The Reason And Insight To Why This Album Was Made I
Information For Reviewer Notes The Moor Of Dundee
Leza Mesiah Best Of The British Ballads
I believe that not many people are preserving some of this traditional music from The British Isles. I have loved this music for at least 47 years and been singing them since I’ve been 9 years old.
Many of these songs were catalogued between 1882-1889 by a Harvard professor Francis James Child, thus they are called Child Ballads after him and not because they were written for children. (I get this question asked A LOT)
The purpose of this CD is to preserve a musical form and music that should not be forgotten. I want this music preserved for future generations and I feel these are some of the most wonderful and fairly easy to sing and remember songs that these younger generations should know about.
Music today is soooooooo overly produced and synthesized. Kids as well as many adults no longer know what a “natural” folk song sounds like. It’s not always perfect and it certainly isn’t always loaded with umpteen electronic effects. I think it’s sad. This CD is about preserving a part of our histories.
And did I mention for the last 40 years of my life I’ve worked only for radio stations. Rock, Jazz, Classical, Country. I started in high school. I wanted a pure down to earth form. So I produced a natural sound I liked and found there are thousands of people out there who share my view.
My first song is Molly Malone. “Cockles and Mussel’s”, may be a familiar tune of the 19th Century, but its legend goes back to at least the 17th Century. It’s first on my CD because it was the first song I sung at the first pub I visited during my first trip to Ireland. The 200 or so people in that pub outside of Shannon gave me such a thunderous applause it still takes my still brings me amazement of how they loved it and how surprised they were that I knew it and sung it to them so well.
#2. The Rogue Of Dundee—Originally a cast song back in the early 90’s. An original song, I wrote that has become my signature song and describes how I came to be in livin’ in Scotland! And it’s a great ale drinkin’ song for pirates!
#3 Barbra Allen, One of my favorite Child Ballads of course
#4 Scarborough Faire— The original name of the Faire I perform at. Its origin is from a ballad originally called the Elfin King. (Another original Child Ballad) This woman gives this man impossible tasks to perform if he is to be her true love. She doesn’t really want to marry him because he is an Elf. And her requests are impossible to fulfill.
#5 Ann Boleyn— This song also an original was written in honor of Shannon Bradley who plays Ann Boleyn. She says she loves it and it’s the only song she knows of where she doesn’t die! We got a good laugh out of that one. So True…True Dat!
6. House Carpenter—Another Child Ballad. I perfected playing this song by the time I was 12. Yep been playing it for almost 45 years now.
7. Black Velvet Band—Going to Van Damiens Land aka Australia. Another classic Irish pub tune.
8. The Ash Grove— The first British Ballad tune I heard and have been singing since I’ve been 9 years old. The earliest one I remember. So, now I’ve been singing this tune goin on 48 years…WOW, I’m glad I’m putting this down for you Mr. or Ms. Reviewer… A beautifully haunting Welsh Tune about a grave yard.
9. Drunken Sailor: This CD wouldn’t be complete without probably the most popular traditional Sea Chantey, ever. I normally don’t like effects on my voice, but I gotta admit I had fun with this one.
10. Greensleeves—The original song takes at least 16 minutes. I believe I’m singing the 8 minute version. A Broadside Ballad similar to a Child Ballad
11. Mbube—I sing this as the South African Lullaby it should be. I am after all a generic African Moorish Princess and I’ve never been Islamic. The Moor Of Dundee had fallen in love with a Scottish Pirate. (Listen to the words of “The Moor Of Dundee.)….But in this popular tune, Pete Seeger brought this back to American from South Africa and the Tokens turned it into a beloved American folk rock song. The word the African were saying was Mbube, the Americans heard Wimoweh. Everybody loves this folk song and I do it in its original tempo…Slow.
12. Pawn Porter—Another original song for a friend of mine who wanted to play my servant and carry my gear around faire. She also was responsible for the beer and ale runs.
13. Danny Boy aka Londonderry Air- Doesn’t really explanation, people love it.
14. Loch Loehman/Red Is The Rose—-The same tune for both, yet one talks of Scotland, One talks of Ireland….I combined them
15. Parting Glass/ Auld Lang Syne— We sing the Parting Glass everyday at closing gate since Scarborough Faire or as it’s known now Scarborough, The Renaissance Festival, inception. It also happens that Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne’ ( with a meaning that reflects “for the goode ole days”) complimented the Parting Glass and has been in rotation on Celtic Music Radio and others for many years.
"Van DIEMEN’S Land", I believe. And it’s certainly Loch LOMOND". I don’t think any of the songs chosen here are in danger of being lost, in fact a more hackneyed selection, it’s hard to imagine.