Jody Kruskal | "Sing To Me, Concertina Boy"

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Folk: Minstrel Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Mood: Fun
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"Sing To Me, Concertina Boy"

by Jody Kruskal

17 concertina songs and tunes from the ridiculous to the sublime. Vintage crooning of some very very old popular songs with a quirky nostalgia including traditional folk, variety, music hall, 2nd Avenue and Hawaiian hapa haole. You will smile.
Genre: Folk: Minstrel
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Multitasking Daddy
2:46 $0.99
2. When The Taters Are All Dug
3:46 $0.99
3. Down By The Railroad Track
5:13 $0.99
4. Princess Poo-Poo-Ly
2:39 $0.99
5. The Weaver And His Wife
5:12 $0.99
6. Bid Me Farewell
3:13 $0.99
7. The Log Driver's Waltz
3:47 $0.99
8. Mazel
3:43 $0.99
9. Gooseberry Pie
4:04 $0.99
10. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
4:13 $0.99
11. Down In Sally's Garden
3:38 $0.99
12. Bergomask
5:40 $0.99
13. Kiszka Frailach
3:10 $0.99
14. My Waikiki Girl
4:11 $0.99
15. Please Mister Conductor
5:13 $0.99
16. Unrest
2:58 $0.99
17. Hommage À Pierre Imbert
5:27 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Sing to me, concertina boy” - 17 concertina songs and tunes from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Jody Kruskal Music 105 © 2011 Jody Kruskal

Vintage crooning of some very old popular songs with a quirky and charming nostalgia. This unexpected mix of amusing songs and tunes includes traditional folk, variety, music hall, 2nd Avenue, Hawaiian hapa haole and original numbers. Jody’s vocals and concertina are featured along with a host of musicians playing fiddle, viola, mandolin, guitar, ukelele, acoustic bass, trombone, hammered dulcimer, cathedral pipe organ plus saxophones, washboard and jaw harp chorus. It’s a big warm acoustic sound that presents this antique music as it was meant to be; vibrant, fresh and new.

Jody Kruskal web site:

From the liner notes:

John Dexter: viola (10)
Paul Friedman: fiddle (1, 3)
Bob Jones: guitar (1, 8, 14)
Marco Brehm: bass (1, 5, 10, 13)
Bill Peek: pipe organ (16), guitar (2)
Walter J, Hawkes: trombone (14), ukelele (13)
Sam Zygmuntowicz: fiddle (8, 14) mandolin (2)
Bill Ruyle: hammered dulcimer, (6, 12, 17), percussion (17)
Jody Kruskal: vocals and Anglo concertina (all), saxophones (14), percussion (10, 16), banjo ukelele and jaw harp (5)1

1. Multitasking Daddy - I wrote this song on a 15-hour solo car trip down to West Virginia. By the end of the trip I was having imaginary conversations with my young son, who gave me this advice.

2. When the Taters Are All Dug - From Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks, collected and edited by Roland Palmer Grey. “This broadside was contributed by Mr. Chadburne of Mattawamkeag, Maine, in 1916. He bought it from a young fellow who had finished work in the potato country and was without money. Mr. Chadburne thinks him the author of it, but is not certain. The young man thus paid his way. Tune: ‘A Mother's Appeal to Her Boy’ composed by E.J. Sullivan.” Great story, great lyrics, but what about the tune? I did find a song published in 1889 by the name indicated, but it’s in waltz time and just does not fit the “Taters” text. So here it is with a tune of my own.

3. Down By the Railroad Track - Fiddler Paul Friedman joins me on this fine novelty number recorded in 1930 with words and music by Frank Crumit and Billy Curtis. Paul learned the song in 1977 from old-timer Jehile Kirkhuff and it’s Kirkhuff’s version we present here. Frank Crumit (1889–1943) was an American star in vaudeville, Broadway and early radio. Recordings of his clever songs and warm vocals sold millions of records in the US and England.

4. Princess Poo-Poo-ly Has Plenty Pa-Pa-Ya - A charming hapa haole song from Hawaii. Don McDiarmid’s son writes, "This song was written on the spot, at a party in Haleiwa by Doug Renolds with help from my dad who happened to be there.” © 1940 Lyrics & Music: Doug Renolds, Don McDiarmid, published by Harry Owens.

5. The Weaver and His Wife - Long ago I saw a fragment of this song and tune called “Lie Low” in the book Vermont Folk-Songs & Ballads (1931) by Helen Hartness Flanders and George Brown. From the collections of Laws and Roud I found other fragments and have finally assembled them here with a few additions of my own to make it all hang together.

6. Bid Me Farewell - I wrote this for a 2002 Shakespeare on the Sound production of As You Like It. The title comes from the last three words of the play. When we heard Rosalind speak these lines, Bill Ruyle on hammered dulcimer and I would launch into this happy tune while the company took their bows to thunderous applause. 

7. The Logdriver’s Waltz - A friend told me that when he was young, all elementary school kids in Canada sang this song in the classroom. Words and music by Wade Hemsworth: used by permission.

8. Mazel - In Yiddish, the word for luck or fortune is Mazel. It is also the title of this Molly Picon song from the 1938 Yiddish film Mamela (Little Mother). Fiddler Sam Zygmuntowicz wrote the English translation. Original Yiddish words by Molly Picon and music by Abraham Ellstein.

9. Gooseberry Pie - This poem was published in The Canadian Horticulturist, Volume 18, 1895 by the Fruit Growers Association of Ontario. I first heard this song from Andy Davis of Vermont. Andy however, sings the praises of “Blueberry Pie.”

10. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams - A torch song of the Great Depression, originally written for 20th Century Fox's first musical, the 1934 film Moulin Rouge. Words and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren.

11. Down in Sally’s Garden - This text is from a copybook handwritten by Joseph Goffe (1766-1846), dated 1784 in Bedford, New Hampshire. Goffe’s lyrics are related to the Irish ballad "The Rambling Boys of Pleasure" and both texts share lines with the William Butler Yeats poem “Down by the Salley Gardens” published in 1889. The tune I use is an English variant of the Irish air “An Traigh Mughdhorma” and one I have always associated with the Yeats song. Yeats wrote that his famous poem was "an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself.” 

12. Bergomask - I wrote this tune using mixed meter and an extended form in the 1990s as a concertina solo. A decade later, I tried to use some of these themes in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is how the title got attached. Later, I made an arrangement for concertina and hammered dulcimer. Bill Ruyle and I performed it at the 2nd Incredible Concertina concert in NYC organized by the Center for the Study of Free-Reed Instruments in 2004. Shortly after the concert we recorded the piece and finally, 20 years later, it has found a home here on this CD.

13. Kiszka Frailach - There is a very old Russian dance called Karapet whose tune also works well for New England Contra dancing. It sounds a lot like “Who Stole the Kishka” (words and music by Walter Solek and Walter Dana). Somehow the kiszka and the karapet got stuck together in our heads and so... here it is, a Russian/Polish/Jewish frailach, a happy Jewish dance about sausages.

14. My Waikiki Girl - In 1958 Decca records had a new release called Music for a Hawaiian Luau. 40 years later, I picked up a copy for 50 cents at a stoop sale here in Brooklyn — great music including this song by Jack Pitman & Eaton Magoon Jr.

15. Please Mr. Conductor - This tearjerker was written by J. Fred Helf and E. P. Moran, and published in 1898. I learned it from Tony Saletan in the 1970s. He sang it at a festival workshop titled “Sing ‘Em and Weep.” Pathos or bathos? You decide.

16. Unrest - In 1964, the Unitarians updated their hymnal. The hymnal commission admired a poem by Don Marquis (also author of “Archie and Mehitabel”) called “Unrest.” His poem celebrates our evolutionary spirit, and the commission wedded this text to an old shape note melody called “Salvation,” from Ananias Davisson's Kentucky Harmony, ca. 1815. I sang “Unrest” many times as a child chorister with the Chicago Children’s Choir and it always sent chills up my spine. This recording features UU organist and choral director Bill Peek playing the majestic pipe organ housed in the lofty sanctuary at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY.

17. Hommage à Pierre Imbert - Like the concertina, the hurdy gurdy is small enough to hold, yet can sound like a whole band. Hurdy gurdy master Pierre Imbert sounded like a whole orchestra, and it was a great joy to play with him on his visits to New York. His musicianship and the sound we made together inspired this tune of mine. Sadly, Pierre passed away in 2001. I never had the chance to hear how he might have played the tune that bears his name. Bill Ruyle on hammered dulcimer makes the tune his own in this performance, but the memory of Pierre’s music lives on in my mind’s ear.



to write a review

Perry Werner

Jody Does It Again!!!
Beautifully performed and recorded. Jody's storytelling abilities through his music are captivating. His muscianship wonderful and playing unsurpassed. Easily detectable is the fun that Jody is having performing this wonderful collecion of songs along with his excellent "backup" crew. I detected a bit of "maturity" in Jody's vocals which add to the performances. As for his concertina playing, well, after listening to mostly celtic connected anglo playing most of the time (which I love to listen to), Jody's style of playing is something different. Very clean and refreshing. An English style but different. Maybe an American style of playing. A master of his instrument, which you can almost feel the beauty of on this recording. Nice and clean. You can tell this great isntrument is being played by a great performer. On several of the tracks I had to remember that this was an anglo concertina not a duet which occasionally some of the playing reminded me of. Again, masterful playing. I've had the CD for 2 days and have listened to it three times. As you might guess, i love it!!!