Jack Miffleton started out at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
That shouldn’t be strange to regulars on this blog:
it was also the starting point of the trio who produced Songs for the Masses.
It’s a pedigree that has largely been forgotten.
And that’s sad; this is a good folk production that needs a revival.
The title wouldn’t pass muster in this obsessive day of ours,
but the “skins” part refers to percussion,
something that didn’t always pass muster in a day when percussion was thought in some quarters
to be secular at best and pagan at worst. But Miffleton and his musicians make good use of it;
the album is reminiscent, more than anything else, of God Unlimited,
although some of the pieces echo The Keyhole as well.
There are some very powerful pieces on the album (“Cry Alice.”)
The Mass propers are at a minimum here.
If you’re looking to break out of the #straightouttairondale mould fashionable these days,
this is an album you should consider.
The recording is out of distribution but the sheet music is definitely available
and can be found here.
One of the most wholesome spirited folk outfits to reach these ears, one whose albums have the sixties written all over them. Although the artist name is listed as Jack Miffleton (composer of the songs), this is really a group effort. They do a splendid job putting their own unique stamp on the Catholic sound: up-tempo pure folk with a big beat; melancholy acoustic ballads rich in emotion; gently swaying numbers with hypnotic percussion. Participants include singers Skipp Sanders, Nancy Barnes and Dennis Cooney, Jack on guitar, plus others on bass, drums, banjo, percussion and additional guitar. The vocalists are all good, their harmonies filled with feeling and creatively expressed, while the instrumental backing remains simple yet solid and lively. Back cover describes the songs as “foot-tapping” (‘I’m Ready To Follow’), “quiet ebb and flow” (‘The Wind Blows’), “poignant” (‘Cry Alice’) and “rhythmic” (‘Alle Alle’). An irresistible rocking drumbeat is laid down on ‘I Am The Bread’.
Opens with ‘Well, It’s A New Day’, one of Jack’s best known songs. Most of these folks (including Jack) also appear on The Group’s No Time Like The Present which has a more or less identical sound. (The Archivist, 4th edition by Ken Scott).
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