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The Hard & The Easy


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Audio CD, October 25, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After almost thirteen years together, Great Big Sea is releasing a new kind of album, all-acoustic CD featuring traditional and local songs of Newfoundland. Includes a special 45-minute bonus DVD featuring an informal session with Great Big Sea, complete with reflections, laughs, false starts, and stripped-down versions of all the songs from The Hard and the Easy. Zoe. 2005.

Amazon.com

A band that has made a name for itself since 1992 by updating the Celtic and, more specifically, Cape Breton tradition, Great Big Sea has long mixed poppy original tunes with traditionals goosed up to fit a more modern aesthetic. On the band's eighth album, The Hard And The Easy, the Canadians focus wholly on traditional Newfoundland folk tunes of all shapes and colors. All the music is acoustic and most (surprise!) have a seafaring theme to them. These are tunes that band-members grew up playing at home with family and friends, and there is no pretension or airs. The band¹s sense of humor comes through on gems like country-ish "Concerning Charlie Horse" and "The Mermaid," while "Graceful & Charming" is a sentimental ballad. The Breton tradition comes through strongest on "Harbour Le Cou" and "Tishialuk Girls Set." Adding its musicianship and excellent vocals to the Celtic continuum, Great Big Sea has come up with one for and of the ages. ­ --Tad Hendrickson

1. Come and I Will Sing You (The Twelve Apostles)
2. Old Polina
3. The River Driver
4. The Mermaid
5. Captain Kidd
6. Graceful & Charming (Sweet Forget-Me-Not)
7. Concerning Charlie Horse
8. Harbour LeCou
9. Tishialuk Girls Set
10. French Shore
11. Cod Liver Oil
12. Tickle Cove Pond

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2005
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Zoe Records
  • ASIN: B000B8I8ZK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,213 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Great Big Sea Store

Music

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Biography

Great Big Sea is a bastard. Forged from the loins of Figgy Duff and Ryan's Fancy, GBS found its feet on the unforgiving streets of St. John's, and stood their ground when others faltered. When asked about their unlikely success, founding member Bob Hallett is typically candid: "We weren't the best musicians in town," he says, "we just wanted it more. We were driven ... Read more in Amazon's Great Big Sea Store

Visit Amazon's Great Big Sea Store
for 16 albums, 5 photos, and 5 full streaming songs.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
75%
4 star
25%
3 star
0%
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See all 28 customer reviews
It makes for a good listen.
D. Walters
This is a CD any fan of Newfie/Celtic music must own.
PJY
You can't help but smile, while you listen to it.
Anonymous

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Gammill VINE VOICE on October 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For a longtime fan, The Hard and the Easy is quite a memorable feat. On the one hand, you could say Great Big Sea is playing to their strengths with an all-traditional album. But on the other hand, many of the songs here do not resemble anything they've ever done, even on traditional-heavy discs like the seminal UP or their eponymous debut.

Although they've always leaned heavily (and successfully) on folk sounds, The Hard and the Easy breaks new ground for the band by being their first entirely acoustic album. The songs are lean, quick and at times vaguely familiar. The informative liner notes give the history of each tune. . .a welcome education for us faraway fans who may never set foot on the isle of Newfoundland.

It's nice to see Bob Hallet getting a couple of tunes, and Sean McCann continues to improve at balladry, something he sometimes faltered at on Something Beautiful. His rendering of Graceful & Charming ranks with the band's best love songs.

But for the most part, The Hard and the Easy is about having fun. The expected seafaring tales are there, but there is also further exploration of Newfoundland history in songs like Concerning Charlie Horse and darkly funny Cod Liver Oil. The Mermaid is guaranteed to put a smile on your face; Captain Kidd, Old Polina and the bittersweet Harbour Lecou are destined to be classics.

I confess, I like GBS's original songs every bit as much as the traditional stuff. And UP is still the standard for providing a mix of the old and the new. Which is why I've given this release 4 instead of 5 stars. For other longtime fans, especially those who felt letdown by the more pop-oriented Something Beautiful, this album will be a 5-star one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GreatBigSeaGirl on February 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is just another great CD by Great Big Sea. While this album is traditional folk songs they still manage to put their spin on it. I have listened o this cd over and ever again. If you like Great Big Sea you will not be dissappointed. If you have never heard of them.. you will still probably not be disappointed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on October 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The Hard and The Easy is a 100% traditional, acoustic album of enduring Newfoundland songs. This is GBS at their finest. It is truly a labour of love. This album is rich in Newfoundland history and culture. Their musical ablities and harmonies shine right through on this 12 song disc.

I just love the music on this CD, maybe because some of my ancestors are from Brigus, Newfoundland. It's been in my CD player non stop. You can't help but smile, while you listen to it.

Some of the topics sung about are: seafaring, logging, horses, ponds, ice, pirates, mermaids, infidelity, love, sexuality, and the dreaded cod liver oil.

All the songs were great, but my favourites were: "Graceful & Charming (Sweet Forget-Me-Not)", "Old Polina", "Captain Kidd", "Concerning Charlie Horse", "French Shore" and "Tickle Cove Pond".

One of the highlights is Bob singing lead on "Come and I Will Sing You (The Twelve Apostles)". This is a counting song similar to the "Twelve Days of Christmas", but can be sung at any time of the year. The liner notes state that it is one of the oldest songs in "Newfoundland tradition".

Alan's rendition of a logging song called "The River Driver" is fantastic. His vocals are tinged with regret and sadness.

There's a tongue-in-cheek song called "The Mermaid" sung by Séan. It shows some of the earthier humour from Newfoundland. If you have heard it, you know what I mean. "Show me your fin!" ;) lol!

"Graceful & Charming (Sweet Forget-Me-Not)" and the "French Shore" are beautifully sung by Séan and Alan, respectfully.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Rains, gales, any kind of weather, the 'goofy Newfies' making up Great Big Sea add joy and inspiration to their musical tradition. Their eighth album covers the traditional ballads of Newfoundland and Cape Breton. When listening, the music flows as easily as the coastal waters on a calm day, but there's complexity and strength in the music--and harmony. This is one album to listen to on a down day--and keep you joyous even on good days!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Ross on November 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Playing Time - 41:16 --It was about twenty years ago that some students studying English and folklore met at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. Their bands like Newfoundland Republican Army and Rankin Street eventually evolved in 1993 into Great Big Sea with multi-instrumentalists Alan Doyle, Séan McCann, Bob Hallett and Darrell Power. Darrell has since left the group, replaced by Toronto-area native Murray Foster. From Pictou County, Kris MacFarlane is the fifth member of Great Big Sea and plays drums and percussion. During the band's 15 years, they've produced nine albums that blend traditional and contemporary approaches to folk music, always with copious amounts of imagery and emotional sentiment. This release, however, takes the new approach of being all-acoustic.

With a seafaring theme, many of their songs on "The Hard and the Easy" immediately draw you in for interaction with humorous lyrics and catchy melodies. Arrangements are given rousing pub-song presentation, and listeners who like songs about the flowing bowl in a more relaxed style might actually prefer to explore the material of a duo like William Pint and Felicia Dale. "Harbour Lecou" and "Cod Liver Oil" are the types of stories that they can so evocatively tell. Great Big Sea's lineup includes six guests on 5-string banjo, harmonica, and vocals. It would be hard to not sing along on "Captain Kidd," which features Fergus O'Byrne's banjo. It might've been rather interesting to invite a guest to play some hurdy gurdy on a bounding tune like this. The down-home, earthy side of the band, along with a bit of bawdiness, is best captured in "The Mermaid," a song I've heard entertainers like Alex Beaton cover.
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