Doug Gordon's Genealogy

CDs and Other Media

This page is for the promotion of books, CDs, and videos that might be of interest to the genealogical community. Anything that appears here is here simply because we own it and enjoy it, and are presenting it to you with our highest recommendations.

The Man from God Knows Where

Man From God Knows WhereI never intended to start selling products from this site, but The Man From God Knows Where is such an outstanding Work of Art that I just had to make an exception. A few years back, singer-songwriter Tom Russell took what he had learned of his Irish-Norwegian ancestry and set it all to music, assembling a varied cast of voices to join him in producing this album. I have personally listened to it from start to finish many times, and my appreciation only increases with every playing.

The good and bad of the American Immigrant experience is all here: leaving the Old Country, Ellis Island, hardships of the farming life, the gradual westward migration. Dave Van Ronk’s edgy rendition of The Outcast is especially meaningful in light of today’s renewed debates on immigration; he certainly doesn’t soft pedal how each new wave of immigrants has been treated. And I’d like to hear from anyone who is able to keep a dry eye when listening to Tom sing Rider On An Orphan Train.

Some of the songs, such as When Irish Girls Grow Up, can almost stand alone as folk music classics, but in general this is an album that you have to listen to in sequence, starting with the Irish immigrants of the 19th century, and ending with the story of Tom’s father from two different points of view. If only we could do this with our own genealogy — but few have Tom’s talent for writing and singing.

If you click on the title of the album in the box below, it will open a new window on Amazon’s site. Click on the title again and you can get to a page that will let you play short samples of many of the tracks. I hope that many of you will enjoy this production as much as I have. Be sure to let me know what you think.