About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Native American Heritage Month


As a genealogist, I'm often told,  by someone who told them, that an ancestor was a Native American. We talk about what was initially told and by whom (often a grandparent), tribes or regions of the country where the ancestor is believed to have lived, how to trace the lineage and some basic basics of DNA research when it comes to determining ethnicity. I don't do Native American research outside of my region (Southern California and the Mission Indian Tribes) and it's interesting to note how many folks don't realize that there are different record collections for the various regions and tribes in them or moved into or out of them. It is not an easy type of research if one wanted to be versed in Native American Research as a whole. Specializing is most likely to be what a NA researcher chooses to do. 

It being Native American Heritage month, I started thinking the other day about the various songs that deal with that ethnicity in one way or another (if we go way back into the annals of American folk music, we find some songs that are not altogether sensitive to the ploits of the first peoples of this continent where I live, but more recent poems and songs tend to highlight many of the civil struggles of the American Indian). 

A favorite song of my husband's is "Indian Song," by Hoyt Axton, where he talks about the inhumane treatment his grandparents experienced and how that left impressions on his parents because, as children, they were admonished never to to reveal that they had Native American ancestry. (FYI, that becomes one of the biggest stumbling blocks for genealogists since many records - e.g., Census records for the US or the particular states where "race" is to be filled in; around here, those who had Indian blood often listed themselves as Mexican, but they were also found to claim ethnicity as White, Negro, or Mulatto - the last of these isn't exactly wrong, unless one has a full quantum of Native American blood. Often the term used is one that fits best considering the reporting person's skin tone and/or facial structure.)   

So, here I want to share Hoyt's "Indian Song" recording, from YouTube; I'm just sorry that it's not from a live concert. But the 1971 album has a great sound. Hoyt's music and stories, etc. can be enjoyed more at the website of Ray Kawal.  

Photo below is of the cover of the very first Hoyt Axton album I ever got - totally impossible to play now, the needle wore clear through the vinyl on some cuts! But I have the CD!



Any songs that fit the Native American theme?

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Sunday Singalong - potpourri

 

Another week, another Sunday, another time of unbelievable sadness and mayhem in the world. People say they are moving to this place or that in hopes of finding peace and a good location for their families. And then the violence or other horrible event occurs "in their own back yard."

It's sad, but true, that some of the worst disasters spawn songs that are sung for years, decades, or even centuries beyond the initial action. I would venture to say that some folks singing about a war in Ireland are completely unfamiliar with the event, but the song has a good melody and the words are easy to sing.

This one has elicited many a laugh, but those that remember some of the uncertain times during the Cold War years, "The Button Pusher" is less than funny.

Any disaster songs that come to mind?

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday Singalong - On a Sunday! Who'd-a thought?

 Yes, it has been awhile.

But I have an excuse.

So, on Sept. 18 I had my knee replaced. Now, that was 58 years after the initial injury! I looked it up in my mother's diaries (another time I am thankful for that reference material) and discovered that, while I was incorrect in the diagnosis "I heard" from the doctor so long ago, I was correct in the basic injury. And I'm surprised that the problem didn't surface in this manner until 5+ decades later. The human body, and, more specifically, mine, never ceases to amaze me! 

That brings to mind, no surprise, I know, a song! Of course, the one most of us learned as children, about the bones all connecting, is the first to pop into my heard, largely because when the knee started to really cause me trouble, other body parts started to be affected (most logically, the knee and hip of my right, the non-injured, leg . . . it was taking on additional responsibility since I couldn't really put weight on the left leg). So I looked it up. I'd forgotten the filler, I mean, the entire inspiration for the song (Ezekial's proclamation about the resurrection and the bones becoming "alive" again, conjuring up images of dancing skeletons - appropos for this time of year, being just 3 days from Hallowe'en). So, do you remember the song (beyond the skeletal connections)? check it out!

Wikipedia, "Dem Bones,"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dem_Bones

Want to hear it? So many versions to come up with! Let's check out this one, by one of my most favorite groups: Alvin & the Chipmunks!

OK, that's what might be called "sanitized," though that's not exactly what one might think of when considering dancing skepetons. Let's look at the "original" version (not by author, but not PC version, for sure, thought it might give some readers a sort of flash back): Delta Rhythm Boys on the Ed Sullivan Show 9 November 1952 (soon after Hallowe'en?). OK, we wouldn't be able to find that on TV done in 2021, but it may take us to some memories (not all great, probably). And that link will take you to others. Such as this one by Cathedrals Quartet, singing it as "Dry Bones." I love those harmonies. It was posted in 2008 and the quality tells me it was not all that old at the time (they gave their last public performance in 1999), so it's more recent and closest to the original for that version. And it gave me a new appreciation for an old song. Not a bad thing to take my mind off of my knee bone (including the one made of titanium).

Happy Hallowe'en!




Sunday, September 3, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Wasting Away?

 

Another weekend has come upon us and I'm feeling rather maudlin. I started the day learning about Jimmy Buffet's passing and then had to take my dog, Klondike (16 years old last June) to be put down. He was a fighter and though I thought the time would have come many years ago (his breed is not known for especially long lives, plus he had some congenital issues that made for difficult times) and he had some "False endings" (opposite of "False starts"?) over the last 10 months or so. But he kept coming back to give it one more try. That last try was Friday night so on Saturday morning, what would have been Butch's 85th birthday, had he hung in for another round, on 2 September, I said goodbye to the little old fuzzy baby and handed him over to folks who were going to give him a much-earned rest.

I am not meaning to say that any of the creatures just mentioned were wasting away on any level, but I've been listening to "Margaritaville" pretty much all day and that one line keeps going around and around. It's a fun song to sing, but the lyrics are very poignant and speak to situations where a passive giving up is suggested. So, lest I be thought of as one who is "wasting away," I will counter that with a non-waste-away song selection. Now to think of one.

How about a song about the virtues of Life? Written in 1975, this is a recording of Tom Paxton, singing his composition "Life" from a 1978 live recording. It's not my favorite version, but it still packs punch.

Your turn: any songs that can remind us of the many good things there are to live for? We need to sing those loud and long!

Jean Hibben, Tom Paxton
Good times - no wasting!
2015, Napa, California

 

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Playing Music on the Porch Day

 

That day was yesterday. My body demanded that I not try to sing - on the porch or elsewhere - the voice is going through some nasty adjustments (and I don't adjust well). But my heart was out there singing, and there was much more room for that out there than my actual body trying to find a place to sit.

I recall many porches, and many singalongs, as well as solo performances, and have always enjoyed that ambiance, as long as the bug population is at a minimum and it doesn't get too cold to play an instrument (Butch's saw told him when to stop long before he or I wanted to - saws don't bend well in the cold).

I am reminded of a song that includes a verse about family singing together and I share it here. Hope that whether your singing is taking place on a porch or elsewhere, that your enjoyment of the experience provides you with lasting memories . . . I cherish ones that I have and look forward to sharing another with y'all next week.

"Music in my Mother's House" - by Stuart Stotts, (c) 1985, performed by Ronnie Gilbert on her 1989 recording.

Univ. of Calif. Press



Sunday, August 20, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Who said it doesn't rain in California?

Hard to believe that I am in sunny Southern California this weekend . . . tropical storm? Really? Well, that's what we are experiencing, different wind & rain for different locations, of course. So far, it's been rather temperate here, but that may mean it's just the calm before the storm. It does remind me of my youth in suburban Chicago when the storms could be quite intense . . . we lived on the corner of a major street in our village and inevitably, the storm drains would clog up with debris - leaves and who knows what all. I don't think it was a rule, but there seemed to be an expectation that whoever lived on that corner was expected to clear out the drains so water could flow. I guess that could make sense: after all, if the water was backed up, it could conceivably flood our yard and, possibly, our house (not likely) so, regardless of the rainfall, Dad would don boots and his trench coat, get the rake and head out to the street while rain was still pouring down. There he would work until he was sure the water was running as it should. I remember watching him and wondering if all the other dads in houses on the other streets were doing the same thing. Never did find out, but that wouldn't have mattered to my father, who felt obligated to keep things running smoothly.

Rain songs? Got some? Yeah, I know . . . too many to count! I had a parakeet once that loved "Baby the Rain must Fall," by Elmer Bernstein and Ernie Sheldon as sung by Glenn Yarbrough, released in 1965.








Sunday, August 13, 2023

Sunday Singalong - The Older I Get, the Better I Was

My husband had that slogan on a t-shirt . . . now I wear the shirt. Hmmm. 

Age is Just a Number (and Mine’s “Unlisted” . . . I heard someone say once)

Of course, I have to wonder if the next generation understands “unlisted number.” It seems everyone has a social media account – Twitter (OK, X . . . ? Are you kidding me? Isn’t that a trademarked “name”?), Insta-whatever, Facebook, TikTok, click-here-to-leave-me-a-message-on-my-page app . . . I’m on Facebook and that’s all I care to keep up with. But celebrities and politicians and prisoners and just about everyone who is anyone is on one or more “platforms” (a term that once was reserved for train stations and upcoming elections).

Where was I? Oh, yes, becoming outdated. I’m fine with that . . . it means there is less stress with having to keep up with the Kardashians or whomever (I know, it used to be the “Joneses,” but that name’s had a bad rap, so I went with some a bit less controversial). My, I’m in a weird mood this evening. And feeling older the longer I write this. But I’m hardly alone. At least 1000 people in my high school graduating class (more than in the entire college I attended right after high school) are likely experiencing similar feelings as we watch those a bit younger acting as if they’ll never get older (which, with God willing, they will, of course). I remember acting and feeling the same. But I wouldn’t want to go back in time to do it all again, even if I could take my today knowledge with me into yesterday. And I sure don’t understand that obsession with youth I keep hearing about . . . and the seeking of the fountain thereof. Really? Live forever? Oh, thank you, but no. Mostly, I’m good with the whole addition of another year with every birthday (not counting the aid for everything from hearing to walking . . . grateful I have the aids!). I guess because I’d listened to Pete Seeger sing about this time of life throughout my youth, I wasn’t surprised when it arrived on my doorstep.


 Pete Seeger, Stern Grove, San Francisco CA 8/6/78. Photo: Brian McMillen, © 28 Jan 2014

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Here is a video of Pete in concert back in the 1970s (egads, that’s about a half century ago!). He does a little banjo solo before singing the song and I like how he gives his head a subtle shake when he doesn’t hit the right note (my head shakes a lot like that these days). So, enjoy “Get up and Go” recorded live.  And then share a song about time, getting older, remembering being younger . . . go with it where it takes you!


Sunday, August 6, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Communing with the Dead

 

So, when was the last time you were at a cemetery? It's been a very long time for me (3 months) . . . so long that I'm going through cemetery withdrawal. My last visit was in May of this year, when I got to a couple - in New York. Such special time I spent in the graveyard on my family's property. This time I took photos of every headstone I could reach (some were rather impossible for someone who had been dealing with a bad knee and the brambles and low branches were as impossible to cut through as a brick wall).


Unfortunately, I was not able to replace both missing flags: one had been broken in the little "holder" on the sign and I couldn't dig its stub out. Two children, my distant cousins who died in childhood - Elsa and Roy (Isabelle & Gilderoy) - were children of Abram and Betsey Freeman, who moved, with the rest of their children, from Jefferson to Onondage County, NY, leaving those children on the family farm. Roy's headstone is knocked over, but Elsa's still sits tall:


 I don't think anyone visits these children's graves any more. I do, whenever I get to Jefferson County, though. It was special, for me, to be where my family had gathered so many years ago. So that is a reason the song I selected for this week is extra special. It's composed by the men in the video: Don Henry and John Vezner: "The Garden of the Dead."  

Hope you are receiving this in the spirit of which it is meant: appreciation for those who passed on before. Any songs come to mind on that, or a like, subject?








Sunday, July 30, 2023

Sunday Singalong - AI - Absolute Idiocy, Asinine Interference

 


I don't really mean that Artificial Intelligence is Absolute Idiocy, but neither do I feel like singing its praises. I've had more issues with AI than pleasant experiences. I won't detail them all, but I believe my latest issues hie back to AI interference. Combined with computer use. Combined with recordings. Combined with Zoom. NOT combined with my new computer, which is the one thing that is trying to be successful in spite of the AI interference. Ah, that's the accronym: Asinine Interference.


So, here's where I'm going with this . . . Computer domination of my life. Perhaps you know the song (hey, there are songs for everything and I do believe there is now a plethora of computer compositions): 

"White Collar Holler," written by Nigel Russell, published in 1979, and sung here by Stan Rogers. This recording is particularly special . . . 5 days later, Stan was killed in an airplane crash and fire. We lost one of the best artists - singer-songwriter - and this first song on this recording, and those that follow, show why I say that. It was recorded on 28 May 1983 at one of my very favorite venues in Southern California: McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. It's an authorized recording.

Enjoy . . . and do listen to other songs that demonstrate his love of life and history.

Your turn!

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Fire! Fire!

 

Nope, didn't get this written and posted last weekend. But the subject here should explain, sort of. I left my computer in the carry bag because I had no idea what would happen next! Read on.

Where we live, up in wildfire country, we experience (often simultaneously) hot (like 100+ temps), dry, windy (gust up to 40 MPH or higher, on rare occasions), and dried out vegetation. All the necessary components for raging wild fires, which have graced our region over the past few days (when I might have otherwise been writing this post, I was packing for possible evacuation with a fire bordering my street and just 2 miles away . . . but, thankfully, burning in a SE direction - I am NW of the fire's position). Though it continued into the week following its outbreak on 15 July 2023, they managed to surround the fire in an effort to contain it within a predetermined perimeter. It worked! The firefighters are amazing. 

I know that a lot of folks in the region of the state where I live (as well as many, many others) are not as fortunate as I and houses, outbuildings, animals, cars, and more fell victim to the flames and/or smoke of one of the fires that has plagued us so far this season. It's always sad when I see the destruction . . . I'm overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of precious belongings being burned beyond recognition, but even moreso when I learn of people being caught in the event, either suffering horrible burns or succumbing to the conflagration or smoke inhalation.

A favorite song of mine, especially when sung by my friend Stan Shapin (of Orange County, CA) - our association goes back to years in Chicago. I moved to CA in 1973 and he moved out here not long after - he has family nearby. So every now and then I get to see him and request he sing this song: "Baltimore Fire." Now, he didn't write it and, as far as a I know but when he sings it, accompanied by his amazing banjo playing, he "owns" it. So I share it here on a YouTube recording of Stan in the mid-1980s and on the site of another Chicago musician, Paul Goelz (I remember so many great times with these 2 guys - music going on for hours in a living room or the Quiet Knight where our Friends of SING OUT! group would meet a few nights every month). Click the link for the lyrics, below, to hear my old friend show how easy it is to play the long-neck banjo in clawhammer style, playing it at Adler House Museum, Baker City, Oregon.

The lyrics are very hard to make out at the beginning and when I looked up the words, I found at least 3 different interpretations of the first line. I went to my "go to" website for such things - Mudcat Cafe - and believe these are the actual lyrics (also, many recordings I've heard left off the last verse):

BALTIMORE FIRE

It was on a silver falls by a narrow
That I heard the cry I ever will remember,
The fire sent and cast its burning embers
On another faded city of our land.

cho: Fire, Fire, I heard the cry
From every breeze that passes by,
All the world was one sad cry of pity
Strong men in anguish prayed,
Calling loud to Heaven for aid,
While the fire in ruin was laying
Fair Baltimore, the beautiful city

Amid an awful struggle of commotion,
The wind blew a gale from the ocean,
Brave firemen struggled with devotion,
But their efforts all proved in vain.
cho:

The awful news did spread across the wire
Of another sad catastrophe so dire,
That Baltimore City is afire,
And sinking 'neath the foe's relentless hand.


From New Lost City Ramblers; originally recorded by Charlie
Poole, 1929.


Any fire songs in your world?

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Singalong Sunday - Hot Enough for You?

 


We are looking at some real heat coming up in the week ahead. Now, when I say that, I understand that my idea of heat is probably different from yours (and from those of a lot of folks). Where I grew up (in suburban Chicago), 88⁰ was hot. Of course, the humidity increased the sense of hot. I remember spending some summer days in St. Louis . . . now the heat could be as it was at home, but the humidity was even greater. Breathing could be labored. And that summer when we vacationed in Washington, DC I got to really experience heat. I recall it raining one evening and I thought that we would have some relief; after dinner I went out expecting to enjoy a cool walk . . . right! It was a sauna, or so that is how it felt (and I’ve never really been a “sauna” person). So, as we hear of days ahead that will push the mercury up to 109⁰ I need to remember that it’s a “dry heat.” And it is, usually. But then the weather reporter added that the onshore flow will be adding some humidity to our days. Hold it! I moved to California knowing that the temps here could get a bit high, but the dry days and nights meant that it was bearable, especially in the desert areas where the evenings would be balmy. Really.

When the weather is particularly warm, I tend to go around singing the song from Kiss Me, Kate. . .

Too Darn Hot,” by Cole Porter, sung by Ella Fitzgerald, 1956

Any summer or warm temperature songs that come to mind for you?


Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Sunday (OK, Tuesday) Singalong - Patriotism and July 4th

 

Back in the 1960s-‘70s, I did more than my share of marching, protest meetings, and singing all the while. A lot of songs I sang then I would not sing today, largely because my personal ideals have changed and my perspective has widened. But I never lost my feelings of pride in my country. And I never forsook the pride I felt for those in my family who had served their country with singleness of purpose. How blessed I have been to be married to a righteous Navy vet. His stories (the ones he was permitted to tell) were always uplifting and added to my sense of patriotism. I don’t regret my activities of my youth and I recognize much of my enthusiasm was fueled by a sense of love for my country. But I also realize that my sentiments were not shared by all my friends, though most of those in my “circle” did come from that same script. I have a great appreciation for a statement Pete Seeger made in one of his songs of protest: “If an army invaded this country of mine, you’d find me out on the firing line.” At this time in my life, and looking at what’s going on around the world, I think I’d look at that action as probably too late.

So, I am actually posting this on the 4th of July, a special date in many ways. My brother was born on this date in 1945, so one of my first actions of the day is always a quick call to him, but then to promise a longer one later as he always has plans on this date (usually involving baseball, which it does today, in spite of his years alive now totaling 78). And it was on this date, 47 years ago, the 200th anniversary of our country, that I had a special “date” with my future eternal companion, watching fireworks at Angel Stadium (OK, outside the stadium, in the grass) where we reminisced about our respective youths and realized we had been in a parade together in 1959 in Illinois!

Lots of thoughts here. Now, which will the song topic be? The underlying “Patriotism” sounds about right. There are a lot of songs, born of America’s Civil War, that speak of love of country and service in the military at the time (1861-65), but when we look closer at the words, we realize that most of the songs, at least those composed during the war years, were anti-war songs. Funny how context can change an entire focus! 

One of my favorite performers, writers, troubadours, and all-'round great guy was Hoyt Axton. He does a rather recognized song here.

"The Yellow Rose of Texas"

Got a song of patriotism that comes to mind?

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Summertime, and the Living is Easy

 

It is obvious to me that whoever wrote those words was not living in Southern California in the desert areas. Granted, the heat may discourage folks from getting out and doing some "living," but "easy"? I think not! And if you have no way to cool yourself in an effort to survive the 100+ degree heat, the unbearableness is likely to change those words to "summertime and the killing is easy." Seriously, dying from the heat is not unfounded. So far, I've survived. I'm not an ocean or beach girl (hate sand, always have) but living in the mountains means snow, so I guess I'm in a good spot. So, heat or no heat, I'm in for the long haul . . . at least for another year! No predictions beyond that.

Our desert home, Lake Mathews, CA

Summertime songs . . . so many, where to go: pop, show tunes, folk, C/W, ragtime, jazz, . . . I'm usually one to fall back on the folk genre because I'm most familiar with it (traditional or contemporary) and I've made it my mission to "introduce" y'all to some lesser known (in many circles) songs that are performed by some of my favorite artists.

I remember our summer vacations . . . the family car had no A/C and, because Mom had had her hair "done" just before leaving, opening the windows more than a crack was forbidden! Sweating in the car in the summer was a given. Showers at the destination were also a given. But as years went on and I eventually got my own car (used, of course), looking for something with air conditioning was not even considered. It wasn't until I got my 5th car (after living in California for 5 years and passed on that option for any previous vehicles . . . what was I thinking?) that considering comfort and vehicle value over . . . any- and everything else was not even a question! (The influence of California summers likely played a major part.) So when I hear this song by Tom Paxton, I remember the many hours I spent sweating at the wheel and praying I'd get to my destination sooner, rather than later.

Georgie on the Freeway, by Tom Paxton, released in 1965. 

Any summer songs and/or summer memories? 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Belated Sunday Singalong - New Stuff

 

I got a new laptop. Not my idea. Apparently I run a couple of programs that will no longer work when a certain date comes along (allegedly before the end of this year). Initially I thought I'd wait until black Friday (the one in November), but that was bumped up to the "school's back in session" sales, but then it felt imminent (there are the tell-tale hints like, well, not closing down when told to and closing down when not told to). Next thought was maybe a Summer Solstice sale but I'm not seeing many of those and we are just 2 days away from that important date . . . it's just not recognized as it used to be. So I ended up doing my purchase at a Father's Day sale (OK, there was no such Father's Day event and the machine wasn't on sale, either, but it had to be put into play quickly, if I am to keep upcoming bookings), so it arrived on Saturday. It's Monday (you can guess what I was doing on Sunday and writing a blog was still just a dream away, and I was trying not to let it become a nightmare . . . too late - not writing the blog, writing the blog on the new machine). I finally learned how to turn the device off. Well, that was after having to go to Google to find out how to turn it on! First time I've seen a "power" button on the keyboard! And, as usual, that start button also works for "stop." 

And the keyboard. Oh, dear. White markings (letters, numbers, punctuation) on silver keys! Can you say "What genius designed this color combination?" I learned to touch-type a very, very long time ago, but positioning of certain keys makes that education null and void. And it has a 10-key pad, that I don't need, so space that could be utilized otherwise is wasted on me. But, watch . . . I will probably find that number pad handy somewhere along the line. I am glad that the keyboard is backlit . . . I'll probably see the markings better at night. I forgot to double check the size of the computer (I'm terrible at estimating that little detail) and really didn't think how large 17" is. But while having to buy a new sleeve for the machine is annoying, this very, very large monitor is amazing. I think it is going to come in very handy for seeing all the mistakes I make because I can't see what keys I'm actually typing.

I am not a fan of new things. I mean, I understand the concept of "techno-years" (like dog years: 1 human year = 7 techno-years . . . I had my beloved, retired laptop for 4.5 years . . . makes it 31.5 years old . . . that still may be underestimating). And having a nice shiny machine with that "new computer smell" just can't be matched. But I've learned a thing or 2 and don't have time to expound, but will say that if you and the person you spend your life with need to replace computers at the same time, DO NOT get identical machines! Both my computer and the one my husband used developed the same issues at the same time, so when I might otherwise have smoothly and slowly made the transition, that was out of the question. Now I have 2 dinosaur machines (techno-saurs?) from which I needed to snag programs and files from. That's OK, sleep is highly overrated.

So, have you received something new recently, or recall issues with a new item in your life? Any songs that come to mind about new things . . . or old ones, for that matter?

I am partial to this one by Guy Clark (released 1995), recorded in 2016 

Stuff that Works

Monday, June 12, 2023

Sunday (OK, Monday again) Singalong - Early morning gray in So. Cal.

 

Here in Southern California we experience a couple of weather phenomena: May gray and June gloom. The days suffering from these "maladies" start out overcast and sometimes a bit uncomfortable for folks with breathing difficulties (though I don't think we'd call it "smog," exactly . . . but I'm sure air pollution is not absent totally). They don't bother me, and the reason is simple: as can be imagined, days that start without a full-fledged sun appearance often don't get much over 80℉ even in the middle of the afternoon when the day is at its hottest. Out of curiosity (and to test my memory), I checked what the temperatures were at this time last year and, as I had thought, it was running much hotter beginning in late May and moving into September, with most days in the 90+℉ and a few (more in the latter two months than in the earliest of the spring and summer) in excess of 100℉. I remember the complaining started earlier and occurred more frequently during those days and I was not looking forward to more of the same this year, but I have been pleasantly surprised. Nevertheless, I have found myself singing more weather-related songs, and most of those focusing on warmth rather than cold, which we did experience significantly in our colder months (January through April and even continuing into May) when rainfall measurements were record-breaking (rain is the hallmark of So Cal winters, especially in the desert region, where I live). 

So here's a "gray day" song to match our June gloom days:

"Even a Gray Day," Tom Paxton, ©2019 (from his album of the same name . . . couldn't quickly find a live performance of this one, but that may be because he doesn't do it in concert very often)

Any weather songs come to mind for you?

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Growing our Food by the Moon

 


Is everyone ready for Summer? Last night we were graced with a full moon – the Strawberry moon, according to Native Americans of the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota tribes. It stands to reason that the month strawberries ripen should have a moon named for them, but I’m in Southern California where our strawberries are ripe for the pickin’ starting in April, or even before (much depending on the rainfall in the prior months). This year, our intense rainy season is costing strawberry growers in California an estimated $200,000,000 (yup, 8 zeros)! In Central California, the overall yield has been dropped by 50% to 70%. Of course, this means that the price of strawberries is out of sight and it might be cheaper to visit that strawberry moon than pick up a pint of the fruit. In spite of all that, the belief is that the flavor of the berry is not affected and may even be better and the berries larger – I’m not sure why; I only know what I read on the Internet, where all truth is . . . _________ (suspect, or some other appropriate word). The FreshFruit Portal website explains some of the particulars. I just know that the state’s strawberries, sometimes even showing up as early as Valentine’s day, have missed that holiday, and probably a couple of others.

Library of Congress
unidentified photo, unrestricted use

Well, where are we going with our song topic of the week? I’m glad you asked. I thought that, with all the gardens being planted in the last 2 months and into this one (of course, where I live, produce can be, and is, grown year-round), a song about fruit, veggies (does anyone even use the word “vegetable” any more?), and herbs would be quite appropriate. Even if you aren’t planting your own garden, the chances are you will be eating at least one thing produced in the ground. And one of my absolute favorite garden songs is called (ready for this now?) “The Garden Song,” by David Mallett. Fun to sing, enjoyable to listen to, and even somewhat inspirational.

Released in 1975, performed here live in Virginia on 8 April2016.

Any favorites on this general topic to share?


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Remembering, Never to Forget

 


Memorial Day, of course, is when we remember those who died in service to their country (talking the US here), but has been expanded to those US service men & women who are no longer with us. However, because we do not want to miss a time we might "recognize" anyone in the military, current or veteran, alive or dead, to express appreciation, we consider them as well. And I've been seeing that some organizations are also recognizing first responders in other walks of life (police, fire, ambulance, etc.) as well. As one who has called 911 more than once and who is a Navy veteran's widow, I have appreciated the different categories of folks who give their life and time for the good of folks, many of whom they haven't and won't ever meet. 

What about songs that are designed to honor the many who have risked and even given their lives for the well-being of others? Of  course, in the US, most of us don't see the horrifying, every-day reality of death and destruction in front of us, as part of our lives (thinking of the unimaginable lives lived by the Ukrainians). But many, if not most, of us experience one, or even more, events where we were "saved" or positively assisted at a time when we did not expect to emerge unscathed, by a first responder, or even a second, third, etc. responder, but whose intervention was life changing, or life saving. Probably the event that immediately comes to mind is the terrorist attack on the US on 9/11/01. With that in mind, my selection of a song is one that expresses appreciation, thanks, and more for those who went in to rescue the folks trying to escape the burning towers in New York, as the last act in their lives.

So many songs deal with brave men and women who put everything on the line to help or save others. So today I offer the song, "The Bravest," in recognition of the bravest in NY on that day when the world changed for so many.

"The Bravest," by Tom Paxton © 2001, recorded live in Aug., 2011 for the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Video is horrible, but sound is good.

"The Bravest," by Tom Paxton © 2001, recorded live in July 2015 at Morristown Green. Video is great, but volume is horrible.

Is there a song that comes to mind for you, one that recognizes, tells a story, or expresses emotion that connects to those who live (and often die) their lives for others?

Monday, May 22, 2023

Sunday . . . er, Monday Singalong - Cut the Cake


 It's been a long day following a longer day that followed still a longer day . . . but, with a few naps under my belt (or head), I am ready to write up my Sunday Singalong. Well, I would have been, 24 or more hours ago. However, my topic today is inspired by an upcoming date that, for some reason, is looming larger than ones in years past. So, I turn 72 on May 25. When I think of that date, I immediately think of my brother, 6 years my senior, who was born on July 4 (we are a patriotic family . . . there have been rare times when my birthday fell on the day we now recognize as Memorial Day). Anyway, dealing with the summer heat & humidity of Chicago had to have been difficult for my mom, but she still went ahead to have her much wanted second child (actually, she tried to show up a couple of years earlier, but that was not to be, so it became my turn). But having me in May meant that Mom was not to suffer pregnancy and hot/humid summer weeks at the same time (at just less than 3 months before she would turn 40 years old). So I show up, with much fanfare. OK, Mom said her first utterance when she was shown her hoped for daughter was "ugh." Actually, that was much better than some things I'm fairly certain she would have wanted to say to or about me as I battled with those glorious years between about 13 and 18. 

Anyway, the obvious song that comes to mind with the topic of birthdays is that horrible, allegedly most famous of all songs, that people insist on singing (so often off key) when the cake comes out. I heard it more than enough. When I was a kid, until 1968, my grandfather (whose birthday was May 20th) and I had a joint family celebration at the Sunday dinner between our two birthdays. Sadly, on our last (1967) birthday dinner, for reasons I didn't understand at the time, the family celebrated my grandfather's natal day separate from mine. I was terribly upset as that was something he and I had always shared. He died on April 4, 1968, so there was no opportunity to right that wrong. But I think of him, every May (and April . . . and March . . . well, he's never far from my mind . . . we were close).

So, what songs are sung to recognize the birthdays in your family? We have been partial to John McCutcheon's performances of Tina Liza Jones's "Cut the Cake." What, don't know it? Oh, dear. Well, give a listen:

Cut the Cake, Live recording, 2016, on YouTube, John McCutcheon

Your turn . . . songs about birthdays??

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Mom, miss you

 

My mother will be gone 29 years next month (June) and I still miss her every day. That's no surprise; I expected that. In the weeks that followed her passing, I was unable to sing, or even listen to, some of my favorite songs dealing with mothers. But over time (and it doesn't "get better with time," at least, not for me . . . it becomes more controllable - I have some control over when and to what degree I want to let my feeling of her absence govern my thoughts. However, on Mothers Day I am often plunged into sadness by conversations or TV programs or just out of the blue - when I can't sidestep that type of loneliness. I tend to put myself into less mother-intense situations in an effort to manage my own emotions. That may or may not be a good idea, but either way, it's helped me over the last almost 29 years. After all, I think of my mother daily and am ever grateful for how she elected to raise me and teach me those things mothers tend to insist on teaching their kids, even if they don't want the lessons.

So, I guess I dedicate this little post to the mothers who painstakingly teach their children how to tie their shoes; be able to cook basic meals; not mix colors & whites in the laundry; how to diagram sentences; how to properly use utensils; why not to run with scissors, touch hot irons, or cross the street without checking both ways; how to properly word a thank you note (and send it in an appropriate time frame); who to call for help and how to know which first responder to contact for what emergency; when to go to bed in order to get enough sleep for the next day; and so many other things . . . we all have out lists, right? 

This song is a perfect example of a situation where motherhood is more than a birthing process. While this isn't my story, I know so many for whom this is reality. Please listen to the end, and keep tissues handy. As I often do, I've pulled this song from the repertoire of Tom Paxton, who, I believe, has a song for every occasion. It was written in the 1980s and is as pertinent today as it ever was.

Happy Mothers Day, in whatever form that works best for you. 

"Mother," by Tom Paxton, (c) 1982




Sunday, May 7, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Tell me a Story

 

Yesterday I attended a "story swap" and a storytelling event (local) and got to meet some storytellers I haven't actually met, though I've "met" them via Zoom. One is local to me - the Inland Valley Storytellers - and the other's home is in San Diego - the Storytellers of San Diego. I've been acquainted with many of the folks from years past and, since I've started attending the online meetings, it's been good to get re-acquainted. I've been out of the "formal" storytelling groups for a number of years and it's good to be back. 

Of course, story songs - ballads - are a primary method of "teaching" or informing folks of various events in history or in a family. I took an incredible class in American Folk Song & Ballad back in 1987 at Cal. State Fullerton, taught by Bill Koon, and it was incredible (well, maybe you'd need to be there). Our text book was Lomax's American Ballads and Folk Songs and it's still available at a reasonable price, plus can be purchased for Kindle. Maybe I should get another hard copy since mine is in pieces. Anyway, what story song should I share tonight? That's a tough one, but I'm drawn to the first song I recall learning in its entirety (as far as our copy and version is concerned) - I was about 4. Dad played piano and I sang it with gusto! That a frog was courting a mouse, whose uncle was a rat, was not something that concerned me at that age, after all, many of my storybooks included talking and inter-species relationships of animals, but all the mice I'd ever seen in person were rather quiet (perhaps because they were in traps and already decidedly dead?). I wasn't that familiar with frogs, but my brother and I often went toad hunting at the family's Wisconsin cottage (don't despair: no killing was involved . . . we'd keep them in a bucket overnight and send them on their way in the morning). Those creatures didn't talk, either, but they did make some funny noises. All of that is off-topic. By the time anyone reads this, it will surely be long past Sunday, but have you a story song to share?

Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog_Went_a-Courting

I have collected a large number of versions of the song, but, sadly, don't find the version Dad taught me very easily ("A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go"), so a recording is not included here. Like the last verse of the version I learned: "If you want any more you can sing (or Google) it yourself."

 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday SIngalong - Cures and Ills

 

Did you walk yesterday? I mean, did you walk for any special causes? So many causes need to be recognized, need to have fundraisers, need to be eradicated. Yesterday (29 April 2023) is a day for Pancreatic Cancer awareness. This does not mean that, once April 29th is over, we no longer need to be aware of this disease, it's that large amounts of money, particularly for the PanCan organization, was raised to create awareness-raising.

I am not going to get on a soap box about this, or any disease. Goodness knows, there are many that are ravaging our communities and destroying families. But those same diseases are bringing folks together with a combined desire to do what is ever possible to make the disease researched and eradicated.


I’d love to say that pancreatic cancer has never touched my life, but off the top of my head I can point to at least 3 good friends and 1 good husband who succumbed. Watching a loved one taken, oh so slowly, by the cancer monster (whatever the cancer may be) is devastating. Nothing has given me such a helpless feeling as that. So, what is there to sing about here, you ask? Sometimes the mere singing (together, but even privately) can lift spirits. My husband and I used to sing together (often รก cappella and without any plan to do so . . . we’d be talking about something, watching a TV show, or just doing a task together and we’d be struck with a song, usually inspired by whatever was happening . . . yeah, sort of like a musical . . . though I don’t recall ever running up a hillside and singing about the hills being alive with music). And I remember sharing music with my friend Pernell Roberts (once, during a lengthy visit, we did some singing together, even though his body was already frail from pancreatic cancer . . . still, he sang, though just a but, preferring to listen to me sing to him). Music ties us together.

So, what song today, and on what theme? How about illness. But it does not need to be a sad song, it can be something that is uplifting. Maybe something that helps you forget an illness (bodily or societal). My choice (and this has taken some time to select):

"Me and a Couple of Angels," by Tom Paxton, ©2002 on Looking for the Moon 

written for his sweet wife, who was ill and holding on to Tom, their 2 daughters, and three grandsons.

Midge died 1 June 2014 of pneumonia, following a long bout with an autoimmune disease. She was 69.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Earth Day (should be every day)

 

Another year goes by, and still, we deal with pollution and worse in the world. What will the state of things be 2 or 3 generations from now (not daring to think any further). I like to watch old westerns. Have you ever noticed that when the folks in the old west had something to discard (a cigarette butt, a wanted poster, a letter from …anyone) it was just tossed into the street? A street was, by today’s standards, quite tidy (considering the horses and what they left behind), at least in the TV shows. I know that, in some places (the bigger cities, for example), there were street sweepers (people, not machines) whose job it was to sweep up the manure. It was a non-stop job. Didn’t pay well, but steady work. I would guess that the cigarette butts, dodgers, and letters from their gold seeking loved ones, off in California, Nevada, the Dakotas, Alaska, were all swept up by those whose job it was to remove such refuse. I can’t help but notice that the streets near where I live do not have a 24/7 street sweeper. Not even an 8/5 sweeper. 

Thinking back to small towns, those who have sidewalks in front of their establishments are expected to clean up the area, even if the property is public (remember The Andy Griffith Show where Floyd is often found sweeping in front of the barber shop, as is the person with the mercantile, etc.). When was the last time you were in a town or village and saw such activity going on? I can count on no hands how many I’ve seen folks thusly engaged in the past, ah, my whole life. Yes, at times I’ve seen a street sweeper (large vehicle with worn out brushes turning and allegedly sweeping the refuse into an on-board bin) . . . and I’ve seen the trail, after they recently passed by, evident by the thin line of dirt and small items – cigarette butts, bottle caps, candy wrappers – that weren’t big enough to get swept up in the activity.

When folks pine for the good ol’ days, maybe part of that is remembering times when the air smelled cleaner and the streets were swept (though some of the residue from the sweepers trying to keep up with the horses may not be as sweet-smelling). Maybe someday, instead of no longer “needing” the song I have selected for today, it will be more true to life than not. I hope that won’t be the case.

This piece (yup, by Tom Paxton), “Whose Garden was This?,” was written for the promotion of the first Earth Day (1970). I’m honored to say I was in that crowd, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and heard its debut. It was expanded some over the years (see second link), but the message remains the same: If we don’t do something, then it will be our epitaph. Sadly, he is still feeling it necessary to perform this frequently.  


The buttons here are from that first Earth Day promotion and have remained in my collection. Perhaps, someday, they will no longer be true, and then valued only for their antique status.

“WhoseGarden?” – 1970  

“Whose Garden?” – 2016 (with an addition to the 2nd verse)


Your turn. Any songs about the earth, the gardens, the skies . . . you know, the things we (hopefully) value?


Sunday, April 16, 2023

Sunday Singalong - the American Dream

 

Tax time! Don’t we look forward to it . . . right. Well, when I married Butch, he told me he always used a tax preparer for filing his return each year. As the daughter of a mathematician, I’d never considered such a bizarre way to handle my finances. That first year together, he went to his tax preparer and I sweated to complete my simplest of simple forms to file on my meager earnings. And I noticed that, of the two of us, one was a lot less stressed than the other (even though, I believe, I received a greater refund that year than he did). Needless to say, after that, we filed jointly and always used an accountant. Over the years, we have had some wonderful folks who have been great at keeping us both honest and fairly stress-free. Fairly.

At one point, we got to get some nice (?) deductions due to the American Dream of home ownership. Over the years, we purchased 3 homes (separately, of course) to be our dwellings (this does not count the various RVs we’ve had over the decades). And, after owning that 3rd home for 13 years, we moved it to our current address in Lake Mathews, an unincorporated area of Riverside County where our zip code says we are in Perris, our home telephone exchange says we’re in Riverside, and our neighborhood children are bussed to schools in Corona. Well, try to find me with all of that info! I live on Multiview Dr., meaning, when I look East, there is Perris; when I look West, there is Corona; and when I look North, there is Riverside. If I look South, I see a lot of construction where it appears at least 3 new neighbors will soon be having a go at the American Dream, too.

(Moving the house was one thing; adding on was another; at least the photographer caught Butch and me BOTH smiling at this point in the renovation/addition/headache – 2002)


Why all that? Home ownership has proved to be an emotional roller coaster, with various demands on time and pocketbook and I started to think about the phenomenon of getting a mortgage, and then working to cover the various expenses (can’t call the lender to replace a broken window as we might have done with a landlord when we were renters). But it is still the American Dream. And I wonder what songs this might bring to mind. Yes, you are right, it’s another Tom Paxton song that was first to pop up in my head (actually, I was singing the song a few days ago and decided to write a blog around it, instead of the other way around).

“We Went to the Banker,” ©1983, on Bulletin . . . We Interrupt this Record

Any songs about homes, money, taxes, ?? 


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Resurrecting

 

It is Easter Sunday as I write this and I've been enjoying music and talks on the subject of Christ and his resurrection (no, I'm not going to preach here) and the seasonal concept of "rebirth." I like to think of the world blossoming and becoming "new," even in places where many don't "see" the seasons. I've been living in California for 50 years as of this summer and can say that I have always "seen" the seasons and the changes. Granted, some changes are more subtle than others and some seasons stick around for just a moment or two - spring has been particularly brief in the last few years and the rains (AKA the "rainy season," our version of winter) have been significantly brief, also. But this year . . . this year it is quite the season of rebirth as our "rainy season" was plentiful with product - too the detriment of many areas in my general vicinity (property, houses, and people have endured large amounts of suffering because it appeared that the "liquid sunshine" would never end; no sooner was a mudslide cleaned up, felled trees were cleared away, and water pumped from homes that the next deluge would appear and here we go again. But today, in fact, much of the last week, the weather has been amazing - in the 70s and even 80s, some days; mild winds (for the most part); and finally the sense Noah must have felt when the 40 days & nights of torrents stopped and the rainbow came out (yup, even had some rainbows around here). The flowers are particularly gorgeous (and overwhelming to those with pollen allergies). The birds have been quite boisterous. All those signs that spring has sprung are evident (as we sort of cautiously enjoy the outdoors, all the while keeping an eye on the forecast - is it really over?).

Almost every year since I've lived here, there have been the following comments, come April: "This is going to be Southern California's worst fire season ever!" The rationale is that, when there is not enough rain and we again reach drought conditions, all vegetation that is on the hills has turned brown and ripe for bursting into flames, almost without more than a sideways look. However, when the rain has been plentiful, especially into March, the greenery is obvious as for as the eye can see, meaning that, come summer and the temperatures (at least in my area) reach into the 90s and 100s, the multitude of fuel (even if not all dried out) means "Katy, bar the door! The wild fires are in the wind!" I know that last year, with the drought in high gear, the fires were everywhere and one couldn't go more than 20 or 30 miles without being diverted due to smoke or fire. We wore masks to be able to breathe the air as much as protect from diseases. 

And  so, as I observe the proliferation of flowers (OK, many are weeds, disguised as flowers) I think about the region being resurrected. And the weather is perfect where I am (wish I could bottle it to open deep into July or August when I'm certain the temperatures will never again be below 3 figures). Thinking of the rebirth or personal realizations or circle of seasons, etc. so many references in songs remind us that "tomorrow is another day" and we will sing again (in our hearts, if not our voices).

out my front door, today, 9 April 2023 
(likely to be a little less green in a month or so)

I am particularly fond of an obscure Tom Paxton song (yes, I do listen to other music, but I've enjoyed Tom's for so many years that his songs come quickest into my mind): "Spin and Turn." Now, I did try to find a copy of the audio, for free, but have been unable to find a link to one. It's on his album Live, for the Record recorded in 1996, I believe. It's available from Amazon as well as Tom's website. Anyway, here are the lyrics (for those familiar with Tom's music, the verses and chorus follow the tune of his "Fare thee Well, Cisco" - and if you like the lyrics and don't know the best way to get a copy of the song, let me know sometime and I'll sing & play it for you).

“Spin and Turn” – Tom Paxton, ©1996

 

1)  Deep in the night a baby takes his first deep breath and cries,
His momma’s tired and happy, Daddy’s head is in the skies;
The fiddler resins up her bow, And the guitar tunes a string,
The circle dancers part, To let another others join the ring.

Chorus)

Spin and turn, Life goes on and on.
Circles around the sun Till the final dance is done.
Spin and turn, We’ve been here and gone.

2) Early in life the young man Finds a woman who is wise,
He takes her in his arms And finds tomorrow in her eyes;
They dance around the circle Till the two of them are one,
They do the dance of life Until a new life has begun.

(chorus)

Bridge)

Old men telling children Of the world when they were young;
Children telling old men of their dreams;
Mother, daughters, fathers, sons,
Around and around, the circle runs In streams.

3) Till deep in the night an old man Takes his final steps and sighs,
Across the lake the music Echoes to the midnight skies;
While, deep within, the ancient song Is rising in his breast,
For him, the hour is late And now it’s time he took his rest.

(chorus)

Tag)

And deep in the night a baby Takes her first breath and cries,
Her momma’s tired and happy Daddy’s head is in the skies -

Spin and turn Life goes on and on.  


Your turn!

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Sunday Singalong - 2 April 2023 - Best Memories

 

April 2nd . . . the day after April 1st (the Fools’ Day). But it’s the 2nd that holds the best memory for me. It was a day that “changed my life” – back in 1966. At not quite 15 years old, that is quite a deal: to change a life so young, with a change that lasted until . . . well, it’s still applicable.

Meeting my favorite actor was not just a dream come true, it was a goal that was reached. With that accomplishment (a very long story in itself), I felt I had no more amazing experiences left in my life. Yeah, well, I learned. And over the next 44 years, I have learned from those additional experiences, whether involving my favorite actor, who, over the course of the following 3 years, turned into a beloved friend and confidant, or others who came into (and, in some cases left from) my life. I have learned from, laughed and cried with, and enjoyed the company of folks of all religions, cultures, interests, etc. And so many good memories (yes, there were some not so good ones, too, but I choose when and where to let those enter my brain). Got a special friend? A special memory? A special song that brings either to mind?

I turn back to works of my friend Tom Paxton and a song I have loved since I first heard it, but that he was not that enamored with because nostalgia, at the time he wrote the piece, was not something he chose to dwell on. Still, he recorded it and sang it, and it can be listened to and even purchased from Amazon (links below).

As I’ve shared in the past, this one is on his album “New Songs for Old Friends”:

Faces and Places

Pernell Roberts & Jean Wilcox

2 April 1966, St. Charles, Illinois


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunday Singalong - National Puppy Day

 

So the 23rd of March was National Puppy Day. Did it slip past you? My puppy, Amarok, says we should have puppy days all year ‘round. And he has them all year ‘round . . . that is, he takes them if I forget to honor the dog. He has a lot of quirks, but he is really a good dog and will be out of the puppy stage (and into teenager stage, I guess) in about 6 months. He’s already in training: rarely chews things that aren’t his (but he believes most things are his, so maybe that’s not saying much!). But my cables, phones, and most paper piles have gone bite-free since about the beginning of the year (was it his new year’s resolution?) and that’s just fine with me.


 

So, in honor of National Puppy Day, let’s go for some dog/puppy songs. And, yes, I have one to share, of course. There are so many, though, so there are plenty left for others to recognize. Come on and play the game. I’ll suggest the one that was loved by my family (especially my brother . . . it’s about the only song that he will sing with me): “Hound Dog.” No, not THAT “Hound Dog.” No, not that one either. This one:

“Ya Gotta Quit Kickin My Dog Aroun” – the Skillet Lickers (1926)

Or

“They Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dawg Aroun’” ©1912 – Vancha March

Written by Webb M. Oungst, music by Cy Perkins


Your turn.


Sunday, March 19, 2023

Sunday Singalong - Ha! Bet you expected something Irish

 

Friday was St. Patrick's (Padraic's) Day and I went to a museum with a friend. Yup, everyone (OK, most people) were wearing the green in one way or another. Even my friend and I both wore the accepted attire, regardless of religious preference. And when we went to lunch, at Mimi's (a French-themed restaurant), decorations reminded us what day it was, even if we had momentarily forgotten. And I even figured out how to order my smart phone, with Bluetooth, to play The Chieftains, one of my favorite, traditional, Irish groups (I could order it to play the music, but couldn't figure out how to make it stop! (at least, not with a vocal command) . . . I physically paused it, but think it is still up on the phone, if I get in the mood again.

I thought about asking for songs with an Ides of March theme (a few days late) . . . but do many folks have a repertoire of Julius Caesar songs/poems? It is one of the very few topics of which I do NOT have stashed in my "there's a song about that" file! And I'm OK with that.

So I'm back to March 17th. Let's go for the green (not money, just the color). I have many songs pop into my mind when I considered that color. I'd say, most standard colors are featured in at least a couple of songs, so it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to come up with something that fits.

Now, my guess is that many who are asked about a green-themed song will come up with my first choice, however, I also bet that no one has this version (besides, this is my blog, so I get first "dibs"). So here, for, hopefully, your listening pleasure (with that last word, possibly a stretch) is a medley of "Greensleeves" and "House of the Rising Sun." I have learned a great deal about both of these, but I'll not take time here to share. Instead, I hope you appreciate the recording of me on guitar and Butch Hibben on saw. This was a combined piece we used to play often. 


"Greensleeves/House of the Rising Sun" - from Playing on the Edge - with Butch & Jean Hibben - download from DropBox (no need to have the program)