Just a quick note to let readers know that I’ll be at Vision’s Barachois Wellness Centre this coming Wednesday, November 25, 2015. Once again I’ll be sharing music from our archives during the afternoon session to give you a sense of our collections and get your feedback. The event takes place at the Legion in Barachois
and they are having an important public consultation starting at 10 a.m. to identify pressing needs for the local English-speaking communities. You can find more information here. (The programming has changed but the Wellness centre still starts at 10 a.m. and my segment will start around noon.)
I’ve been slowly adding more tapes to our collections, including a very generous donation of old tapes from Leo Fitzpatrick who began recording local musicians in 1958. There are many gems among his tapes and I look forward to sharing some of these with you in the coming months.
But to whet your appetites for this Wednesday, I’d like to feature a recording that Leo made in April, 1959 of Roma Cunning-Doody singing an old ballad, “My Mother Was a Lady.” It was written in 1896 by Edward B. Marks and Joseph Stern and many have recorded the song over the years including Jimmy Rodgers, Vernon Dalhart, and Johnny Cash. Roma had the kind of strong, clear voice essential for conveying the story and keeping your attention as things unfold.
Roma was from Haldimand and married Bougainville fiddler-guitarist-mandolinist-dobroist-accordionist Ralph Doody. Over the years, their family hosted many square dances in their kitchen with late-night feeds of lobster, halibut, mackerel, and cod cakes. They later moved to the Sussex area of New Brunswick.
I love how Ralph introduces his wife on the recording, something he does proudly throughout the tape as different members of the family approach the recorder to sing and play. It seems that almost everyone in their family was musical and their son Frank is a top-notch professional bluegrass banjo player in New Brunswick. I’m pretty sure it is Ralph playing guitar on this and other performances on the tape.
I look forward to sharing more music from our archives with you this Wednesday (November 25, 2015) in Barachois.
fonds: Leo Fitzpatrick (LF-OR-007)