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4 June 1996

Hello, this is Jim writing now. I'll second Tom's carefully restrained enthusiasm about our new CD. The months of recording were a bit strenuous, but well worth it! I got to arrange the horn sections to include my new rauschpfiefe, a 17th c. capped double-reed instrument from Germany, similar to the bombarde. Tom and Helene were very gracious about letting me write just about any wind parts that I wanted, a move that often distorts the original harmonic intent of the song a bit. I gotta tell you, one of the most fun things that can be done is to watch Tom's expression when he hears the wind parts for the first time... But I believe he's either quickly warmed up to them, or he doesn't want to hurt my feelings.

Touring in New England was great fun, especially towing Melissa around with us for a bit. Melissa may believe that she's successfully left the band, but, in fact, she's only on loan to the real world. :)

We've got lots of exciting new material in rehearsal, poised on the edge of performability! For those of you who have been attending just about every show listening to us play selections from our long standing repertoire over and over, I feel like we owe you a whole bunch of new songs. Don't give up hope! "Magellan" and "Bruton Town" were only the early harvests of what should be a nice crop of fresh arrangements. I'm secretly hoping for our "Derry Gaol" to be titled "Hangman," after Led Zeppelin's version of the Child ballad. By the way, it's also the lead track of a fantastic new CD from Steeleye Span, called Time.

I don't know who's reading this, but if you've got this far, I appreciate your thinking this is worthwhile! Hope to see you at the shows.

Jim Speer

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