About
Our first album, "A Horse Apiece," was recorded February 2020 at MarkStudios.biz in Clarence, N.Y. and released January 2021. The engineer was the talented Bishop. The album title comes from a phrase Bishop used during a session, and means something like "six of one, half a dozen of the other." Cover art by Dennis.
THE SONGS
1. Buffalo Gals - (Traditional,1844) As the western terminus of the Erie Canal, canal workers often collected the pay for their completed trip in Buffalo, and as is the way of things, an industry developed to help separate them from that pay. "Buffalo Gals" is a traditional tune, published in 1844 under a different title by a minstrel singer. Its invitation to "come out tonight" is often said to be directed at the "dancing girls" and brothel workers of the era. We mash it up with Woody Guthrie's 1940 version (which includes the epic dad joke, “The bootlegger’s daughter and I love her STILL”).
As I was walking down the street, down the street, down the street
A pretty girl I chanced to meet, and we danced by the light of the moon
Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight?
Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight,and we'll dance by the light of the moon.
I danced with a gal with a hole in her stocking
and her knees was a-knockin' and her shoes was a-rockin'

I danced with a gal with a hole in her stocking,
and we danced by the light of the moon
I danced all night with a bottle in my hand, bottle in my hand, bottle in my hand
Danced all night with a bottle in my hand, oozed right over in the promised land.
I got a gal that lives on the hill, lives on the hill, lives on the hill!
I’ve got a gal that lives on the hill! Tell me won’t ya come out tonight?
She’s a bootlegger's daughter but I love her still, love her still, love her still
The bootlegger's daughter and I love her still! Tell me won’t ya come out tonight?
Hurry up Joe and don't go slow! Here you go, 'n don't go slow!
Chicken in the bread pan pickin’ at dough, There you go, kickin' up snow! 
Well, a right foot up and left foot down, swing that girl around and round
Right wing up, left wing down, you just go a-kicking at the floor
I danced all night with a bottle in my hand, bottle in my hand, bottle in my hand
Danced all night with a bottle in my hand, oozed right over in the promised land.

Red Hill Jr., niagara falls daredevil, in a barrel depicting some of his famous father's accomplishments.  

2. O Mighty Niagara - (Reed / Egolf) The danger of Niagara Falls has always attracted daredevils: some luckier than others. Hear the tales and heed their lessons! 
It was hot night on Goat Island, in 1848
And little Nettie wanted to play
She pulled on the sleeve of a family friend
Her parents said, "Go on, OK."
The young man picked her up, but Nettie wiggled away
And landed just a footstep too far
The river pulled her in, the young man tried to swim;
When they found them she was still in his arms
CHORUS
O Mighty Niagara, come and see what you have done.
O Mighty Niagara, stole the soul of another young one.
Old Red Hill SENIOR grew up upon her shores
Her every nook and eddy he did swim
He saw the suicides, the daredevils with big eyes
He watched them, and he dragged their corpses in.
The idea crossed Red’s mind, to try the jump himself,
To win riches and fame beyond compare
But the old man kept his head, died peacefully in bed
But Red Hill JUNIOR, well, that’s a whole 'nother affair…
CHORUS
Well I learned all these stories from a history book
And that is how I know that they’re true
But if you think they're bunk, go on and try your luck:
Next week we’ll be singing about you!  
CHORUS
Stole the soul of another star-struck one.
Stole the soul of another lovelorn one.
ADDITIONAL LYRICS:
Young Red Hill / had some mighty shoes to fill; 
His father’s fame was known throughout the land

Of feats of derring-do, he knew a thing or two
But he never matched the fame of dear old Dad
So he built this weird-ass thing, and he called it “The Thing”
To ride the Horseshoe Falls, come what may

As the vessel downward struck, Junior’s soul flew up:
Son and father reunited on that day

PHOTO BY DENNIS

03 Won't You Pray? (feat. John Valby) - (Reed). Guest piano graciously contributed by Clarence's John Valby.
Well I showed up for my Sunday School but I never understood
How God could kill the fishes with a flood
Or why he’d want to kill them anyway
When he knows how they were made
CHORUS
Oh, won’t you pray? (Won’t you pray?) 2x
Won’t you pray for this poor atheist when you reach those pearly gates?
Oh, won’t you pray? (Won’t you pray?) 2x
Won’t you pray for this poor scientist when you reach those pearly gates?
I tried to turn the other cheek but I wound up twice as sore
Tried giving everything away but people just wanted more
And it only got me knifed to pretend
My enemy was my friend
CHORUS
I tried to muster up some shame for all my mortal sins
But cradled in my sweet love’s arms it just wasn’t happening
What kind of God would stock a world with sweets
We’re not supposed to eat?
CHORUS

A farmer (CENTER) "rescues" passengers from an erie canal boat (UPPER RIGHT) by laying out a simple plank of wood for them to walk ashore. Illustration from Mark Twain's  MOCK-HEROIC POEM, "THE AGED PILOT MAN." 

04 The Er-i-e Was Risin' - (Ned Harrigan, 1873) This song humorously exaggerates the perils of the Erie Canal, and gives glimpses of some of the colorful characters that made their living there. Many similar songs existed, often under the name of the "Danger Ballad." 
We were forty-nine miles from Albany, forget it I never shall.
What a terrible storm we had that night On the E-ri-e Canal.
CHORUS
O! the E-ri-e was rising and the gin was a-getting low.
And I scarcely think we'll get a drink
‘Til we get to Buff-a-lo-o-o; ‘Til we get to Buffalo.
Our cook her name was Big Foot Sal, she wore a bright red dress
We h'isted it up on the mast as a signal of distress.
Oh yea, she was a grand old gal, stood 6 foot in her socks.
With a hoof just like an elephant, and breath that opened locks.
CHORUS
We were loaded down with barley, we were chock-full up on rye.
And the captain he looked down at me with his gol-durned wicked eye.
Oh, lay me on the horse bridge, With my feet up toward the bough
Let it be a Lockport laker or a Tonawanda scow
CHORUS
Two days out from Syracuse the vessel struck a shoal;
We like to all be foundered on a chunk o' Lackawanna coal.
We hollered to the captain on the towpath, treadin' dirt
He jumped on board and stopped the leak with his old red flannel shirt.
CHORUS
I’ve travelled all around this world, and Tonawanda, too
I’m every inch a canawler, boys, been beaten black and blue
The cook is in the Police Gazette, the captain went to jail;
And I'm the only son-of-a-bitch that's left to tell the tale. Oh!
CHORUS
05 Whiskey Before Breakfast / Red-Haired Boy (Traditional) ​​​​​​​ Alaina and Andrew rip through a couple of traditional fiddle tunes. Whiskey Before Breakfast is believed to have originated as a Canadian fiddle tune, likely from the maritime provinces where it is also known as Spirits of the Morning, although it is often mistakenly thought of as an Irish fiddle tune. The tune was first published by Canadian fiddler Andy deJarlis in 1957 in a collection of Canadian fiddle tunes.
Like many fiddle tunes, Red-Haired Boy is known by many names including The Little Beggarman, The Old Soldier with a Wooden Leg, The First of May and The Duck Chewed Tobacco. The tune is Irish in origin but it is a fiddle tune standard in nearly every modern fiddle tradition.​​​​​​​

1875 map showing the Hannah and John Johnson residence at the back of Dr. Locke's Lot

06 The Legend of Hannah Johnson - (Reed) For decades, the ghost--or at least the ghost story--of "Black Hannah" (Hannah Johnson, c.1800-1883) haunted the children of the Tonawandas. During her lifetime, she was a Black fortune-teller in a shanty outside the village, reading tea leaves to entertain young ladies and children. Some local historians have suggested she helped other Blacks escape from slavery, though this remains speculative. 
Have you heard the name, Black Hannah?
Have you heard, boys? Gather ‘round!     
Born in slavery, floated down the Er-I-E
To Tonawanda town.  
Where the elm leaves stop the sunlight and the brick road turns into a path
Past the sulphur spring, among the wake-robin, you’ll find her tiny shack.
All the young folk go to see her to eat her cakes and have their fortunes to-old
Who will marry well? Who will miss love’s spell? Who will never grow old?  
Have you heard the name Black Hannah?
She’ll read your future in a cup of tea
A cad once asked his fate, but Hannah only looked away
Said there was no future to see   
Hanna Johnson lives here with her husband and other black folk we see come and go-o
How they all get here, and to where they disappear, only Hannah seems to know. 
Have you heard the name Black Hannah?
A fortune teller of great renown
But some people insist her greatest magic trick
Is a railroad underground.   
Hannah died in peace one summer morning; so gently she was carried to her gra-ave
Young and old we cried as she was laid inside and the last light fell across her face
Have you heard the name, Black Hannah?
Gather round, girls, and I’ll try to explain
Her shack is long gone; her headstone, it got lost
And that’s why we gotta sing her name
Have you heard the name Black Hannah?
Her woods were somewhere right around here!
When from the power lines you hear an old crow cry
Just maybe Hannah’s near
7. Poor Wayfaring Stranger - (Traditional) Wayfaring Stranger is a traditional American folk song that is believed to have originated in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of the United States and dates back to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century. The song was first known to have been published in 1858 in a book of popular hymns. It gained popularity in the 1940s as singer Burl Ives’ signature song and has since been covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Jack White.

I am a poor wayfaring stranger, travelin' through this world of woe
But there’s no sickness, toil, nor danger, in that bright land to which I go.
I'm going there to see my Father / I’m going there no more to roam.
I'm just goin' over Jordan, / I'm just goin' over home.
Mandolin Solo
I know dark clouds will gather round me, I know my way is dark and steep.
But golden fields lie just beyond me, where souls redeemed their vigils keep.
I'm going there to see my Mother, / she said she'd meet me when I come.
I'm just goin' over Jordan, I'm just goin' over home.
Fiddle Solo
I want to wear that crown of glory / When I get home to that bright land. 
I want to shout salvation’s story / In concert with that blood-washed band. 
I’m goin’ there to see my savior, / To sing His praises evermore. 
I’m just goin’ over Jordan / I’m just goin’ over home.

8. Highway 62 (demo) - (Reed / Glass) Niagara Falls Boulevard provided Buffalo's early automobile owners a pleasant venue for their Sunday drives, the road to the Falls soon becoming dotted with cabins and motels. Join Grover Cleveland, Geronimo, and notorious McKinley assassin Leon Czolgosz in this Bob Dylan-inspired Motor Fantasy, full of references to the 716. Recorded in Andrew's backyard, summer 2020.
Verse 1 (Dennis)
Grover Cleveland and Geronimo were out enjoying a Sunday drive
“Take me to the Aerodome!” Geronimo he suddenly did cry.
He didn’t wait for an answer, he went and took the wheel
The Silver Arrow spun out on an apple peel
Csolgosz begged the mob to let them through to  Highway 62.
Verse 2 (Keith)
There’s a little bit of everything, baby, just tell me where to go.
We can do pizza in Niagara Falls, or Whataburger in old El Paso.
The tourism leaflets are fading in the light
Still legible on the reverse is, “For a good time, 
Set your touring compass to Highway 62.”
Verse 3 (Andrew)
The rest stop was stripped to the walls, everything that wasn’t sold was burned
The looters all took numbers, Czolgosz was still waiting for his turn
Grover got awfully friendly with the help; 
[said,  “You’re a] hottie with a smoking body.” She said, “You’re not so bad yourself--
Why’s a two-timer like you, on Highway 62?”
Mandolin Solo
Verse 4 (Keith)
The county boys stopped a Chevy, rattling along the boulevard
The driver played it nice and cool, waited til the cops let down their guard
He pressed the pedal to the floor, he knew he had to bail
Flashing lights in his mirrors were hot on his tail
I blocked his path, I wouldn’t let him through, on Highway 62
Verse 5 (Andrew)
The city canceled miracles, music unilaterally on hold 
(classified as non-essential, since it merely nourishes the soul)
On every star of every flag, some hero had spray-painted, “No goal” (no goal!)
We stopped at a NOCO to get directions from
A disgraced field goal kicker--I think he made them up;
They were off a yard or two, from Highway 62
Verse 6 (Dennis)
The Silver Arrow was out of gas, and Geronimo was fresh out of ideas
….
The zoning board let the motels moulder where they fell
Saying, “Make like a tree and bury yourself.
Hurry up, you’re blocking our view--of Highway 62.”
9. Colored Aristocracy / Cherokee Shuffle (Live) - (Traditional) Alaina plays a blazing rendition of a couple of our favorite fiddle tunes, live at Penny Lane Cafe in Clarence, N.Y. in September 2020.
"Colored Aristocracy" is a late 19th or early 20th century fiddle tune of American origin. The title represents prevailing attitudes of the post civil war era, when People of Color were looked down upon for being well educated or successful. A more appropriate title for this fiddle tune might be: "People of Color, Rightfully Claiming Their Positions of Equality."
"Cherokee Shuffle" is a fiddle tune based on an older American fiddle tune known as "Lost Indian." While there are fiddling traditions among the Cherokee, neither of these tunes have their roots in the music of indigenous people of North America -- it’s the "Cleveland Indians" of fiddle tune titles. As such, a more appropriate title might be: "Caucasian Musicians Write a Fiddle Tune Inspired by Stereotypes of Native American Culture."
10. Lonesome Road Blues (Live) - (Traditional) Recorded at Penny Lane Cafe, September 2020.  Sometimes called "Goin’ Down This Road Feelin’ Bad," this is a traditional American country blues song, first recorded by Henry Whitter in 1924. The tune  comes to Yellow Jack via Woody Guthrie and the Grateful Dead.
CHORUS:
I'm going down this road feeling bad (3x)
And I ain't gonna be treated this way 
Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet
Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet,
Takes a ten-dollar shoe to fit my feet Lord, God
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet
Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet
Your two-dollar shoe hurts my feet, Lord, God
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine
I'm going where the water tastes like wine, wine, wine
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
They say I’m a dust bowl refugee
They say I’m a dust bowl refugee
They say I’m a dust bowl refugee, Lord, God
And I ain't gonna be treated this way
I ain't gonna be treated this way
I ain't gonna be treated this way
And I ain't gonna be treated this way, Lord, God
And I ain't gonna be treated this way


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