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North Wind's Clearing: Songs Of The Maine Coast

Gordon BokAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $18.10 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 15, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Folk Legacy
  • ASIN: B000001ZYV
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,737 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Mckeon's Coming
2. Western Boat
3. Mrs. Macdonald's Lament
4. Liverpool Handy/I'se The By
5. Mr. Eneos
6. Saben, The Woodfitter
7. Cape Ann
8. Frankie On The Sheepscot
9. Mister, I Don't Mind
10. Clear Away In The Morning
11. Treeboot Pilbrick's Lament
12. Gulls In The Morning
13. Bay Of Fundy
14. Old Fat Boat
15. Peter Kagan And The Wind

Editorial Reviews

Over an hour of Gordon's finest original songs of the sea & of those who work upon it, plus his masterful cantefable, Peter Kagan and the Wind.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(10)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great sea songs May 11, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Bok's rich, deep voice takes you onto the swells of the ocean. On this album he mixes traditional songs ("Western Boat," "I's the B'y") with his own pseudo-traditional tunes (e.g., "Mr. Eneos," "Clear Away in the Morning") and his thoroughly modern folk songs (e.g., "Mister, I Don't Mind," "Old Fat Boat").
In the extreme, he weaves a spell of words and sound in a 15-minute storytelling piece, "Peter Kagan and the Wind." Liam Clancy did a fine cover of this on one of his albums, but Bok's original has a quiet intensity that highlights the nautical tension.
The arrangements are simple, leaving the way clear for Bok's voice to carry the impetus. That's the way I like 'em, when it's a voice like his. I can't imagine the dirge-like "Bay of Fundy" with any better orchestration than the simple guitar.
This is vintage Bok at his best.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant from beginning to end January 6, 2005
By GeoX
Format:Audio CD
If I had to recommend one Bok CD, I would not hesitate to choose this one. All of the songs have previously appeared elsewhere, but many of Bok's old albums have not yet been rereleased on compact disc; with the exceptions of 'McKeon's Coming' and 'Old Fat Boat,' none of the songs here are otherwise available on CD as of this writing. And in any case, the thematic unity makes for a more immersive listening experience.

The level of quality here is staggering; amost all of the songs--most of them originals--are classics. Bok's oeuvre does not consist exclusively of nautical songs, but I think they're what he does best. Most of them are very exciting and dramatic, and Bok's acoustic guitar and distinctive baritone brilliantly evoke the savagery and desolate beauty of the ocean. He's also a gifted storyteller, as demonstrated on 'Saben the Woodfitter' and the epic 'Peter Kagan and the Wind' (if you like those--and you will--you should also check out Seal Djiril's Hymn).

I envy you if you have yet to hear this music for the first time. Even if you normally shy away from folk music, I'm almost certain that you will enjoy this, and indeed, that it will become an integral part of the soundtrack of your life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gordon Bok, the voice of "Down East." May 12, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is Gordon Bok at his best, though probably any Gordon Bok is his best. Bok's guitar and and vocals, alone are pure beauty, a joy to the ear. Add to this the fact that his songs reflect his intimate knowledge of "Down East" (Maine coast) water-men. Whether he's singing of a schooner warping into the dock, Frankie, a local fisherman struggling to free his trawl from rocks on the Sheepscot one snowy winter day, or a drunken captain who almost loses his boat and crew off Cape Ann, his music and his boats and the sea are real and true. True and real yes, but always with a bit of magic to soften the edges. The magic of gulls wheeling and dipping in the morning sun, Peter Kagan's struggle against an icy wind that alternately backs and veers around the compass until he lies freezing in the bottom of his dory, - - - and is finally rescued by magic, his lovely wife, a Silkie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So glad I found this album June 12, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This album contains many of the great Gordon Bok songs that I used to listen to back in Minneapolis in the 1980s. I don't know what has happened to my copy of those vinyl albums, or even if I really owned many of them. I know I use to check them out of the library quite often. Thanks to the Minneapolis library for that great service.

Others who write reviews here say that this CD is the only way to get digital copies of these songs, and that those classic old Gordon Bok albums have never been updated from vinyl. It is sad to think about all those treasures being lost while so much of less value stays in print.

Among my favorite folk songs are Mr. Eneos, Western Boat, Cape Ann, Frankie on the Sheepscot, Clear Away in the Morning, and Bay of Fundy. They are all superb recordings.

Gordon Bok plays a gentle folk guitar complimented by a rich, deep voice that is as soulful as a fall day on the rocky coast of Maine. When I listen to these songs, I feel as though I am transported to sailboat in northern waters on a gray day with the wind in my hair and the water slapping hard against a wooden hull.

The songs on this album have an inevitability about them. Bok has a direct line to some powerful musical muse who whispers to him exactly how music should be made. Of course, once the song is over, one returns to the real world, and other types of music seem possible once more. But while he is playing it seems that this is the way music is supposed to be, as if Bok had discovered the original source of poetry and song.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good CD December 17, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I bought this CD after hearing "Old Fat Boat" and "McKeon's Coming." I found these weren't the best songs on the CD. "Mrs. Macdonald's Lament," about the death of the fishing industry and how some men refuse to accept it, is thought-provoking. "Frankie On The Sheepscot" makes me want to put on a sweater even in the middle of summer since the image of fishermen working in a blowing Maine snowstorm is so vivid. Bok's singing of "Western Boat" while not as good as Stan Rogers' version (called "Cape St. Mary" on the CD "For the Family"), is a better than average folksong. The only song that I don't like is "Peter Kagan And The Wind," a telling of the silkie legend. It just goes on and on and on (it's over 15 minutes long).

"North Wind's Clearing" is a CD that I listen to more than most others that I own.
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