Contains songs from the musical drama of the same name by Mick Ryan. The show looks at aspects of emigration from Ireland and England in the mid nineteenth century. One of the main themes is the impact of the past upon the present.



The album contains songs from the musical drama of the same name by Mick Ryan. The show looks at aspects of emigration from Ireland and England in the mid nineteenth century. One of the main themes is the impact of the past upon the present. Ther show develops the idea of the past living on through memory, and begins to explain why emigrants were prepared to leave, and what made the terrors of the voyage less daunting than the horrors of the immediate past.

Voices From the Past
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The Leaving Time
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Behind Me
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The Emigrant
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When We Take Them Over
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Sailing West
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How Deeps the Sea
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Green Island
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Lying Down
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Reprisals
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Prisoners of the Past
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The Sea
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The Soldiers Song (Part 1)
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Fever on Board
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The Bargain
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Farewell my Child
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The Soldiers Song (Part 2)
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Home
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Safe Harbour
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Keep You in Peace
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The Promised Land
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Shreds and Patches

Ian Wilson

I think this is a brilliantly written, performed, and produced album. Its not the kind of music I normally listen to, but I became spellbound by the beauty and sensitivity of the songs.

The vast majority of these songs and their music come from the pen of Mick Ryan with some occasional help from Sarah Morgan and Mark Powell. Its really difficult to write a contemporary song in a traditional style without sounding corny but Mick just seems to churn them out, each sounding just as authentic and effective as the last. Many of these songs stand up in their own right, out of context of the show, and I can imagine them being used to good effect in many a repertoire.

The musical accompaniment is provided by Robert Harbron, concertina and guitar, Tim Van Eyken, melodeon and Paul Sartin, violin and oboe. It is superbly played and consistently brings out the atmosphere of the song without detracting from the vocals or the message.

Theres such a range of singers credited that it is impossible to be sure who is singing where, but the overall standard is so high that it doesnt really matter.

The songs and music come from the musical drama of the same name, which has recently been on tour. I was a bit worried that, not having caught the show, I might not do justice in reviewing the album. Now Im kicking myself for not having made more effort to see it.

A great album all round. Well done to all involved.



Dirty Linen

This is a feast year for Ryans fans; theres yet another CD from his prolific mind, hand and voice. It's �The Voyage� [Wild Goose Studios WGS 290 CD (1998)] by the group Fieldwork, made up of songs from a musical drama written by Ryan. The drama and its songs concern emigration from Ireland and England in the mid-19th century. It features a cast of good singers, including Ryan; a weakness of the sleeve notes is that they dont identify the lead singers on any of the tracks, so I cant comment on anyone in particular. But the songs themselves are a really nice use of Traditional themes and turns of phrase; I wouldnt lie down and I couldnt lie down�, and �if Id any pride then I shouldnt lie down from the song Lying Down, echoes Matty Groves I cant get up and I wont get up, I wouldnt get up for my life, while How Deeps the Sea takes the form of a classic riddle ballad like Riddles Wisely Expounded or �Captain Wedderburns ::. Courtship� The other comparison invited by any project of this sort, particularly with a theme like this one, is with Peter Bellamys classic musical drama The Transports� Happily, this one stands up rather well to such a comparison; When We Take em Over, like Bellamys Roll Down, is a fine outward-bound neoshanty, and some of Ryans characters, like the Old Soldier, are as memorable as Bellamys were. Finally, in a non-comparative vein, songs like The Sea are simply harrowing, moving, and memorable. This is the ballad opera concept at its best.