(Rocky Coast, 2000)
When it comes to representing the Atlantic Provinces, few things go together better than songs from the Maritimes and McGinty. Sea Songs is an excellent example of Maritime raconteurs at their craft.
The songs are traditional, or else they're so beloved in the Maritimes as to be assumed traditional. Among the former are "New York Girls," "Home Boys Home" and "Banks of Newfoundland," while the latter set includes "The Nellie J. Banks" by Lennie Gallant, "Fisherman's Son" by Jimmy Rankin, "Fisherman's Token" by Buddy MacDonald and the Stan Rogers classic, "Barrett's Privateers."
McGinty features John Ferguson on vocals, fiddle, 6- and 12-string guitars, bouzouki, tenor banjo and mandolin, Don Moore on vocals, 6- and 12-string guitars and bodhran, and Dave Hickey on vocals, 5-string electric bass and 5-string banjo. Joining them on this recording are Alice O'Brien (spoons), Kim Parry (flute), Monica MacDougall (soprano saxophone), Glen MacIsaac (nylon string and electric slide guitars), Mike Leggat (electric piano) and Donnie Webb (concertina), plus a few additional singers on the "Barrett's" chorus.
Despite a handful of modern instruments in the mix, the sound and feel of the music is timeless. There are a few nods to modern music-making, but they blend well into the band's style, reflecting a bygone era.
We don't expect dazzling, or groundbreaking arrangements from these boys; we expect a quality performance of traditional material in a traditional vein. More power to them, I say -- folk music will always need talented singers and musicians who stick to their roots and keep traditions alive for new generations. As long as McGinty is around, we can rest assured that the tradition is secure.
[ by Tom Knapp ]