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Island Stories (Tom Bliss and Friends) SLIP 011

Buy now (UK)Buy now (USA) Please do not buy CDs from the US if you're based in Europe. It's not good carbon management to post albums twice across the Atlantic)! All tracks available from iTunes

IScover

1 Boat to Burhou (Bliss/Fitzgerald) 5:00 The Pipers Sons (SP)

2 The Casquets Light (Bliss) 1:32 Tom Napper Tom Bliss (SL)

3 Homecoming Day (Bliss) 7:03 Tom Bliss (with Charlie Greenslade, cornet, The Alderney Blowers, brass band, Alex Birch and Lee Flewitt, vocals) •

4 The Swinge (Bliss) 2.22 Tom Napper Tom Bliss (KP)

5 The Silverlode of Sark (Bliss) 5:43 The Pipers Sons (SP)*

6 St Pierre Lihou / The Sark Dance (Trad) 2.31 Tom Bliss (MM)

7 The Race (Bliss) 5.07 Slide (SS)

8 J’Ai Perdu Ma Femme / Le Gas De La Marine (Trad) 3.28 Tom Bliss •

9 The Merry Bells of Helier (Bliss) 4:16 Tom Napper Tom Bliss (KP)

10 Where Strangers Stare (Bliss/Trad arr Bliss) 6:12 Alex Birch and Tom Bliss •

11 The Grey Lady (Bliss) 5:45 Slide (DH)

12 Herm (Bliss) 2:08 Tom Bliss •

13 Turn and Face The Wind (Bliss) 5.11 Tom Napper Tom Bliss (SL)

14 Sunset at Saye (Bliss) 2:52 Tom Bliss (MM)

15 The Wreck of the Steamship Stella (Bliss) 5:56 The Pipers Sons (SP)

Reviews

• New tracks produced by Tom Bliss in Leeds and Alderney December 2006

• Reissued from previous albums:

(SS) From The Slippery Slope Slide - produced by Rod Holt in Otley 2001 SLIP 005

(SL) From The Silverlode Tom Napper Tom Bliss - produced by Phil Snell in Otley 2002 SLIP 006

(DH) From Downhill All The Way Slide - produced by Phil Snell in Otley 2003 SLIP 007

(KP) From The Kelping Tom Napper Tom Bliss - produced by Phil Snell in Otley 2005 SLIP 008

(MM) From Mixed Moss Tom Bliss - produced by Tom Bliss and Alistair Russell in Cleckheaton 2006 SLIP 009

(SP) From Stolen Pigs The Pipers Sons - produced by Rod Holt in Otley October 2006 SLIP 010

* The Toms version of 'Silverlode' on YouTube.

1 BOAT TO BURHOU (BLISS/FITZGERALD)

Burhou is an uninhabited bird sanctuary, with just a hut for shipwrecked mariners and hardy (or heartbroken) visitors, where predatory gulls are culled to protect a dwindling puffin population. The Brimtides is a reef in the Alderney Race. (The melody is based on David Fitzgerald’s Collumcille, which TB learned while filming on Burhou in 1990) CHRIS PARKINSON piano accordion, TB vocal, whistle, mandocello TONY TAFFINDER guitar, vocal TOM NAPPER octave mandolin, vocal (The Pipers Sons)

2 THE CASQUETS LIGHT (BLISS)

Les Casquets is a lethal cluster of rocks near Burhou TB mandocello, guitar TOM NAPPER mandolin, tenor banjo

3 HOMECOMING DAY (BLISS) introduced by HOME SWEET HOME (PAYNE/ROWLEY)

In 2005 Alderney finally designated Homecoming Day on the 15th Dec, the anniversary of the Islanders’ return after WWII. As they unveiled a plaque by the Sailing Club, Charlie Greenslade played ‘Home Sweet Home’ on his old teacher John McCarthy’s cornet. This song explains why TB vocal, guitar ALEX BIRCH, LEE FLEWITT vocals CHARLIE GREENSLADE John McCarthy’s cornet (pictured) THE ALDERNEY BLOWERS / REDBRIDGE BRASS arranged and conducted by JAMES SEAR

4 THE SWINGE (Bliss)

The Swinge is the passage that surges between Alderney and Burhou TB guitar, mandocello TOM NAPPER mandolin

5 THE SILVERLODE OF SARK (BLISS) 4.45

They really did stumble on silver in Sark, they did recruit Cornish miners, and they did ship ore all the way to Hull for smelting. Even the line about hearing the boulders rolling is true. The evidence for a catastrophic flood is less convincing, but the mine is certainly full of sea water now TB vocal, guitar TOM NAPPER mandolin, vocal TONY TAFFINDER bodhran, vocal CHRIS PARKINSON harmonica (The Pipers Sons)

6 ST PIERRE LIHOU / THE SARK DANCE (TRAD/BLISS / TRAD arr BLISS)

Two traditional dances from Sark, largely as collected by Peter Kennedy. St Peter Port is named for St Pierre, and there’s a ruined priory on Lihou, but no record of any saint called Pierre Lihou TB duet concertina, piano, melodica, fiddle, piano accordion

7 THE RACE (BLISS)

A retired fisherman is looking down from his room in the Jubilee Home, remembering his life working The Channel. Alderney has the fastest tides in the world - 9 knots: swifter than most local boats can motor. So, to go west (past Les Casquets towards Guernsey) you must leave harbour halfway down the ebb tide. To go east (to The Race and France) you leave on the flood. (Alderney fishermen call crabs ‘chancre’ and rabbits ‘fourlegs’ - or even ‘land mackerel’!). Dedicated to Wally Cauvain, who never made it to The Jubilee TB vocal, mandocello DEREK MAGEE whistle NEIL WHITAKER guitar JOHN LAYTON bass (Slide)

8 J’AI PERDU MA FEMME (TRAD) / LA GAS DE LA MARINE (TRAD)

Versions of this patois song were once popular on all the Islands. The pronunciation (‘r’s sounding more Scottish than French, for example) is taken from Kennedy’s recording of Ernest Sauvage on Guernsey in 1957. The singer loses his wife to ‘other men’ while planting cabbages. When she returns 8 days later, she’s been replaced by a willing servant girl. The tune is a polka from Jersey TB vocal, piano accordion, duet concertina, Scullion dulcimer, bass guitar, mandolin, melodica, harmonica

9 THE MERRY BELLS OF HELIER (BLISS)

‘The Death of Major Pierson’ by John Singleton Copley hangs in the National Gallery. It depicts the last land battle to date between England and France - on Jersey. The Islands have been ruled by The Duke of Normandy, currently Elizabeth II, since before the Norman Conquest. Only Chausey is actually French TB vocal, mandocello, bass, shaker TOM NAPPER octave mandolin

10 WHERE STRANGERS STARE (BLISS/TRAD arr BLISS)

Alderney’s Elizabethan wreck was discovered when Bertie Cosheril pulled up a harquebus musket in one of his lobster pots. Ever since, local divers, marine archaeologists and island volunteers have been trying to find out who she was - and who may have sailed - and died - in her. The diary was invented by TB, but its entries are based on real discoveries. (The tune is based, loosely, on Carrickfergus). ALEX BIRCH vocal TB voice, Scullion dulcimer, duet concertina, whistles

11 THE GREY LADY (BLISS)

There’s a small standing stone on the southern cliffs of Alderney, shaped like a young woman wrapped in a shawl (aka The Madonna Stone). The setting sun reveals the faint trace of a sad face on the seaward side. Is it an old gate post, a natural outcrop, a small monolith, a boundary marker - or something more sinister? TB vocal, guitar, duet concertina DEREK MAGEE mandolin, uilleann pipes NEIL WHITAKER guitar JOHN LAYTON bass ROD TAYLOR fiddle (Slide)

12 HERM (BLISS)

When Slide visited Alderney in 2002, TB took them to The Grey Lady to see the other Islands ranged along the horizon. He named them all one by one, and Neil said; “Herm? Couldn’t they decide what to call that one then?” TB Scullion dulcimer, mandolin

13 TURN AND FACE THE WIND (BLISS)

This song was written for, and first performed at, Sacha Fu Fen Quayle’s naming ceremony. Her father John (once an Aurigny pilot - hence the refrain) asked Tom for a song that would welcome Sacha to her new home in Alderney, while remembering the many thousands of Chinese babies every year who, as he so sensitively put it, “do not see the sun rise more than two or three times.” Sacha was born, and rescued, in Hunan province, which is known for its spicy food. TOM NAPPER lead vocal, mandolin, octave mandolin TB mandocello, tenor fiddle, vocal

14 SUNSET AT SAYE (BLISS)

Saye (pronounced soya - grockles and newcomers tend to omit the ‘a’) Bay is a perfect horseshoe of white sand, just over the dunes from Alderney's idyllic camp site - where one of Alderney’s four German slave labour camps once stood TB guitar, duet concertina

15 THE WRECK OF THE STEAMSHIP STELLA (BLISS)

There were once three lighthouses, of three different heights, on Les Casquets; St Peter, St Thomas and Donjon. They were arranged so that mariners could judge their bearing and position by the orientation of the lights. Reeks, however, could not see them because of the fog. One small boy survived because his mother, who tragically perished, had the presence of mind to tie his football by the laces to the collar of his shirt. His son is now Curator of the Alderney Museum. This disaster precipitated the introduction of safety regulations for shipping, and was a catalyst in the eventual nationalisation of the railways. There’s a memorial to Stewardess Mary Rogers in Liverpool Cathedral. TB vocal, guitar, bass TOM NAPPER mandolin, vocal CHRIS PARKINSON piano accordion, vocal TONY TAFFINDER bodhran, vocal (The Pipers Sons)