Music From Hurley Mountain tells a story divided into four chapters:
Songs 1 - 6 describe the area and some historical events that occurred in Hurley.
Songs 7-10 reflect all the different stories, dances and relationships of the varied people who settled here throughout the decades. The sound of the tractor can be imagined as a farmer going to the barn for a dance.
Song 11 brings the changing of times when a modern recording studio is constructed from an old cow barn.
Songs 12-14 begins the journey home from this magic place to the spiritual life.
1. Golden Morning
This composition features an accordion solo that reflects the beautiful and tranquil early morning sunrise over the Hurley fields.
2. Hurley Mountain Road
This historic old road is flat and its curves hug Hurley Mountain on one side and the lush fields of the farms on the other. Early in the spring when the fields are first plowed, people walk the fields to search for buried treasures and clues to the past. The Crowmatix’s recording studio is on Hurley Mountain Road and right down the block is a spiritual and legendary waterfall with beautiful cascades. This song is based on a traditional work song with call and response vocals. It evokes an earlier time when people delivered the news of the day, singing back and forth to each other, from one field to the next.
3. Ulster Outcry
Many people who came to this area first settled in Kingston NY in Ulster County.
Due to Kingston’s location right next to the Hudson River and its many thriving industries, it was named the first Capital of New York State. During the Revolutionary War, when the British burned Kingston to the ground, people searching for a new life and freedom in the farmlands, escaped to Hurley and settled where Native American Indians had lived for centuries. Old Hurley served as the temporary capital of New York State and Hurley became the main agricultural community supplying grain and corn to the growing communities of New York State.
Villages were started in the valleys surrounding Hurley, including Ashton, Ashokan, Glenford and West Hurley. These towns were 100 miles north of New York City and had to be moved in 1917 when New York City residents identified a need for a dependable water supply. The resulting land condemnation, flooding of the valley and creation of an underground piping system formed the Ashokan Reservoir and other reservoirs to supply drinking water to New York City. Many people who lived in these villages protested, and Ashokan, West Ashokan, Glenford and West Hurley were resettled in new locations on the shores of the reservoir. However, the town of Ashton was never relocated.
5. Family Reunion
On Hurley Mountain Road, four family farms were located right next to each other in an area known as The Hurley Flats. Hurley is rich in Americana history, and once a year all the farming families would gather for a family reunion. This song is dedicated to the close-knit agricultural community of families who lived here.
6. Crop Dustin’ Blues
In many farming areas, low flying planes have sprayed crops for years and Hurley is no exception. Since chemicals used by farmers to protect their crops can sometimes be harmful for human consumption, environmental groups have challenged this practice. Today, improved methods are being put in place.
7. You Got Me Dizzy
Jimmy Reed was born in the farming area of The Mississippi Delta and is revered as one of America’s great heritage blues performers. He wrote this blues song to describe the tensions of love and it’s used here to introduce the ‘personal relationship’ section on the Music From Hurley Mountain CD. Farmers and their families had gatherings and barn dances so folks could meet each other, marry and eventually keep the families growing in Hurley.
8. John’s Tractor
Music From Hurley Mountain is dedicated to John & Anna Kaufman whose property was one of the four original Hurley Flats farms. On their land, an old cow barn was converted into a recording studio that has been The Crowmatix work place and studio for decades. The Kaufmans were gracious people with a very positive outlook about all the musicians who came to record in this very special setting. This audio recording features John Kaufman driving his classic John Deere tractor by the studio. He chugged by on many a day, and Louie just put a microphone out the window to capture a moment.
9. Four Farmers
Many barn dances were held in Old Hurley and the dances of choice were either contra or square dances. Members of the four farming families loved the old Irish reels and Old Time music. This is dedicated to all those who love the heritage songs from the Celtic and American traditions of these genres, with a special nod to “Turkeys in the Straw.”
10. Light In Your Eyes
Ballads are always popular at dances because they give couples a chance to slow dance and get to know each other. This beautiful, intimate love song was written by Professor Louie & Miss Marie in the 1950’s & 1960’s tradition. Families like those who lived on the four farms in Hurley were sometimes inspired by the music to begin loving relationships.
11. Rock’n’Roll Barn - Music From Hurley Mountain was recorded at LRS Recording Studio, located in the middle of The Kaufman farm across from Hurley Mountain where Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz and many engineers & producers in the Hudson Valley recorded & continue to record with legendary & local musicians. The studio, in existence for thirty years, became known in the area as The Rock’ n ‘Roll Barn.
12. Let’s Go Home
All good things must come to an end and this song starts the final chapter of the CD. The families that started the farms grew old and many passed away but their love goes on as they moved into the next world …let’s go forever…we’ll always be together.
13. Angel Band
A universal American Gospel Music song widely known in the 19th century Folk tradition and recorded by celebrated artists. Many farmers lived by old traditions and followed religious laws. According to some family members, when one of the 4 farmers passed away in Hurley, the lyrics of this song were found on a piece of paper still in his typewriter.
14. Good Night Hurley Moon - An accordion original composition that reflects sonically the beautiful and tranquil feeling of the Hurley moon over the fields when the days work is done and all is at rest.
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Professor Louie & The Crowmatix Day!
Proclamation - Michael Baratta III - Mayor of Owego, NY
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix - Songs Of Inspiration CD - Review by: Mike Greenblatt
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix perform in Canada
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