Language of the Heart

Bok  ·  Muir  ·  Trickett

(p) © 1994 Timberhead Music



This recording, our eighth in a collaboration of more than 20 years, was enhanced by the wisdom and support of Sandy Paton, who graciously agreed to journey to Maine to provide a listening ear during our March, 1994 recording.  A special thanks to Sandy for this latest in a long line of contributions to our music.


Ed Trickett

Gordon Bok

Ann Mayo Muir

September, 1994



Recorded & engineered by Bruce Boege, at Limin Music, Northport ME

Mixed by Boege, Bok, Muir, Paton, & Trickett

Critical help:  Anne Dodson

Hospitality: Holly Reynolds

Cover photo by Alice Bissell, Vinalhaven Island, Maine

Design and Production by Silverline Studio, Camden, Maine




Blue Mountain

© 1920 Fred W Keller


Learned about 30 years ago from Steve White, who found it on a record of Frank Hamilton.  Written around 1920 by Fred. W. Keller, a lawyer, who lived near Monticello, Utah, where, it is told, during winter snows, the figure of a horse's head can be discerned on the side of nearby mountain.  It was written for an old timers banquet celebrating local history, and it contains many local references to people and places of the time.  (ET)


My home it was in Texas, my past you must not know

For I seek a refuge from the law where the sage and pinion grow.



Blue Mountain you're azure deep. Blue Mountain your sides are steep.

Blue Mountain with a horsehead on your side you've won my heart to keep.


On the brand LC I ride.  There's sleeper calves by the side.

I'll own the "hip, side and shoulder" before I get older.

Zapatero don't you tan my hide.


I chum with Latigo Gordon, I drink at the Blue Goose saloon.

I dance all night with the Mormon gals, ride home 'neath

the light of the moon.


I trade at Bunse's store, there's bullet holes in his door

His calico treasure my pony can measure

when I'm drunk and I'm feeling sore.


In the summer they say it's fine, and the winter winds I don't mind.

But say there, dear brother, if you want a mother, there's Ev on the old chuck line.




Stephen Foster Song

© 1986 T. Huxtable


Stephen Foster established his reputation as a songwriter in 1848 when he published O Susanna.  One hundred years later I was singing Camptown Races, Old Kentucky Home, Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, Beautiful Dreamer and Old Black Joe, all published between 1850 and 1860.  His songs were known and sung by many generations whenever family and friends gathered together.  Singing them helped people celebrate their connectedness.  My family is scattered between the U.S., Canada, and France, so when I sing this song, I am reminded of my need to unite and I start to feel a lump in my throat.  (AMM)


Those whose days were like your own

Are scattered now across the years

Share no countries, plans, or times

Though once we lived on common ground.



            Is someone left to know the way,

            Protect us, bring us home again?

            Sit at table one more time,

            Sing that Stephen Foster song?


If we knew then of leaving home,

But tens and twelves are unafraid.

Foresight's dear and hindsight's not,

And far apart is how we've grown.


Roads and paths come overgrown,

Lose the time and lose the way.

Gather those around me now,

I set a table of my own.




Madrecita  ("Little Mother")



Madrecita was taught to me by Carol Rohl, a fine harper and special friend.  It comes from Paraguay and is great fun to play.  (AMM)





Language of the Heart

© 1988 Jim Stewart and Bernie Houlahan


Jim dedicates this song to our friend Capt. Dave Kennedy and the great Canadian poet Alden Nowlan.  (GB)



You will always fly, even though your journey's over

Stars will chart your sky, and the moon will be your lover



            Fortune plays a lonely game that forces some to part,

            But here and there are much the same in the language of the heart.


You will always sail, even though the winds would leave you

Your ship can never fail, and the seas can never grieve you


You will always sing, thought the melody lies broken

Your voice will always ring, though the words may be unspoken


You will always be, even though time would disown you

For you have set us free, those among us who have known you




Marco Polo

© 1988 Jim Stewart  CAPAC


From the Marco Polo Suite (also available from Timberhead Music.) (GB)


Where the Marsh Creek waters meet Courtenay Bay

Heave her round and let her fly

At James Smith's yard her keel did lay

There's no ship here can match her


She was launched with a groan and a thud

She's like a demon sailing by

She stuck two weeks in the March creek mud

There's no ship here can catch her



            Liverpool in fifteen days, the seven seas her name will praise

            Wind in her hair and her sails unfurled, she's the fastest ship

                        in all the world

            And her name is Marco Polo


Her keel's all bent, she'll never sail

James Smith's hopes are doomed to fail

She's felt the wrath of jeers and scorn

And through the pain the legend's born


To the Blackball line she soon was sold

Australia bound in search of gold

She was ruled with an iron hand

When Bully Forbes was in command


Sixty-eight days to Melbourne town

The waves will echo her renown

She's beating packets run by steam

From James Smith's wish to St. John's dream


For thirty-two years she ran the tide

On Cavendish shoal she finally died

But dreams are much too hard to kill

For the Marco Polo's living still.







I learned this from the singing of Tommy Maken.  Tommy gives no credit for it, so I assume it's traditional.  We recorded this years ago for Folk Legacy Records in Sharon, Connecticut, and we're grateful to Sandy and Caroline Paton for letting us use it here.  (GB)


'Tis pretty to be in Ballinderry

'Tis pretty to be in Ahalee

'Tis prettier to be in bonny Ram's Island

Sitting forever beneath a tree.


For often I've sailed to bonny Ram's Island

Arm and arm with Phelimy Diamond

And he would whistle and I would sing

And we would make the whole island ring.


"I'm going," he said, "from bonny Ram's Island

Out and across the deep blue sea

And if in your heart you love me, Mary,

Open your arms at last to me."


'Twas pretty to be in Ballinderry

Now it's as sad as sad can be

For the ship that sailed with Phelimy Diamond

Is sunk forever beneath the sea.

            Ahone, ahone.



(Having no written source for this, the spelling is all our own.)





© 1978 Brian Flynn


"The CAN DO was a pilot boat out of Gloucester, MA.  The GLOBAL HOPE went aground just off Salem, MA, and pictures at the time showed her almost on the beach.  The radio did go dead (at least so reported in the press) which is why they were unable to get a fix on their location.  The CAN DO in effect went out blind with only the most general idea of where to look.  Contact was then lost with CAN DO and the men were washed (ashore) a days later, again around Salem.  The GLOBAL HOPE was sold for scrap."   ~ Brian Flynn


In a dozen coastal towns, when the sun is going down

The boats are tied and the fishing is all through

For another shot-and-beer you'll likely get to hear

Of the pilot boat they call the CAN DO



            Then lift your glass to the seasons as they pass

            To the men who sail the seas alone

            Say a prayer for the women waiting there

            For the men who never will come home


A blizzard from the North blew the tanker off her course

And the GLOBAL HOPE was grounded on the sand

There were forty men they said, then the radio went dead

And no one knew they were just a mile from land


Well the CAN DO heard the call, and their boat was very small

They wondered how a tanker could get lost

And like a single silent voice, they knew they had no choice

But to find the GLOBAL HOPE at any cost


Well the snow made them blind

and the seas could read their mind

And the wind laughed at every turn they made

'Til a big one hit the side and flipped her like a dime

And it drove her like a nail into the wave


There's a little boy who plays by the harbor every day

And his mother cannot hide her tears for long

For she knows salt water runs in the blood of sailors' sons

And she knows there's no ending to this song


For they're cruising where it's warm and they'll never see the storm

And they never, never will come home







Dave Kaynor (again) brought this tune to this country.  It's from the playing of Tång Gudmond from the town of Rättvik, Sweden, a town famous for hundreds of good tunes made there.  It's a VISA (air, ballad) so it might have had words.  The name means Burning wine-tune or Brandy Tune.  (GB)


I learned it from a tape of music at Indian Neck sent to me by Drew Smith.  We played it quite some time before learning its name and origin.  (ET)





Huckleberry Finn        

© 1987 Bob Dyer


Learned from Dave Para and Cathy Barton, who learned it from their neighbor Bob Dyer.  One of the many great songs from and about Missouri history Bob has written.  (ET)



There's a moon on the Mississippi river tonight

A side-wheel steamboat makin' up time,

A raft driftin' by with a bunch of drunk men,

And I'm catfishin' with my old friend Jim.


They call me Huckleberry Finn, Finn, Huckleberry Finn.


I lived for awhile up in Hannibal town

My father was a drunkard and he beat me around,

So I left my friends Joe, Tom Sawyer and Ben,

And went off araftin' with Jim.


We run by nights and we tied (laid) up days

Dawn turns the river to a smoky haze.

Lazin' in the shallows doin' just as we please,

Me and Jim layin' there dreamin'.


Life slides by when you're livin' on a raft.

You never rightly know what's gonna pass.

Sometimes danger, sometimes fun,

Sometimes it's just a piece of driftwood.


I never much cared for the civilized life.

I'd rather be out on the river at niht.

Layin' on my back lookin' up at the stars,

Smokin' on my pipe and just driftin'.


Steamboat chimbleys spewin' out sparks.

Fiddle music driftin' by in the dark.

There's a hoot owl callin' from a cottonwood tree

And this lonesome old river keeps a rollin'. 




Merlin's Waltz

© 1983 Kathy deFrancis


For some time Kathy deFrancis of Denver played piano as accompaniment for a magic show.  One of her compositions from this was a multi-piece medley called "The Magic Suite."   "Merlin's Waltz" is one of the songs from the suite.  (ET)



Fair, fair, golden fair, sunlight gently warms your hair.

Encircle me, enchant me now, dancing Merlin take me now.


Bend, bend, bending low, daisy chain and mistletoe.

Encircle me, adorn me now, I curtsy to thy courtly bow.


And if the wind should blow the sun away the dance goes on.

Everything that happens in this day becomes our song.


Sing, sing into the night.  Lute strings quiver with touch so light.

Encircle me with silver sound, a gentle tune to lay me down.

The Laird o' Drum

Traditional  (Child # 236)


A great Child ballad dealing with issues of caste and class, collected in 1927 by Kinloch.  I learned it from George Ward over 20 years ago, and Gordon ran across a longer version in an old book, so we integrated the two and went back to singing it a capella.  (ET)


O the Laird o' Drum is a hunting gone all in the morning early

Who should he spy but a well-favored lass a-shearing her father's barley.


"O would ye nae be a gentleman's wife and would ye nae be a lady?

And would ye nae be of some higher degree and leave your shearing alone-o?"


"O I would be a gentleman's wife, and I would be a lady

And I would be on some higher degree but I'm not a match for thee-o."


"Well if ye'll cast off your gown o'grey, put on the silk for me-o,

I'll make a vow and keep it true, and my true love you'll ever be-o."


"O my father he is a shepherd man keepin sheep on yonder hill-o

And ye may go and ask of him, for I am at his will-o."


So the Drum is to her father gone, keepin sheep on yonder hill-o

"I am come to marry your one daughter if ye'll give me your good will-o."


"Well my lassie neither read nor write.  She was never in a school-o

But well can she milk either cow or yowe and make the cheeses well-o."


"She'll shake your barn and win your corn and go to kill and mill-o

She'll saddle your steed in time of need and draw off your boots herself-o."


"I'll learn your lassie to read and write; put her myself to school-o

She shall neither need to saddle my steed nor draw off my boots herself-o."


"But who will bake your bridal bread and who will brew your ale-o?

And who will stand by the gates of the Drum to welcome your lassie home-o?"


"The baker can bake my bridal.  The brewer can brew my ale-o

And I will stand at the gates of the Drum to welcome my lassie home-o."


There were four and twenty gentlemen went in at the gates of Drum-o

But not one man has lifted his hat when the lady did come in-o.


Then up and spoke his brother John, says "You've done us all a great wrong-o

Married one far below our degree, a mock to all our kin-o."


"Now hold your tongue my brother John, what needs it thee offend-o?

I've married a wife to work and win and you've married one to spend-o."


And up and spoke his father John, a man of high degree-o

"You've married a wife on this same night and she's not a match for thee-o."


"Well, the last lady we had in this house, she was far above our degree-o/

And we dared not enter into a room till our hats were below our knee-o."


"But if you were dead and I were dead and both laid in one grave-o

Nine years down and lifted up again whose to know your dust from mine-o?"




Tak a dram afore ye go

© 1982 Ian Sinclair


Ian and Margie Sinclair live around Thurso, in the extreme North of Scotland, and when I last saw them, were running a small folk club there.  Margie's one of the best ballad singers I've heard, and at the end of a good evening (wherein a surprising variety of music was made there) she'd sing this song that Ian made.  I learned it from her as did Bob Zentz, and we both seem to have Americanized it, so I'll put her a version closer to the one Margie sings, with any apologies due for the folk process.  (GB)



Well the night has passed so quickly, and our time is almost done

For the fiddle and the piper, the singer and the song

The time has come for us to leave you; one more song afore we go

The button up and aye be cheerie, and tak a dram afore ye go



            Sae button up and aye be cheerie, and tak a dram afore ye go


Oh this night we will remember, for the music's been just fine

But the cold grey land o' Caithness can be cruel and unkind

Sae we must bid farewell and leave you, travel through the ice and snow


So goodnight and God go with you, and watch over you until

We can a' meet here together, and our glasses we will fill

We will drink a toast tae absent friends, let the beer and singing flow





That Quiet Place

© 1984 Sarah Pirtle


I first heard this lovely song sung by my daughter Christina Muir in 1992.  I learned it on the spot.  The whale is just one of the many species which is threatened with extinction within my lifetime, but many creatures need our concern.  I hope we all do what we can to preserve a quiet place, a home where each one can survive and thrive before it's too late.  Thanks to Sarah Pirtle's song we can sing one of them home.  (AMM)



Sometimes I feel like I am a whale

Guns and harpoons are closing on me

Trying to keep me from my home.



            In that quiet place where nothing can harm you

            In that quiet place we carry inside the heart of the world,

            Heart of the world.


Sometimes I hope that there is an ocean

Hold her big arms open to me

And she whispers "You can rest."


Sometimes I hope that there is a whale

Calling me out to ride on her back

And we go rolling high and low.




Cuckoo/Spotted Pony



The Cuckoo I learned from Drew Smith and Mike Resnick several years ago at one of the Indian Neck gatherings in Connecticut.  A traditional tune from I know now where.  Spotted Pony is from Dave Para and Cathy Barton – also traditional.  (ET)





Good Wish

Music: © 1986 Jan Harmon/ Words: Traditional


Alexander Carmichael collected these words more than a century ago, in Gaelic, from the people of the Scottish Hebrides.  This is his translation, which Kate Barnes (poet laureate of the High Ridges of Maine) sent to Jan Harmon, who set it to this tune and these chords.  I loved to play cellamba with Jan when she sang it.   (GB)


Power of raven be thine, power of eagle be thine

Power of storm be thing, power of moon be thine

Power of sea be thine, power of land be thine

Goodness of sea by thine, goodness of earth be thine


Each day be joyous to thee, no day be grievous to thee

Love of each face be thine, death on pillow be thine

Goodness of sea be thine, goodness of earth be thine.