SAGUARO & TUMBLEWEED
PRODUCTIONS
 PRESENT:

 

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   ON THE BEACH

Well, we were sitting by the fire
staring into flames
hunched up and crouching
lost in thought

Flickering memories
sudden crackling sparks
glimmering glimpses
lost and caught

Clusters of sedge there
nodding with the wind
whispering, surging
with the dunes

Murmuring ripples
rushing to and fro
wavy reflections
of the moon

I pick up a twisted branch
lines I try to draw
they're carelessly filled up
by the sand

Your eyes, do they look at me
returning from the past
I wonder shall I move
and dare to touch your hand
 

 
NOTES
  • The song is a slice-of-life story: it does not have a real beginning, and it has an open ending
  • In a sense, the story is picked up by the lead guitar after the lyrics have ended
  • The cover somehow reflects the words in the 5th verse, "lines I try to draw" because the sedge is also "drawing" a line in the sand

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   STRANGE FRUIT
(Lyrics: Lewis Allan)

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
 

 

BACKGROUND INFO

 The anti-lynching poem "Strange Fruit" was written by Abel Meeropol (1903 - 1986), a Jewish high-school teacher from the Bronx best known under his pseudonym Lewis Allan. He subsequently set the poem to music; it was famously performed by Billie Holiday.

   Meeropol wrote "Strange Fruit" to express his horror at lynchings after seeing a photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. He published the poem in 1937 in The New York Teacher magazine.

   I was both shocked and impressed when I first read this haunting plea for civil rights a couple of months ago. However, since I did not like the Billy Holiday version of the song (no offence intended - it is just that I am not into all that jazz) I wrote my own (folk rock) version of the poem, took my BOSS BR 1200 Digital Recording Studio which I had just acquired, fiddled around a bit and recorded all the parts.

   My song version of the poem can also be found on youtube (not in stereo, though)

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  • The solo in the middle was supposed to be played with a fiddle by a friend of mine. However, since she was not available at the time, I suddenly thought, why not try my 12-string guitar for a change?
  • The drums break in the last verse happened by mistake: I was not too familiar with the Boss  BR 1200 studio, so I inadvertently deleted some drum patterns; then it suddenly hit me: why not actually leave those bars free of drums, thus making the song more interesting?
  • At first I intended to use lots of lynching photographs for the video. However, most of those photos available are so horrible that I refrained from doing so. Instead, I tried to also incorporate photos which are supposed to express something upbeat or optimistic:
    a. the swamp photo parallel to the solo in the middle
    b. the Magnolia photo at the end of the song
  • interesting background info can be found in this youtube video

 


 

  


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Recorded in June 2008 at the
Saguaro & Tumbleweed Studios
Home of the Wadel
Germany

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Contact: Bernd Wahlbrinck

World Wide Wahlbrinck

 

2008 by Bernd Wahlbrinck, Home of the Wadel, Germany.
 
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