Songs recall growing up in Stellarton in 1950s
Longtime musician Frank MacKay has just released ‘The Red Row,' a collection of songs he wrote for a play depicting life in the coal mining community of Stellarton during the 1950s. Raissa Tetanish - Truro Daily News
TRURO - Former Truro resident Frank MacKay knew if he wanted to record his latest CD, now would be the time.
MacKay has just released ‘The Red Row,' a collection of songs that he wrote for a play 20 years ago about his years growing up in Stellarton.
"For 130 years, Stellarton was a robust coal mining town, but when growing up there in the 1950s it was slowing down," explained MacKay, who now lives in Halifax.
MacKay grew up living in The Red Row, a row of houses all painted the same colour.
"When the mining company was building homes for their employees, they painted them the same colour to save on money. We lived in The Red Row. I don't know if there was a Blue Row, but we lived in Red Row," he said.
Each of the songs has a story inside it, from ‘Beware of Danny Cackles' to ‘When My Auntie June Got Married.' ‘Salt of the Earth' is a song MacKay has dedicated to miners and their families everywhere. Many of the songs have a Celtic feel to them until ‘Pictou County Bed,' which was when MacKay moved to Truro and remained for 13 years.
After its initial run in 1992, MacKay resurrected the play for some more performances five years later before tucking it away.
"Last year, I started thinking about recording the music from it and told my producer, ‘if I don't do it soon, I won't get around to it,' " said the front man for the late 1960s popular local rock/blues band Frak MacKay and the Lincolns.
With the CD now available (locally at Mingo's Music), MacKay is hoping to begin performing the play again within the next year.
"When someone goes to a show, all they have to take home are the memories of it, and those memories you may soon forget. It's a one-time thing," he said. "Now that I've got the album done, people can go out to a play, see the performance and there is something they can purchase and take home with them."
In the meantime, he will be back in Truro on Dec. 6 for the Colchester Regional Hospital Foundation's annual gala dinner.