Musings & Memories
Musings and Memories This CD is a musical odyssey, it meanders from Celtic family roots through echoes of a deserted mining ghost town, and the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo. It celebrates apple cider made in the same location since early days of the colonies and a great American river, reflecting early native travelers through the bustling steamboat era. There are songs which describe the haunting appearance of an emaciated Chicago beggar and one about the plight innocent Germans detained by our government, and sometimes traded for Americans caught in Germany during WW2 [see below]. One is for a precious grandmother, of American Indian heritage who, due to the times in which she was raised, felt forced to identify herself as of Italian heritage. There are moving Memorial Tributes to several musicians who entertained, educated, and inspired us. One is a whimsical tale of heavens' gain, and our loss, of a wonderful harmonica [aka "harp"] player, who was especially fond of waltzes. There are two cowboy ballads, based on cowboy poems by Badger Clark, which embody the values and traditions which are the root of their survival into the present age. There is a welcoming song celebrating the joy of a new life. An invitation to perform at a Christmas Folk Concert resulted in the inspiration for "2000 years." Beginning in Bethlehem, a journey through history until the present day, tells of the deepest and most passionate wishes of all humanity. Individual Song Notes: MOTHER'S SONG My beautiful mom really did have a soaring, elegant, angelic singing voice, and.... a tough life managing us kids.. She was our musical inspiration. The song's truly from the heart. Speaks for itself. STARING OUT AT ME. One of those mesmerizing (for me) turn-of-the-century photos of mom's Irish kin. Actually almost all of the written names are on a "ghost" copy stored behind the formal photo. I used to stare into it and imagine that somehow the people in it and I could see each other as through a window. I wished I could talk to them. TINY FEET A young petite friend of ours was hugely pregnant. This was to welcome the baby (and all babies) when she finally got here. HEAVENLY WALTZ. For the late Knox McCrory who was a delightful harmonica (a.k.a., "harp") player and was known for an encyclopedic knowledge of old time fiddle tunes, especially waltzes. He also had a quiet, gentle, but impish sense of humor & was simply one of the most decent fellows you'd ever be lucky enough to meet. He shared his talents & songs freely and will be sorely missed. I'd like to think he'd get a chuckle from at least parts of this song in his honor. He played until the end & I'll bet he's still playing. MOMENT IN TIME (About Cinco de Mayo); the first Battle of Puebla; another part of Mexico's often tragic history; The Mexican infantry was poorly equipped & trained; they won by luck & guts against Napoleon's superb army. The victory lasted only three days, hence "Moment In Time." Then the French returned and captured the town. None the less, Cinco de Mayo is said to have inspired the Mexicans to fight back, and eventually win, against the French & the puppet 'emperor' (Maximilian) Napoleon had foisted upon them. OLD PROSPECTOR Words adapted from parts of a poem by Charles Badger Clark, Jr. - a.k.a. "Badger Clark" - I love the descriptions & sentiments in this work. However, the tune & the word adaptations are all mine - so blame me. BEND IN THE RIVER Coopers' Landing Bait Camp is on a large bend in the Missouri River. The view to the west is unspoiled and takes me back to a time before the Europeans came. The Bait Camp was magical before the "music police" trashed it for the bands doing "covers." Coopers is rising from the ashes in spite of those scum. DESAPARECIDOS "The disappeareds" started in South America early in World War II when governments there began rounding up folks from axis nations and forcibly transporting them to the United States at the request of our State Department. Most Americans know about the World War II Japanese internment, but most don't know that many came from South America (6,000 Japanese from Peru alone!) nor about the Germans or the (quickly released) Italians also interned with the Japanese. Of these, only the Germans were also used at times in forced "repatriations" to Germany in exchange for U.S. citizens caught in Europe when the war started. Some of those who were forcibly "repatriated" were Jewish. This song describes that situation, though "Herr Rosenbloom" is fictional. CITY EYES Riding the "El" in Chicago for the first time in decades, the beggars, panhandlers, and buskers really touched me. One particular wraith-like child beggar was especially sad. He was, for all practical purposes, invisible. Even when he bent over to place his face directly in front of some giggling teenage girls, they refused to acknowledge his existence! I had to write a song. ROAD CALL The words say it all - I love to drive & explore this beautiful country & to visit kin & friends. BARDS WALTZ For The Late Great Bob Dyer, "Song Teller," Song Writer, Raconteur, Historian, Teacher, Poet, Balladeer and Co-Founder of the Big Muddy Folk Festival. Known as the "Bard Of Boonville," Bob was all these and more. A man for all seasons. CIDER SONG I grew up in apple country. My long-suffering wife has listened for years to my rapturous babblings about the near magical excellence of the old-time fresh pressed (unprocessed) apple cider of my youth. She finally said I had to write a song about it. TAPESTRY I started strumming a few chords loosely in the style of the late "Big Jim" Hickam, who, among other things, never missed the Big Muddy Folk Festival and ran it's "open mike" for years. What flowed from that turned out to be about the Big Muddy Festival and the people, ("artists and audience") past and present, who are the essence of it. MINER'S GHOST TOWN I have no idea why it came to me. This spooky little number forced it's way out of me one Saturday morning when I was trying to work on a different song. It wouldn't let me alone and kept distracting me until I relented and wrote it down. Only then was I able to return to my intended song project. HALF BREED GRANDMA This song is technically wrong, we now know, but the feeling is right. When I wrote it we knew she was half Shawnee but thought the Shawnee was her dad. The Shawnee was her mom - her dad was Cherokee! She was raised to hide her heritage but desperately wanted to be proud of it. TRAIL BALLAD I love to walk & bike along the Katy Trail, especially along the cliffs near Rocheport. I woke up one brisk, clear, Saturday morning, looked at the sky, smelled the fresh air, drank my fine, dark, honey-sweetened tea, wanted to go down to the trail but this song came out first. A VERY fast tour through part of American History. 2,000 YEARS What can I say? We still can't get it right! COWBOY'S PRAYER Another one excerpted from a Badger Clark poem of the same name, said to have been written for his mother. Again, the final word arrangements, and the tune, [and the blame!] are mine.