Wayfaring Stranger Album Liner Notes

Wayfaring Stranger Album CoverWayfaring Stranger (1995, 2001)

Album Liner Notes

1. Samhradh, Samhradh --- This evocative Gaelic air is “Summertime, Summertime.” I learned it from a mysterious Chieftains rendition --- and it assumed its flowing new ways during recording.

2. She’s Like the Swallow --- A gem from Newfoundland.
Rowena’s Waltz --- lovingly written for my wife’s birthday. ©T. Seaman, 1995
Leaving Lismoore --- a Nova Scotia dance brought to us by Chris Norman on Helicon’s The Titan.

3. Wayfaring Stranger/Wade in the Water --- Both of these spirituals are found in African-American lore; “Wayfaring Stranger” is also in the Anglo tradition shape-note hymnals, a testimony to the shared roots of those who look to Heaven as home.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
While traveling through this world of woe;
Yet there’s no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright land to which I go.

I’m going there to see my Savior,
To sing his praise forevermore;
I’m only going over Jordan,
I’m only going over home.

4. Pretty Saro --- Folklorist Cecil Sharp found this simple yet profound tune on both sides of the sea.

5. Hatikvah --- Smetana used this old theme in the symphonic poem “The Moldau”; Israel has made it their national anthem, “The Hope.” To the memory of pianist Artur Rubinstein.

So long as still within our breasts the Jewish heart beats true...
Our hopes are not yet lost... to live in freedom in the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

6. Ash Grove --- “Llewellyn On”, a very pure fruit of the Welsh singing tradition.
The Strife Is O’er --- One of the finest Easter songs, its music is by Palestrina, 1591.
Latin words from Koln, 1695, are translated by F. Pott (1861):

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst,
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days have quickly sped,
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head: Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee,
From death’s dread sting thy servants free,
That we may live and sing to thee: Alleluia!

7. The Arran Boat --- learned from John and Phil Cunningham; Arran is a Scottish island.
The tune is in American shape-note books as “Lochleven”:

Far from mortal cares retreating, sordid hopes and vain desires ---
Here our willing footsteps meeting, every heart to Heaven aspires.

Skye Boat Song --- Skye is another Scots isle. This beautiful air from our childhoods is dedicated to the memory of Rowena’s father, Benson Tucker.

Logan Water --- a Robert Burns air lamenting the separations of war:

O wae upon you, Men o’ State, that brethren rouse in deadly hate!
Ye mindna ‘mid your cruel joys the widow’s tears, the orphan’s cries.

In shape-note books the tune is called “Separation”:

Submit to all the ways of God and walk the narrow happy road.
Great tribulation you shall meet but soon will walk the golden street.

8. Timberline Wander --- a free dulcimer solo celebrating high open ridges such as those in Grayson Highlands State Park and on Mount Rogers. © T. Seaman, 1995

9. A Red, Red Rose --- Robert Burns’ great Scots air (1796):

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
O I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Londonderry Air --- The classic Irish harpers’ air, said to have been brought from the land of fairies.

10. Mahogany Lilt --- Mahogany dulcimer and mahogany guitar dance together. © T. Seaman, 1995

11. Jesu, Meine Freude --- an ancient German melody: first, my transcription for flutes from Bach’s motet setting of 1723; then a thoughtful piano fantasia built by Paulette Murphy on J. Cruger’s version.

Banished is our sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,

Still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er we here must bear,
Still in thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.
(J. Franck, transl. C. Winkworth)

Amazing Grace --- In shape-note hymnals this American tune --- probably originally from Britain --- is called “New Britain”, and was first published in 1831 in Winchester in Virginia Harmony. The version here owes its inspiration to flutist Hubert Laws. Among John Newton’s less known verses:

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine,
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

12. The Happy Wanderer --- a tribute to Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico, where I wandered the mountain track for five joyous summers. ©F.W. Moeller and Antonia Ridge, 1954, 1982

I love to go a-wandering
Along the mountain track;
And as I go I love to sing
My knapsack on my back!

O may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die,
And may I always laugh and sing
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!

13. America the Beautiful --- In this September 2001 we particularly appreciate the full four verses of Katherine Lee Bates’s poem! Music by Samuel A. Ward.

Wayfaring Stranger CD Liner


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