It’s Time to Boogie Into Fall

Lumbering in East Texas

Mississippi may have birthed juke joints and the blues, but East Texas lays claim to boogie woogie: a musical form created in piney woods railroad and lumber camps of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Musicologist John Tennison describes the 360-mile stretch of US 59 between El Campo and Texarkana as the ‘Boogie Woogie Highway,’ and the sound certainly did travel; today, the hard-driving music is performed and enjoyed around the world.

Henri Herbert, an extraordinary musician who specializes in boogie woogie, will be playing one of my favorite Texas venues this fall: not locally, but close enough that a visit with friends and an evening of boogie already is being planned. Born in France and raised in England, Herbert calls Austin home for now, but he can show up anywhere, including public pianos at St. Pancras and King’s Cross stations in London.

Jon Aizlewood of the London Evening Standard once described Herbert as being “like Jools Holland possessed by Jerry Lee Lewis and the Devil himself.” Here’s a taste of what he offers, and what I’m looking forward to experiencing in person.


Comments always are welcome.

The Blooms from Ipomoea

While the history of the ‘British Invasion’ — the arrival of the Beatles and other British musical groups on American shores in the 1960s — is familiar enough, the British weren’t the only new arrivals.

The Brazilians — particularly João and Astrud Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Sergio Mendes/Brasil ’66 — introduced a music perfectly suited for summer’s easy afternoons and languid evenings. Astrud Gilberto wasn’t the girl from Ipanema, but her association with the song has endured, and the performance linked above may be her most charming. Her English lyrics are perfectly understandable, and the Portuguese has a poetic lilt discernible even for those who don’t speak the language.

Olha que coisa mais linda
Mais cheia de graça
É ela a menina que vem e que passa
Num doce balanço a caminho do mar
Moça do corpo dourado do sol de Ipanema
O seu balançado é mais que um poema
É a coisa mais linda que eu já vi passar
Ah, por que estou tão sózinho?
Ah, por que tudo é tão triste?
Ah, a beleza que existe
A beleza que não é só minha

Que também passa sozinha
Ah, se ela soubesse
Que quando ela passa
O mundo sorrindo se enche de graça

E fica mais lindo por causa do amor

“The Girl From Ipanema” has been one of my favorites since its introduction. I’ve listened to it so many times that it often rises unbidden into consciousness, and every year, when the variety of flowers in the genus Ipomoea begin blooming, it comes to mind again. Finally, it seemed as though a new version of the song was in order: one designed to celebrate the flowers. It’s easy enough to meld new lyrics with the music, and you might enjoy following along with mine.

Ipomoea imperati ~ Beach Morning Glory
Long and thin and filled with color
The vines of Ipomoea go twining,
And where they wander
The dunes they cover go, “Ah!”
Ipomoea sagittata ~ Saltmarsh Morning Glory
As they flower a light scent lingers
above the flow of wood-green waters,
And where it rises
The morning breezes go, “Ah!”
Ipomoea pandurata ~ Wild Sweet Potato
Oh, but they watch us so sadly.
How can they know that we love them?
Yes, they would give their hearts gladly,
But each day as we walk past their vines
we give them a glance, but no time.
Ipomoea cordatotriloba ~ Tie Vine
Rose and white and blue and purple
The blooms of Ipomoea unfurl
And when we’re passing they shine,
But we never see
We just cannot see
No we dare not see
We so rarely see.
Ipomoea imperati ~ Beach Morning Glory


Comments always are welcome.

Barefootin’ Into Summer

This Aardman Animation of Robert Parker’s classic song
is filled with delightful visual puns ~ can you find them?

Dry sand, asphalt, concrete, and teak decks are baking in our current August-like temperatures, making one of summer’s greatest pleasures — barefootin’ — a sometimes painful proposition.

But at the water’s edge, barefootin’ birds have taken Robert Parker’s soulful advice; they may not have shoes to kick off, but they’re on their feet, dancing into summer despite the heat. Scroll through the photos while listening to the song, and tell me they’re not!

Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla)


Comments always are welcome.

Time to Fly!

The Judith River ~ Central Montana

Even if I managed to get to central Montana and found a pilot willing to skim his airplane along a sinuous river, I’m more accustomed to seeking ground-level views of flora and fauna: better to leave an overview of the landscape to the professionals.

That said, I have this fine Tom Petty song on my road trip playlist, and I know where to find an equally fine landscape. There’s little traffic between here and there, leaving room to do a little flying of my own.

There’s still a world to be enjoyed and explored ~  find a way to do some flying yourself!


Comments always are welcome.

Flown Away

Nanci Griffith ~ July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021


Gulf coast highway, he worked the rails;
He worked the rice fields with their cold, dark wells;
He worked the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico;
The only thing we’ve ever owned is this old house here by the road.
And when he dies he says he’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
She walked through springtime when I was home;
The days were sweet, our nights were warm;
The seasons changed, the jobs would come,
The flowers fade, and this old house felt so alone
When the work took me away.
And when she dies she says she’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And she will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring
Highway 90, the jobs are gone;
We tend our garden, we set the sun;
This is the only place on Earth bluebonnets grow,
And once a year they come and go
At this old house here by the road.
And when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away to heaven
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
Yes when we die we say we’ll catch some blackbird’s wing
And we will fly away together
Come some sweet bluebonnet spring.
                   “Gulf Coast Highway” ~ Nanci Griffith, James Hooker, Danny Flowers


Comments always are welcome.