Saints & Sinners
"Going Over Home"
All About The Songs
All About The Songs
1. Keep Your Hand On the Plow (Trad) Lead vocal Ben Tyzack
I first heard this song on a Mahalia Jackson cassette that I bought at a truck stop in South Carolina. The tape stayed in the car stereo for months on constant repeat. I find gospel music of this kind hits you deep inside and is very inspiring. For me, not necessarily in a religious way but more just uplifting and spiritual. Great to bring to the band and give it our own twist which we tried to do with all of the songs.
2. Up Above My Head (Trad) Lead vocal Fran McGillivray
First recorded by The Southern Sons in 1941, this hopeful spiritual celebrates the joys of music, and is probably best known for the rousing version by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Our arrangement is in a minor key but the message remains uplifting.
3. Train Done Gone (Tyzack, Spikedrivers) Lead vocal Ben Tyzack
I wrote this song with the Spikedrivers back in 2002. It’s built around the old gospel refrain ‘people keep a coming but the train done gone’ I love writing songs that can be interpreted in many ways and hopefully giving listener the opportunity to bring in they own thoughts and emotions. It was released on our album ‘Blues Trash’ and has been a live feature and crowd favourite ever since. This new arrangement with Fran & Mike was so much fun to do and even more energy has been added, ‘Oh Yeah’!
4. I'll Fly Away (Brumley) Lead vocals Fran McGillivray and Constance Redgrave
First recorded by the Selah Gospel Quartet in 1941 and featured in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” sung by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch.
5. Hear Me Talking To Ya (Trad) Lead vocal Fran McGillivray
I first heard this song as a teenager on an album called “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Blues”. The album paid tribute to the blues singers, in this case Ma Rainey, who had influenced Ella in her early days. The song takes no prisoners in laying down the rules: “ You wanna be my man, you better pack it with you when you come!”. Ella’s version was my introduction to Blues music, which remains my passion. Mike and I have included this song in our live shows for some time and we love the harmony parts added by Constance and Ben in our Saints & Sinners version.
6. Crossroads (R Johnson) Lead vocal Ben Tyzack
It’s hard to improve on so many classic versions of this song but with inspiration from the original and a little bit of Cream’s version I think we’ve a least added something to the pot. It evolved out of just playing around on my resonator guitar in an open G minor tuning, I just starting singing it and it went from there. It all ended up being quite dark and mysterious and the band’s arrangement brought this out even more which felt it was heading somewhere a bit different.
7. St James Infirmary Blues (Trad) Lead vocal and extra lyrics by Constance Redgrave
Sometimes known as "Gambler's Blues", it’s often regarded as an American folk song of anonymous origin, but there is a strong case of its having roots in early 1800s England. This sad tale of death and the beautiful release of a loved one to a ‘better place’ is so powerful and so universal, especially in these troubled times.
8. Good Old Wagon (Harney) Lead vocal and extra lyrics Fran McGillivray
My favourite take on this old song is the recording Bessie Smith made in 1925. It’s jokey, sassy and full of life. I hope you enjoy our arrangement of this vaudeville style blues – another example of a woman telling it like it is.
9. Nobody's Fault But Mine (Willie Johnson) Lead vocal Ben Tyzack
As with many people, I first heard this song on Led Zeppelin’s 1976 ‘Presence’ album, absolutely killer! But then hearing Blind Willie Johnson’s version really gives you the raw emotion of the song that is incredibly powerful. I love the simple message, take responsibility! Definitely a good one for 2020. We ended up mixing a few of these elements and adding our own flavours, plus just bit of some John Lee Hooker boogie which always hits the spot.
10. Jesus On The Mainline (Trad) Lead vocal Ben Tyzack
Every musician I know seems to have been influenced by Ry Cooder’s 1974 album ‘Paradise and Lunch’ and this song featured on that classic record. This is kind of our version of his version and keeping it a great traditional sing-along which is lots of fun to play.
11. If You'se A Viper (S. Smith) Lead vocal and extra lyrics by Maurice McElroy
It was Ben's mum Patzy who first suggested I do a cover of this song. Originally by Stuff Smith in the 30's it has been recorded many times by many artists including Fats Waller who renamed it 'The Reefer Song' as a riposte to the film 'Reefer Madness' which was doing the rounds at the time.
I added the chorus that ends 'everything be cool and minty fresh' because I'd been trying for years to get that line into a song. It comes from a show I did at the Albany Empire back in the 1970's where the DJ David Rodigan, then an actor, told of the night he met Bob Marley. That involved a reefer too.
12. Death Came a'Knocking (Trad) Lead vocals Fran McGillivray and Mike Burke
First recorded by The Selah Gospel Quartet under the title “Traveling Shoes” in 1939, this song first came to my attention on a record by Canadian Roots band The Duhks. The message is strong and insistent – when the call comes, be ready!
13. Ain't Nobody's Business (Grainger & Robbins) Lead vocal and extra lyrics by Fran McGillivray
I’ve always thought this was a great song. It was first recorded in 1922 by Anna Meyers and the Original Memphis Five, and I’m particularly fond of Billie Holiday’s version. I’ve taken out some verses and written a new part to bring the song in line with modern sensibilities.