Holy Cow! It's Christmas!
'What a GREAT name for a band!' and this from Old Blind Dogs! Yes, people often ask us about our name. There's indeed a long legend involving St. Cuthbert and a cow; nothing nasty, mind you, but more along the lines of a miracle. The whole story is actually quite underwhelming, so we'll spare you. Just know that we like the alliterate pairing of "Cuthbert" (the crusty Celtic hero of Lindisfarne) and "cow" (the official state bird of Iowa). St. Cuthbert's Cow began with two friends getting together to play. Then we invited a third friend to come outside and play too. Every now and then another friend will join us. That's pretty much it. Sometimes we sparkle, sometimes we thud, but we always play. As a priestly friend once said, "If it's not fun, then it's theologically suspect." The three original cows (the pastor, the professor, and the percussionist) are: Sam-Hamilton Poore: soprano, alto, tenor, recorders and vocals. Sam is a Presbyterian minister serving a Lutheran church. He is also a spiritual director and educator with particular interest in spirituality and the environment. Kerry Dolch Krogh: classical guitar and vocals. Kerry is a professor of Biology and Art at Waldorf College. She is also a painter who made the large oil paintings (3 feet high) for the teeny front and back cover of our Christmas CD. Scott Bell: percussion and vocals. Scott owns a musical instrument repair shop and plays in several other groups including the jazz trio Feldspar and the Dixieland band Raiders of the Lost Art. Scott makes time to play with the Cow because he enjoys the variety of hand percussion that he gets to play in addition to his usual drum set and cymbals. This hand percussion includes djembe, bodhran, spoons, accordion, tambourine, triangle, wind chimes, claves, saw, jingle bells, wind, rain, ocean, and "whatever else you hear but can't identify". On "Holy Cow! It's Christmas!" the original cows are joined by their friends Rich Dean on upright bass and gorgeous soprano sax, and Suzanne Hofstrand with some terrific fiddling. NO COWS WERE HARMED IN THE PRODUCTION OF THIS RECORDING. NOTE: 'Holy Cow! It's Christmas!' has become so popular that everyone is asking us which of our first two all-season CDs they should buy. We never could decide which we liked best, so we've squeezed most of the songs from the first two CDs together to make that decision easier for us all and to reward the loyal Friends of the Cow with almost two CDs for the price of one. The combined cream of the cow CD, called 'Condensed Milk', is also available from CD Baby. St. Cuthbert's Cow Holy Cow! It's Christmas! (liner notes) Part I 1. Three Kings Making Tracks Whoever these three gents were, they'd never have made it to the manger on time if they'd traveled at the pace this song is usually sung. So then, we've Fed-Exed the tempo a bit. Picture them on camels, racing across a desert... 2. O Come, O Come Emmanuel Although a "plain song" from the 12th century, the hope and longing it expresses have lost none of their urgency. 3. On Christmas Night, Bring a Torch to the Irish Washerwoman A trio of songs: "On Christmas Night" (English), "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle" (French), and the "Irish Washerwoman" (Irish) set to the beat of Scott's bodhran. 4. Red and Green A song of winter and Christmas by Maddy Prior, used with her kind permission. 5. South Wind; The Holly and the Ivy We hope you agree that these two fit nicely together; the first, a lilting little Irish tune; the second, a traditional English carol ca. 1700. 6. The Cherry Tree Carol A narrative ballad from Kentucky, offering us a glimpse of what might have been Joseph's reaction when Mary first told him she was pregnant. Note how there is no distinction in the song between "nature" and "supernature"; a virgin becomes pregnant, a cherry tree bows down, an infant speaks from the womb, stars tremble with glee. 7. Hark! Maggie! The Herald Angels Sing in the Wood! "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" along with "Maggie in the Wood." Part II Songs of the Manger 8. The Brink; What Child Is This? The Brink is an Irish air, paired here with the English hymn; lyrics by William C. Dix, set to the tune of "Greensleeves" (16th century). 9. Away in A Manger We combine two musical settings of the carol. Which one did you learn as a child? 10. Einini This is an Irish/Gaelic cradle song, the title meaning "little birds." The lyrics sing the drowsy child to sleep by naming different birds. The arrangement for guitar is by William Coulter, used with his kind permission. 11. Baloo, Lammy 17th century, traditional Scottish. A cradle song from the Highlands of the "blessed Bairn." "Baloo" is a gentle "hush!" "Lammy" is a loving diminutive of "lamb." Part III 12. He Is Born! This is what happens when you put Scott and Sam in the same room with a recorder and two spoons... 13. God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlefolk; The Groundplan The English carol "remixed" with another tune arranged by William Coulter. Why? Why not? 14. Sheebag-Sheemore; The First Nowell A lovely liquid Irish tune, together with the familiar carol. 15. Ay Linda Amiga "My Lovely Friend": an old Spanish song whose melody originated in Madrid. The guitar arrangement is by William Coulter, used with his kind permission. 16. Auld Lang Syne A traditional song that poet Robert Burns reworked with his own magic. "Twa" friends meet up in a pub and recall the days of their childhood and youth;and the ways in which time and distance have changed them. And yet the friendship endures... 17. Knocknabower Jingle We pull out all the stops [kitchen utensils, and cows] for this one...