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songs of a coal miner’s son 10

September 5, 2013

songs of a coal miner’s son 10

With Gene Christy & Rod MacDow

episode ten . . .

. . . and now for somethin’ just a little bit different—or as the Scotsman said, a wee bit diff-rrrent !!

Last week, we had slow-dancing—cheek-to-cheek—romantic ballad . . .

This week it’s Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Rising of the ’45!

Have a listen!

btw – – gonna lead off the lineup with the “Live” version first-up, this week

(so glad Bobby V’s not making out the Bosox lineup anymore!—talk about what a difference a “Manager” can make!)

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Manager John Farrell

Now that I’m finished interrupting myself – –

(last night at Portsmitt’s, while playing our set, had one eye out for the big screen, where the Sox were hanging on for a 2-1 victory over the mighty Detroit Tigers!)

We win!

—oops, there I go—did it again!

Anyway, after we hear the live version, we will, as they say on ESPN, compare and contrast!


words and music by Gene Christy
Recorded August 22_2013 Live at the Guthrie Center
Lead vocal and Roland all-digital accordion by Gene Christy

. . . visit the Guthrie Center at

It strikes me as profoundly significant—strike that!—as “interesting”—to notice that I probably would not have made the same studio version of this song as I ended up making—had I listened to the live version first—

which I did not—fortunately for me—

It’s next to nigh-impossible to duplicate a song done in front of a live audience when it’s just you and your partner in the studio—the vibe is so totally not there—that you feed off-of when performing for real people—it seems that you play to the audience—you’re trying to reach out and grab them—you want to involve them—to get it across to them—and when you finally get to listen to the playback—amazing, that wee-bit of difference—is like a canyon apart . . .

In the studio, you’re reaching for a sound.

You get second takes and re-do’s and fixes—and you can micro-manage the thing, seeking something akin to—perfection!

Playing live, you get one shot—

For instance–in this case, live on stage, I mis-pronounced the name of the Battle from 1745! I was supposed to say Cull-LAW-den–and instead, I came out with CULL-oh-den!

So I whiffed on that one!

But you’re not out till you get three strikes!

Either way–you get one shot–your turn at the plate–whether you make a mistake–or play something brilliant–you know that you probably couldn’t play that tune exactly the same way—ever again!

In the studio, you hear yourself hit a good lick—it’s preserved—you play it the same way next time. ‘Cause you liked the sound of yourself so much!

Live—you listen later, and say to yourself—where did that come from? That’s not how that little linking passage or lead-in or crossover or passing note’s supposed to go—but it worked!

Just for the record — today’s blog is the first time this song, “Tempest in a Teacup,” has been online anywhere, anytime.

So, here’s “Tempest” again – – from Bill and me in the studio:


Recorded at Christy Studios
Lead vocal and Roland all-digital accordion by Gene Christy
Lead guitar by Bill Morrison
Recorded August__2013

Last week I was able to squeeze out some tenor sax lines to swirl around the melody-lead vocal of “Treasure”—by playing tenor sax on my Roland all-digital accordion keyboard!

This week my design was to employ a trumpet fanfare to get the martial rhythm of “Tempest” off to a rousing start—and also repeat the trumpets, or bugles, if you will, through the body of the song to sweep it along, and also provide a commentary on the action.

But for the coda which concludes the piece—I switched over to Highland Pipes—also played on the accordion!



What an instrument! And as of yet, having had the thing only six or eight or ten weeks or so—I’ve just barely scratched the surface of its capabilities!

me and my Roland . . . gc!

As far as the arrangement I put on the tune—it’s, like, totally worlds apart from the way I played it live—first of all, I wanted the spoken-word element of the narrative story-line to ride along on the rhythm of the guitar-playing by Bill Morrison. I said to Bill, can you just give me, like, that sort of Johnny Cash driving-ahead feel? And Bill did! Like I say in the song, “Billy plays a mighty good six-string.”

Bill Morrison

And how can you go wrong borrowing from that well-known Scotsman, Johnny Cash! Don’t believe me? Well—go on-line and see for yourself! Check out

“A Croft in Clachan (the Ballad of Rob MacDunn)”

And you’ll hear Johnny Cash on a duet with—Glen Campbell_!!! A pair of Scotsmen if ever there was!

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And don’t forget, people, to go visit the websites, while you’re here, of our friends,

Bobby Sweet at

and Mountain Breeze at

And hopefully, you can hear some of their music, too, in the not-too-distant future, right here on Songs of a Coal Miner’s Son, our blog, which comes out every Thursday, on the dot. Because this Sunday I will be recording Mountain Breeze and their beautiful harmonies live and outdoors at the Sharing Roots Festival down on North Street in downtown Pittsfield, Berkshires, USA—so listen in next week! I will try to get them on, although I don’t want to promise because—I’ll be in Portland, OR, visiting with none other than

Rod MacDow! And his lovely wife Margo, and their kids, Becca and Kevin, and Rod’s kitchen full of beer-making apparati—is that the plural of apparatuses? Think I might try a sip or two from each one of them apparatusesesissi . . . by then, I’ll probably be talking like that, too, slurring my lispses-es, just a wee-bit . . .

You can find Rakish Paddy at

You can find Eddie Dillon and a world of great music at

See you guys next week, same time, same station! Portland, or not!

Fair thee well, Titanic!

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