Malcolm Rigby began his working life down the coal mines of Lancashire, England. Initially, he began singing songs of industrial life and the sea songs and shanties of nearby Liverpool. Leaving the U.K. for the last time almost forty years ago, he continued to sing the traditional songs of the British Isles in a score of countries during his working career. Finally settling in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Malcolm met Jessica and Tom on the local folk scene and they formed WATERBOUND.
As a child, Tom Clunie wanted a violin, but his father gave him a harmonica instead, thus beginning Tom's lifelong love of folk music. Tom has deep roots in the music of Scotland because of his family heritage, and he is a fixture in the Santa Cruz folk scene. In addition to being an integral part of WATERBOUND, Tom has served his community as a holistic chiropractor for 23 years.
Jessica Bryan comes out of the East Coast folk music revival that happened in the late 1960s and still sings many of the traditional and contemporary songs she learned during that time. Her ancestors came from Antrim County, Ireland, and Jessica possesses a strikingly clear voice reminiscent of the best of Irish singing. She was the founder and director of the Berkeley Free Folk Festival from 1996-2000.
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The simplicity of folk music satisfies a deep need in the human spirit. Voices joined in the expression of common feelings bring forth an ecstasy that sustains us through difficult times. Thanks to the writers and singers of these songs. We hope you enjoy our music and that you stay ever "high and dry."
GLENDY BURKE: Written by Stephen Foster in 1860 in honor of an actual steamboat that sank in 1855. A jaunty tune, it fits well on the banjo and is fun to sing.
GIN AND RASPBERRY: A haunting song from New Zealand by Martin Curtis. The Gin and Raspberry was the Cardrona Valley's richest claim in the 1862 gold rush. Legend has it that the mine owners poured a drink appropriately called "gin and raspberry" for all hands whenever an ounce of gold was taken from a bucket of dirt.
PADDY WORKS ON THE RAILWAY: This song probably originated with Irish laborers in the U.S. in the mid-19th Century and may well have found its way back to the U.K. as a sea shanty. Here Malcolm sings a collation of versions collected in Lancashire and Yorkshire, learnt many years ago from Ewan MacColl.
AS I ROVED OUT: Does the "surprise" ending in this traditional Irish song surprise anyone except the young damsel in the song?
KINGDOM COMING/OVER THE WATERFALL: "Kingdom Coming," also known as "The Year of Jubilo," was written by Henry Work in 1872. We have combined it with "Over The Waterfall," a popular, old-time American tune.
YOUNG SAILOR CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME: Collected by H.E.D. Hammond in Dorset, England in 1906. Malcolm learned this song from the collection Marrowbones edited by Frank Purslow. The song has many variants and several descendants in the U.S., including the well-known "Streets of Laredo" and "St. James Infirmary." ("Flash Girls" refers to women of the red-light district.)
BUTTERMILK HILL: As a result of world affairs, Jessica was moved to bring out this old classic about a woman who loses her lover to war. This is an American version of a traditional Irish song and we dedicate it to women everywhere who may have untimely lost someone.
NOAH'S ARK SHANTY ("A Long Time Ago"): This is one version of a shanty, probably of African-American origin, popular on both English and American ships. According to Stan Hugill, by the 1890s it was the most-used halyard song of them all, with German and Scandinavian versions as well as the many variants in English. Malcolm learned this version from the U.K. a cappella group Swan Arcade, "a long time ago!"
DANCING AT WHITSUN by John Austin Marshall: During the First World War, so many of the men were killed that there were not enough of them left to perform the traditional Morris dances. As a result, the women danced in order to preserve this treasured cultural tradition. This is a subtle but powerful anti-war song.
OH THE WIND AND RAIN: The tragic lyrics of this song are hidden within a bouncy, upbeat melody. There are many versions of this song, known by many different names, but always including two sisters in conflict. We learned this version from the singing of Jody Stecher. Tom wrote the final five verses to "balance out the karma."
BUNGLE RYE: Yet another song about a sailor and his mishaps with the fairer sex. Beware of anyone who tries to give you a basket to hold while they "run for your change" - it could be a bomb, or a baby.
BLOODY COLD COMFORT: A song by Davie Robertson of East Lothian, Scotland that grabbed Malcolm immediately because of its stark, bitter blackness. Anglicized slightly for American audiences with apologies to Davie.
BEDLAM BOYS: This favorite of the Renaissance, Pagan and folk music communities everywhere is about an insane asylum. It is rarely played on the banjo. Jessica added the last verse because the song reminded her of The King of Hearts, a movie where all of the inhabitants of the local asylum are let out and take over the town. An Internet search on the alternative title "Mad Tom of Bedlam" yields some very interesting and risquÃ© verses (not sung here!).
SOLDIER'S JOY/GIRL I LEFT BEHIND: "Soldier's Joy" is a tune of unknown origin from the British Isles that has been appropriated by old-time musicians here in the U.S. "The Girl I Left Behind" is a tune played in America during the revolt against King George (not the one currently in the White House!).
SHIFT AND SPIN: There are many variants of this song, but the original was written by a social worker from Paisley, Scotland, Ewan McVicar, about the thread-mill girls of that area. Malcolm first heard the song by Ray Fisher at the Holmfirth Folk Festival in the U.K.
WATERBOUND: This song relates the fantasy of a young suitor who hopes that the creek will rise while he is courting his beloved, so he'll be "unfortunately" stranded with her.
1. Glendy Burke
2. The Gin and Raspberry
3. Paddy Works on the Railway
4. Roved Out
5. Kingdom Coming/Over the Waterfall
6. Young Sailor Cut Down in His Prime
7. Buttermilk Hill
8. Noah's Ark Chantey
9. Dancing at Whitsun
10. Oh the Wind and Rain
11. Bungle Rye
12. Bloody Cold Comfort
13. Bedlam Boys
14. Soldier's Joy/Girl I Left Behind
15. Shift and Spin