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MP3 Black Irish Band & Michael Martin Murphey - California Story

America''s No#1 Cowboy artist Michael Martin Murphey joins the Black Irish Band to create a musical journey about the people, places, and history. Double Grammy Award winning artist Mary Youngblood is also featured.

17 MP3 Songs in this album (61:33) !
Related styles: COUNTRY: Cowboy, COUNTRY: Americana

People who are interested in Gordon Lightfoot John Denver Garth Brooks should consider this download.

Author’s notes-
Captain Jack
(The 1870s Modoc Indian War)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
I wrote this story song about 18 years ago. My father George told me about the Modoc War when I was about eight years old. I learned many more details as I grew older and felt the story would make an interesting ballad. It is an amazing story about a fearless leader who only wanted to live out his life in peace on his native land. As more settlers moved into Modoc County they needed more land and were uncomfortable with the natives living so close. The Modoc Indians were forced into a reservation. Captain Jack, as leader, took a small force of about sixty warriors and made a valiant stand in the Stronghold of present day Lava Beds National Monument. This song is in memory of Captain and His people.
Song Details:
The lead in to the song was performed by Grammy Award winning Flutist, Mary Youngblood, and is entitled, “Tears for Captain Jack” (Tears for Keintepoos) – Jack’s Modoc Name. Mary wrote this short melody in memory of the Modoc People and their descendants- and to all Indian Nations whose lands and cultures were disrupted. Mary performed on a flute made by Ted Smith. I was very lucky to have Mary’s talents!

It is of some interest to know this was the very first song I performed on Melodeon. I liked the Melodeon because it reminded me of an old 1800s pump Organ. The Guitar solo was played by old band mate Scott Baker and he captured the feel.

Grizzly of Old California
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
Having been a bear lover from the time of my first Teddy Bear, it was only natural for me to write this song. Having spent countless hours photographing the Grizzlies of Alaska I already had a strong interest level. Working with the U. S. Forest Service for 14 years allowed me to have many close encounters with bears in general. I was always however amazed when talking to the public, about bears, that they thought the Grizzly was still found in California. The song was the only way I could set the record straight for the public to know.

It is a sad note to know that our State of California Animal has been long gone since the 1920s.

Song details:
After I wrote the song I knew that only Michael Martin Murphey could sing it. Murphey was awarded the Golden Smokey Award by the government for his service in wild land fire prevention. I also liked the fact that Murphey is so close to the land and its values and has made such a livelong commitment to the public’s awareness of the wild places.

“Sweet Thursday”
(The Doc Rickett’s Theme)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
Having read John Steinbeck’s book, Cannery Row, I fell in love with the characters that made up Monterey’s Row. The story theme followed the loveable “Doc”. Based on the real life Marine Biologist, and friend of Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts became the focus of the story. Ten years later Steinbeck would write his second installment know as “Sweet Thursday”. The song is a look into the romance of Doc. In Cannery Row the ending is somewhat sad. Doc never finds his dream girl. In “Sweet Thursday” however a great romance takes place and all ends well.

In my real life, it never seemed to have a story book ending when it came to love. So in my melancholy song Doc lives out the romance of “Sweet Thursday”, only to find out it was only a dream and it ends like “Cannery Row”, alone again!

Song Details:
James Nelson was the perfect pick to sing this song solo. All that was needed was some jazz cord guitar.

Shasta Sunset
(Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan)

I wrote this waltz as a tone poem in celebration of California’s 14,000 foot peak, Mt. Shasta. In the summer of 1995 I painted eight oil paintings of the mountain from every advantage. I fell in love with every sunset.
Song Details:
I used a French horn on this song to reach a majestic quality worthy of a mountain. Steve McArthur did a great beautiful job on the solo piano.

Sonora Farewell
(The last Rose of Summer)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
Miners from the Mexican State of Sonora were mining gold near present day Sonora California in the 1840s. They found gold and prospered until others imposed a very unfair miner’s tax upon them. Because of this taxation most of those early miners returned to Mexico and said farewell.

Song Details:
The Black Irish had performed in a series of concerts in the mid 1990s with Noe & Thomas Montoya of Los Compadres. Noe sings lead while Thomas performs some back up on the nylon string guitar. The chorus trumpets were performed by Richard Restivo and me.

Mic & Paddy
(The Irish build the U.P. Railroad)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
When the Union Pacific Railroad started construction in the 1860s, they hired on a crew of mostly Irish workers. Many had just served in the Civil War and needed work. Most crews worked 12-16 hours each day and only made a dollar a day for their hard work. After the Irish met up with the Chinese on May 10th, 1869, they continued to be an influence in the American West by being cowboys.

Song Details:
Michael Martin Murphey, whose folks came from Ireland, was a perfect pick to sing a song about the Irish experience. Murphey is joined by the boys in creating a very Celtic sounding folk ballad. The hard driving auto harp of Tina Louise Barr combined with David Rainwater Mandolin made me feel like I was behind an old steam locomotive.

Men of Iron
(The Chinese build the C.P. Railroad)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
This song is based on the little told history of the Chinese American workers that built the Central Pacific Railroad in the 1860s. Many came during the gold rush. When the railroad started construction out of Sacramento a work force was needed. It was soon found out that the Chinese were perfect for the task. Most were highly skilled in the use of gunpowder and were very dependable. It is sad to note however that the Chinese were treated very poorly by others.

“In the High Sierra”
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
At age 15, I went on my first Sierra 50-mile hike with the boy scouts. In two weeks time I learned what it was to dance on granite and face afternoon thunder storms. As years pass I realize the impact of these mountains on my life. From the boy fishing in her rivers to the long hikes over 10,000 feet, I always felt more alive when entering the High Sierra. One line in the chorus states, “looks quite the same to an older mans eyes”.
This comes from the fact that no matter how old we are, the High Sierra will always look the same.

The Yosemite Waltz
(Above the valley floor)
Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
Arrangement: Richard Restivo
Having spent many hours oil painting at Tunnel View, in Yosemite National Park, I fell in love with the daily change of color. One moment the granite is bright white, then grey, then at sunset it glows in warm colors.

Song Details:
The task of taking on an original classical tone poem and arranging it was not easy. Band mate Richard Restive answered the call and was responsible for writing out all the instrumental parts. For an orchestra we used members of the Stockton Symphony as well as our own talents. Rick performed on trumpet as well as bass. John Baker did a great job on the French horn. It was a big undertaking, but it was worth it!

Life is like a Mt. Railway
(American Traditional)
It was Michael Martin Murphey’s idea to do this song. I agreed because it fit into the theme poem I wrote years ago about an old time locomotive engineer named Manny Marshall. Manny started out on a logging railroad in his early 20s. I had the pleasure of talking to Manny about his years on the Sugar Pine Railroad. Boy, he had some great stories about how wild things were in the 1920s. Manny performed with the Black Irish a few times on his harmonica when he was in his 90s.
This song is performed in his memory.

Song Details:
Mt. Railways was performed live in the studio with Michael Martin Murphey as producer. We were lucky to have his band road manager, Paul Sadler, performing on hammered dulcimer. The song also featured on autoharp Tina Louise Barr. The rest of the sound was pure Black Irish.

“Mendocino I Hear”
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
In my 30s I fell in love with Hwy 1, and the towns of Mendocino County. I always enjoyed Abalone diving off the Headlands and afterwards having a beer at Dick’s Bar. Driving from Pt. Arena to the town of Mendocino is always breathtaking. I always wanted to move there, but I ended up on the Oregon Coast instead.

California’s Gold
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
What story of California would be complete without a story about the history making 1849, California Gold Rush. I however wanted to take this story and make it more about the overall need of miners who gave up everything they loved to search for that yellow rock. When I wrote the words I also thought about how the need for water was also a large, take all you can grab and do not worry about the consequences! Like the Owens Valley and other California areas that were robbed of their once great resources.

Song Details:
Richard Restive sings lead on this song. I wanted to create a sort of Celtic feel to the song in the instrument breaks, so I started with an Irish Jig for me and Dave to play.

Cannery Row
Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
With this song I wanted to create a feel of Cannery Row in the 1930s. Being that Monterey was once our state capital and had a huge Mexican presents I wanted to add that as an influence to my song. In this tone poem I see old trucks driving by and people going to work. I see the little general store and Doc walking out with a paper and his daily quart of beer, heading back to his lab.

Song Details:
This song was a perfect vehicle for the trumpet. I performed the lead line and then recorded my harmony.
I was trying to get a Mariachi style.
On the breaks and counter melodies I used Mandola and Melodeon, which gives a since of nostalgia to the song.

Ballad of John Muir
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
At age 12 I read “The Mountains of California” by John Muir. In fact I soon read everything I could by Muir. At that point in my life I decided to become a mountain man and live everyday among the trees. Muir’s writings would have the greatest influence on my life. Because of his faith in nature I became more aware of the wild things around me. Looking at the new California State Quarter, I guess I am not the only one who feels that way. Long live John Muir!

Song Details:
Steve sang lead on this ballad. Old band mate Dave Shapiro laid an up-beat mandolin solo over a nice Bluegrass banjo track.
Cross the rivers, far & wild, to the forest like a mother to her child. How the canyons & mountains sing. John Muir’s out there if only we believe.

Huntington Beach
(Summer Weather 1976)
Words & Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
It was at Huntington Beach I first tried to surf. I must admit I am no great surfer, but I liked the scene and all the pretty girls on the beach. It was also at this time I remembered picking up a copy of the Beach Boys, “Endless Summer”. I fell in love with the album and it now always reminds me of those lost summer days and friends I knew at Huntington Beach. The times are gone, but the memories still last beyond the last summer sunset.

Song Details:
On this song I went out on a limb! I wrote the song with a major inversion in the verse, hard to sing, but interesting. I employed some friends from a local band called Crazy Ivan. They did a nice job on back-up. My recording engineer Leroy Bumgarner played the 60s surf organ. It was a hoot making this song! I know it’s not folk, but so what?

Manzanar Overture
Music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
I first visited the site in 1979 to get a better view of Mt Whitney which is the tallest peak in the Sierra Nevada.
It is sad to think that this great viewing point of the Sierra’s was once the site of an internment camp.
In 1942 the U.S. government built Manzanar and moved more than 10,000 Americans of Japanese descent into the camp.
At my last visit to camp I looked up at the peaks of the Inyo National Forest. As I stared out I heard this music come to my ears through the wind. I thought that it must have been a ghost melody left over from one who looked this way before and longed for the freedom of those mountains & forest.

Song Details:
Steve performed on the piano. I liked the sound of the piano because of its very poignant quality. My friend Mike Mooney performed on the soprano sax. I chose the sax because of the lilting feeling it gave me. At other times in the refrain the sax can make you feel very sad. The gong and koto were added for a mood while John Baker added a French horn part and gave the song a strong ending.

Words & music: Patrick Michael Karnahan
These words are my California Story

“I gather my memories of times that I knew, the longest of summers with skies so blue. With families & friends that have now gone away, deep in my heart forever to stay”

“When we danced upon granite till the stars came to call, afternoon daydreams than evening would fall. Thunderstorms gathered to sing us a song; campfires would blaze into the dawn”
- Patrick Michael Karnahan

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