…I love you, my town…you’ll always live in my soul

It’s a splendid concept, take 34 leading folk and country musicians from both sides of the North Atlantic and gather them in a stunning Georgian-era Scottish mansion for collaborative live performances, featuring music from Scotland, Ireland, England and North America. Then record, film and broadcast the results as a season of half hour TV episodes

Originally produced in 1995 as a joint BBC Scotland/RTE Ireland television series to celebrate the close relationship between British and North American traditional music, The Transatlantic Sessions have been referred to as “the greatest backporch shows ever”.

Built by Sir Robert Glasgow in 1817 (and a fine hotel since 1982), it was all filmed and recorded at Montgreenan Mansion House in Ayrshire, Scotland; hard-by the Firth of Clyde. The venerable Sir Robert, like other Glasgow “entrepreneurs” alas, made his fortune in the shipping trade by plying the shameful triangular route between Britain, Africa and the sugar plantations of the West Indies.

Since 1995 four additional series were filmed (‘99,’07, ‘09, ’10) with the most recent ones broadcast on BBC 4, which has been a channel since 2002. Although many of the featured musicians are unknown to us (or at least us dilatants) on the North American side of the Atlantic there have been some notable names through the years, including: James Taylor, Rosanne Cash, Nanci Griffith, Martha Wainwright and Ricky Skaggs.

There were some notable names in that original gathering as well, particularly: Emmylou Harris, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Mary Black, John Martyn and Iris DeMent.  Now, closing in on 20 years later, its pleasing to see the relative youthfulness of many of these performers… especially the late Kate McGarrigle. I’m definitely adding it to this year’s Christmas list and for those who are interested I have included a complete ’95 series rundown at the bottom of this post.

As we know from prior postings, Iris DeMent was born in Paragould, Arkansas in 1961 (but bred in Cypress, California) and was the youngest of 14 children in a Pentecostal household. After college she worked as a waitress in Kansas City while composing songs and honing her guitar and singing skills at open-mic nights, finally making the leap to Nashville where she would ultimately land a record deal.

Today’s selection is another track from her 1992 debut album, “Infamous Angel”.  This 1995 YouTube version that includes Emmylou Harris (who bears a striking resemblance to my big sister) was featured on PROGRAMME FOUR
 of the original Transatlantic Sessions.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Friday 27 July

 Our Town

 And you know the sun’s settin’ fast

And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts

Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye

But hold on to your lover

‘Cause your heart’s bound to die

Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town

Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town

Goodnight

 Up the street beside that red neon light

That’s where I met my baby on one hot summer night

He was the tender and I ordered a beer

It’s been forty years and I’m still sitting here

 But you know the sun’s settin’ fast

And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts

Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye

But hold on to your lover

‘Cause your heart’s bound to die

Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town

Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town

Goodnight

It’s here I had my babies and I had my first kiss

I’ve walked down Main Street in the cold morning mist

Over there is where I bought my first car

It turned over once but then it never went far

And I can see the sun’s settin’ fast

And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts

Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye

But hold on to your lover

‘Cause your heart’s bound to die

Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town

Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town

Goodnight

 I buried my Mama and I buried my Pa

They sleep up the street beside that pretty brick wall

I bring them flowers about every day

But I just gotta’ cry when I think what they’d say

 If they could see how the sun’s settin’ fast

And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts

Well, go on now and kiss it goodbye

But hold on to your lover

‘Cause your heart’s bound to die

Go on now and say goodbye to our town, to our town

Can’t you see the sun’s settin’ down on our town, on our town

Goodnight

 Now I sit on the porch and watch the lightning bugs fly

But I can’t see too good, I got tears in my eyes

I’m leaving tomorrow but I don’t wanna go

I love you, my town, you’ll always live in my soul

But I can see the sun’s settin’ fast

And just like they say, nothing good ever lasts

Well, go on, I gotta kiss you goodbye

But I’ll hold to my lover

‘Cause my heart’s ’bout to die

Go on now and say goodbye to my town, to my town

I can see the sun has gone down on my town, on my town

Goodnight

Goodnight

PROGRAMME ONE


Wheels Of Love Emmylou Harris with Iris Dement & Mary Black

MacIlmoyle Jay Ungar & Aly Bain with Russ Barenberg, Molly Mason & Jim Sutherland

Ready For The Storm – Kathy Mattea with Dougie MacLean

Spencer The Rover – John Martyn with Danny Thompson

Big Bug Shuffle – Russ Barenberg

Black Diamond Strings – Guy Clark with Emmylou Harris

Guitar Talk – Michelle Wright with Kathy Mattea

Ashokan Farewell – Jay Ungar with Aly Bain

PROGRAMME TWO


May You Never – John Martyn with Kathy Mattea

Big Scioty – Aly Bain, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg & Jerry Douglas

Ta Mo Chleamhnas Deanta – Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh with Donal Lunny

Grey Eagle – Mark O’Connor

Talk To Me Of Mendocino – Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Karen Matheson

Mexican Monterey – Savourna Stevenson with Aly Bain & Danny Thompson

By The Time It Gets Dark – Mary Black with Emmylou Harris & Declan Sinnott

Auld Lang Syne – Rod Paterson with Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh & Martyn Bennett

PROGRAMME THREE


The Loving Time – Mary Black with Declan Sinnott, Davy Spillane

Goodbye Liza Jane – Aly Bain & Jay Ungar with Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas & Molly Mason

Iain Ghlinn Cuaich – Karen Matheson with Donald Shaw

Turning Away – Dougie MacLean with Kathy Mattea

Boulavogue / Mrs McLeod – Davy Spillane & Aly Bain with Russ Barenberg

Let The Mystery Be – Iris DeMent

Wild Mountain Thyme – Dick Gaughan with Emmylou Harris, Kate & Anna McGarrigle & Rufus Wainwright

Far From Home / Big John McNeil – The House Band with Mark O’Connor, Martyn Bennett, Charlie McKerron,

Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh & Cathal McConnell

PROGRAMME FOUR


Going Back To Harlan – Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Emmylou Harris

Daire’s Dream – Davy Spillane with Jerry Douglas & Russ Barenberg

Canan Nan Gaidheal – Karen Matheson with Donald Shaw

Jim’s Jig / Little Cascades / Fox In The Town – Simon Thoumire & Jim Sutherland

Farewell, Farewell – Mary Black with Declan Sinnott

Cat In The Bag – Mark O’Connor with Russ Barenberg, Donal Lunny & Danny Thompson

Our Town – Iris DeMent with Emmylou Harris

Ronfleuse Gobeil – Aly Bain & Jay Ungar with Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg & Jim Sutherland

PROGRAMME FIVE


I Will – Kathy Mattea with Dougie MacLean

Will The Circle Be Unbroken – Michelle Wright, Iris DeMent & Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh

You Low Down Dirty Dog – Jay Ungar with Aly Bain, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas & Molly Mason

Gentle Annie – Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Rod Paterson

Jesse Polka – Mark O’Connor with Phil Cunningham, Russ Barenberg, Donal Lunny & Danny Thompson

Green Rolling Hills – Emmylou Harris with Mary Black

The Dark Woman Of The Glen – Cathal McConnell with Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham & Russ Barenberg

Big Muff – John Martyn with Danny Thompson

PROGRAMME SIX


Hard Times – Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson & Rod Paterson

MacCrimmon’s Lament – Martyn Bennett

Dublin Blues – Guy Clark with Karen Matheson

Sweet Is The Melody – Iris DeMent

A Maiden’s Prayer – Aly Bain & Jay Ungar with Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas & Jim Sutherland

Don’t Want To Know – John Martyn with Danny Thompson

For No One – Emmylou Harris with Davy Spillane

Scotland – The House Band with Mark O’Connor, Martyn Bennett, Charlie McKerron, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh & Cathal McConnell

PROGRAMME SEVEN


Old Fashioned Waltz – Emmylou Harris with Kate & Anna McGarrigle

Clyde To Sandyhook – Savourna Stevenson with Aly Bain

Dark As A Dungeon – Guy Clark with Rod Paterson

The Lover’s Waltz – Molly Mason

Both Sides The Tweed – Dick Gaughan with Emmylou Harris

The Reason Why I’m Gone – Michelle Wright with Karen Matheson

Uncle Sam / Rain On Olivia Town – Jerry Douglas

This Love Will Carry – Dougie MacLean with Kathy Mattea

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