"If you love a song, carry it along." This tenet of Barbara Scott is responsible for this collection of songs.
Though a North Carolinian by birth, Barbara is what one might call a Citizen of the World having lived in such far-flung places as Africa, Spain, and England beginning in the late 1970s before returning to North Carolina in the early 1990s. After such a diverse life's exposure, the songs that Barbara has carried along, perhaps surprisingly, are solidly in the classic Anglo-American tradition.
One source was the record collection of Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl during the year she was an apprentice singer and roadie for the two while in London. "Bye And Bye" and the bluesy tribute to the hard working "Coal Miner" come from that association.
Most of the songs convey the classic themes of death, transition, and loss. These themes are expressed in songs such as "Angel Band" with its “campfire choir” feel; The Carter Family's "Fifty Miles of Elbow Room"; and the beautiful and poignant "My Flower My Companion" -- included here in remembrance of Barbara's English friend Fiona Cameron who introduced her to the song. "I understand them better than I did when I first learned them," says Barbara, "and these are all songs I love."
One intentional exception to the songs of loss is "Sunny Side Of The Street" -- a swinging 1930s number that celebrates being happy -- perhaps created originally as an antidote to the economic devastation of the Great Depression. Elizabeth Baker is the female harmony voice where you hear it, and clawhammer banjo picker on "Fifty Miles..." The two women’s voices blend exceptionally well owing to Barbara's gift of a youthful voice and Elizabeth’s vibrant, razor sharp tune sense.
Barbara is no stranger to recording for Patuxent Records. She participated in Donnie “Dobro” Scott’s 2000 release Generations, and The Scott Family Band album The Great Divide in 2006. Donnie is a significant part of this project, too, playing much of the guitar, all the dobro, and providing harmony vocals. Fiddle is by the talented Merl Johnson. Tom Mindte provides mandolin, resophonic tenor guitar, and harmony vocals, and long time accompanist Fred Mock contributes bass throughout.
There are two originals in the collection -- "Fountain of the Used To Be," here highlighting Taylor Baker’s remarkable ability on the mandolin, has been waiting for its debut since Barbara wrote it in 1997. "Drink to Fair Annie" began with a tune that Donnie was toying with to which Barbara added her western themed lyrics. The result sounds like it was penned at the turn of the 20th century.
While it is Barbara's wish that her children and grandchildren might become smitten with her kind of music, it is likely many more listeners will fall in love with these remarkable songs, and carry them along, too.