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CD5047 -

Gordon Bok In Concert - Gordon Bok

Patrick Spencer
Cane Fires
Hie Awa
Bungo Rye
Patrick Spencer
Cane Fires
Canso Strait
Hark Now
Lower Lights
Wrecker's Prayer
Do Something
Hie Awa

The songs included are (as usual) from all over the place; about work, love, loss, the foibles of man and fish, and the love of the planet that feeds it all. Also included is a brand new "cantefable" (story-song) from Gordon's years of working on the water. These are songs that come from the tradition and songs that will become tradition.

Gordon Bok in Concert
Revie by Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe
October 2006

The music of Maine folk singer Bok is like a universe unto itself, a roughhewn land filled with hardscrabble people, rascals in high places, and a natural world that is both cruel and kind, deadly and nurturing. On a long-awaited, fireside-friendly live album, Gordon Bok in Concert, he sings about mining disasters and drunken fisherman, the last dreams of drowning men, and the gentle sound of neighbors helping neighbors. His glorious bass-baritone is a bit more frayed now, like good leather softened from years of use. But that only makes his ballads more believable, as he roams the long trail of memory, from the wild and hurried passions of our youth, to the older joy that comes from knowing the real value of a quiet day.

Gordon Bok In Concert
For years I felt that knowing a concert was being recorded would remove the immediacy and spontaneity from it, along with that feeling of conversation that I usually feel with audiences.

My friends convinced me that we always have too much fun in a concert-hall for that to happen, and that I ought to let more people in on the fun, so in May and June of 2006 I recorded some concerts I was doing in Maine. This album is a sampling from them.

Recorded at The Strand, Rockland, Maine; The Chocolate Church, Bath, Maine; Center Theatre, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine; and Johnson Hall, Gardiner, Maine.
A special thanks to our loyal audiences for singing so beautifully and for provid¨ing the authentic cough-tracks.Recorded, engineered and mastered by Bruce Boege, Lirnin Music, Northport, Maine

Where possible, I print the oldest sources I have of these songs, no matter how much they differ from the versions that came to me.
The January Men and Then Some are:
Gordon Bok, Will Brown, Sky Hall, Bill Huntington, Jamie Huntsberger, Cindy
Kallet, Bob Richardson, Carol Rohl and Peter Yantz

Patrick Spencer
(Sir Patrick Spens, Child No. 58)
©1975 Bob Coltman
Gordonó12-string guitar
I sang with Ed Trickett professionally for many years, and still do for fun. I think I learned this song from him in the 1970's, or one of those decades. His friend Bob Coltman has written many hundreds of songs including die great folk-favorite, Lonesome Robin.

Through friends in various services, I've come to know what it's like to be sent to sea and kept out there by people who have never had to be out there.

Oh, don't the moon look pretty, she sails like a ship in the sky
Darling, you don't know nothing about sailing, she's got a cast in the eye
When the moon weeps silvery tears, you can look for a terrible storm
God pity the sailor that's out tomor¨row, I'm glad I can bide at home

If you be Patrick Spencer, and man, you better had be
Here's a letter from the King, he com¨mands you to go to sea
How little he thinks of the dangers, among his wine and his song
His daughter in far Norroway, she's sick and she wants to come home
He might have written me greeting, he might have cast me blame

He might have asked me a hundred fa¨vors, God knows I'd never complain
But this running up in the rigging with a hurricane on the wing
It's come to a matter of life and death to have to pleasure the King

Standing out to sea, oh Lord,
it commenced to rain The sea like the tops of mountains,
and the wind like a thing in pain Patrick Spencer took his glass, and he
put it in Johnny's hand Run up, Johnny, as high as you can,
and see if you see any land

No land, Patrick Spencer, no never a
sight of shore Then give it over, boys, he cried, we'll
never see home any more Never mind your buckle shoes, for
you'll wet more than your feet And as for the letter from the King,
it's a damn small winding-sheet

Christinie be a long, long while a-waiting for me to come home
And the cold, cold sea be a long, long time a-walking over my bones
That man that told the King about me, I wish I had him here
And the one last wish I would like to have granted is to carry him under with me

Where the Cane Fires Burn
Words and music © 1999 Bill Scott Gordonó 12-string guitar
A prime reason for finally extending a tour to Australia was to meet Mavis and Bill Scott, with whom I had corresponded and shared music for so many years.

He lived his last years in Warwick, but when he died in 2005, the family took his ashes North and scattered them by the Johnstone River near Mt. Tully, the area that he loved so well. I learned the song from Penny Davies and Roger Ilott, though it's in Bill's songbook.

I've wandered east, I've wandered west
From the Hamersley Range to the Snowy Crest
From the Lachlan Plains to the Broken Hill
But my heart's at the Johnstone River still
Now the time has come when I must return
Where the vine scrub grows and the canefires burn
Where the vine scrub grows and the canefires burn

By the Yarra now the cold rain falls
And the wind is bleak from the Bass
Strait squalls I stand and wonder in the chill
Has the season started at Mulgrave Mill?
For Autumn comes and I must return
Where the harvesters chug and the trashfrres burn
Where the harvesters chug and the trashfires burn
The smog is thick and stings the eye
Where the Harbour Bridge fills half the sky
And the sirens wail through Sydney town
But I dream of Tully when the sun goes down

Where the rainforest covers the hills with green
The cane grows tall and the air is clean
The cane grows tall and the air is clean
I've been wandering South and West
On land and sea, but the north is best
Now Autumn comes with its hint of snows
And I must follow where the egret goes
To watch the evening's first faint star
From Flying Fish Point or Yarrabah
From Flying Fish Point or Yarrabah

Hie Awa
Gordonó12-string guitar
I have sung this for about 40 years: can't
remember where I learned it. The
Boarding Party tracked it back through
Robin Roberts who recorded it as "Love
is Kind." It's also known as "Ee Awa,"
"Haul Awa" or possibly "I a bha," which
Norman Kennedy says means "she that's
gone" in Gaelic. Lucy Simpson gave me the "blessing" verse, which she made. I often sing this for my wife, Carol, when I'm touring alone.

O love is kind to the least of men
Though he be but a drunken tar

Far from land and the sight of man
O who will love the sailorman?

And awa and awa
And awa and awa

Take me to that star-eyed maid
O I was happy with her laid

In the comfort of her bed
There let me lie until I'm dead

Here's my blessing, let it be
May you love as she loved me
For love is kind to the least of men
Though he be but a drunken tar

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