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Sweeney Astray


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Audio CD, May 16, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

"Sweeney Astray" is an assortment of original and traditional work. "Don't Talk at Me While I Walk Away" is an original up-tempo blues tune. "Payday" is my adaptation of a Mississippi John Hurt song, with banjo, dobro, and bass. I learned "She Belongs to the Devil" from the work of Washboard Sam (Robert Brown, 1910 - 1966), an Arkansas blues artist and reportedly the half-brother of Big Bill Broonzy.

"Mary Ann" is a calypso tune I learned from a 1934 recording by Roaring Lion (Rafael de Leon) from Trinidad. "Sweeney Astray" is my musical adaptation of several verses from the medieval Irish tale of the same name. (Sweeney was a warrior, cursed for throwing a priest's prayer book into a lake. He was doomed to live in the trees and rocky crags, eating watercress and drinking brook water. See Seamus Heaney's fine translation of this, published in 1983.)

"Sow Took the Measles" is one of the first songs I heard as a child, on a recording by Burl Ives. (I've searched out a few additional verses to this old song.) "Spike Driver Blues" is from Mississippi John Hurt, as is "Don't Want Me Baby." "You Stole My Love" is adapted from the work of Washboard Sam.

Dean Rathje: guitar, slide guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, piano, bass.

Don't Talk at Me While I Walk Away (2:53)
Payday (4:57)
She Belongs to the Devil (3:59)
Mary Ann (4:31)
Sweeney Astray (5:10)
Sow Took the Measles (2:51)
Spike Driver Blues (2:42)
Don't Want Me Baby (3:01)
You Stole My Love (2:42)

Total running time, 32:47

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Don't Talk at Me While I Walk Away
  2. Payday
  3. She Belongs to the Devil
  4. Mary Ann
  5. Sweeney Astray
  6. Sow Took the Measles
  7. Spike Driver Blues
  8. Don't Want Me Baby
  9. You Stole My Love


Product details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2011)
  • Label: New Leaf Interactive Media, Inc.
  • Run Time: 33 minutes
  • ASIN: B00514LYIW
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