‘Surf Song II’
‘Only One Angel’
“If you want to know what pulls me through
I have only one angel, …that one angel is you”
–‘Only One Angel’ – Jimmy LaFave (Texan singer-songwriter)
This post, by the way, marks 1000 posts on Ebb Then Flood – it is dedicated to my guardian angels – those who saved me, sustain me, and watch over me always – thank you.
‘For Money Can’t Buy Me Love’
Christmas decorations on a disused bank in a Northland town I passed through earlier in the week.
Money doesn’t change hands there anymore, but certainly rampant consumerism is running amok elsewhere at this time of year.
The scene reminded me of the words of the old song from the four wise men of Liverpool:
“I don’t care too much for money, for money can’t buy me love.”
I wish you love, and peace, today.
– Andy L.
‘When The Red King Comes’
Two small things collided during the week in way that made perfect sense to me:
A lunchtime walk down to Auckland’s city wharves, where the old wrought iron fence sports carved faces of Neptune/Poseidon in a vivid red.
And a major overhaul of my digital music collection that unearthed this psychedelic/jangle gem from cult band Elf Power (an early track of theirs that lends this post its title).YouTube share below.
Enjoy the pairing!
‘In The Pines’
The below song ,an old favourite of mine from Western Australian group The Triffids, came to mind as I walked through some coastal pines the other day. A bit mournful, like the wind whistling through the pines…
‘Green Guitar’ – R.I.P Peter Green, 1946 – 2020.
Peter Green, an original member of Fleetwood Mac and legendary blues/rock guitarist, passed away yesterday.
He was an understated stylist possessed of one of the purest, most emotive guitar timbres in the business ,even if he led a life at times troubled by mental illness.
B.B King said of his playing, “he has the sweetest tone I ever heard. He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”
YouTube link to one of his best loved tracks, appropriate in remembrance, ‘In The Skies’ is below:
…morse signals in concrete and glass…
‘Never Bow Down’
“Never to bow down,
don’t you ever slow down”
– ‘Bow Down’, The Go-Betweens
When I reviewed the above shot of the triple bows, all proud and pointing, these defiant lyrics sprang to mind.
You can listen to the terrific song from Brisbane’s finest, below:
When it all gets a bit tangled and gloomy, we all need a guiding light, someone or something, to see us through.
Song for the day, to match, from Television’s classic 1977 debut album, ‘Marquee Moon’:
“Guiding light, guiding light
guiding through these nights”
‘ Listen To The Lion’
Lions, of course, are symbols of courage and bravery.
Courage features in the second part of The Serenity Prayer:
“Courage to change the things I can”
I think about that which I can change at the start of the day. Whether I act depends largely on whether I have the guts to do so.
Some leonine musical inspiration comes from Irish singer-songwriter in one of his more extended songs:
” I shall search my very soul
for the lion
inside of me”
(Mr. Morrison really rips loose with the vocal chords on this number; the repetition too, as he hits full trance and utters the phrase “listen to the lion” over and over again at one point in the song. It makes for one of his more challenging listens, but that’s possibly the point. I still marvel that Van, well into his musical work by then, was still only 26 or so when this track was recorded – it sounds like someone with way more time and miles under the belt).
Peak autumn on the Tamaki River at low tide; the clear blue sky is reflected in the water lying atop the mudflats at low tide. Plenty of time right now for me to likewise do a bit of reflection in the suspended state that is lockdown, whilst out walking.
The perfect mini soundtrack to this all comes from American new age/neo-classical pianist George Winston:
I was binge watching the second series of the Ricky Gervais Netflix series ‘Afterlife’ during the weekend.
Wickedly funny, but also filled with pathos and ruminations on our common mortality.
Right at the end of the series the soundtrack featured Iron and Wine’s song ‘Passing Afternoon’ from the 2004 album ‘Our Endless Numbered Days’.
“There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days”.
The photograph above was recently taken looking over a coastal cliff on a walk ( I haven’t spent all of lockdown on my arse watching TV! ).
The gradations of colour, the deepening sea and the pattern of the waves held me in quiet thrall.
As I took in the view below me; as I watched Gervais’s character grapple with life and death; as Iron and Wine’s gorgeous song played, I found myself drifting….
It has been a week of vivid and bizarre dreams for me, some nightmarish.
Perhaps coming off antidepressant medication has something to do with it , as that is an apparent side effect.
At any rate, the surreal shit of my dreamland continues apace.
You couldn’t make it up and you certainly can’t control it.
I’ll wake up from one weird episode and then plunge straight into another one, and so it continues till the dawn.
Deep REM sleep is supposed to be beneficial; maybe, but it is bemusing also.
I don’t even try to analyse the nocturnal art house cinema I am being served up involuntarily on a nightly basis.
What would be the point, really?
But I do have the ideal soundtrack to it all:
The Electric Prunes’s “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”. A thoroughly groovy 1960’s garage/psychedelic rock classic.
YouTube link below. Stick this in your pipe dream and smoke it, good people!
“I’m not ready to face the light…I had too much to dream last night”
‘On The Beach’
“Now I’m livin’
out here on the beach,
but those seagulls are
still out of reach
… I follow the road,
though I don’t know
where it ends.
Get out of town, get out of town,
think I’ll get out of town.”
‘On The Beach’, Neil Young (1974)
‘The Strong One’
” ‘Cause isn’t it hard
to be the one who gathers everybody’s tears
isn’t it hard
to be the strong one “
– ‘ The Strong One’, Bruce Cockburn
As to the photo image – the Stonehenge-like sculpture blends almost with the background of trees.
Truly strong people are sometimes unnoticeable.
They are always there – for others, to gather their tears (as Cockburn’s beautiful lyric states); constant and loyal.
Some mistake displays of dynamism, power and muscle-flexing for strong character.
The true strong ones of our world carry burdens without reward and recognition.
Maybe you are one of those that others rely on.
It is hard, to be the strong one.
Take time to take care of yourself too…
Queensferry Crossing, Scotland
This stunning modern suspension bridge over the Firth of Forth was certainly worth a picture, as we crossed over it late last year( don’t worry, I took this photo from the passenger seat! ).
As I have been filling my musical boots with vintage sounds of late, may I take you on a transatlantic leap to the somewhat older but equally stellar Brooklyn Bridge, which I was fortunate to have walked over as a young bloke.
Artwork of it features on the cover of a 1982 album ‘The Bridge’, by jazz/fusion keyboardist David Sancious. Sancious may be better known to rockers as an early member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
A YouTube link to the sublime title track ,an old favourite of mine, is below, if you have the time to embark on a sprawling aural trip of your own…
“Round and round, up and down
Through the streets of your town
Everyday I make my way
Through the streets of your town”
– The Go-Betweens, ‘Streets Of Your Town’
A marriage of a picture of one of my favourite towns, Edinburgh, with the lyrics from one of my favourite bands, Brisbane’s Go-Betweens, who spent a good deal of time in the UK forging their career, a long way from home.
There is something about the song that captures the displaced feeling of pounding the pavement in a town that will never be your own.
Over Christmas music yet? Well, may I give some respite from the sheer awfulness of most of it – here is a prime cut from my album of the year, Devendra Banhart’s ‘Ma’.
A typical offbeat piece of Venezuelan/American Banhart’s warm songcraft, enhanced by a surreal video. Enjoy! If it’s not your cup of tea ,it could be worse (‘Little Drummer Boy’ anyone…?).
(By the way, the recent photo features a community piano in a central London shopping mall . Some outstanding young talent created amazing sounds for free – I love community pianos for their surprise element!
Link to the DB song below:
” As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset
I am in paradise “
– The Kinks, ‘Waterloo Sunset’
Spring in Auckland – a stack of sun, reams of rain – and cumulus clouds like these reflecting both.
Clouds are for dreamers.
You can see what you want in their shapes.
Giant sheep and rabbits; Jesus; your late father’s face; portents of the future or maybe the outline of a Central Asian country…
Anything you like, everything you could imagine.
All illusory, but not necessarily in a bad way.
Queen Joni once sang :
” I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all ”
– (Joni Mitchell, ‘Both Sides Now’)