Back
Shady Grove - Liner Notes

1. Oh! Susanna – Stephen Foster (1826–1864).
“Oh! Susanna” was one of Foster’s first songs, originally published in 1848 while Foster was working as a bookkeeper in Cincinnati for his brother’s steamship company. It would soon become the marching song for the forty-niners on their way to the California Gold Rush in 1848-1849. This arrangement combines Stephen Foster’s popular melody with instruments and rhythms of African origin. The drumming traditions and even the banjo originally came from Africa and were incorporated into American music.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Lana Wordel: marimba; John Seydewitz: djembe, caxixi, assorted hand percussion; Brek Renzelman: viola; Adrien Zitoun: cello; Andrew Raciti: string bass; Eric Segnitz: fretless gourd banjo, kalimba, tongue drum, mandola, guitar.
Arranged by Eric Segnitz.


2. Do You Love an Apple / Streets of Laredo - Traditional Irish / Traditional American
“Do You Love an Apple” is a classic Irish love song made famous by the Bothy Band.
“Streets of Laredo,” also known as “The Cowboy’s Lament,” is descendant of the Irish ballad “Bard of Armagh” or “The Unfortunate Rake.” Here’s the first stanza from “The Bard of Armagh”:

Oh list to the lay of a poor Irish harper
And scorn not the strains from his poor withered hand
But remember his fingers could once move more sharper
To raise up the strains of his poor native land.

Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Tom Knaack: accordion; Brett Lipshutz: Irish flute and pennywhistle; Eric Segnitz: violin, guitar, mandolin, cittern, 12-string and acoustic bass guitar. Arranged by Eric Segnitz.


3. Shady Grove / Nonesuch – Traditional American / Traditional English
“Shady Grove” goes back to the 18th century. This classic song of courtship was made popular by Jean Ritchie of Viper Kentucky. The dance called “Nonesuch” appears in John Playford’s The English Dancing Master (London, 1651–1728). Playford’s book contains music and dance instruction. Many who migrated to the early colonies had known Playford at home in England and brought the dances and tunes to America.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Barry Phillips: cello and percussion; Shelley Phillips: bamboo pipe.


4. The Water Is Wide / Shall We Gather at the River? – Traditional / Robert Lowry
“The Water Is Wide” is probably best known from the version collected by English folklorist Cecil James Sharp in the Appalachians between 1916 and 1918.
Also known as “O Waly, Waly,” it has been sung since the 17th century and is probably of English or Scottish origin.
Robert Lowry (1826-1899) was a Baptist minister and a prolific composer of hymns and gospel music. “Shall We Gather at the River?” was written in 1864. He wrote hundreds of songs including “How Can I Keep from Singing?” and “Beautiful River.”
This arrangement was based simply on the soothing imagery of starlight reflected ion a moving river, from the song’s lyric:

Shall we gather at the river?
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?

The lyric is taken from Revelation, Chapter 22: “The angel showed him a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Lana Wordel: vibraphone, glockenspiel, bowed crotales; Adrien Zitoun: cello; Eric Segnitz: piano, harmonium, guitar, electric bass. Arranged by Eric Segnitz.


5. I Will Arise - Traditional American
This beautiful hymn is also known as “Restoration” in The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, by William Walker
(New York: Hastings House, 1835).
Robert Robinson wrote lyrics to this melody in 1758.


6. Fiddlin’ Bagpipes -Traditional American
“Fiddle & Bagpipes” is a wonderful old tune known from Québec to Arkansas. This arrangement was gleaned from the playing of Byard Ray and the Smathers family. Byard learned it from his great-uncle Mitch, who called it “Fiddles Imitating Bagpipes.”
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Neal Hellman: mountain dulcimer; Barry Phillips: cello.

7. Shenandoah - Traditional American
This enduring American song took its title from the Senedos Indians, for whom the valley in Virginia was named. Dated to around 1820, it was originally a sea shanty sailors sang while using the windlass, capstan, and winches for loading cargo”.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp.



8. Barbara Allen / Hole in the Wall - Traditional / Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
This classic ballad of eternal love was first mentioned in 1666 in Samuel Pepys’s diary as “the little Scottish song,” but it could also be English or Irish in origin. According to one source there are over 98 versions of this song in Virginia alone.
“Hole in the Wall” is an English country dance composed by Henry Purcell in 1695. Originally titled “Hornpipe,” it was adapted by dancing maters of that period and was published in John Playford’s The English Dancing Master in 1698.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Lana Wordel: vibraphone and glockenspiel; Linda Binder: mandolin, mandola, cittern; Jeffrey Binder: mandocello. Arranged by Eric Segnitz.



9. Sligo Maid / Wondrous Love - Traditional Irish / Traditional American
This popular Irish reel is also known as “O’Donnell’s Sligo Maid” and “The Sligo Maid’s Lament.” A wee bit of the well-known American Shape Note tune “Wondrous Love” is played as a descant over the reel.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Barry Phillips: cello and percussion; Shelley Phillips: Irish flute.



10. Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair - Traditional
This traditional folk song, collected by Cecil Sharp in the Appalachians in 1915, is probably a variant of an older song from Scotland or England. There are many versions of the tune including “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Eyes” and “Dark Is the Color of My True Love’s Eyes.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp.


11. Slumber My Darling - Stephen Foster (1826-1864)
This is one of Foster’s later compositions, published in 1862. Bluegrass diva Alison Krauss sings a beautiful rendition of this composition on the recording Appalachian Journey.

Slumber, my darling, the birds are at rest,
The wandering dews by the flowers are caressed,
Slumber, my darling, I’ll wrap thee up warm,
And pray that the angels will shield thee from harm.

Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Neal Hellman: mountain dulcimer; Barry Phillips: cello.



12. Come All You Fair and Tender Maidens – Traditional
There are hundreds of recorded versions of this song, which expresses the all-too-ephemeral nature of romantic love. Also known as “Little Sparrow,” a song that was possibly derived from the Scottish ballad “O Waly Waly” or “Jamie Douglas.”
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp.


13. Gentle Annie / Annie Laurie - Stephen Foster / Traditional Scottish
Foster wrote “Gentle Annie” (1856) to assuage the grief of parents whose young child (Annie Jenkins) was killed in an accident. It may also have been written for Annie Evans, a beloved cousin of Foster’s who died after a long illness. There seem to be a number of people who claim authorship of “Annie Laurie.” One was William Douglass (1672–1748), a captain in the Royal Scots, who wrote this poem out of his unrequited love of the young Annie Laurie (16782–1761). In 1823 a version written by Allan Cunningham appeared in the 1823 edition of Sharpe’s Ballad Book.
Kim Robertson: Celtic harp; Abby Newton: cello; Eric Segnitz: mandocello. Arranged by Eric Segnitz.


14. Thanksgiving Hymn (also known as We Gather Together) – Traditional
Though it is associated with Thanksgiving Day, this hymn was originally written in the
Netherlands in the late 16th century. Andrianus Valerius (aka François Valéry) wrote lyrics to a Dutch folk tune and titled his composition “Wilt Heden Nu Treden” to commemorate the
Dutch victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Turnhout (1597).
Celtic harp: Kim Robertson; Brett Lipshutz: Irish flute.

Return to Shady Grove