Gulliver's Spree
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Gulliver's Spree


Band Folk Celtic


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"’Tis the Spreeson"

Traditional musicians Dave Panting and Tom Boland pair up as Gulliver’s Spree; CD launch this weekend

By Stephanie Porter
The Independent

Sometimes, even in a musical community as familiar as the traditional scene in St. John’s, a partnership can still appear almost out of the blue. Such was the case with Dave Panting and Tom Boland, both accomplished musicians. Guitarist and singer Boland has played around downtown St. John’s for several years, most popularly with the band Dungarvan. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer, Panting has many more years’ experience as a solo artist and a member of both Figgy Duff and Rawlin’s Cross.

One evening about two years ago, Panting filled in with Dungarvan for a gig.
“And shortly thereafter I was doing some solo work and had a gig lined up down here at Erin’s Pub and asked Dave if he’d like to sit in with me,” says Boland, picking up the story. “We sort of took it from there. There was a great vibe on stage and we started rehearsing together. “We realized over time that we were coming from the same wavelength, we have the same sort of ideas, in terms of Dave wanting to do more Newfoundland music and I was really interested in wanting to learn about that too.”

So Gulliver’s Spree was born, becoming a regular gig for the musicians. This weekend, they’ll release their first CD together, The Sunny Long Ago: Newfoundland Classics, 12 tracks pulled from Newfoundland songbooks, new and old.
“We wanted a mix of songs, some that were somewhat well known and ones that hadn’t been heard before,” says Boland. “They had to be good, solid, Newfoundland songs … and there’s one quite contemporary one (Patty Ryan) that people seem to relate to as well.”

“We just had to pick songs we really love to do,” adds Panting. Those include Rabbits in a Basket, a “comic bawdy song” from Panting’s days with Figgy Duff; traditional sea shanty Sally Brown; The Old Coaker Engine, learned from Mose Harris of Lethbridge, Bonavista Bay; and, of course, Gulliver’s Spree, a song about a spree gone awry, from Newfoundland legend Dorman Ralph.
“I was a great admirer of Dorman and I played with him a few times,” says Panting. “There are a few of his songs in my repertoire and that was one I always particularly liked and always wanted to do and finally did.”
The name fits the music and musicians, too — a little Irish Newfoundland content, energetic sounding, fun and catchy.
Panting mentions one more track, The Bloody Gardner, which has been with him a long time.
“It’s a weighty song and the one that got me into all the trouble I’m in,” he says with a laugh. “Because I heard Noel Dinn and those guys performing it in sort of a precursor group to Figgy Duff that Noel had … when I heard this song, I said ‘I want to know more about this music.’ I was a teenager at the time and about to be recruited by the Dinn brothers.
“I’m able to go back and have another go at it. These are songs I want people to hear again, too.”
The Sunny Long Ago is purposely fairly light and acoustic, sticking close to what Boland and Panting play on stage. Not to say they didn’t call in friends and family for guest spots on the disc — and most of them, including Pamela Morgan, Graham Wells, Geoff Panting, Curtis Andrews and more — will be on hand for the official launch show, Dec. 2 at Erin’s Pub.
Panting and Boland plan to evolve their duo into a larger group and — CD in hand — are ready to take on bigger events and functions than the corner of Erin’s Pub where they formed a bond.
“This is the nicest thing I’ve worked on in a while,” says Panting. “And I’m really proud to be part of it.”

- The Independent

"Spree leads to new CD"

Dave Panting and Tom Boland form band, Gulliver's Spree, hope to play larger festivals


What do an old wooden crate, a sardine tin and a water jug have in common?
In the hands of a gifted percussionist like Curtis Andrews, they become musical instruments that make several of the songs on the debut CD by Gulliver's Spree sound just a little bit different than the way they've been previously performed.
"Curtis plays the cajon (pronounced cahon) for 'The Bloody Gardener,'" says Corner Brook native Tom Boland, who with veteran musician Dave Panting forms the band Gulliver's Spree.
The instrument is a crate with a hole in one side of the box.
"He just sat on it and played it," Boland says.
Andrews also plays the udu drum - a clay water jug with an additional hole, Boland says.
The song "Oh No Not I" - a traditional Newfoundland song inspired by a sailor's romantic encounter from the Kenneth Peacock collection - may not be as well known as some others on the CD, such as "Pat Murphy's Meadow" or "The Night Pat Murphy Died," but an African thumb piano called the kalimba adds uniqueness to the tune.
"It's made from an old sardine or ham tin with a piece of wood carved out and a hole in the centre and bicycle spokes. It's all recycled material," Boland says.
Another unique instrument that can be heard on the CD is the Greek six-stringed baglama that Panting plays.
"It's a high-pitched instrument and its blends really well with the music," Boland says.
Panting is well-known for his days playing with Figgy Duff and Rawlin's Cross.
He sings and plays numerous instruments on the CD, including guitar, bass, mandolin, percussion, banjo, duress(sic), keyboards and baglamas.
Boland also sings and plays the guitar.
The musicians have been creating music together on the downtown scene in St. John's for about two years.
Six months ago, they felt it was time to come up with a product that would help move their music career forward.
A 12-song collection of traditional Newfoundland music, "The Sunny Long Ago," is that product.
When asked about the name Gulliver's Spree, Paanting talks fondly about Dorman Ralph. One of Newfoundland's most talented traditional singers, Ralph died in 1999, leaving behind a legacy of music including "Gulliver's Spree" - a song he performed at festivals on many occasions.
"We wanted to go with songs that hadn't been recorded in a while and we went the theme song 'Gulliver's Spree' as that's the name of our band," Boland adds.

Mix of melodies
The mix of familiar tunes and some not so well-known, such as "The Old Coacker Engine" and "Maurice Crotty," works well in giving Newfoundland music lovers a variety of songs while staying true to the musicians' traditional roots.
Produced in Panting's home in St. John's, the CD was mixed by Panting and his brother Geoff and mastered by Toronto-based Chad Irschick.
Now that the CD is in their hands, Panting and Boland will use it to tour the province next summer as well as get them into larger festivals in Nova Scotia and Ontario.
Gulliver's Spree will launch "The Sunny Long Ago" at Erin's Pub on Water Street today at 8:00 pm.
Special guest musicians for the release include Tony Batten, Sonny Hogan, Pat MacKey, Pamela Morgan, Geoff Panting, Sean Panting, Hugh Scott, Graham Wells, and Heather Wright - many of whom perform as guest musicians on the CD.
There is no charge for the event and all are welcome.
The CD is available at Fred's Records and O'Brien's Music Store in St. John's.

- The Telegram, St. John's Newfoudland - Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Gulliver's Spree Tonight"

December 2, 2007

A new traditional band in the province is ready to debut their first CD. Ex-Figgy Duff member Dave Panting has joined together with local singer and guitarist Tom Boland...'Gulliver's Spree' will be releasing their first record 'The Sunny Long Ago' tonight at Erin's Pub. The duo will be performing the songs from the CD at their release, with a number of guests such as Graham Wells, Sean Panting and Heather Wright. There is no cover charge for the release and CDs will be available. - VOCM


The Sunny Long Ago: Newfoundland Classics - Gulliver's Spree:

"The Sunny Long Ago" is a collection of 12 ballads, sea shantys, tall tales and comic & bawdy songs performed honestly and passionately, with up beat rhythms and intricate arrangements combining traditional NL instrumentation with Greek stringed instruments and African and Caribbean percussion.

Independent release December 2007
Produced by Dave Panting
Recorded by Tom Boland and Dave Panting
Mixed by Dave and Geoff Panting
Mastered by Chad Irshick, Inception Sound Studio, Toronto Ontario
Graphics Amy Fitzpatrick
Photography Jean Knowles

Guest Musicians:
Curtis Andrews, Tony Batten, Pat Mackey, George Morgan, Pamela Morgan, Geoff Panting, Graham Wells, Heather Wright

Tom (solo or with other bands):

Our Songs Volume 4 - Various Artists (2007)

Homebrew 6 - Various Artists (2005)

Dungarvan - The Old Dungarvan Oak (2004)

Dave (solo or with other bands):

Newfoundland Songs - solo (2006)

Back Down Home - solo (2005)

Old Dogs, New Tricks - Barron and Panting (2004)

Trad. - The Panting Brothers (2001)

Look Around - solo (2002)

Mandolin Christmas solo instrumental (original rel. 1987 re-release 2000)

Back Catalog:

Figgy Duff
Rawlins's Cross - 6 recordings



Dave Panting and Tom Boland bring strong vocals, innovative arrangements and passion for their traditional Newfoundland and Labrador repertoire to every performance. Their all around instrumental prowess, solid rhythm and easy going stage presence combine to offer an invigorating interpretation of traditional Newfoundland and Labrador music.

Tom and Dave performed as a duo in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 2005. Inspired by the "positive vibe" they enjoyed on stage, they formed Gulliver's Spree in 2006. Their debut CD, "The Sunny Long Ago: Newfoundland Classics", was independently released December 2, 2007.

Dave Panting

A professional musician for over 30 years, Dave is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer. He toured extensively with the internationally renowned "Figgy Duff" in the 70s and early 80s, bringing traditional Newfoundland music to the world stage through live performances and recordings. From 1988 to 2000, with "Rawlins Cross", Dave was instrumental in blending traditional Newfoundland and Nova Scotian themes, infused with rock, to create the band's signature sound, and much of its original material. Rawlins Cross produced 6 albums, 8 videos and won 6 East Coast Music Awards. Since 2000, Dave has produced four solo albums and been involved with many other projects.

Tom Boland

A regular on the St. John's Irish Pub and community Folk Festival circuit for several years, in 2003 Tom joined "Dungarvan", a St. John's based band, which released its debut CD, "The Old Dungarvan Oak", in 2004. Tom's rendition of "Patty Ryan", a single from that CD, is also found on the 2005 "Homebrew 6" compilation album. In 2007, Tom recorded "Bound Down for Newfoundland" for "Our Songs: Volume 4".