A Delightful Recreation

The Sons of Liberty have selected a snippet from one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters as the title of their new CD, A Delightful Recreation, and a true delight are the tunes chosen and played by these three young musicians in this second collection of songs dedicated to the music of early America.

The Sons of Liberty, also known as Joshua, Daniel and Noah Smith, three brothers from Jonesville, VA, have chosen as their mission to keep early American 18th century music alive by playing it. Reviving old songs in an authentic style, they play at historic colonial re-enactments in state and national parks throughout the Northeast.

A Delightful Recreation is a combination of Irish, British, French, Scottish, Italian and German songs many of which were favorites of Thomas Jefferson and were contained in his personal music library. Stirring marching songs, popular sea chanteys, delightful dance tunes, historical ballads, popular hymns, passionate laments, songs from operettas, operas, plays, and even a favorite song played by Jefferson when he was courting his future wife make up the twelve songs in this album. All were “songs of the day” during Jefferson’s life time.

  • Garryoin is a lively Irish marching song written about a legendary group of Irish revelers, headed up by the famous robber Garry Oin.
  • A-Roving/The Trooper Water his Nag are sea chanteys popular during the middle 18th century and were most widely used by sailors to keep time while loading and unloading ships.
  • Ramsgate Assembley is a delightful John Playford dance tune named after Ramsgate, a late 18th century resort town in Kent, England.
  • The Miller of the Dee appeared in the 1762 operetta Love in a Village and was part of Thomas Jefferson’s Musical Catalogue of 1793.
  • The Touchstone was based on the 1779 play The Touchstone at London’s Covent Garden theatre.
  • The Hunter’s Chorus from the German opera Der Freischutz was one of the last pieces in Thomas Jefferson’s personal music library.
  • This Gavotte for violin was written by the Father of Baroque, French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau.
  • This Sonata for viola was written by Italian composer Benedetto Marcello.
  • The Three Ravens is a historical ballad which tells the tale of three ravens discussing how to eat a dead knight. / The 1745 Scottish Jacobite Rebellion sought to unseat the German House of Hanover from the English throne. Johnny Cope is a satirical ballad which mocks the crushing defeat the British army sustained at the farming town of Prestonpans because they refused to fight before having tea.
  • These popular hymns were written during the 18th century: Come thou Fount of Every Blessing (1758) Heaven Anticipated (1787) and The Lord is my Sheppard (1650, from the Scottish Psalter).
  • The Flowers of Edinburgh was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who played it while courting his future wife, Martha.
  • Bonnie Portmore is a lament for Portmore, a resort town near the British Isles, which was deserted in ruin during the mid-18th century after the bankruptcy of its owner, Lord Naugh.
  • La Musica Notturna Delle Strade di Madrid is a musical suite by Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. An excerpt of the third movement was featured in the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World which starred Russell Crowe.
  • This lively military march, Over the Hills and Far Away, began as the theme song for the 1706 play The Recruiting Officer by George Farqhar. (The Sons of Liberty played this tune on their first album as well, but here they play while signing the words to this march.)

As was their first CD, A Delightful Recreation was recorded at Maggard Studios in Big Stone Gap, VA. And, as was the case with their first CD, Alan Maggard has done an impeccable job in producing this CD. Alan is a true professional who has recorded musicians from all over the world. The quality of his work comes through in the sound production in both these CDs.

Not only do Joshua, Daniel and Noah provide a delightful recreation for your listening pleasure in this album, they are three fine young men and an inspiration for any young musician. In just the few days that I have had my copy, I’ve listened to it many times, appreciating and enjoying it more each time. It has already become one of my favorite albums in my music collection. If ever I was forced to give up my early American and Old Time music collection, these two albums by The Sons of liberty would be the last to go! I’m sure you will agree when you listen to their latest CD, A Delightful Recreation.

A Delightful Recreation is available online at Townsends.

See The Friends of the Sons of Liberty for more information

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