Thursday, August 27, 2020

Still Wild About Harry (Harry Warren)


In 2013, I wrote a post about Harry Warren.  (Oh you know you want to read it again! You may read about the great songwriter just here!) Just in case you don't have time to go and read it, I will tell you that Harry Warren was a great songwriter and chances are you know many of his songs and yet, you don't know this songwriter's name! ("Chattanooga Choo Choo", the music by Harry Warren,  was the very first gold record, meaning it sold over one million records.)

In that post, I mentioned that I had found a great video of Harry Warren singing with Ian Whitcomb but was unable to get the video on that post. Better late than never, I have it here for you!  Looking further, I was sad to learn that Ian Whitcomb passed away in April of this year. He was 78 years old.  (Harry Warren died in 1981 at the age of 87.)  

"Home In Pasadena" was one of the earliest songs written by Harry Warren.  He wrote the music, the lyrics were by Grant Clark and Edgar Leslie.  It was published in 1923.  The British band, "The Pasadena Roof Orchestra" which specializes in 1920 and 1930's swing music was named after the song.  


If the sun is shining, the butterflies are out on our Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia).  If you want a flower to attract butterflies, I highly recommend this flower! It is like a magnet.  What a pleasure it has been to see all the butterflies! This is a photo that Richard took of the butterfly called "American lady".  I can never remember that name so I always say, "you know, the one on the cover of our butterfly book!"  Ha! It's true, it is on the front of our butterfly is very distinctive with those very lacy wings. Just gorgeous, but then,  aren't we all that way, my American lady friends?  Well, ya'all are anyway!

Take care everyone! Remember if you hear a song, try to look it up and see who wrote it, music and lyrics. These songs just didn't fall out of the sky, you know! 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Rainy Night In Georgia


Anybody remember who first named the clouds? (I told you I would test you on my blog posts!) It was an Englishman by the name of Luke Howard, you can remember it because it should remind you of "look high-ward"! Richard took a photo of the sky in the early morning recently. Now, is it an alto cumulus or could it be strato cumulus? Or something else? Not sure, I just know it was beautiful.

We have had some stormy weather lately. I had Richard take a photo of the TV screen to show you the lightning we had one evening.  155 strikes in a span of 10 minutes. And the white strikes all bunched together on the screen? We are directly under that! Scary!

We have hot sunny days and then, we will have thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening...plenty of time for birds and butterflies!

The Zebra longwing is not that common to see here in Georgia. It is the state butterfly for Florida! It is a very fast butterfly...I took this photo through a window, and as soon as I took the photo, it was gone!

Goodness me, I hope you are all getting along okay these days! How about some music? You know you can count on me!

Oh! I watched a documentary again on TV that I really loved. "Hitsville: The Making of Motown".  If you haven't seen it, make sure you do! You will thank me! I have David Ruffin singing for you here. You know the song!

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Let's Move It! (With Music)


Don't you think it would be a good idea to get in and out of buildings quickly these days? Now, if you have medical issues and cannot move with any degree of swiftness that is one thing but if not, then you should try to move with a sense of urgency.  I have a good song for you to keep in the back of your mind and this might help...

There! I hope that will make you smile and also appreciate the amazing Glen Campbell. Not only was he a songwriter and singer but an amazingly talented guitarist!  Sadly he is no longer with us but his music will live forever.

Just saw a bit of a film recently and I think I have mentioned how much I love Doris Day.  Hope you love this video as much as I do! I would like to tie up this virus in a box and throw it into the deep blue sea! (No wait, I am afraid it might hurt the never mind, but you get my meaning!)

Enjoying the butterflies in our garden just now. The Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia) that we plant for seed might look a bit weedy but they are worth it for the butterflies. (And we saw the Mexican sunflowers blooming at Lewes Castle in England once. Very happy to recognize them there.  Of course, this was years ago. We have not been to England in 2020!)

Take care everyone and remember, keep moving!  Look for beauty! (Look at that blue on this eastern tiger swallowtail...that means it is a female. Oh, it makes me smile sweetly knowing that fact. It's the little things.)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Joseph Paxton- Crystal Palace, Orchids, Bananas ("A Thing Disguised" by Kate Colquhoun)

The following has been a draft for some time...let me tell you that I sent a package to my father-in-law for Father's Day.  I sent him a book -"A Thing Disguised" by Kate Colquhoun, which is a biography of Joseph Paxton.  I was thrilled to discover this book for him because during our chats I had asked him what was his earliest memory. He told me that in 1936 when he was 5 years old, he saw the burning of the Crystal Palace from his grandfather's upstairs window. He saw the actual flames!  If you read this book you can understand why this would have made such an impression.  The smoke could be seen for miles, across seven counties.  Peter would have only been 3 or 4 miles away in Spurgeon's Bridge, Croydon.) This book is so well written and goes into such incredible detail. I can't begin to tell you how pleased I was to find a book that my father-in-law enjoyed so very much.  I think he liked it almost as much as the ginger biscuits from Scotland that also came as a gift! My idea, send a book along with something to have with a cuppa tea.  Okay, now I will let you read what I had written about this subject...please forgive me if my writing is a bit scattered.  The state of Georgia is one of those that is very high in the rates of the virus and let's just say that high anxiety is not good for writing, not for me anyway.  Take care, all of here is my story on Joseph Paxton. Hope you enjoy learning about him as much as I did. You know I had to get myself the same exact book, "A Thing Disguised-The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton" by Kate Colquhoun.

Hello, my friends! Look at these lovely flowers! I have shown you these is a picture of the beautiful "carpet gardens" along the seafront in Eastbourne in England, which is where my father-in-law lives.  Now, here is the thing...these gardens have been carefully planted and tended and it has been this way since Victorian times! (Except during the times of the world wars, I imagine. I think I read that they planted vegetables there during WW2.)  Did any of you see the marvelous TV series "Victoria"? If so, I hope you remember the episode about the Crystal Palace.  What, you didn't see it? And when you hear Crystal Palace, you only think of a football (soccer) team from England? Well, read on...

The Crystal Palace was a marvel of architecture by Joseph Paxton. You might think he was from a wealthy family and was highly educated. There, you would be wrong! Born to a poor family in 1803 on a farm 50 miles from London, most of his knowledge came from his time at Chiswick Gardens where he lied about his age in order to attend a study program there. When the truth of his age came out, they must not have minded since they hired him as a gardener, when he was still a teenager. Chiswick Gardens were close to the gardens of William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who one day  happened upon Joseph Paxton working in the gardens. He must have been quite impressed by the young man, he offered him the position of head gardener at his estate at Chatsworth. Joseph Paxton would have been only 20 years of age.  (Now, I have to tell you, I have never seen Chatsworth but do you have any idea of how much I LONG to see the gardens there? I sincerely do! Look, I have a link to them...Chatsworth!)

Joseph Paxton was only 23 years old when he went to work for William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth. Would you like to read the letter that Joseph Paxton wrote about his first day on the job? After reading it, see why Charles Dickens (no slouch himself) called him "the busiest man in England."

"I left London by the Comet Coach for Chesterfield, and arrived at Chatsworth at half past four o'clock in the morning of the ninth of May 1826. As no person was to be seen at that early hour, I got over the greenhouse gate by the old covered way, explored the pleasure grounds, and looked round the outside of the house. I then went down to the kitchen gardens, scaled the outside wall and saw the whole place, set the men to work there at six o'clock; then returned to Chatsworth and got Thomas Weldon to play me the waterworks, and afterwards went to breakfast with poor dear Mrs. Gregory and her niece. The latter fell in love with me and I with her, and thus completed my first morning's work at Chatsworth before nine o'clock."

There...isn't that an incredible letter? And reader, of course he married the young woman mentioned! Sarah Bown became Mrs. Joseph Paxton on 20 February, 1827.  As you learn of everything that he accomplished in his life, it is good to remember that his wife worked very much "behind the scenes" and therefore enabled him to do as much as he did. I am not negating anything about the man, mind you, just wanted to point out that little fact.

While Joseph Paxton was working at Chatsworth, he began having an interest in greenhouses.( Now, let me inject myself into this narrative and tell you that I was astonished to learn that the modern way of heating homes in Britain actually came from the design of greenhouses where hot water was first circulated through pipes! As an American, I think this is a genius way to heat a home...and it means you have hot pipes on which to place your towels...and to finish drying your socks! Okay, back to the story of the great man...)
You can see from my title post that I mentioned orchids and bananas...orchids were cultivated in the greenhouses at Chatsworth and so were bananas! In fact, the bananas we eat today are called the Cavendish variety! Joseph Paxton named it after his employer. 

Now, back to the Crystal Palace. If you saw the Victoria TV series, you might remember Prince Albert working on the idea behind the "Great Exhibition of the Industries of All Nations".  Joseph Paxton's design was chosen for the building to house this great exhibition. His idea, a building made of glass and iron and the internal supports inspired by the giant water lily from Brazil, the Victoriana amazonica.  (He actually had his young daughter stand upon one of these lily pads. If you look it up, you can see a photo of this. Quite astounding, I think.)
The Crystal Palace was 1851 feet long (built in 1851, don't you know), 408 feet wide and was 108 feet high at the entrance. 60,000 people could be inside at one time and it held 104,000 exhibits. So, all iron supports and glass. Can you imagine it? You don't have to, you can look up photos of it!
Just over five months after opening, it had welcomed more than 6 million people! Here is a great thing about it, it was entirely funded by fundraising and admission fees. Not one penny from the government went toward the building of the Crystal Palace. (This was at Prince Albert's insistence.)  It must have been a wonderful sight to see! It amused me to see that many flocked to see a very large diamond on display there but something else was equally astonishing to the crowds...a flushing toilet! (I can just hear the people..."Did you see that diamond?" With the reply, "Forget that diamond, give me that FLUSHING TOILET!")

After the exhibition, the Crystal Palace was relocated to Sydenham Hill in South London. The surrounding area was renamed Crystal Palace which is where the modern day Crystal Palace Football Club gets it name. The Crystal Palace stood from June 1854 until the destruction by fire on November 1936.  As the abdication of King Edward VIII was to occur in early December of 1936, it must have seemed that bad news was never ending...and you must remember that the British still had World War II on the horizon.

Let me just finish by saying that the 7th Duke of Devonshire (son of the 6th, of course who was also named William Cavendish) is the man behind the development of Eastbourne, where the hotels were built ACROSS the street from the beach so as not to block the lovely sea views! Remember Eastbourne is where Peter, my dear father-in-law lives, if you can think back to the beginning of this post!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away

It is with a strong sense of deja vu that I share this video with you but if you have heard these voices before, you can always hear them again!  Johnny Cash, his deep voice along with the strong voice of Roebuck "Pops" Staples - wonderful singing! And please listen to the one point, Pops Staples says to the crowd, "Clap your hands, you'll feel better!" The song they sing here, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" starts out with June Carter Cash singing and that is just right since this song is most well known from the Carter Family.  The song was first written as a hymn in 1907 with lyrics by an Englishwoman named Ada Ruth Habershon and the music by an American, Charles H. Gabriel. (He also wrote the music for "His Eye Is On The Sparrow", along with many others...I have read that he wrote the tunes for as many as 8000 songs!) Ada Ruth Habershon was asked to write some gospel songs and within the year wrote over 200!  Now, how does the Carter Family come into the story about this song?  A.P. Carter, the founding member of The Carter Family, re-worked the lyrics of the hymn "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" to "Can The Circle Be Unbroken" and changed the lyrics to be about the death of his mother, still keeping a good many of the original lyrics. (Although, I notice that most folks sing it as "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" but with the lyrics of A.P. Carter.)

Songwriters! You all know how fascinated I am by them! Also, June Carter Cash wrote "Ring of Fire" (along with a co-writer Merle Kilgore.) AND she was a fantastic actress! I will never forget her in the TV movie,  "Murder In Coweta County"! Anybody remember that? The film was based on a true story.  Johnny Cash played the sheriff of Coweta County and Andy Griffith played the bad guy! June Carter Cash had the role of Mayhayley Lancaster, the "Oracle of the Ages". (Look her up!)  Her portrayal deserved an Oscar!  I really do wish they could somehow show this movie again, it was truly an amazing film...
Anyway, where was I before I got sidetracked about that great film? Oh yes, this video...please tell me you love it! And I forgot to tell you, this was from a TV show from England called "Later With Jools Holland". I hope you all know who Jools Holland is! What? You don't know him?  Look out for another post soon! I suppose I could squeeze out one more post about songwriters! Hee hee.

My Dad really loved music. I have a wonderful memory of going with him to hear a gospel group perform at a local church. Just as the band began to play, I started to tap my foot and it amused me to notice that my Daddy started tapping  his foot at the same exact moment! One of his favorites was "I'll Fly Away". I found a video for you!  You knew I would! 

"Clap ya hands, you'll feel better!"

(And I have a link below to tell you a bit more about Mayhayley Lancaster. Fascinating woman!)

Our early morning walks can sometimes be heavenly!