Desert Island Discs: “Souvenir (1989-1998)” by The Rankins (2003)

Raylene Rankin
Image from

Raylene, I must confess, I have a life-threatening crush on. (But it’s a big secret, okay? She doesn’t know about it yet. Geez, don’t do something stupid like writing about it on a blog or nothin’…) Raylene takes the lead in several numbers including “Gillis Mountain.”

When we arrived on Gillis Mountain
You could see for miles in the light
The whitecaps on the sea of blue
Sparkled like diamonds in the night
They sparkled like diamonds in the night

Heather Rankin
Image from

Heather is the “little sister” of the group. One of her solo numbers, and one of my favorites on this collection, is “Bells.”

If only you would love me
Bells would ring,
And voices silent for a thousand years
Suddenly could sing
And the heart of a bandit
Would surely vanish without a clue
And the world would go on turning,
My darling, if only you.

Image from

Jimmy is the principal songwriter and the literal front-man in the group. Far from overpowering the voices of his sisters, though, his voice blends with theirs astonishingly well. Geez, almost like they were siblings singing together. Here he is on “Orangedale Whistle.”

Image from me

Years ago, throughout this land
That line was laid by able men
But things are changed as time goes by
People drive, and people fly
Winds of change forever blow
Some things stay, and some things go
The falling rain must melt the snow
The Orangedale whistle will always blow

I don’t expect that everyone will find the emotional connection with “Souvenir” that I have. It was part of a very special place and time. But if you enjoy Celtic culture and enthusiastic, heartfelt music, you may enjoy The Rankins.

Sidebar: The three sisters own a small restaurant/music place in Mabou, the Red Shoe Pub. I made a pilgrimage, I completely geeked out and was a total fanboy.

Images courtesy of me

When I asked if the sisters ever showed up there, the lovely and charming waitress gently informed me that no, they didn’t very often. Oh well, I had a delicious poutine, a Garrison IPA from Halifax,  and I flirted with the waitress.

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12 Comments on “Desert Island Discs: “Souvenir (1989-1998)” by The Rankins (2003)”

  1. tamyrad says:

    *Big smile* I hope your journeys take you back to the places you love and show you even more.

  2. […] the past six months. Not sure if it’s because I banged on about Nova Scotia, or poutine, or The Rankin Family, or Corner Gas, or Gordon Lightfoot. No matter the reason, you’re quite welcome […]

  3. […] gone on about poutine here before (at the very end of the posting). Once I even wondered if it was my life’s calling. Poutine […]

  4. […] The Red Shoe Pub is right across the street from the reception hall. Had lunch there. […]

  5. […] Also appearing: Outside Track.  Way over on the far left holding the fiddle  is Mairi Rankin, daughter of John Morris and niece to the rest of the Rankin Family. […]

  6. […] by The Del-Lords (1984) 9/7/12: “Where Are All The Nice Girls?” by Any Trouble (1980) 7/26/12: “Souvenir (1989-1998)” by The Rankins (2003) 7/13/12: “Year Of The Mouse” by Eytan Mirsky (2012) 7/13/12: “Cornerstone” by Richard X. […]

  7. […] A Car: “Movin’ On” by The Rankin Family Learning A Lesson: “All The Things To Do When She Says No” by Eytan Mirsky Deep Thought: “I […]

  8. […] opening duet. The second half of the show belonged to The Barra MacNeils. another of a long line of Cape Breton performing families. They were amazing, not only on their own but when inviting the other performers to join them on […]

  9. […] Rankin (of The Rankin Family and The Outside Track) and a couple of former bandmates performed a reunion set. The headlining […]

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