Friday, January 04, 2008

"The Office" (workstation series) 85 (Peggy's 60th edition)

Quick hit today as beginning of Spring semester looms (Tony: "I nevah threatened you!" Dr Melfi: "But you loomed!") and there's entirely too much still to do--but I'm looking forward to it.

See below: really beautiful moment from Dave Pegg's 60th Birthday Bash in Birmingham, with old friends from 40 years in the bidness. Peggy was the second bass player in Fairport Convention and is an astonishing virtuoso--and quite a dynamo: founder of the Copredy Festival, 16 years on the road with Jethro Tull, and absolutely a blast to hang out with--and, with Dave Mattacks, the bespectacled mad scientist of British folk-rock, one of the great rhythm sections ever, right up there with Sly & Robbie and Elvin & Jimmy Garrison.

Anyway, this is a potbellied and greying cast of characters--but to hear this song, Richard Thompson's anthem to fallen friends, played at this event, is quite powerful. Thompson wrote it in the wake of the catastrophic van crash in '69 that killed Martin Lamble and Jeannie Franklyn and almost destroyed the band--but to hear it now, almost 40 years later, played by the bloody-but-unbowed survivors who've lived their lives, and raised their children and grandchildren, is quite moving. Leave aside the shambolic absence of stage-presence that always accompanies these kinds of set-closers, and hear when the entire hall begins singing along on the chorus, and think about what it means to sing this song with most of your life gone by.

The way is up
Along the road
The air is growing thin
Too many friends who tried
Were blown off this mountain with the wind

Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
When my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends
Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
If you really mean it, it all comes round again

It's a song about growing old. And dying.

May we all do both with grace and courage.

Now playing: Jethro Tull - Velvet Green

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