Mary McCaslin

“Mary McCaslin is an inspiration.” – Tom Russell       “A great composer and interpreter.”– George Winston

Better Late Than Never



Acres of Houses (McCaslin-Mary McCaslin Music) 2:33
Lights of Spartanburg (McCaslin-Mary McCaslin Music) 3:56
Unchained Melody (H. Zaret/A. North-Frank Music) 4:22
Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Secunda/Jacobs/Chaplin/Cahn-WB Music) 2:42
Oildale (M. Beck-Son of the Sage Publishing) 3:36
Sabres and Guns (Ringer/McCaslin-Mary McCaslin Music) 4:44
Standing in the Doorway (McCaslin/Netsky-Mary McCaslin       Music/Similar Twins Music) 3:02
Losing End (N.Young-Broken Arrow Music) 3:16
Missing (McCaslin-Mary McCaslin Music) 2:44
You’ve Forgotten (J. Browne-Open Window Music) 3:06
To Some Cool Blue-Iced Shore (H.Axton-Lady Jane Music) 2:27
California Joe (Traditional-Arrangement by M. McCaslin) 10:14


Mary McCaslin - vocals, guitar, banjo
Joe Craven - fiddle, mandolin / Craig Owens - bass
Jim Norris - drums, percussion / Barry Phillips - cello
Bruce Wandmayer - pedal steel on “Oildale”
George Winston - piano on “The Lights of Spartanburg”
Lisa Burns - Bass on “California Joe”
Patti Maxine - steel guitar on “Losing End” & “Unchained Melody”.
Produced by Mary McCaslin and Greg Arrufat
Executive Producer – Dave Nielsen /
Recorded by Dave Nielsen at Rancho Armadillo, Santa Cruz, CA
Mastered by Rainer Gembalczyk at Sienna Digital
Graphics by Jeff Samuels at Graphics Resource Network
Photography by Greg Arrufat.

We started this recording in 2004 – hence the name, Better Late Than Never.
Dedicated to my dear, departed friends: Betty (Goldberg) Glasser, Manny Greenhill,
Dave Van Ronk, Betty (Ringer) Von Bergen, Hedy West and Winnie Winston.
In loving memory.
Thanks to –
• Dave Nielsen of Rancho Armadillo Audio Services, for his un-wavering support.
• My husband, Greg Arrufat, for more than I can say.
• The musicians, whose incredible talents graced this recording.
• George Winston for his playing and encouragement.
• Dave Gordon of Rancho Armadillo and Gail Korich of Dancing Cat Records for
their friendship and assistance.
• Steve Netsky of Rounder Records for his guidance from afar.
• The DJs on the community, public and Americana radio stations.
• Jeff Samuels of Graphics Resource Network.

Acres of Houses was inspired by a visit to the “rural” area outside of Burlington,
Vermont a few years ago. In the 1970s and early 1980s I recorded at the Philo
Records Barn in North Ferrisburg, which is south of Burlington. Back then it was
almost all farmland and houses were few and far between. During this visit my friend,
singer and musician Rik Palieri, took me for a drive to show me how things had
changed. Like everywhere else, houses are sprouting up where fields used to be. •
The Lights of Spartanburg was written after the death of singer-songwriter
Walter Hyatt, who was killed in the Value Jet crash in 1996. Singers Robin and Linda
Williams were old friends with Walter. Returning home from a show the night of the
crash, they happened to be driving past his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina
when they heard the news on the radio that Walter was among the dead.They could
see the lights of Spartanburg in the distance. • Unchained Melody is a song I've
always loved. Most people associate it with the Righteous Brothers, but it has actually
been around since the 1950s. • One of my great inspirations as a singer and banjo
player is the late Hedy West.This arrangement of Bei Mir Bist Du Schön is a sort
of “Hedy West Meets the Andrews Sisters.” • Mike Beck is a working cowboy who is
also a marvelous singer-songwriter. He caught the real feeling of the Bakersfield
Sound in Oildale. • Jim Ringer wrote Sabres and Guns and performed it on stage,
but never got to record it.This is one of my favorite of his songs. A few years after
his death I found a copy of the lyrics and started singing it. Soon it became obvious to
me that it needed more of an ending, so I added the last verse. • Standing in the
was inspired somewhat by Bob Simpson’s song “Cornerstone Cowboy,”
which is on the Prairie in the Sky album. Steve Netsky put the melody to my lyrics. •
The arrangement of Losing End heard here is based on how I remember it being
played by Robb Strandlund and Larry Blom.This is one of my favorite Neil Young
songs. • It is a heartbreaking fact that children disappear every year and are never
seen alive again. Often, after a search that takes months or years, sometimes reaching
an international level, the remains of the child are found within less than a couple of
miles of home.The idea for Missing came to me after one of these tragedies. •
You’ve Forgotten is a very early Jackson Browne song. It’s among a number of
great songs that he wrote in the beginning of his career and never got around to
recording. • This is my third recording of the late Hoyt Axton’s great anti-war song
To Some Cool Blue Iced Shore. Somehow it never appeared on any of his
recordings.The guitar part here is the closest I've come to Hoyt’s playing on the
“demo” of this song I was given back in the 1960s. • Jim Ringer learned California
Joe from his cousin and grandmother and he recorded it in 1972 on his Folk Legacy
album,Waitin’ for the Hard Times to Go. His family had a wealth of old songs that
were handed down through the generations. California Joe was originally a poem
written by Captain Jack Crawford and published in his 1886 book,The Poet Scout.
The melody Jim uses is particularly beautiful.This song is for the Ringer and Tinkler
families, for Debbie Shockley, who presented me with a copy of the Poet Scout and
for my husband, Greg, who encouraged me to record it.

– Mary McCaslin • October, 2006

Mary McCaslin
P.O. Box 3394
Santa Cruz, CA 95063
© Mary McCaslin Music 2006