Carol Noonan's Big Iron
Big Iron, is an entrancing collection of old and new western songs. Carol's unique and original style take the "twang" out of these steadfast originals and the result is a beautiful and haunting recording. Songs like Red River Valley, Streets of Loredo, and Shenandoah, with a few of Carol's originals in the mix round out this wonderful tribute to some great American music.

Listen to Big Iron or Order Big Iron

A Note from the Artist:
Who says girls can't sing cowboy songs??!!!!......Well my mother, my sisters, my brother and my husband for starters. But who listens to them anyway? Well Big Iron is not just an album of cowboy songs. I also wanted to revise some of these American traditionals, all familiar, and hauntingly comfortable. Some of you will have grown up with these songs as I have. (and we don't need to mention any dates here) Others may have learned these songs when you first picked up a guitar. For those of you "youngsters", who may be hearing these songs for the first time, you will find them timeless and beautiful. The American traditional has a unique blend of melodies from countries afar, and melodies of a country newly born. Later on the cowboy, will take this genre to another level, while still singing these old favorites. Songs like Red River Valley and Shenandoah were sung in my class room as a child over and over again. Some of the other tunes, I grew to love after watching all the old westerns, where I fell in love with American cowboys and the horses they rode. While listening to old recordings and trying to pick out the songs that I would do for this album, I also found myself obsessed and maybe even possessed with the lone gunfighter. I wrote a couple of my own tunes, with this dark figure by my side. Choosing the songs for Big Iron proved to be the hardest part of the project. Once the right people were in place, the playing to follow, came naturally and beautifully. That could only happen with these wonderful people. They are my usual suspects of a band; Duke Levine and Kevin Barry on guitars, and Paul Bryan with his signature bass lines and keyboard arrangements, and a new and welcome addition of Billy Conway on drums. With Chris Rival recording, it was a perfect blend of talent and friendship. It was good to all be together again, and I think that come through in the music of Big Iron. We began recording on Labor day, and a week later, the light hearted mood of this project, changed violently by the events of September 11. For this reason, I decided at the last minute to re-record an old tune of mine, "Unknown Thing" that seemed all too appropriate for this time of uncertainty. I am hoping this album will remind us of a time when life was simple, and music was pure and true. I thank you for opening your hearts and your ears to the music that we have worked so hard to create.
- My best to you all, Carol Noonan
Produced by Paul Bryan and Chris Rival
Recorded and engineered by Chris Rival at My Generation Studios, Somerville Mass
Tracks played by Gerry Leonard , Sonny Barbato, and Paul Bryan's
keyboard tracks, recorded by Paul Bryan.
Mastered by Jonathan Wyner at M Works Studio, Cambridge Mass.
Design by Dawne Gilpatrick-Hall
Album photos of my brother Mike and my cousin Ellie, courtesy of my Mom
and my Aunt Harriet....yes, I will return them!
The Band:
Kevin Barry-nylon string, 12 string, and acoustic guitars, back-packer, electric mando
Paul Bryan-bass, chamberlin, hammond, ochestron, piano
Billy Conway-drums
Duke Levine- electric guitars, madolin, electric mandolin, guitorgan, national guitar, lap steel
Carol Noonan-vocals, acoustic guitar, dobro(as if), hammond, little Jeannie Blake's accordion
Also appearing:
Dennis Brennen-backing vocals on "Lonesome Saddle"
Gerry Leonard- Electric "spooky ghost" guitar on "Mae Oh Mae" and the drone  on "Down in the Valley"
Sonny Barbato all accordion tracks except for "Unknown Thing"
Songs by Carol Noonan, published by Noonan Building and wrecking, ASCAP copyright, 2001
Red River Valley

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking way the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways awhile

Come and sit by my side, if you love me
Do not hasten to bid me adieu
Just remember the Red River Valley
And the cowboy who loves you so true

Do you think of the valley you're leaving
O how lonely and sad it will be
Do you think of the kind hearts your breaking
And the pain you have caused to me

They will bury me where you have wandered
Near the hills where the daffodils grow
When you're gone from the Red River Valley
For I can't live without you I know
Streets of Laredo
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day
I spied a young cowboy, all dressed in white linen
All dressed in white linen and clothed for the grave

I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
These words he did say as I slowly walked by
Come sit down beside me, and hear my sad story
For I'm shot in the chest, and it's soon I will die

Twas once in the saddle I used to go riding
Once in the saddle I used to go gay
I first took to drinkin and then to card playing
Got shot in the chest and i'm dyin today

Oh beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly
And play the dead march as they carry me long
Take me to the valley and lay the sod o're me
For I'm a young cowboy and know I've done wrong

Go bring me back a cup of cool water
To cool these parched lips the cowboy then said
Before I returned his soul had departed
And gone to the round up this cowboy was dead

As I walked out in the Streets of laredo
As I walked out in laredo one day
I spied a young cowboy all dressed in white linen
All dressed in white linen and clothed for the grave
Wayward Wind
written by Stanley Lebowsky and Herb Newman
Universal-Polygram Intl. Pub. Inc.

The wayward wind is a restless wind
A restless wind that yearns to wander
And he was born the next of kin
The next of kin to the wayward wind

In a lonely shack by a railroad track
He spent his younger days
And I guess the sound of the out bound train
Made him a slave to his wand'rin ways

Oh I met him there in a border town
He vowed he's never part
Though he tried his best to settle down
Now I'm alone with a broken heart

High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)
by Dimitri Tiomkin-Ned Washington
Universal -MCA Music Pub OBO Volta Music Corp
Largo music, Inc O/B/O Catherine Hinen
Patti Washington Music

Do not forsake me oh my darlin
On this our wedding day
Do not forsake me oh my darlin
Wait wait along

I do not know what fate awaits me
I only know I must be brave
And I must face a man who hates me
or lie a coward a craven coward
Or lie a coward in my grave

Oh to be torn tween love and duty
S'posin I lose my fair haired beauty
Look at that big hand move along
Nearin' high noon

He made a vow while in state's prison
Vowed it would be my life or his'n
I'm not afraid of death but oh
what will i do if you leave me

Do not forsake me oh my darlin
You made that promise as a bride
Do not forsake me oh my darlin
Although you're grievin', don't think of leavin'
Now that I need you by my side

Wait along-Wait Along

Lonesome Saddle
by Raycharles Lamontagne

Well we rode into town like a couple of fools
High on the meskal and bent low on my mule
I'm just trying to find some place where a man might find some rest
to wash the tears from my eyes and the blood from my vest

One lonesome saddle one lonesome ride
One lonely cowboy pining a woman unkind

Walked into the saloon on my feet that felt like lead
Cold steel been pounding in the back of my head
I raised up my glass to the quick and to the dead
Saying hey he ain't heavy and a bottle of red

As the glass left my lips I felt her hand upon me
her smile it was so warm but her eyes were so cold
She says to me now won't you walk beside me
I shut my mouth and did as i was told
Big Iron
by Marty Robbins
Warner Bros. Music a Division of Warner Bros. Inc.

To the town of Agua Fria rode a stranger one fine day
Hardly spoke to folks around him didn't have too much to say
No one dared to ask his business, no one dared make a slip
The stranger there among them had a big iron on his hip

It was early in the morning when he rode into the town. He came riding
from The southside and slowly looked around
He's an outlaw loose and running came a whisper from each lip
And he's here to do some business with big iron on his hip

In this town there lived an outlaw by the name of Texas Red
Many men had tried to take him, that many men were dead
He was vicious and a killer though a youth of twenty four
And the notches on his pistol numbered one and nineteen more

Now the stranger started talking made it plain to folks around
he was an Arizona Ranger wouldn't be too long in town
He was there to take an outlaw back alive or maybe dead
And he said it didn't matter that he was after Texas Red

Wasn't long before this story was relayed to Texas Red
But the outlaw didn't worry men that tried before were dead
Twenty men had tried to take him, twenty men had made a slip
Twenty one would be the Ranger with the big iron on his hip

Now the morning passed so quickly and it was time for them to meet
It was twenty past eleven when they walked out in the street
Folks were watching from their windows everybody held their breath
They knew this handsome stranger was about to meet his death

There was forty feet between them when they stopped to make their play
And the swiftness of the ranger is still talked about today
Texas Red had not cleared leather when a bullet fairly ripped
And the ranger's aim was deadly with the big iron on his hip

It was over in a moment and the crowd all gathered round
There before them lay the body of the outlaw on the ground
Oh he might have went on living but he made one fatal slip
When he tried to match the Ranger with the ig iron on his hip
Big iron on his hip

Down in the Valley
Down in the valley the valley so lo
Hang your head over hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow dear hear the wind blow
Hang your head over hear the wind blow

Roses love sunshine violets love dew
Angels in heaven know I love you
Know I love you dear know I love you
Angels in heaven know I love you

Build me a castle forty feet high
So I can see him as he rides by
As he rides by dear as he rides by
So I can see him as he rides by

Write me a letter send it by mail
Send it in care of Birmingham jail
Birmingham jail love, Birmingham jail
Send it in care of Birmingham jail

Oh Shenandoah I long to see you
Away your rolling river
Oh Shenandoah I long to see you
Away I'm bound away
Cross the wild Missouri

Oh Shenandoah I love your daughter
Away your rolling river
Oh Shenandoah I love your daughter
Away I'm bound away
Cross the wild Missouri

Oh Shenandoah I long to hear you
Away your rolling river
Oh Shenandoah I long to hear you
Away I'm bound away
Cross the wild Missouri
Cross to Bear
by Carol Noonan

When I rode through Ravensfield that August night
I never expected another gunfight
I only was parched and a bit saddle soar
But Ravensfield Ravensfield called me once more

It was two years today that I rode through that town
Before I had left I had laid a man down
The crosses they planted was my cross to bear
Cause the men in the graves had a name that we shared

Well they never forgave me for what I had done
Our mama had died and our daddy's begun...
Anew life with a beauty that none could compare
And I stole her away. It would be my cross to bear.

Well I raised up a family and called them my own
And never looked back on my Ravensfield home
Now I am old and my daddy's long gone
But five brothers remain who still take up the gun

Dig the graves, plant the cross, spread the dirt two lives lost
three lives lost
four lives lost
five lives lost

A family of ten now a family of five
But a picture remains wanted dead or alive
The crosses they planted were my cross to bear
Cause the men in the graves have a cross that we share

Mae Oh Mae
by Carol Noonan

My horse will carry me far tonight away oh Mae oh Mae
My gun'll be hanging right by my side away oh Mae oh Mae
Take me with you I am your wife away oh Mae oh Mae
Take me with you or take my life away oh Mae oh Mae

I could ride beside you
Sleep under the moonlight
Face the man that hates you
Pray over a gunfight

My hands are quicker than anyone's away oh Mae oh Mae
He'll rule the day he was under my guns away oh Mae oh Mae
I'll shoot him once then I'll shoot him twice away oh Mae oh Mae
He'll beg to spare his miserable life away oh Mae oh Mae

They took three steps and then they fired away oh Mae oh Mae
But this man had cheated this man had conspired away oh Mae oh Mae
A shot in the back and smoke from a tree away oh Mae oh Mae
My love had fallen by treachery away oh Mae oh Mae

My eyes are open but I can't see away oh Mae oh Mae
A hole is burning inside of me away oh Mae oh Mae
I can't feel the earth underneath my head away oh Mae oh Mae
I fear my love that soon I'll be dead away oh Mae oh Mae

I will lie beside you
Sleep under the moonlight
Face the stone that marks you
Pray over a gunfight

He called out my name before he died Mae oh mae
I'll see you my love on the otherside Mae oh Mae
Unknown Thing
by Carol Noonan

There's a break in the storm, and we're finally warm,
but the chill won't go away
There's a silence broke, and we've finally spoke,
but your voice is far away
And we won't be right again, And we won't be right again

And our backs will break from the task we take,
and we're weary to the bone
Oh our hearts are strong and it won't be long
till the blood turns into stone
And we won't be right again....and we won't be right again

Though the sky is grey, could be night or day
there's no light for us to see
What the future will bring is an unknown thing
but I'm sure of you and me
And we Will be right again.....And we Will be right again.

* This is an old song of mine, that came to mind during the tragedies that took place on September 11, 2001. It was a bittersweet time for us, while we recorded an album in the midst of such uncertainty. I can only hope that this song can bring some comfort, and that the last few lines may ring true for years to come. I dedicate it to those lost, and those who have lost.
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