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Here's a list of tracks and notes on the selections. We never had the space to put this information in the cassette packaging itself, so we're fortunate to be able to document things here on this web page.

Side A - Sampler:

  1. (2:53) Kesh Jig / Kid on the Mountain / Jump at the Sun

  2. This set of jigs was inspired by the Bothy Band, whose rendition of the Kesh Jig has yet to be matched by any other performers. Howard tries his hand at the harmony line here. Kid on the Mountain is a favorite slip jig. It's particularly interesting because it's actually quite challenging to dance a slip jig step to this tune. We finish this set with Jump at the Sun, a Welsh jig we learned from Kate Price, a wonderful musician and a dear friend.
  3. (2:58) Auchindoun / Tam Lin (lyrics)

  4. This brooding song features Heather on the lead, with Gretchen joining in for added angst. The song itself recalls a typically bloody episode in Scottish history, where members of the MacIntosh clan, returning from a raid on an English garrison, discover that their own homes have been sacked by the English army. We follow up that desperate situation with another; Tam Lin is a character from an old Scottish legend. He was captured by the Fairy Queen, and doomed to spend the rest of eternity under her spell, but eventually was rescued by his true love.
  5. (1:45) The Ash Grove

  6. This lovely Welsh melody features Bill on penny whistle, with Linda leading on fiddle, Ken on guitar, and Howard on mandolin. Bill and Linda worked out an absolutely gorgeous duet here, elevating a simple tune into a spine-tingling religious experience.
  7. (2:29) Farewell to Erin

  8. A very well known reel, capturing the sentiments of Irish emigrants forced to leave their homes in Ireland.  This one tends to draw a bit of bile when played in Ireland.
  9. (1:46) Farewell / Four Green Fields (lyrics)

  10. Farewell is an old pipe tune we learned from Pat MacSwyney, another great musician and a former member of Highland Sun. It's actually a dirge, but we play it a bit faster to keep the accompanying song from killing the singers. Four Green Fields is a well-known song by Tommy Makem which laments the division of Ireland. Gretchen leads on this song, with Heather adding the harmony.
  11. (2:03) Jig of Slurs / Atholl Highlanders

  12. Two grand old Scottish jigs. This set has always started our shows, but we figured we'd put them in last on the tape for variety's sake. These tunes came to the band through various and diverse paths, but it all seems to come down to Linda bringing them first to the Scottish Fiddlers Society of Los Angeles.

Side B - CD Preview:

All of the selections on Side A are abbreviated, in keeping with our aim of producing a demo / sampler recording. As such, repeats are skipped, variations are cut out, and song verses are cut. The selections on Side B are full length, pretty much as we would have performed them live.
  1. (4:43) Kesh Jig / Kid on the Mountain / Jump at the Sun
  2. (4:13) Farewell / Four Green Fields (lyrics)
  3. (4:13) Farewell to Erin / Tam Lin

The Players:

Ian Abramovitch - bodhran, bones
Howard Chu - fiddle, mandolin
Heather Greene - vocal
Linda Kodaira - fiddle
Bill Marks - guitar, mandolin, winds
Ken Shaw - cello, cittern, guitar, hammer dulcimer
Gretchen Witte - vocal

All selections are traditional unless otherwise noted; arrangements Copyright © 1996 by Highland Sun. Four Green Fields written by Tommy Makem. Tam Lin written by Davey Arther. Cover art, design and layout by Howard Chu. Produced by Highland Sun and John Hancock. Recorded and mixed by John Hancock at The Pobble's Toes, Van Nuys, CA.

There are only a few copies of this tape left, and once they're gone we won't be duplicating any more. So, if you'd like to order one, better do it soon! You won't want to be without this snapshot of Highland Sun's storied beginning... (See the Goodies page for ordering info.)

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Band Info