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Ryans Fancy - Songs from the Shows Ryans Fancy
Songs from the Shows
Price CD: CDN$19.95
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TRACKS
  1. The Wild Goose
  2. Come Along
  3. Go To Sea No More
  4. The Cliffs of Baccalieu
  5. The Boys of the Island
  6. The Ryans and the Pittmans
  7. Farewell to Tarwathie
  8. The Squid Jiggin' Ground
  9. The Jam on Jerry's Rock
  10. The Hills of Glenswilly
  11. As Johnny Went Ploughin'
  12. The Green Shores of Fogo
  13. A Great Big Sea / The Copper Plate Reel
  14. Come to the Bower
  15. Fear a'Bheata


  16. line
    Additional Track Information
    1. The Wild Goose
      Vocal: Dermot
      We thought it appropriate to open this collection with a Canadian song which to us, at the time, reflected the mood of the great Land of Labrador where some of our earlier shows were filmed.
    2. Come Along
      Vocal: Denis
      A Uist Marching Song, performed on a show which brought us to Washabuck on Cape Breton Island for a fine evening of entertainment provided by a family whose musical roots span several generations in the area.
    3. Go To Sea No More
      Vocal: Fergus
      The dangers and distractions of shore leave often led to misadventure for many a hapless sailor. Sound advice is given in this song to other sea faring men, council that few sailors ever took to heart.
    4. The Cliffs of Baccalieu
      Vocal: Denis
      Baccalieu is an island approximately two miles off shore at the northern entrance to Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Sailing vessels returning from the Labrador fishery were quite often at the mercy of treacherous winds and turbulent seas so prevalent around this coastline.
    5. The Boys of the Island
      Vocal: Dermot
      Prince Edward Island proved to be a picturesque setting for several of our television shows. As it has been a farming community for centuries we found many songs that sang the praises and virtues of life on the land.
    6. The Ryans and the Pittmans
      Vocal: Fergus
      In 1971 having lived in Toronto for four years we decided to move to the East Coast and make Newfoundland our home. We were attracted by both the music and the people of Atlantic Canada. One of the first local songs we added to our repertoire was this great classic. We performed it on a show about the islands in Placentia Bay.
    7. Farewell to Tarwathie
      Vocal: Denis
      The themes of many of our episodes dealt with seagoing people and the reality of their leaving home for long periods of time. Whaling voyages were undertaken by thousands of men from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to "the cold coast of Greenland".
    8. The Squid Jiggin' Ground
      Vocal: Dermot & Fergus
      The community of Change Islands, Newfoundland, was the location for the performance of this song. Mr. Art Scammell captures, in colourful detail, the activities involved in harvesting this valuable source of food and bait from the waters of Notre Dame Bay.
    9. The Jam on Jerry's Rock
      Vocal: Fergus
      Wherever men worked in the woods in Atlantic Canada this song, describing one of the greatest dangers facing a riverman involved in the logging industry, would have been a favourite among the shantyboys in the lumber camps. We considered this song an obvious choice when we filmed in the area of St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
    10. The Hills of Glenswilly
      Vocal: Denis
      There are versions of this song to be found in the repertoires of traditional performers in all of the Atlantic Provinces. "Heritage" was the theme for the show in which this version was performed.
    11. As Johnny Went Ploughin'
      Vocal: Fergus
      In this day and age of "technological wizardry" the art and industry of working the land with horse and plough is practiced by few. For those urbanites contemplating a return to rural life this song offers some sound advice - another gem from Prince Edward Island.
    12. The Green Shores of Fogo
      Vocal: Denis
      Parts of Fogo Island, off the north East Coast of Newfoundland have very strong ancestral connections to Ireland. This haunting lyric and melody, based on an older Irish love song, is reputed to have been composed by a sailor for his girl-friend in Fogo.
    13. A Great Big Sea / The Copper Plate Reel
      Vocal: Dermot
      This jocular song is reputed to describe a tidal surge that occurred as a result of heavy storm conditions during the fall of 1920 in the historic, picturesque town of Bonavista, Newfoundland. Because of the shows we were afforded the wonderful opportunity of visiting many such towns and villages in Newfoundland and throughout the Atlantic Region. The song is followed by The Copper Plate Reel.
    14. Come to the Bower
      Vocal: Fergus
      The historical ties between Newfoundland and Ireland are well documented. We felt that this song was appropriate for a show that celebrated these connections.
    15. Fear a'Bheata
      Vocal: Dermot
      While researching for songs to suit the various themes of the Ryan's Fancy Television shows, we were struck by the wealth of material that was and is still available in archives and other collections throughout Atlantic Canada. We leave you with this old love song that is still a favourite at musical gatherings in Cape Breton.
    16. "Ryan's Fancy can take a large part of the credit for the strength of the Atlantic Canadian music scene... it is their energy that we have striven to capture... we were lucky to have such an example"

      Great Big Sea

      "...North America's best Irish band"

      Peter Gzowski

      "I guess I first met Ryan's Fancy at the Legion in Pleasantville, St. John's, in the autumn of 1973. I was a newly arrived CFA television producer who at the tender age of twenty-nine had uprooted his wife and two young children from their comfortable suburban existence in beautiful downtown 'Ontario' to travel to a new life and a new home in Newfoundland. "

      "At the time, the early 70s, Ryan's Fancy was enjoying a growing popularity in Atlantic Canada, particularly at the Strand Lounge in St. John's. The boys too, had uprooted themselves from their native Ireland and had chosen to settle in Newfoundland, pursuing both careers in music, and their individual dabblings in academia at Memorial University. One of the first challenges thrown at me upon arriving in St. John's, was to get a CBC National Network Series out of Newfoundland as quickly as I could. That somewhat by chance meeting at the Pleasantville Legion, was the beginning of a wonderful professional and personal relationship with Denis, Dermot, and Fergus, that has spanned nearly three decades, at least three television series, many Network Television Specials, and still exists to this day."

      "From 1974 to 1983, the Ryan's Fancy television shows, in various configurations, traveled extensively throughout Atlantic Canada. We journeyed from Charlotte County, New Brunswick, to the banks of the mighty Miramichi; from Dorchester Penitentiary to Ingonish, Cape Breton; from Orwell Corner, Prince Edward Island, to Change Islands, Newfoundland; and from Voisey's Bay, Labrador, to Branch on the Cape Shore. It was always our philosophy to take the show to the people and let the people be our special guests. "

      "In 1999 and 2000, the local CBC Television station in St. John's rebroadcast some of the old Ryan's Fancy shows as part of an innovative series called 'Rewind'. The re-runs generated a great deal of interest and nostalgia. It was noted by many just how timeless the shows were and how well the music had survived the test of time. This collection of songs is a response to that renewed interest in the music of Ryan's Fancy. With the disbanding of Ryan's Fancy in 1983 I had placed most of the pre-recorded music tapes and field tapes from the shows in the care of the Folklore Archives at Memorial University in St. John's. The Archives have been the source of much of the material used on this recording."

      "I personally feel that Ryan's Fancy's arrival in Newfoundland was a pivotal event in the emergence of modern Newfoundland culture. As the trio played to packed houses night after night in the Strand Lounge in St. John's, young Newfoundlanders re-discovered traditional music. It was the music that their parents and grandparents had played and sung and danced to; music that for more than a generation had been deemed 'un-cool' but was still very much alive at kitchen 'parties' or parlour 'times'. Ryan's Fancy popularized the traditional music and dragged it kicking and screaming out of the closet for the enjoyment of all. The momentum generated by their arrival has not stopped: The Irish Descendants, The Punters, The Fables, Great Big Sea, and others, all credit Ryan's Fancy with lighting the spark."

      "Although the lads have not performed together as a group since 1983, music is still an important part of their lives. Denis Ryan, although being a successful investment manager living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has released two CDs. Dermot O'Reilly owns and operates a recording studio, in Torbay, Newfoundland and performs on a regular basis. Fergus O'Byrne lives in St. John's, Newfoundland, tours extensively throughout North America and Europe, and continues to be an influential force on the East Coast music scene."

      Great memories,
      Jack Kellum
      Executive Producer Performance Programs
      CBC Television
      Halifax, Nova Scotia


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