High Top Mountain – Sturgill Simpson – A Country Music Review – Part 1

There is a lot of bad music out there.  And there is a lot of bad country music.  One of the ways I try to find good music is by association with other good music.  Case in point, a friend of mine at work told me about Colter Wall so I checked out his music and really liked it.  One of his songs is a cover of the old song Fraulein.  On that song is a second singer and looking him up it turned out to be Tyler Childers.  So I checked out his music and really liked it.  Looking over Childer’s album Purgatory I noticed it was produced by Sturgill Simpson.  Now I knew of Simpson.  I had his “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music” album and there was one song on that album called Panbowl that was extremely good but overall I was undecided if I was a fan.  But now I decided to take another look at Sturgill’s catalog.  I listened to his latest album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” and didn’t really care for it.  Then I went back to his first album, “High Top Mountain,” and really liked it a lot.  I’ll listen to a lot of it for the next few days and then I’ll finish up this review.  But I can say already it’s a solid country album and Simpson is a good singer songwriter.  The fact that I didn’t care for his later stuff as much might mean High Top Mountain is more or less all of his stuff I’ll like.  That’s okay.  Even finding a whole album you like is a feat worth noting.  This album is definitely a win.

28APR2018 – Quote of the Day

There hasn’t been frost in almost a week and the grass is growing, flowers are blooming bees are buzzing, spring, renewal, all that crap.  Always loved Debbie Reynold’s voice on this song.  Very pretty.

 

The autumn days grow short and cold
Its Christmas time again
The snows of winter slowly melt
The days grow short and then
He turns the seasons around
And so she changes her gown
Mother Earth and Father Time
How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of life’s….eternal….rhyme
 Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman  lyrics from song “Mother Earth and Father Time,” motion picture Charlotte’s Web (1973)

25APR2018 – Quote of the Day

Yeah, more Paul Simon.  What?  So sue me!

 

I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told

I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles,

Such are promises, all lies and jest,

Still a man hears what he wants to hear

And disregards the rest, hmmm

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade

And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him

‘Til he cried out in his anger and his shame

I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.

 

The Boxer by Paul Simon

24APR2018 – Quote of the Day

Early to mid-career Jethro Tull was a musical favorite of mine.  But in 1979 I listened to Stormwatch and declared the end of my interest in their music.

The leaded window opened

to move the dancing candle flame.

And the first moths of summer

suicidal came

to join in the worship

of the light that never dies

in a moment’s reflection

of two moths spinning in her eyes.

 

Moths (from the album Heavy Horses)

Jethro Tull   (Ian Anderson)

03APR2018 – Quote of the Day

A slightly later fragment from Paul Simon.

 

Paul Simon – The Boy In The Bubble –

….

It’s a turn-around jump shot

It’s everybody jump start

It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts

Medicine is magical and magical is art

The boy in the bubble

And the baby with the baboon heart

 

 

And I believe

These are the days of lasers in the jungle

Lasers in the jungle somewhere

Staccato signals of constant information

A loose affiliation of millionaires

And billionaires and baby

 

These are the days of miracle and wonder

This is the long distance call

The way the camera follows us in slo-mo

The way we look to us all, oh yeah

 

The way we look to a distant constellation

That’s dying in a corner of the sky

These are the days of miracle and wonder

And don’t cry baby, don’t cry

Don’t cry, don’t cry

 

24MAR2018 – Quote of the Day

Now, Paul Simon is a commie and a friend of Woodie Allen but that commie can really write a good lyric.

 

“And the people bowed and prayed

To the neon god they made

And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

And tenement halls

And whispered in the sounds of silence”

 

Excerpt from “The Sounds of Silence” by Paul Simon

The Raven is a Wicked Bird

“Well the raven is a wicked bird

His wings are black as sin

And he floats outside my prison window

Mocking those within

And he sings to me real low

It’s hell to where you go

For you did murder Kate McCannon”

(Kate McCannon, Colter Wall,  2017)

The Raven is a Wicked Bird

 

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When we got to the Visitor’s Center at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon this fellow was giving me the evil eye from a low hanging perch on a nearby tree.  He was croaking some kind of a challenge at me.  He probably wanted me to acknowledge his suzerainty over the whole South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  These ravens are enormous and don’t caw like crows.  They croak and bellow.  And anything you leave loose in your campsite is fair game.  They’ll steal anything smaller than a duffel bag that’s interesting looking, especially anything shiny or edible.  And just about anything is one or the other from their point of view.  One sat in a tree above our campsite and serenaded us with abuse at sunset and again at sunrise.  All in all, a very impressive creature.  Almost thirty years ago I read a book called “Ravens in Winter” by a guy named Bernd Heinrich.  He was studying ravens in Maine.  He described how intelligent and social the birds were.  I’ve always wanted to see them up close.  Now I’m jealous of those living in the west where they are very common.

25FEB2018 – Quote of the Day

I guess there’s nothing unusual about a songwriter being poetical but Childer’s lyrics impress me for some reason.
excerpt from “Tattoos”by Tyler Childers,  from his album “Purgatory”