Albums

Fraser Union (1988)

 

The self-titled first album • 1988

(Cassette; out of print)

Song titles

Bank Trollers, Lord Franklin, The Yankee Sails Tonight, Canning Salmon, This Land is Whose Land, Arthur MacBride, God Speed the Plough, Drill Ye Tarriers, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Don’t Cry in Your Sleep/Campbell’s Farewell to Redcastle, Children of Africa

Split Shift (1989)

 

Fraser Union with the Vancouver Industrial Writers’ Union • 1989

(Cassette; out of print)

Song titles

Bank Trollers, Snap the Line Tight, Grand Hotel, Bosses’ Lament, Truck Driver’s Song, Everything Possible, The Soda Jig, Hard Rock Miner, Canning Salmon, All Used Up.

Hello, Stranger! (1991/2003)

The title Hello, Stranger! took on new meaning in 2003.  Besides being the opening line of the opening song of this album, it represents a return.  Originally recorded in 1991 and released as a cassette tape, Hello, Stranger! was digitally re-mastered and released as a CD with far better sound quality in 2003.

As with all of Fraser Union’s repertoire, the contents of this album were chosen carefully over time.  Canadian history is represented in the opening track, “Are You From Bevan” (Vancouver Island’s Coal Strike 1912-14) collected by Phil Thomas, and in Bill Gallaher’s “The Last Battle” about the Metis rebellion of 1885.  Allister MacGillivray’s ” Coal Town Road ” tells of the lives of Cape Breton coal miners and Vic Bell’s “Snap the Line Tight” takes us to the West Coast for log salvaging.

That song and most of the others have to do with the ordinary heroics of daily life, of adapting by necessity to the conditions we encounter.  Tommy Sands’ “Your Daughters and Your Sons” is an anthem of courage and hope, while Bob Blue’s “Their Way” ironically twists “My Way” to describe the familiar adaptations required by academic life.  These songs are balanced by two well-loved blues standards, “Deep River Blues” and “Trouble in Mind.”

“God Speed the Plough,” “Aa Cud Hew,” and “Chemical Worker’s Song” carry on the theme of working lives.  “Walls of Troy ” is a too-frequently needed song about the recurrence of war.  The album began with a “hello” and closes with a farewell in Celia O’Neill’s “Upon the Road Again.”

Song titles

Are You From Bevan, The Last Battle, The Goodnight-Loving Trail, God Speed the Plough, Deep River Blues, Coal Town Road, Their Way, Trouble in Mind, Your Daughters and Your Sons, Snap the Line Tight, Aa Cud Hew/Chemical Worker’s Song, Walls of Troy, Upon the Road Again

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From There to Here (2000)

Fraser Union is known for a meaningful repertoire of Canadian material reflecting the lives, history, and landscape that make up this country. From There To Here is a strong representation of those themes.

The title refers to geography and time: the songs span three centuries and move from the Scottish Highlands to Vancouver Island, tracing the movement of peoples and events from the highland clearances to computer programming and globalization.

A sampling of the songs gives a sense of the recording’s themes and relevance. “Lady Franklin’s Lament” tells of the ill-fated voyage in search of the Northwest Passage. Andy Vine’s “Woman of Labrador” is based on the story of Elizabeth Goudie’s difficult life on the land in Labrador. “Empty Nets” by Jim Payne laments the plight of the fishing industry. Bill Gallaher’s “Augustus and Catherine” is the inspiring story of two “Overlanders” who survived their arduous journey on the strength of their love. “Ships of the Deep” is the reflections of Barry Truter, one of the group’s members. Barry’s song describes the harm that has been done to a once-proud industry by ships operating under “flags of convenience.”

The West Coast appears in John Lyon’s “Home Dear Home,” set off the north coast of Vancouver Island, and Fraser Lang’s “Salmon Circle,” about the mysterious and fragile cycle of the mighty salmon. Current and future directions of Canadian society are indicated in the lyrics of Zeke Hoskin’s “The Ghost Program” and Rick Keating’s “One Big Highway.”

Accompanied by guitars and mandolins, the 14 songs on this album form an important reflection of our lives: past, present, and future–From There To Here.

Song Titles

Don’t Cry in Your Sleep, Lady Franklin’s Lament, Woman of Labrador, Empty Nets, Free in the Harbour, Augustus and Catherine, Make Me A Pallet, Home Dear Home, One Big Highway, Ships of the Deep, Bosses’ Lament, Salmon Circle, Canaries in the Mine, The Ghost Program.

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This Old World (2006)

This Old World takes its title from a recent song written by Barry, but it is paired with a song that dates from the 17th century. It is an old world, and “The World Turned Upside Down” reminds us that our concerns today are not all that new.

As with our previous albums, this one reflects our penchant for content. Many of the songs treat the subject of what most people do most of their waking lives: work. In addition, as with our previous recordings, the album has a decidedly Canadian bent – especially West Coast.

You may recognize some of the songs from much earlier recordings (now out of production). We re-recorded those that have been most requested, but even on some of the earlier songs as well as newer ones we’ve added new elements: Henk’s dobro, Barry’s banjo, and guest drummer, Duncan Truter.

Like this old world, we’ve been around for quite a while doing what we do. But we hope you find some surprises here. For instance, a Bruce Cockburn song that has never been recorded.

Song titles

This Old World, The World Turned Upside Down, Everything Possible, Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy, When The Tide Goes Out, Canning Salmon, Westcoast Lullaby, Drill Ye Tarriers, The Truck Driver’s Song, Goin’ Down The Road, The Ballad of Robert Harkness, Hard Rock Miner, Bank Trollers, All Used Up, Where I Stand

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BC Songbook (2009)

Fraser Union’s latest CD, BC Songbook, is a record of life in this precious coastal land: from the significance of fishing, mining, trucking and log-salvaging, to the joy and beauty of the setting.

This collection of traditional and contemporary songs of Canada’s west coast combines songs we have sung over a number of years with some that are newly added. All are from and about our province. We hope they bring a sense of what life here has been for those who came before us as well as the current experience.

The album’s stunning cover art is from “Road to the Cariboo”, a mixed media on canvas work by Wells, BC artist, Claire Kujundzic.

Song titles

Kettle Valley Line, The Grand Hotel, Hard Rock Miner, When the Tide Goes Out, Home, Dear Home, The Ballad of Robert Harkness, Drill Ye Tarriers, The Bridge Came Tumbling Down, Are You From Bevan? Snap the Line Tight, The Truck Driver’s Song, Bank Trollers, Canning Salmon, Salmon Circle , Augustus and Catherine, Westcoast Lullaby.

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