Location: one hour from Suffolk, Rockingham, and Scarborough, United States

I'm one of the co-authors of Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams, and The Armor of Light (which, contrary to some reviews is NOT a Points novel). Proud member of CoastLine SF, Piscataqua Obedience Club, and admin for Horseboard.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Moody Bluegrass

A number of years ago, at my surprise 40th birthday party, our dear friends in the band Say ZuZu played a kick-ass bluegrass version of "Nights in White Satin" for me, an unregenerate Moody Blues fan. Now, for all they might not really like the Moody Blues, the Say ZuZu guys were and still are damn fine musicians, and it rocked.

And darn it, they might have been onto something, for I found out today about a CD entitled Moody Bluegrass, with an amazing roster of talent: Harley Allen, Alison Brown, Sam Bush, Fred Carpenter, Lionel Cartwright, Daniel Carwile, Larry Cordle, John Cowan, Barry Crabtree, Charlie Cushman, Stuart Duncan, Andrew Hall, Aubrey Haynie, David Harvey, Emma Harvey, Jan Harvey, Alison Krauss, Keith Little, Tim May, Patty Mitchell, Bob Mummert, Tim O’Brien, John Randall, Calvin Settles, Ira Wayne Settles, Odessa Settles, Tom Shinness, Russell Smith, Jill Snider, Todd Suttle, Andy Todd.

As you might guess, it's from Rounder Records.

I bought it and downloaded it via iTunes. This is some fine work here. Amazing how well "Ride my See Saw" works! I shouldn't actually be surprised. For all the lush orchestrations, the music of the Moody Blues was always as much about lyrics, and "Ride My See Saw," written by John Lodge, could as much be about living and looking for work in West Virginia:

I've worked like a slave for years
Sweat so hard just to end my fears
Not to end my life a poor man
But by now I know I should have run

Left school with a first class pass
Started work, but as second class.
School taught one and one is two
But by now, that answer
Just ain't true.

"Your Wildest Dreams" seems to have been crying out to be a bluegrass song all along. Right now, my favorite track is "It's Up To You," which I realize always had those bendy notes that seems to lend it to bluegrass. (My friend Cliff would probably cringe at my terminology there.)

I'm loving this. I'll try to post something more coherent later. You know, musicological.

Way back when these songs were first recorded and performed, they were no doubt listened to accompanied, sometimes, at least, by substances designed to, umm, increase enlightenment? Oh, heck, even more recently than that, a summer outdoor concert we attended was perfumed by the battling aromas of Skin So Soft (for the bugs) and pot. Now there's a bit of moonshine to them...


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