Muddy York | Scatter the Ashes - Music of Early Ontario

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Folk: Celtic Folk Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Scatter the Ashes - Music of Early Ontario

by Muddy York

Innovative interpretations of historical music from early Canada
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Northumberland Waltz
1:08 $0.99
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2. Reel to Reel
4:51 $0.99
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3. Arise & Come Along
4:38 $0.99
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4. How We Got Up to The Woods Last Year
2:09 $0.99
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5. Promenade / Waltz
5:19 $0.99
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6. Black Eyed Susan / Scatter the Ashes / The Glorious Minority
2:37 $0.99
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7. Back of the Haggard / Shropshire Militia Hornpipe
2:44 $0.99
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8. Moccassin Dance
1:47 $0.99
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9. I'll Be A Tory / Up And Waur Them A'
4:25 $0.99
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10. The Wounded Hussar / Kate of Coleraine / Garland of Love
5:22 $0.99
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11. Monymusk
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Anne Lederman and Ian Bell started playing music together in Toronto in 1978. Along with Kate Murphy they formed the folk group Muddy York, with an eye towards presenting the traditional songs and dance music of Canada, especially Ontario, to a new audience. They performed at festivals, barn dances and church basements in Ontario and the western provinces until Kate left the group in about 1982. Ian and Anne carried on a a duo and in 1984 they created Scatter the Ashes.

Scatter The Ashes was a recording that was some time in the making. Muddy York had already been performing Canadian traditional music around Toronto and at Canadian folk festivals for a few years when Anne and I first became aware of the Allan Ash Manuscript. Composer John Beckwith had come across the collection while preparing a program of early Canadian music for the Music at Sharon concert series in the historic Sharon Temple in Newmarket Ontario. In 1981 I heard the “Cobourg Waltz” from the Ash Manuscript on a radio broadcast of the concert (God bless the CBC) and mentioned it to Anne, who co-incidentally was studying composition with John Beckwith at the time. It wasn’t long before we had our own copy (of a copy of a copy of a copy) of the book. (The original was, and presumably still is in the National Library in Ottawa)

The manuscript was a treasure trove of music and we were soon looking around to see if there were more sources like that around. There were, and I managed to get a small Canada Council grant to buy a bit of time to seek them out (in libraries and archives in Toronto and Ottawa for the most part) look through them, copy parts of them, and find out what I could about the music they contained.

The instrumental music music on this record is the result of that work. It is almost all taken from the personal tune books of 19th century Ontario musicians. The bulk of it comes from Allan Ash manuscript. Allan Ash was a farmer and musician born in 1800 in Baltimore, near Cobourg Ontario, about 80 kilometers east of Toronto. His manuscript is particularly important since as someone born in Upper Canada, his repertoire represents music that came to him. Ash also built a number of fiddles, a hammered dulcimer, and a threshing machine. He died in 1889.

Some tunes on the record are from the John Buttrey manuscript. It too can be found in the National Library. In the original album liner notes it was identified as the David Fife manuscript. The name was revised when the original donors realized it had actually come from the other side of the family, who lived in the Peterborough area. The Buttrey book contains over 1000 tunes and seems to have belonged to a military musician who served in the British army during the Napoleonic wars. Because of its scope, it became a kind of “Rosetta Stone” for identifying nameless tunes in other manuscripts of the era.

The James Dow manuscript is a collection of Scottish reels and strathspeys compiled by a musician from Ingersoll, Ontario. It is dated 1866. It can be found in the Special Collections section of the Toronto Public Library.

The Ira Doan manuscript (circa 1834) was compiled by a member of the “Children of Peace”, the religious sect that established the Sharon Temple in Newmarket. Music was an important part of their worship, but Doan’s book contains secular selections as well.

The songs on this record were learned from a variety of sources, including period broadsides and newspapers. Others were learned from more recent field recordings collected from living traditional singers in Ontario.

Click below to download a PDF of the original 1984 liner notes. We have learned a thing or two since then, so there are a few discrepancies (nothing too major) between this and what’s on the website.

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