Al Fleeman | The Water is Wide Variations

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The Water is Wide Variations

by Al Fleeman

An "evocative, beautiful" electronic and orchestral 'soundtrack' inspired by the history, people and stunning landscapes of Argyll and the Hebrides.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Water is Wide
5:08 $0.99
2. A Final Glimpse
2:56 $0.99
3. Looking Up
5:44 $0.99
4. Maybe This Year...
7:13 $0.99
5. Lady's Rock
2:41 $0.99
6. In Ruins
4:17 $0.99
7. Contact
2:14 $0.99
8. Far Away Remembered
4:37 $0.99
9. Stars
15:16 $1.98
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
1. THE WATER IS WIDE - He stands alone on Tarbert dock and watches, from a little way off, as the fishermen ready their vessel; as they prepare, once again, to risk their lives for their work... just as he used to do. He watches as the boat leaves the sanctuary of harbour, as it heads out proudly, defiantly to the open sea. He watches until it shrinks into the distance, until it is a dot on the horizon, until he can see it no more. Head bowed, he turns and slowly, sadly walks back into the mundanity of his land-locked existence.

2. A FINAL GLIMPSE - The island of Hirta, St Kilda was, for hundreds of years, home to the westernmost inhabitants of the British Isles. But in 1930, after another year of failed crops, and with the promise of a better life, the islanders made the decision to leave their homes. As the ship approached to take them to the mainland, to new lives, the islanders were full of excitement and anticipation. But as they sailed away, and as ancient ties were severed, the tears began to flow...

3. LOOKING UP - The stunning hills and glens of Argyll make an ideal training ground for RAF fighter pilots to practise their flying skills. In July 2009, on one such mission, a jet crashed into the hillside. Tragically, instantly, two airmen lost their lives. A few days later, I drove past the place where it happened - a bleak, beautiful spot called 'Rest and be Thankful'. I parked, looked up at the sky, and had the strongest sense that they were still up there swooping and soaring through the air for all eternity.

4. MAYBE THIS YEAR - Robert Burns' poem might give a clue, but it's not until you spend some time in Scotland that the importance of the New Year tradition here becomes evident. It's a time to look back with affection, and forward with hope and resolution, as this song does: If you have so far made no headway in reaching your goals, if your dreams have eluded you until now, then Maybe This Year...

5. LADY'S ROCK - The 'rock' is located off the coast of Mull. At high tide it is fully submerged but, as the tide ebbs, the rock emerges into the daylight for a few short hours before, once again, disappearing beneath the water.
The 'Lady' is Lady Catherine, whose husband, Lachlan MacLean of Duart, abandoned her on the rock at low tide and left her to drown. She was rescued by a passing boat but Lachlan wasn't so fortunate: Within a few weeks, he was dead – murdered.

6. IN RUINS - Around 1760, an enterprising accountant calculates that landlords could increase profits by 'replacing' their tenants with sheep-farming – just a theory... 'The Highland Clearances' began in 1762 and in the next years, thousands of crofter families were evicted from their homes. Many, left with little means of supporting themselves, suffered greatly - starvation was a very real danger. Today, numerous ruined villages in Argyll and beyond stand as witness to the devastation caused by the callous greed of a few men.

7. CONTACT - There is a small, seldom-visited sea-loch with a narrow rocky promontory. It is a place of perfect peace and solitude. One still, sunny day I was sitting, looking across the mirror-smooth water, when I noticed, to one side, something break the surface. There, so close I could almost reach out to it, a seal watched me with big round eyes. I looked into those eyes and talked quietly to him. Eventually he sank silently beneath the water, a gentle ripple the only evidence of his visit. Magical.

8. FAR AWAY REMEMBERED - Malaya, 1941: Outnumbered allied forces, among them the 2nd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, were locked in a desperate, doomed battle to hold back the invading Japanese army. It became the task of the Argylls to slow the enemy advance. The role was vital and enabled thousands of allied soldiers to be safely evacuated, but the cost to the Argylls was tragically high. This piece remembers them.

9. STARS - It was one of those bitter winter nights: Coal-black storm clouds filled the sky. Dimming the lights to match my mood, I sat at the piano, closed my eyes and left the world behind for a while. When I opened my eyes I saw, through the window, stars in place of clouds. Going outside, I looked up and stared in wonder at a thousand points of light, at the sweep of the Milky Way, at the universe revealed before me. The Argyll sky on a clear night is an awe-inspiring sight.



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