Monday, April 22, 2013

Ritchie Havens

So sorry that the world has lost Ritchie Havens. He was an icon of the music festivals of the 1960s (where I saw him quite a few times), and if you've seen the movie "Woodstock" you must have been moved by his "Freedom." He was sooo wonderful. He wrote many songs, but was also a master of the cover song, he would make a song his own. We both got to see him as recently as 2003, during SXSW he played an official showcase at the Cedar Street Courtyard where we watched him from a few feet away on a warm night. This is probably my favorite listen from Ritchie Havens, "Follow."

Words by Jerry Merrick

Let the river rock you like a cradle
Climb to the treetops, child, if you’re able
Let your hands tie a knot across the table.
Come and touch the things you cannot feel.
And close your fingertips and fly where I can’t hold you
Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you
And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you,
If all the things you feel ain’t what they seem.
And don’t mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.

The mocking bird sings each different song
Each song has wings - they won’t stay long.
Do those who hear think he's doing wrong?
While the church bell tolls its one-note song
And the school bell is tinkling to the throng.
Come here where your ears cannot hear.
And close your eyes, child, and listen to what I’ll tell you
Follow in the darkest night the sounds that may impel you
And the song that I am singing may disturb or serve to quell you
If all the sounds you hear ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The rising smell of fresh-cut grass,
Smothered cities choke and yell with fuming gas;
I hold some grapes up to the sun
And their flavour breaks upon my tongue.
With eager tongues we taste our strife
And fill our lungs with seas of life.
Come taste and smell the waters of our time.
And close your lips, child, so softly I might kiss you,
Let your flower perfume out and let the winds caress you.
As I walk on through the garden, I am hoping I don’t miss you
If all the things you taste ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The sun and moon both are right,
And we’ll see them soon through days of night
But now silver leaves on mirrors bring delight.
And the colours of your eyes are fiery bright,
While darkness blinds the skies with all its light.
Come see where your eyes cannot see.
And close your eyes, child, and look at what I’ll show you;
Let your mind go reeling out and let the breezes blow you,
Then maybe, when we meet, suddenly I will know you.
If all the things you see ain't what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ‘cos I ain’t nothin’ but a dream .
And you can follow; And you can follow; follow…

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tall weeds and a new toy

Spring is just busting out like crazy now, and I have a new camera which I am still trying to get used to. It's got options for "special effects," which the old camera didn't offer. Here's one used to capture the Bottle Chandelier.

(Note: I put the bug pictures at the bottom of the post so you can bail out if you are phobic. On the positive side for fellow arachnopobes, there are no spiders, just a bee and another insect)

Yellow Columbine gets the "illustration" filter.

Maybe the most interesting filter isolates the color red, and removed color from everything else. It worked really well with the poppies. Another feature kicked in when I took this one - it informed me that it had detected a blinked eye. Ha ha! Very perceptive Ms. Camera, but he's not going to open his eyes any wider than that. Ever.

We got our first sunflower of the year, and it is a perfect beauty, even without this effect that is supposed to make it look like a painting.

No special camera effects on the rest of them, just some close shots of a HUGE black bee that has been visiting the milkweed. It's not a Bumble Bee, but a Carpenter Bee that goes by "Xylocopa micans."

Again, no special effects, but just a shot of a bug that is ALL OVER the milkweed. Turns out it's called a Milkweed Bug. Harmless, except to milkweed, which is a problem for us since the milkweed is much needed for butterflies. We are not going to discourage the MW bugs, but instead are headed out to buy some more milkweed plants - so maybe there will be enough to go around.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Those boots

Remember the pairs of mysterious gold boots that were draped, tennis shoe style over the wires around town? (Things can ALWAYS get more fabulous, and you truly never know what you will see during SXSW!) I didn’t think they were an official SXSW decoration (not corporate enough) but a rogue act.

I just went to the CD release for (awesome local band) The Wheeler Brothers, which is called “Gold Boots Glitter.” I have a very strong suspicion that the boots were a tribute. Anyway, I am kind of new to The Wheeler Brothers even though they've been causing a stir in the local music scene for awhile. They are a really good band, and know we know they have a lot of style too. Here's a video from their earlier record - worth watching on its own merits just for being fun.

A pic from the in-store at Waterloo Records:

When I opened up the CD, my jaw dropped in amazement at the design of it! Flaps unfold, and unfold again, and eventually it turns into a popup! The insert slides underneath the burning guy. They don't give out prizes anymore in this town for album art, but if they did, this one should win.

I hope that there is always a need and a purpose for physical album art. Maybe the resurgence of vinyl will ensure that, for awhile anyway. I really like Gold Boots Glitter, and thin maybe I should buy some more Wheeler Brothers.

Image from Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966)