Telling Tales

by Janette Geri

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about

This is a collection of traditional and celtic songs i've sung and loved for so long that I decided to get them all together and make an album. I've been faithful to the original song, lyrics and dialects, but I wanted to play around with different feels and instrumentation. I've had fun making this album, and i hope I've given these songs a fresh perspective and a contemporary context. for each song i've included a little background, the name of the original author where possible, and where I first learned the song. I have such great affection for these songs, and over the years they have been wonderful friends to me, as have all the characters in these stories. I hope they become good friends to you ..... :-)

this album is also a joyful homage to some of the many artists whose music has touched and delighted me. for while these are mainly trad and celtic songs, the arrangements owe much to so many artists across many cultures whose work had informed my own music, and enriched my spirit. I thank them all very much, and i'm grateful to be part of this rich exchange.

credits

released November 2, 2007

all songs produced and recorded by janette geri. all arrangements by janette geri
original writers are included as far as possible with track details
mastered by david briggs at The production Workshop (thank you david)
artwork, concept and design: janette geri
photos: phil smith

vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards etc, ~ janette geri
bass guitar on 'strichen toon' ~ phil smith
clarinet on 'hard times' ~ billy abbottt
electric guitar on 'strichen toon' ~ jason resch

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Janette Geri VIC, Australia

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Track Name: cowsong
there was a farm on yonder hill, up where the wind did blow-oh
there lived a lady and her son and a bonnie old brown cow
this cow was a bonnie cow but they needed money more
so she said to her son "please take the cow, to market you must go-oh"

so he's walked along the way, he's walked but half the day-oh
and soon he's pied a sweet young maid, she says, "where are you bound-oh?"

he said i'm taking this cow along the way, then I will, sell her on market day
oh you see this bonnie cow of mine? well i'm taking her to market-oh
then i'll return to my mother dear with the money in my hand-oh
oh she took the young man's arm, she said "you handsome sir-oh"
come sit you here on the soft green grass, come rest awhile with me-oh

he said i'm taking this cow along the way, then I will sell her on market day

she kissed him long, she kissed him strong, a fair game she did play-oh
and after playing not so hard, that young man he gave way-oh
he fell asleep, and when he woke both girl and cow were gone-oh
and so too were the shoes he wore and the trousers he had on-oh

(he was taking this cow along the way....)

come all you young men near and far, never trust a maiden's calling
never trust a girls with your mother's cow, never let your trousers go
oh come all you young men near and far, never trust a maiden's calling
never trust a girl with your mother's cow, never let your trousers go

falling down in the green grass, falling down in the green grass, oh in the sweet green grass
Track Name: rattling roaring willie
oh, rattling, roaring' willie, ah he held to the fair,
for to sell his fiddle and to buy some other ware;
ah but parting wi' his fiddle, a saut tear blin't his e'e - (a salty tear blinded his eye)
rattling, roarin' willie ye're welcome hame to me!

oh willie, come sell your fiddle, come sell your fiddle sae fine!
oh willie come sell your fiddle and buy a pint o' wine!
now if I should sell my fiddle, the world would think I'm mad;
many's the rantin (fun) day my fiddle and I hae had

oh willie, come sell your fiddle, come sell your fiddle sae fine!
willie come sell your fiddle and buy a pint o' wine!
now if I should sell me fiddle, the world would think i'm mad
many's the rantin day my fiddle and I hae had

as I gaed by coochallan I cannily keekit be (luckily spotted)
rattlin, roarin wille he was sitting at yon boord-en
he was sitting at you boord-en among guid companie!
rattlin, roarin willie,
ye're welcome hame (home) to me
Track Name: johnny teasie weasle
ye ken my love johnny, he's down in yonder lee
he's aya a teasie weasel and he's aye teasing me
ah but I hae a brother, as good as any lad
if it's ev' (ever) gan to be tell me now johnny lad...

it was in 'bout the harvest time the town was in a steer (party mode)
there was plenty for ain (everyone) and all o' braes, bread and beer
I looked in his eye and I modestly did say
if it's ev' (ever) gan to be tell me now johnny lad...

well the sheep are in the fold and the kye (cows) are in the byre
and all the lads and lasses round the rattling roaring fire
there's me a gleckett (foolish) lassie going on as i was mad
round the stooks (bundles of harvested wheat or grain) and barn nooks jinking (chasing) you johnny lad

well soon we were married in a house all our ain
i'd whisper in his ear things you would nae tell tae nane
if treasures were but pleasures, ah that would make me sad
it's in heaven i'll be grieving wanting you johnny lad...
Track Name: lord franklin
it was homeward bound one night on the deep
swinging in my hammock I fell asleep
I dreamed a dream and I thought it true
concerning franklin and his gallant crew

with a hundred sailors he sailed away
to a frozen ocean in the month of may
to seek a passage around the pole
where we poor sailors do sometimes go

through cruel hardship they vainly strove
until their ship on lumps of ice were drove
only the eskimo in his skin canoe
was the only one that ever came through

in baffin's bay where the whale fished play
the fate of franklin no man can say
the fate of franklin no tongue can tell
if he on the earth, or in the depths, do dwell

and now my burden it brings me pain
I long to sail upon the seas again
ten thousand pounds I would freely give
to know if my franklin, if my sweet franklin, do live
Track Name: crazy man michael
within the fog and out upon the sea,
crazy man Michael was walking
he met with a raven with eyes black as coal,
and shortly they fell to talking
your future, your future I will tell to you
your future you often have asked me
oh your true love will die by your own right hand
and crazy man Michael will cursed be
Michael he ranted, Michael he raved
and beat at the four winds with his fists o
he laughed and he cried, he shouted and he swore
for his mad mind had trapped him with a fit o
you speak with an anger, you speak with a hate
you speak for the devil that haunts me
for she is the fairest in all the broad land
your sorcerer's words are to taunt me
he took out a dagger of fire and of steel
and struck down the raven through the heart o
the bird fluttered long and the sky it did spin
and the cold air did wonder and startle
but where is the raven that I struck down dead
where does she lie on the ground o
for I see but my true love with a wound so red
her lover's heart it did pound o
crazy man Michael he wanders a corpse
and talks to the night and the day o
but his eyes they are sane and his speech it is pain
and he longs to be far away o
Michael he whispers the simplest of tunes
and asks of the wild woods their pardon
for his true love has flown into every flower grown
and he must be keeper of the garden
Track Name: sonny
Sonny lives on a farm on a wide open space
"take off your sneakers boy, stay the race
lay down your head by a cool river bed...
Sonny always remembers the words his Mama said

Oh, don't go away, I am here all alone
your daddy's a sailor who never comes home
the nights get so long and the silence goes on
and I'm feeling so tired, I'm not all that strong

Sonny works on the, though he's barely a man
there's not much to do, but he does what he can
he sits by the window in his room by the stairs
and he's watching the waves as they roll along the pier

many years have gone by, sonny's old and alone
his day's a sailor who never comes home
sometimes he wonders what his life might have been
oh but still from the grave
his mamma's voice haunts his dreams
Track Name: canadee-ioh
it's of a fair and handsome girl, she's all in her tender years
she fell in love with a sailor boy and it's true that she love him well
oh to go off to sea with him, but she did not know how
she longed to see that seaport town, called canadee-ioh

so she bargained with a young sailor boy, he's called for a piece of gold
but straightway then he's led her down into the hold
he said i'll dress you all in sailor's gear, your jacket it shall be blue,
and you will see that seaport town, called canadee-ioh

now, when the sailors they heard the news, well they fell into a rage,
and with the whole ship's company, they were willing to engage,
they said "we'll tie her hands and feet me boys, overboard we'll throw her
and she'll never ass that seaport town, called canadee-oih

now, when the captain he's heard the news, well he too fell in a rage,
and with the whole ship's company he was willing to engage,
he said "she'll stay all in her sailor's gear. her jacket it shall be blue,
and she will see that seaport town, called canadee-oih"

well they've been down in Canada, scarcely above half a year,
and she's married this bold captain, who called her his dear,
she's dressed in silks and satins now, and she cuts a gallant show
she's the finest of the ladies down in canadee-ioh

come all you fair and tender girls, where ever you may be,
i'd have you follow your won true love when he goes out to sea,
for if the sailors should prove false to you, well the captain he might prove true,
you see the honour that i have gained by the wearing of the blue
Track Name: strichen toon (mormond braes)
as I gaed in to strichen toon
I heard a fair maid mourning
and she was making a sair complaint
for her true love ne'er returning
there's as good fishes in the sea
as ever yet was taken
i'll cast my net and i'll try again
for i'm only one forsaken.
there's many's a horse 'as snappert an'fa'en
and risen again fu' rarely.
there's many a lass has lost her lad
and gotten another right early

chorus: its ma dootima daddio, ita ma dootima day

so i'll put on my gown of green
it's a forsaken token
and that'll let the young lads ken
that the bonds of love are broken
and i'll gae back to strichen toon,
where I was bred and born
and there i'll find another lad
who will marry me in the mornin'
so fare thee well ye mormond braes
you used to be so cheerie
fare thee well ye mormond braes
for it's there I lost my dearie
Track Name: the water is wide
the water is wide, and I can't cross o'er
neither have I wings to fly
oh give me a boat that can carry two
and both shall row, my love and I

a ship there is and she sails the sea
she's loaded deep as deep can be
but not so deep as this well i'm in
I know not if I sink or swim

I put my hand into a bush
thinking the sweetest flower to find
I cut my hand right to the bone
and had to leave the flower behind

oh martimas wind, when will thou blow
and shake the green leaves from the tree
oh gentle death when will you come
and take this life that wearies me

oh but love is handsome and love is kind
and love's a jewel when first it's new
but love grows old, oh and it grows cold
and then fades away lime morning dew
Track Name: hard times
let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears
for we all share sorrow with the poor
there's a song that will linger forever in our ears
oh, hard times come again no more

there's a song, a sigh of the weary
hard times, hard times come again no more
many days you have lingered outside my cabin door
oh hard times come again no more

while we seek mirth and beauty
and music bright and gay
there are frail forms waiting by the door
though their voices are silent
their pleading looks will say
oh, hard times come again no more

there's a song, a sigh of the weary
hard times, hard times, come again no more
many days you have lingered outside my cabin door
oh hard times come again no more

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