Dream of the Manatee - Liner Notes

I remember as a child the fist time I experienced how music can tell a story without any words. I must have listened to Peter and the Wolf over a hundred times in the first few days I had the record. The oboe was no longer an oboe but a duck - and the flutes became birds. What wonderful magic for each instrument to evoke such images. Soon after that I imagined stories and vignettes for different pieces of instrumental music I listened to. Opera was always fun - since I didn't have the slightest idea what was going on, I would make up my own plot to the epic I was beholding.

Dream of the Manatee tells a story with music. Manatees are great mammals that are very docile but can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They live in warm water and can be found in southern Florida, Australia and the Indian Ocean. In our little tale the part of the manatee is played by the French horn. The story opens as a great wooden vessel is sailing through the Gulf of Mexico on a foggy night a long time ago. We hear manatees all around the ship but never see them through the mist. As dawn breaks over the horizon men scurry up the ropes to look out over the sea for land break. Soon the sounds of whistles signal the time to dance and frolic on deck, and suddenly, as the Celtic harp takes the lead, a manatee comes into view. The French horn echoes its haunting voice ... Day gives way to evening, and the sailors, weary from their months at sea, mistake the manatee for a mermaid. What a tale this will make when they see their friends and family again. Little do they realize they themselves are all indeed the Dream of the Manatee.

Joe composed Solomon's Dream for Neal's father, who no doubt helped save the free world when he fixed Eisenhower's jeep during WWII. What if the General's brakes had given out and Europe had never been liberated? We can all sleep a little sounder now knowing that Neal's Dad did his part to help make the world safe for democracy and extended credit.

I awaken after the fog has lifted, the sun shines warmly on my overflowing bowl of oat bran and I cherish a morning with No Bow Tie.

Bullfrog Moon tells the story of a close encounter of the human kind somewhere outside of Zelienople, Pennsylvania. The frogs provide a rhythmic accompaniment as they join in on the chorus.

Half Moon Room wrote itself under the magical light of an orange half moon in Joe's kitchen overlooking the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with the lights of Santa Cruz and Monterey twinkling in time down below.

Appaloosa is our contribution to the future collection of traditional dance music of The Great American West.

We wrote A Song for Lori for Lori Parker of Brown County, Indiana. Though we never knew her, we want this composition to be a tribute to her spirit and a gift to her family and friends.

Jean Mouret (1688-1738) was the court composer for Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, a fancy dresser who loved good food and music. The Rondeau is a dance from Mouret's First Symphonic Suite.

Bianco Fiore (White Flower) is a Renaissance melody from 16th century Italy. Joe first performed this and the next piece on classical guitar; here he has arranged them for a new-old chamber ensemble featuring the mandolin family and several dulcimers, along with recorders and harp - a twentieth century Renaissance dance band. The Saltarello was composed by lutenist Vicenzo Galilei (1520-1591), a true Renaissance man who claimed to adhere to the musical theories of the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras. (His son Galileo did very well in the new field of astronomy.) Joe's arrangement is inspired by a recording of the Vienna Mandolin and Guitar Ensemble (Music for Lute, Guitar, and Mandolin, Turnabout-Vox #TV 34195-99).

Ireland's legendary blind harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738) wrote Blind Mary probably for one of his many patrons, possibly Megan Morgan Hille. Listen for the exquisite duet between Lorraine Duisit (harp) and Tom Espinola (mandolin).

Cantar de Montañes (Mountain Song) is a traditional Spanish melody. We learned this piece from William Coulter.

The Box Minuet is our tribute to the Baroque masters and all the lovely dance tunes written before MTV.

The Dark Island is a song for the beauty of the Hebrides from the BBC TV serial of the same name.

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