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A Little Music for Spring…

I was just sitting in the kitchen on this Saturday morning looking out at the new leaves and gentle Spring rain. And I’ve been listening to a great music CD I made a while back especially for this time of year. It got me thinking about a few songs that are just so damn wonderful (to me) that I want to share them. (I’m putting youtube links to all of these songs below) So here goes!

The song ‘Be Free’ by Loggins and Messina was on my CD, which I hadn’t listened to in a long time. Man, what a groovy tune! And it’s 7 minutes long; but back in the day (early 70s) they would play stuff like this all the time on over-the-air radio stations (like WCMF in Rochester, NY). I remember having a rather profound peak experience from really listening to this song! But then I remember having transcendent experiences listening to a lot of songs back then; and I still do whenever I listen to them. ‘Watching the River Run’ also gives me cosmic goosebumps, after listening to it one sunny day beside a creek when I was about twenty. Isn’t that the greatest thing about music in general? It’s a direct emotional connection to another time and person that you were. Another tune that is just eternally fun and cheery on a Spring day is ‘Chelsea Morning’ by the immortal Joni Mitchell. That’s about all I can say about that. Joni is a musical goddess in so many ways!

And speaking of powerful songs with a Spring connection; ‘Greenman’ by XTC is another song on my CD that blows me away every time. The lyrics are awesome, as is the mesmerizing complexity of the music. And the subject of the Greenman/Pan is especially near and dear to my spirit at this time of year. The power of this archetype is so strong and deep, I can see why it persisted through the architecture of medieval cathedrals and small country churches; as well as in stories, music and popular culture. Another of my favorites by XTC is ‘We’re All Light’. And I just thought of another XTC tune that is about this time of year (if you don’t mind the unsubtle sexual references – hey, it’s spring!), ‘The Wheel and the Maypole’. This band was incredible!

Next I must add something from two of my favorite (among many) British bands. First is  Pentangle, in all of it’s incarnations. Everyone in this band has made numerous albums over the past forty years; and Jaqui McShee’s voice is amazing. Treat yourself and check out some of their other videos on youtube. And speaking of the music of my soul, Strawbs is one of the best! I’ve had the pleasure to meet Dave Cousins and many of the other band members on numerous occasions. They come to Rochester quite often! Go see them if you’re nearby!

And last up for today is perhaps my favorite singer/songwriter of all time, Cat Stevens; or as he is known today, Yusuf Islam. Whether making music under either name, this man’s musical career from the sixties right up to the present has been extraordinary! Yusuf’s new songs are as beautiful, intricate, insightful and heartfelt as anything he’s ever done. I don’t think he’s ever recorded a song I didn’t like, and almost all of them are perfection, in my opinion! In the early seventies Cat Stevens music was the soundtrack of my youthful, searching, romantic soul. I think his entire body of music speaks more directly to my heart and soul than any other performer. Now; the trouble is there are so many of Cat’s songs that are like the breath of Spring to me, I can’t pick which I love more. ‘Morning Has Broken’ is one of his most familiar tunes, and one which will always remind me of camping with my friends when I was 16; waking in my sleeping bag in the chill April air to see the red ball of the sun just coming up while this played on my little radio. But, I’m including a link here for a very old Cat Stevens song, that at a very young age says a lot about who he was to become. Go on youtube and listen to more!

Joni – Chelsea Morning

Loggins and Messina – Be Free

Loggins and Messina – Watching the River Run

XTC – Greenman    XTC – We’re All Light

XTC – The Wheel and the Maypole

The Pentangle – Springtime Promises

Strawbs – A Glimpse of Heaven

Cat Stevens – If You Want to Sing Out

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