Hard Is the Journey

Wandering Breezes

It tears my heart to see
River Spring ending,
Leaning on staff before
a fragrant island:

Willow catkins are mad
to follow those breezes,
Silly the peach’s blooms
to sail such waters!

Tu Fu (from the series of short poems called “Nine Short Songs: Wandering Breezes,” translated by Arthur Cooper, from the book “Li Po and Tu Fu,” Penguin Books, 1973.)

Solidarity_with_Liu_Xiaobo

A Few of My Favorite Things

My annual tradition, a few lists of a few of my favorite things from 2013.

LPs

1. Bill Fay: “Life Is People,” Dead Oceans, 2012.

2. Bill Fay: “Time of the Last Persecution,” 4 Men with Beards, 2013.

3. Bill Fay Group: “Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” Drag City, 2006.

4. Bill Fay: “Bill Fay,” 4 Men with Beards, 2012.

5. The Beatles: “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2,” Apple/Universal, 2013.

6. The Mountain Goats: “All Hail West Texas (Remastered),” Merge Records, 2013.

7. Bright Eyes: “A Christmas Album,” Saddle Creek, 2013.

8. Billy Bragg & Wilco: “Mermaid Avenue, Vol. III,” Nonesuch, 2013.

9. Over the Rhine: “Meet Me at the Edge of the World,” Great Speckled Dog, 2013.

10. The Cave Singers: “Naomi,” Jagjaguwar, 2013.

45s

1. Bob Dylan (Unreleased Demo): “Wigwam” b/w “Thirsty Boots,” Columbia Records, 2013.

2. The White Stripes (Vault): “Dead Leaves” b/w “Let’s Build a Home,” Third Man Records, 2012.

3. Jack White (from the film “It Might Get Loud”): “Fly Farm Blues,” Third Man Records, 2009.

4. Ryan Adams (Original Demo Recordings): “Come Home” b/w “Starsign,” Pax-Am, 2011.

5. Frightened Rabbit: “Nothing Like You” b/w “Learned Your Name,” Domino, 2010.

6. Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu (Blue Series): “I Wonder” b/w “When My Man Comes Home,” Third Man Records, 2013.

7. Beirut: “East Harlem” b/w “Goshen,” Pompeii Records, 2011.

8. David Bowie: “The Stars Are Out Tonight” b/w “Where Are We Now?”, Columbia Records, 2013.

9. Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three (Blue Series): “Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County” b/w “Pack It Up,” Third Man Records, 2011.

10. Dry the River: “New Ceremony” b/w “Deadheads,” RCA, 2012.

Books

1. “Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Vol. 1,” by Mark Lewisohn, Crown Archetype, New York, 2013.

2. “How Music Works,” by David Byrne, McSweeney’s, San Francisco, 2012.

3. “House of Earth,” by Woody Guthrie, HarperCollins, New York, 2013.

4. “Document and Witness: An Intimate history of Rough Trade,” by Neil Taylor, Orion Books, Ltd., London, 2010.

5. “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970,” by Mark Lewisohn, Sterling, New York, 2013.

6. “The Walrus & The Elephants: John Lennon’s Years of Revolution,” by James A Mitchell, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2013.

7. “Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs: Portraits from a Musical Life,” by Jay Farrar, Soft Skull Press, New York, 2013.

8. “Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star,” by Tracey Thorn, Virago Press, London, 2013.

9. “Folkways Records: Moses Asch and His Encyclopedia of Sound,” by Tony Olmsted, Routledge, New York, 2003.

10. “Two Live’s to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt,” by John Kruth, Da Capo Press, New York, 2007.

Bleeding Rainbow