Details of
by Partington & Sweeney

Producer: Ed Sweeney
Engineer: David Correia
Recorder At: David Correia
Mastered By: David Correia

About the Album


Commonplaces is inspired by the centuries-old practice of commonplacing or recording wisdom and ideas for later recollection in notebooks that bear the name "commonplaces." 

Mary Lee Partington & Ed Sweeney tell stories of immigrants, farmers, and factory workers during 19th & 20th century America, where self-educated mill girls earn their own keep, an orphan endures to tell her tale, where old ballads have taken root and where migrants go farther west. These songs and tunes stand on common ground where old ballads have taken root and where the future will send folks ever further westward into the dusty testing ground of the 1930s and beyond. 

"I just listened to this 3 times back2back this afternoon through 3 different sound sources....Such very rich sounds both instrumentally and vocally, it will instantly place you into a vibration of euphoria and keep you suspended there, your mind tracing all the words of the lyrical stories, and pondering how you feel every sense of your mind, body, and soul elevating. THIS is a must have. Dang,this is stellar indeed. Finally, some freakin real music coming out of the ashes of Summer to move the minds & spirit forward. We are so lucky. Thank you kind Sir and very finely kept company."
Josephine Elle - Heart2SoulRadio - Portland Oregon

"You can’t tell the originals from the folk ballads on this lovely set that takes you places you wouldn’t expect. With no dust on it, you’re transported back at least a hundred years in most cases for songs about adversity, adventure and prevailing---largely something to think about today. With a classic folk feel but recorded and played with much more clarity and charm, this is sure to give you a whole new perspective on folk music as you return to it over and over. Simply smoking.." 
Chris Spectre - Midwest Record


**1. The Manchester Mule Spinner - 5:00 (Mary Lee Partington) recalls a young mill worker who leaves Britain’s 19th-century “Cottonopolis” (another name for Manchester, UK) for a new life in the factories of New England where mechanized spinning tied a thread to the future and the fabric of the American dream. 

**2. Times Are Getting Hard, Boys - 2:50 (Public Domain) is an American folksong from the Dust Bowl Era (1930 – 1940). Severe drought and the destruction of prairie grasslands gave rise to dust storms that damaged the agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies. By the end of the Dust Bowl, over 2.5 million people abandoned their homes and farms and moved to the west coast looking for a better life. 

3. Young but Daily A Growing - 3:20 (Public Domain) is a traditional ballad tradition that crossed the Atlantic with early settlers in America. It is sparse and spare in detail, and its musical setting casts a dark shadow over a bride’s ambitions. 

4. Deer Island - 6:30 (Mary Lee Partington) is an island in Boston Harbor where thousands of Famine era Irish were quarantined. Emigrants and exiles, sick and dying, perished in great numbers only to be buried beneath wooden markers that weathered away. This song anchors the tale of a young Irish immigrant who haunts the cliffs, forever seeking her lost love. 

**5. New England's Daughter 4:29 (Mary Lee Partington) is part historic figure and part tragic character stitched from the legacy of young mill girls: the doffers, pickers, and burlers who faced or faced down foremen and factory owners among the looms and spindles. 

6. Like Bread Upon the Water - 2:45 (Mary Lee Partington) is drawn from the pages of the Blackstone River Valley autobiographical novel Three Holes In The Chimney. Singing in the first person, young Ann May reflects on harsh treatment on a Yankee farm where she is sent after the death of her mother.  

7. So Here’s To You - 4:25 (Alan Bell) is by Alan Bell, beloved folk singer/songwriter from the North West of England. The friendship theme rings true in the voice of our friend Bridget Fitzgerald, a sean nós singer from County Galway, long resident near Boston, MA, with whom we first sang the song. Bell was inspired by commonplaces of his region where a parting glass is shared, friendships are long, and absence is short.





Special Thanks


Commonplaces features Mary Lee Partington on Vocals, Ed Sweeney on 6 String Guitar and 5 String Banjo.  
Guest Artists: Sheila Falls on Fiddle and Torrin Ryan on Uilleann Pipes, Flute, Whistle.  

Produced by Ed Sweeney    
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by David Correia    
Cover Photo by Cindy Wilson    
Artist Photos by Maryellen Malloy    
Graphic Design by Sandy Kenney    

*The Manchester Mule Spinner, Deer Island, New England’s Daughter, Like Bread Upon The Water written by Mary Lee Partington - ML Partington Publishing        
*Young but Daily A Growing (Public Domain)
*So Here’s To You - by Alan Bell

Commonplaces - Circle C & Circle P (Copyright & Published) Ed Sweeney Music 2020