Kim & Reggie Harris | Steal Away: Songs from the Underground Railroad

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Folk: Political Spiritual: Traditional Gospel Moods: Mood: Patriotic
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Steal Away: Songs from the Underground Railroad

by Kim & Reggie Harris

A rich legacy of African-American folk songs...beautifully rendered by Kim and Reggie Harris on this powerful (and educational) recording.
Genre: Folk: Political
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Oh, Freedom
3:20 album only
2. No More Auction Block
2:09 album only
3. Let Us Break Bread Together
3:15 album only
4. Wade in the Water
3:34 album only
5. Go Down Moses
4:01 album only
6. Harriet Tubman/Steal Away
5:01 album only
7. Now Let Me Fly
1:30 album only
8. Sinner, Please Don't Let This Harvest Pass
4:28 album only
9. Trampin'
3:21 album only
10. Follow the Drinking Gourd
2:52 album only
11. Deep River/Swing Low
4:36 album only
12. Great Day
1:41 album only
13. Heaven Is Less Than Fair
7:13 album only
14. Free at Last
1:52 album only
15. Ain't I a Woman
2:14 album only
16. Steal Away (Reprise)
3:20 album only


Album Notes
On "Steal Away: Songs of the Underground Railroad," veteran folk duo Kim and Reggie Harris capture the power, spirit and messages of these encrypted songs in a rich and moving collection of largely traditional material. This album, the core of an ongoing series of workshops and presentations for students, teachers and families by the Harrises, has become an important educational tool and is stocked in many libraries and museums around the country.

The CD's booklet includes informative, detailed liner notes and the lyrics to its 16 selections, shedding light on their hidden or inherent meanings: "Wade in the Water" reminded runaways to follow rivers and streams for direction, cover, and food; "Follow the Drinking Gourd" taught slaves to use the Big Dipper to find the North Star as a celestial signpost to freedom; "Let Us Break Bread Together" signaled secret planning meetings. Other traditional songs here such as "Oh Freedom," "Now Let Me Fly," "Free at Last," and "No More Auction Block for Me" require no decoding. These standards are joined by three contemporary songs - "Harriet Tubman," a tribute to the escaped slave who became one of the most famous Underground Railroad "conductors"; "Ain't I a Woman," a musical arrangement of a famous speech by Sojourner Truth, a 19th century crusader dedicated to slavery's abolition and women's rights; and the Harrises' own "Heaven is Less than Fair," based on narrative accounts of escaped slaves about their flight to freedom and the loved ones they left behind.

The Harrises present these songs with simple grace, using yearning harmonies and acoustic guitar accompaniment to convey the melancholy of slavery, the glimmerings of hope for a better life, and the joy of achieving a hard-won freedom.

With talent, creativity, idealism, and over 25 years of experience in performing, recording and teaching on their resume, Kim and Reggie Harris are the consummate modern folk musicians. Whether entrancing folk festival crowds with their repertoire and warm harmonies or dramatizing underground railroad songs for schoolchildren in classroom workshops, the duo continues the folk tradition of preserving important songs from the past and adding meaningful, new compositions that reflect the world around them.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA., both Kim and Reggie were exposed to a wide range of musical styles and approaches throughout their childhoods. They met at a summer camp in 1974 and continued their friendship as fellow students at Temple University. As their relationship deepened, they combined their vocal and instrumental skills (both sing, and Reggie is an adept, expressive guitarist) and started performing in local Philadelphia clubs and coffeehouses. They were married in 1976, and by 1980 had hit the road in an ongoing tour schedule that still averages more than 250 dates a year.

Writing songs together, separately, or with other musicians, the Harrises have never lacked for material or subject matter. Their compositions have dealt with ever-relevant topics such as politics ("Big, Big World," "Read the Lips"), domestic violence ("Crack in the Wall"), the family of man ("Spoken in Love"), the joys and sorrows of love ("Sweetness of Your Smile," "Four Walls"), and a constant theme of social activism. Their lighthearted paean to automobile seatbelts ("Passive Restraint") has been featured on National Public Radio's "Car Talk" program.

As their live shows and albums illustrate, the Harrises are adept at recognizing good songs by other writers and making them their own. Besides recording classic compositions by folk deities like Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs, Kim and Reggie have also adopted obscure gems like Chris Farrell's "The Stars that Didn't Shine" (about Negro League baseball players), David Roth's idealistic "Earth," and roamed even farther afield to cover "Woyaya" by Osibisa, an African rock band of the '70s.

The Harrises' cultural background as African-Americans is a major component of their repertoire. Spirituals and gospel songs are liberally represented in their work, and they are well respected in scholastic circles for their presentations on black history for teachers and students alike. Their best known album, Steal Away: Songs of the Underground Railroad, serves as the backbone of their "Music and the Underground Railroad" workshops and can be found in museums and libraries around the country. They also present programs for teachers entitled "Dream Alive! A Celebration of Black History" and "Music of the Modern Civil Rights Era." Their latest project is a one-act opera for student and family audiences entitled "Friends of Freedom: An Underground Railroad Story."

Kim and Reggie and their frequent recording and performing companions Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, better known as Magpie, have also contributed to all three of the Appleseed label's tributes to the music of Pete Seeger - "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had a Song" and "Seeds."

Whether appearing at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, or P.S. #187 right down your street, Kim and Reggie Harris have established a strong identity in today's musical and sociopolitical environment. As all of us should strive to become, they are part of the solution to the world's ills - a balm for the troubled, an inspiration for the tired or apathetic, a musical force for positive change.



to write a review

cindy warner

very impressive cd. moving songs with much historical significance
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of songs. they were well presented, great listening, and an excellent teaching tool. thank you

Diane Matthews

Beautiful voices interpret the soul of the music.
I found the music touched me deeply listening to this CD. The voices blend beautifully interpreting the feelings and passion written in the songs. As a dance diretor doing research on the Underground Railroad I found many songs that expressed the mood of that time and encouraged my creative juices to flow.

Sue Michiels

Fantastic reference for African American History
I will use every one of the songs on this CD.
a real gem of a CD.


Touched the very heart of my soul
Bought my copy while on vacation in Harpers Ferry, West VA.
When something touches you as deeply as this music did, the beauty must be shared! Had to buy a copy for a very special friend.


Beautifully done; haunting reminders of difficult times in our history and the p

Great source for teaching about African American History and slavery!
Great CD. Loved the short annotations that accompany each song. Very informative. Good teaching tool.

Jodie Brown

The concentration of great songs on this CD makes it a great resource for classroom and music teachers. I'm refreshing my memory of many of the songs in order to teach them to my music students and I plan to loan the CD to one of my colleagues for use with her classroom study of the Underground Railroad. The music is wonderfully accessible.

Heather Schapansky

Great tool for teaching about Harriet Tubman!
I thought the CD was well done. It was a great teaching tool! The students could get more of a picture in their mind of what it might have been to be a slave.


The vocals were strong, rhythmic , melodious, and harmonic. Reggie and Kim's CD
The CD was a pleasant surprise. The quality of the vocals, sound, and recording was outstanding. I am sold and so are my friends...

Jimw W

Great, Inspiring and Powerfull
The music and the words are so powerful, that they take you back in time. It is as if you were there during the Underground railroad saga. I really enjoy this Cd -Thank you.
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