Mary Smith | Of Rogues and Lovers

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Folk: Traditional Folk World: Celtic Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Of Rogues and Lovers

by Mary Smith

Mostly traditional ballads from Ireland and Britain, ranging from upbeat to haunting and poignant.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Glenlogie (Bonnie Jean O'Bethelnie)
3:25 $0.99
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2. The Golden Vanity
3:53 $0.99
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3. As I Roved Out (Trooper and the Maid)
4:46 $0.99
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4. If I Were a Blackbird
5:55 $0.99
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5. The Newry Highwayman
3:19 $0.99
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6. The Snows They Melt the Soonest
3:30 $0.99
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7. The Humours of the King of Ballyhooley
3:58 $0.99
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8. Crazy Kate (The Elf King's Reel)
4:27 $0.99
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9. Swan Song
4:09 $0.99
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10. The Four Marys (Mary Hamilton)
6:57 $0.99
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11. Mattie Groves
5:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mary Smith is a traditional singer from central Virginia. Her father, Ronald Smith, was an avid collector of traditional American folk music, old time Country and Western, Bluegrass and Gospel. It was a natural step for her to take up the guitar, and her interest in the ballads of the Appalachian Mountains led to her to explore the traditional songs of England, Ireland and Scotland. She is a popular performer at festivals, coffeehouses and concert venues in Virginia and Washington, DC, has toured in the UK, and also gives educational presentations and workshops on traditional ballads.

Mary says of her music: “I’ve often been urged to do more “contemporary material” that “people can relate to”, but I’ve never taken that advice. I have to sing from the heart, and I feel like the traditional songs have drawn me to them and not the other way around. They still have something to say, and they still are relevant to all of us, if we are willing to listen. The essential human condition hasn’t changed over the centuries, and the roots of traditional music go deep into our collective soul. We still fall in love, we experience joy and regret, longing and fulfillment, loneliness and friendship. And all of these emotions and more are expressed in the song tradition, often more exquisitely than in any classically constructed poem or polished contemporary song. It is their simple humanity that makes them beautiful, and I hope that, through me, you will hear the voices of countless others who have lovingly sung and cherished the songs over the years.”

"Of Rogues and Lovers" contains nine traditional ballads and two songs by Scottish songwriter Andrew Connell. Guitarist Tomas Salcedo work out the guitar arrangements, and Irish trad musicians Chris Caldwell (bodhran), Brendan Monahan (whistle and bones) and Stevie Mulholland (fiddle, mandolin) added their accompaniment.

Glenlogie (Bonnie Jean O'Bethelnie) - This Scottish song is well over 300 years old, but the willfulness of teenaged girls hasn't changed! I love the image of spoiled little Jeannie Gordon "trippin' doon the stair", setting her eye on the handsome (but spoken for!) Glenlogie, throwing a temper tantrum and sassing her worried father, then manipulating the hapless Glenlogie into marrying her!

The Golden Vanity - There are many versions of this ballad, in which a ship's captain promises a reward to the cabin boy in return for his help in sinking an enemy ship, then leaves him in the sea to drown when the dangerous job is done. The captain mentioned is generally thought to be Sir Walter Raleigh.

As I Roved Out - As in most of the ballads with this theme - trooper meets maid and a seduction ensues - it turns out badly for the maid!

If I Were a Blackbird - In this song, a woman thinks of her sweetheart who has gone to sea. I see the blackbird as the woman's soul, which she projects in her imagination to her faraway lover.

The Newry Highwayman - An Irish song done to a traditional South American style guitar arrangement - it reminds me of another famous highwayman who robbed the rich and gave to the poor - ZORRO!

The Snows They Melt the Soonest - The enigmatic words, at times taunting and defiant, at times wistful and melancholy, combined with a hauntingly beautiful melody, make this song one of my favorites

The Humours of the King of Ballyhooley - A lighthearted Irish song about a bootlegger's courtship and (hasty) wedding.

Crazy Kate (The Elf King's Reel (A.Connell) - Kate is not crazy, she is what would have been called in the old days "pixie led". The legends warn of the dangers of human contact with supernatural beings such as elves and fairies....

Swan Song (A.Connell) - The pointless killing of a swan on Ladyton Loch in Galston, East Ayreshire, Scotland, sent waves of shock and outrage through the town. The swan was trusting and had no fear of men. As a commentary on senseless violence, this song is all too relevant to modern society.

The Four Marys - This dark ballad about a lady-in-waiting to Mary Queen of Scots, who was seduced, became pregnant, and in desperation killed her baby is surely one of the most troubling. "Last night there were four Marys....tonight there'll be but three...."

Mattie Groves - This lurid (but immensely entertaining) tale of adultery and revenge has appeared throughout England, Ireland and Scotland - all the way to the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. The story is timeless and would make prime fodder for any modern tabloid newspaper!

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