Stan Rogers,
Fogarty's Cove
(Fogarty's Cove Music, 1977)

Twenty-three years ago, Stan Rogers released his first album, Fogarty's Cove. And with it he came out flying.

The music was great -- not only was Stan Rogers a great guitar player and a wonderful singer, but the musicians who played with him were also all good. There was Garnet Rogers, a wizard on the violin (he also played the flute and sang), David Woodhead (electric bass, acoustic guitar, lap steel and vocals), Jerome Jarvis (drums, percussion and stepdancing), Ken Whitely (piano, mandolin and vocals), The Masked Luthier of Dupont Street (dulcimer, banjo, concertina and long-necked tenor mandolin -- and no, I am NOT naming him/her ... although he/she might have released an album called Unmasked...), Bernie Jaffe (violin), Curly Boy Stubbs (acoustic guitar) and John Allan Cameron (12-string acoustic guitar and violin). No matter the instrument, they played some wonderful folk music, whether the songs were new or old, up-tempo or slow.

And what songs they were. They were so good that my least favorite song, "Watching the Apples Grow," is slowly growing on me. It is a matter of great music winning over my dislike of the tempo. And then there is the rest of the album, with the love songs and stories well told. Stan Rogers wrote all but one of the songs -- that being, "The Maid on the Shore," a traditional folk song. As for his lyrics, they are great, capturing the moment and motion, and giving us slices of life from different points of view.

But back to the songs. It starts off with "Watching the Apples Grow," a song about Stan's love for Acadia, followed by "Forty-five Years," a sentimental love song dedicated to his then future wife. That in turn is followed by another love song of sorts, "Fogarty's Cove."

Then Rogers switches gears slightly to tell us a tale or three. He begins with the traditional "The Maid on the Shore,"then follows it up with "Barrett's Privateers," which has a particularly rousing chorus. These in turn are followed a few tales of the land, starting in Halifax with "Fisherman's Wharf," then moving to Cape Breton Island in "Giant" and ending in "The Rawdon Hills."

These songs are chased down with a beautiful two minutes of music in "Plenty of Hornpipe." And then it is right back to the tales, with that of a very strange salvage in "The Wreck of the Athens Queen."

"Make and Break Harbour" tells of the dreaming of an old fisherman in a place where larger boats now do most of the work. "Finch's Complaint" is a recitation, and shows another side to the tale touched on in the previous song. (This is the only song for which the lyrics were not included, but then, it really should be learned by ear.) The album closes off with a fitting reprise of "Giant."

If you have never listened to Stan Rogers and wonder why he is held in such esteem, listen to this album and you'll see. If you have, then it should come as no surprise to you that this is another album that I say the following. Take the time to listen to the album, sit back and enjoy and let it carry you away.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]

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