Jim McGrath | Last of the Romantics

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Last of the Romantics

by Jim McGrath

A musical chronicle of post WWII-Newport. Jim's songs bring to life the recent past of the cast of amazing characters who populated Newport in the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s. Copyright Wepecket Island Records Inc.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Last of the Romantics
5:01 $0.99
2. The Lady With the Banjo
4:24 $0.99
3. Before They Close the Minstrel Show
5:25 $0.99
4. Rhode Island Red
3:40 $0.99
5. Stern Trawler Waltz
4:32 $0.99
6. It Ain't Rainin'
5:13 $0.99
7. Tin Can Sailor
3:56 $0.99
8. Times Are Getting' Hard
4:53 $0.99
9. Brown Bagger's Paradise
4:17 $0.99
10. Holy Grail
3:10 $0.99
11. Passing Through
3:33 $0.99
12. Hey, Friend
4:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Jim McGrath: Last of the Romantics
with Jim Bennett

Newport, Rhode Island has a storied and widely varied history. Its recent past – from World War II to the present – is among its most interesting epochs. Jim McGrath has been part of that recent history, both as one of the more colorful characters on the Newport scene for four decades, and as a chronicler of that period in his songs. His is the perfect voice for bringing the assembled people and places from that era to life.
Jim Bennett, also a longtime figure in Newport’s music scene, has worked with Jim McGrath as a member of the Reprobates since the early ‘70s. His mandolin, banjo and guitar accompaniments add just the right touch of informed musicality to these songs.
We all had a lot of fun helping Jim McGrath put this together. If nothing else, that fun should shine through this recording.
-- Jack Radcliffe, New Bedford, March, 2010

1. Last of The Romantics (Jim McGrath)
This was inspired by some of the colorful Newport waterfront characters who floated in and out of the harbor during the ‘70s. The town hadn’t yet made the transformation to a tourist Mecca and the Customs boys didn’t seem to be on the prowl as much as they currently are. This song was meant to be a sing-along and is essentially a Limerick.

2. Lady With The Banjo (Jim McGrath)
This song was fun to put together, just rhyming all the crazy place names around Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts. This was also put together in 1998, and over the years I’ve often wanted to add more verses (“She don’t ever want to quit, when she’s playing Misquamiquit”), but it could easily get out of hand and the song is long enough already. But if you like and want to sing it, hey! Try adding some verses yourself, but don’t lie awake at night doing it.

3. Before They Close The Minstrel Show (Bob Coltman)
A terrific song. I’ve had the sad honor of performing this song at services for friends who are headed for the great Folk Scene in the sky.

4. Rhode Island Red (Jim McGrath)
In Adamsville (a village in Little Compton) RI, set into a granite stone is a bronze relief of a proud chicken (see back of CD case), first bred there in 1854. It is now famous as the state bird.

5. Stern Trawler Waltz (Jim McGrath)
While sitting, dreaming and maybe sipping something, I started putting together a little waltz melody on the Gibson. Later on I composed some lyrics and refined and fitted the melody. I believe this was in late 1998.
I wrote what I intended to be a paean of sorts to the dwindling Rhode Island commercial fishing community. I’d had a taste (a brief taste) of commercial fishing on a small stern trawler in January, 1980. That gave me a great appreciation for the hard work and danger these vessels and their crews face. The skipper of the boat I was on, for example, was missing two fingers he had lost working a winch.

6. It Ain’t Rainin’ (Jim McGrath)
Last year (2009) had a long, depressing spate of wet weather from early April through late July. If things in your daily life aren’t going so well, be grateful for small things – like a sunny day.

7. Tin Can Sailors (Jim McGrath)
Long before Newport Harbor was frequented by pleasure boats it shared space with the U.S. Navy. It remained a Navy town until Nixon removed the fleet in 1974. I arrived in Newport in 1957, at the age of 18, assigned to duty as a hospital corpsman at the Newport Naval Hospital. Thus began my affiliation with that town.
The Navy ships docked there were primarily destroyers their escort ships. The town had what all Navy ports had: strip joints, ladies of the night, raucous saloons and Shore Patrol wagons.
There was “Blood Alley,” the Blue Moon Saloon and lots, lots more. Nary a fern nor a pair of topsiders was to be seen the entire length of Thames Street in the late ‘60s.

8. Times Are Getting Hard (Traditional, new lyrics Jim McGrath)
This is simply my rewrite of a song from the Great Depression. As the song says, let’s hope this current misery doesn’t last long.

9. Brownbagger’s Paradise (Jim McGrath)
Some people have simple objectives in life; they’re not that complicated.
The look on the man’s face as he emerged from Rex’s Liquor Store on Broadway in Newport one evening a few years ago led me to believe his objective for that day, at least, had been accomplished. Different strokes, etc. ...

10. Holy Grail (Jim McGrath)
From an “officer and a gentleman” to shelter resident, to a ward of the state in a nursing home where he died, the subject of this song was a longtime acquaintance of mine and his is a tragic story.
Tom drank Dewar’s Scotch and smoked Chesterfields that he kept in a lovely gold cigarette case. The whiskey and the cigarettes significantly hastened his demise, so the blame is not solely society’s.

11. Passing Through (Dick Blakeslee, additional verses by Jim McGrath)
This is meant to be sung along with. It’s not hard to think of other suitable verses. Make up your own and sing along.

12. Hey, Friend (Jim McGrath)
I composed this song sometime in the late ‘70s. I’ve left it out of the repertoire for the last 30 years. Can’t say why.
-- Jim McGrath, Newport, March, 2010

Vocals and rhythm guitar: Jim McGrath
Second guitar, mandolin and banjo: Jim Bennett
Backup Vocals: The Steadfast Stumblers (Don Barry, Jim Bennett, Erik Lindgren, Jim McGrath, Jack Radcliffe, Alec Redfearn and Steve Ventura)
Bass: Don Barry
Piano: Kent Kreutler
Violin: Rochelle Vaillancourt
Accordion: Alec Redfearn

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Sounds Interesting Studios, Middleboro, MA
Engineer: Rob Pemberton
Producer: Jack Radcliffe
Associate Producers: Jim Bennett and Don Barry
Graphics and Photography: Lori Bates, Bates Graphics, Newport, RI
Copyright 2010 Wepecket Island Records, Inc.
Mr. McGrath’s songs all published by Wepecket Island Productions (A.S.C.A.P.)
All rights, including reproduction and performance reserved.

Wepecket Island Records, Inc.
573 Rockdale Ave.
New Bedford, MA 02740



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