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I LOVE LONG ISLAND. Cassette and CD. 66 minutes. 1997. Recorded and mixed by Lane Gibson and Charles Eller at Charles Eller Studios in Charlotte, VT. Art direction by Futura Design, Shelburne, VT. Copyright 1997 by Stanley A. Ransom, Jr. (BMI). All rights reserved. A production of Connecticut Peddler Enterprises (BMI).

This is a product of the 1960's as well as of 1997. In the mid '60's I was involved with the intense folk music revival on Long Island, at which time as many as 70 folk musicians were crammed into our Huntington, LI, home playing and singing in every room. While Director of the Huntington Public Library from 1958-1974, I spent several years in spare moments hunting for Long Island traditional, topical, and historical music. I visited every library and local history collection of note in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. It was not until I had retired in 1991 as Director of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System in upstate New York that I finally had time to complete this Long Island traditional music project. I wish to thank the librarians in these libraries for their cooperation and assistance and for the excellent job they have done in acquiring and preserving local history. I also wish to thank the many persons with whom I talked or corresponded, including the Bethpage Restoration fiddler Eric Marten, of Franklin Square, who suggested many popular Long Island fiddle tunes, Frederick Schmidt, folksinger Stephen Sanfillippo, Frank Warner, Gale Huntington, Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and historians Rufus Langhans and George Weeks. I especially wish to thank Darlene Hall and the Museums of Stony Brook for allowing me to use tunes written and played by William Sidney Mount. Thanks also to Susan Onofrio of Plattsburgh, vocal and music consultant.

Cover photo: Rebecca Phelps Ransom, Stanley Austin Ransom III, and Sarah Bushnell Ransom sculpt a sand castle on the South Shore Beach of Long Island in 1970. Photo: Stan Ransom.

Instruments used are a curly maple hammered dulcimer made by the late Kenneth H. Butler, of West Hartland, Connecticut, in 1988, a hammered dulcimer made by the Henry Ransom family of Sherman, NY, in the 1850's, a 12 string Alvarez guitar (1984 Yairi model), a 6 string custom guitar built by Frank DeLeone of New Haven in 1951, a six string Taylor guitar, Model 810, a 1926 Gibson Model A mandolin, a 4 string banjo, an Oscar Schmidt 21 bar autoharp, an Oscar Schmidt diatonic autoharp converted by Maurice Dill, and a dombek drum made by Ken Lovelett.

This extended length tape/CD is produced using Dolby B noise reduction.

Stan Ransom, The Connecticut Peddler, was born in Winsted, CT, in 1928. His maternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Haight Sheldon, was born in Deer Park, Babylon, L.I., in 1858. Her father, William Henry Haight, designed and built the boilers for the ironclad "Monitor." At age 6 she was hoisted on to her father's shoulders to watch Lincoln's casket as the funeral procession advanced down Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1864. She taught Stan and his siblings the Dutch children's lullaby, "Trip a Trop a Tronjes," from her Dutch forebears.

Stan Ransom, The Connecticut Peddler, distributes and shares music, folklore and songs from his large pack. The American Association for State and Local History awarded him a 1994 Certificate of Commendation for his work as a folklorist and in recognition of his achievement in the preservation and interpretation of local, state and regional history. He received this distinction once before, in 1970, in recognition of his book, "America's First Negro Poet: the Complete Writings of Jupiter Hammon of Long Island." He also originated Black Poetry Day, celebrated nationally on October 17th, the birth date of Jupiter Hammon of Huntington, who was born in 1711. Stan Ransom still loves Long Island!

Music in New Amsterdam and Long Island: The first mention of music known or heard in New Netherlands is that of a trumpet, which was blown or played at a banquet held August 8, 1636, at Fort Amsterdam. The "musician" played so loudly that the Governor's speech couldn't be heard, and the musician was stopped. In 1673 the Commissioner for Plantations reported to the Director in Holland, "There are no musicians by trade in the whole colony." In 1687 Frances Stepney, a Boston dancing master, went to New Amsterdam and was asked to leave. Then singing by note later became fashionable, and music came to Long Island.--Mrs. Bleecker Bangs: Reminiscences of Old New Utrecht and Gowanus, 1912, p. 190ff.

Side A

1. Cape Cod Girls. 1830's capstan chantey. Guitar, mandolin, vocals.

2. Tom Bowling. By Charles Dibden (1745-1814). Thought to have been composed in memory of his sea captain brother, Thomas, who died in Indian waters. A favorite with sailors, this song was later banned from shipboard singing, as many superstitious sea captains thought it brought bad luck to sing about the death of a sailor. This song was sung by a midshipman on HMS "Royal Oak," September 26, 1780, while it was anchored off Gardiner's Island. Noted in Sarah Gardiner's "Early Memories of Gardiner's Island," 1947. Guitar, mandolin, vocal.

3. Trip a Trop a Tronjes. (Take a Trip to Tronjes). Dutch children's lullaby taught to me by my Long Island born grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Haight Sheldon. This song was taught to her by her Dutch grandparents. The song was popular in the 1600's in New Amsterdam and on Long Island. My thanks to Henny Visscher of Plattsburgh, NY, for her help with the pronunciation of Dutch words. Guitar, hammered dulcimer, autoharp and vocal.

4. Money Musk/Haste to the Wedding/Devil's Dream. Popular contra dance tunes suggested by Eric Marten. "Haste to the Wedding" is also an 18th century song known as "Rural Felicity." "Devil's Dream" was earlier called "Devil Among the Tailors." Guitar, hammered dulcimer, diatonic autoharp, dombek.

5. Waked by the Gospel's Powerful Sound. By Samson Occum. Also called "The New Birth." Written abut 1800 by the Mohican Indian from Connecticut, Samson Occum was educated by Reverend Eleazer Wheelock, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1759, and preached among the Native Americans of Eastern Long Island. He was sent to England in 1765 to preach and was instrumental in raising 10,000 pounds to assist in the founding of Dartmouth College, Wheelock's Indian School. Tune by S. Chandler, 1798. This version is from Josiah Goddard's "New and Beautiful Collection of Select Hymns and Spiritual Songs," 1801, Walpole, NH. Guitar, autoharp, vocal.

6. Bright Phoebe. Known both to sailors and lumberjacks, this sad song laments the death of the sailor's beloved. From the log of the whaling ship "Cortez," 1847, as given in Gale Huntington"s "Songs the Whalemen Sang," Barre Publishing Company, 1964. Guitar, autoharp, mandolin, vocal.

7. Cape Breton Victory. Song of Queen Anne's War. Words printed in the "New York Weekly Post-Boy," Jamaica, NY, on July 29, 1745. Tune: "To All You Ladies Now At Hand." Guitar, mandolin, vocal.

8. Roslyn Castle/Bonaparte's March Across the Rhine/Rights of Man. "Roslyn Castle," a popular 18th century love song by Richard Hewit, was also a tune played at funerals and sad occasions by British military bands, who called it "Roslyn Castle Dead March." In 1781 the oppressed residents of Hempstead Harbor, Long Island, rejoiced to hear the British occupying troops playing this tune as they marched out of their village for the last time. Remembering this, in 1844 residents changed the name of their village to Roslyn. "Bonaparte's March" is a popular fiddle tune. "Rights of Man" was composed to honor Thomas Paine and his "Rights of Man," published in 1792. Guitar, hammered dulcimer.

9. Captain Kidd. Captain William Kidd was a privateer for England who was tried and executed in 1701, not for piracy, but for the accidental death of his gunner, William Moore, at whom he had thrown a bucket. Kidd's visit to Gardiner's Island in 1699 led to reports of buried pirate treasure which have excited treasure hunters since that time. His treasure was buried there but only for nine days and was removed after that. I have followed local and folksinger's tradition in referring to Kidd as "Robert" rather than "William." Guitar, autoharp, mandolin, vocal.

10. My Own Long Island. Words by John S. Haight; music by Grace Keenen Haight. Published by the Keller Company, NY, copyright 1926 by Grace Keenen Haight. "Dedicated to the Rotary Club of Mineola, Garden City, Hempstead." Guitar, autoharp, vocal.

Side B


11. Shipwreck on Long Island Shore. Unpublished song given to me by Gale Huntington. From the log of the whaling ship "Andrew Hicks," 1879. Traditional tune: "Caroline of Edinburgh Town." Last two lines supplied by Gale Huntington and his wife. Guitar, autoharp, mandolin, vocal.

12. Ballad of General Woodhull. Long Island Revolutionary War ballad, first published in the "New York National Advocate" on February 28, 1821. Traditional tune: "Chevy Chase." Guitar, mandolin, vocal.

13. Possum Up a Gum Stump/New Rigged Ship/Drops of Brandy. William Sidney Mount, the Long Island genre painter, was also a talented musician. He learned "Possum" from his brother, Nelson, a music teacher and dancing master living in Georgia, according to Stony Brook Museums. "New Rigged Ship," popular on Long Island, and "Drops of Brandy" both appear in J. Dale's "Selection of Country Dances," London, 1791. Guitar, hammered dulcimer.

14. Colonel Heard. Revolutionary War song by British sympathizers, who resented Congress'actions in sending Colonel Heard from New Jersey to Long Island to disarm the Hempstead, Long Island, Tories. Traditional tune: "Yankee Doodle." Guitar, mandolin, vocal.

15. Lilly Dale. By H.S. Thompson. Popular 19th century parlor song. Guitar, autoharp, mandolin, vocals.

16. Ballad of the Bull Rider. Words by John Brooks Fenno, about 1835. Traditional tune: "In the Good Old Colony Times." Legendary story of how Richard Smith and his bull outlined the borders of Smithtown, Long Island. From Rufus Langhans' "Nesaquake Tales," 1965. Banjo, guitar, mandolin, vocal.

17. Musings of an Old Bachelor/Kate of Coleraine/The Rose Tree. William Sidney Mount wrote this first tune in 1845, later playing it on his unique fiddle, "The Cradle of Harmony," which he designed and built in 1847, according to "Catching the Tune; Music and William Sidney Mount," issued by Stony Brook Museums in 1984. "Kate of Coleraine" appears in "The Gentleman's Music Repository," published in New York in 1813. "The Rose Tree" was George Washington's favorite song. Guitar, hammered dulcimer, diatonic autoharp on "The Rose Tree.".

18. Ballad of the Swabs. Words by George Sterling. Tune by Stan Ransom. First published in the "American Mercury," 1925. Guitar, mandolin, vocal.
19. I Love Long Island. Words and music by Stan Ransom. A celebration of Long Island and its people, offered as the theme song for Long Island. Guitar, autoharp, mandolin, vocal.

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