic stew. You'd be hard pressed to find a single recording that could do better than this one in answering the question, "What is folk music?" Craig at Sounds Celebrating Resistance - http:/

Rick Fielding is Folk-Legacy's exciting recent discovery: a strongly tradition-oriented songmaker from Toronto, Ontario, a superb multi-instrumentalist, and a darned fine singer. His CD has been praised in all the Internet folk discussion groups and by reviewers all across the country. You may not have heard of this artist, but trust us on this one. We're sure you'll like him as much as we do. So Long, Charlie; Pitman Blues; If Jesus Was a Picker; Alouette/La Bastringue; Bachelor's Hall; Obray's Fancy; Lifeline; Company Town; Docherty's Jig/Stairsteps; Wild Goose; Margins of My Neighborhood; Hutchison's Ramble; Birth of Robin Hood; Angus Fraser; Handful of Songs; Rag, Eh?; Old-Time Riverman; Voices of Struggle; and Same Old Song. Also available as a cassette.

Folk-Legacy Records, Inc.

When I first met Rick Fielding at The Woods camp in Ontario, I had to ask myself, "How is it that we've never been told of this artist?" Caroline and I make a conscious effort to keep up with what's going on in the folk music world. We listen to a lot of recordings, attend a lot of programs, and travel around the country as much and as often as we can. Yet here was a man deeply devoted to traditional music, a fine singer, a superb instrumentalist, and a remarkable song-maker, of whom we had newer heard. It turns out that Rick had been playing a very different circuit for a number of years- bars in northern Ontario, clubs in various other parts of the continent, etc., because he thought that was what one had to do in order to make a living with music. It was only a few years ago that he decided he could no Longer stand the compromises he was being forced to make. He came home to teach, carve leather, and rededicate himself to folk music. I watched Rick teach guitar (and other instruments) to adults of widely varying talents and skills and saw each of his students become more accomplished with every session.

When it came time for them to sing for the others in a campers' program, it seemed that every one of them had asked Rick to accompany them, which he did with guitar, banjo, mandolin, and dulcimer, playing material that ranged from pop music of the 40s to stark traditional ballads. And he made all of them sound good. With constant grace and good humor, he gave more to his students than any instructor I'd ever seen, and I've been on the folk and home- made music scene for a long time.

Then we shared a workshop presentation of "Songs of Protest." Although neither we nor Rick consider ourselves "protest singers," per se, we certainly know a number of songs that have served to help fight injustice and intolerance over the centuries. Rick sang his own "Voices of Struggle" in that workshop, and ten minutes later, sharing a carcinogenic break on the back porch, I asked him to make this recording. It took about three years to get him down to Folk- Legacy, and several months to get the recording completed, but here it is, at Last.

The first session was with Glen Reid (guitar) and Steve Fuller (fiddle). In each of the subsequent sessions, Rick played all the back- up instruments himself, with the exception of the concertina, which our son, David, plays here. We borrowed a bass and a mandolin. Rick borrowed a 12 -string (his had been Lost when his car was stolen- he wishes they'd kept the car, rather than the 12 -string!). When it came time to add chorus vocals, Rick pushed the buttons on the recorder while we sang harmonies, and I pushed them again when he added his own harmony part. And every time he made the drive down from Toronto he brought us another gift of his Leather art - a splendid rendition of our Green Man logo, for one example. That led me to suggest that he do some sort of leather frame for the photo on the album cover. You are holding the result right now - maple leaves and old barn siding - surrounding some fine music, old and new.

Sandy Paton

LIFELINE (Glen Reid)

Glen Reid is a fine songwriter and flat-picker who now divides much of his time between building furniture and punchy long- necked mandolins (Mandelas?). In this song, I think he's painted a vivid picture of turn-of-the-century life along the Magnetewan River which runs near his home in Burk's Falls, Ontario.

Folk-Legacy acts as his publisher for this song, by the way.

Through the valley winds a river, rolling gently with the flow.
Paddlewheels turning steady, hear the steamboat whistle blow.
'Round the bend in the river, folks are gathered by the shore.
"All aboard now, drop the mailbag, stow the cargo, on we go."

Through the big timber country, rolling with a head of steam.
River horses haul the log booms to sawmills back upstream.
With broad-axe and cross cut, rugged loggers cut and toil,
And the steamboat bears the burden and the bounty of the soil.

A lifeline to the heartland when the land was young and bold,
When the rivers were the highways, you could hear the whistle blow.

Such a long, long time ago.

Past the cornfields and meadows, cattle grazing by the way.
Blue skies crest the hillsides on a golden summer's day.
Wave from the railing to the children on the shore.
Like a painting of a daydream, lost in time forever more.

A lifeline to the heartland...

Skipper calls down to the fireman, "Make some steam and let 'er haul,"
For the last leg of a long day, soon we'll ring the final call.
Sundown on the river, peaceful harbor lies ahead.
Come tomorrow, start all over, but tonight it's journey's end.

A lifeline to the heartland...

A lifeline to the heartland...


Written after a long conversation with a very old man in "Fran's All Night Restaurant" in Toronto. I had asked him to tell me about the medals he was wearing and he related this story. I later put it to music.

My name is Angus Fraser, ninety summers I have seen.
Born below decks on an immigrant ship sailing out of Aberdeen.
To leave her land and kinfolk near to broke my mother's heart.
For a newborn babe on a twelve-foot wave, hard times from the start.

Halifax was my first home, and I grew up hard and strong.
I watched my old man waste away from working so damned long.
At sixteen years, in a uniform, I crossed the seas again.
To defend this land, I shot a man. Those were hard times then.

Those were hard times then; not a dollar left to spend.
We paid the cost for what we lost and faced it once again.
Hard times then; it seemed they never end,
But we fought like hell and we lived to tell of the hard times once again.

I worked the earth until the crash sent prices tumbling down.
Hung on by my fingertips till the banker's men came 'round.
To throw a farmer's family out, that's the worst of any crimes.
It was called the Great Depression, but I called it more hard times.

Once again aboard a train, this time I rode alone.
In an empty boxcar, prairie winds can chill you to the bone.
I'd heard of work in the logging camps on B.C.'s northern coast.
By God, I missed my family. That's when hard times hurt the most.

And those were hard times then ...

For seven years I swung an axe, cut down a million trees.
She sent love and I sent my pay, but in time we ceased to be.
The next war came and, once again, I answered when they called,
But the days and nights in a prison camp were the hardest times of all,

I worked the mills in Cornwall, fished in Newfoundland.
I love this country east to west, for I built it with my hands.
Twice more I got married, now my children number eight.
Oh, the hard times coming 'round again, guess that's to be their fate.

Those were hard times then...

Those were hard times then...


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Category : Just Folk-Legacy
Category : Canadian Folk Music

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