Music Monday – My Father the Singer, Songwriter

Next Saturday June 17th would be my father’s birthday. I don’t remember him. I was two years old when he died, but I think of him often, a lot more so as I’ve grown older. It seems he’s never far from my thoughts. Over the years I heard a lot about him. Of course he was loved by his family and he exemplified love as a devoted son, brother and uncle. People said he was kind-hearted with a great sense of humor.

Richard Delmont Lines (1924-1955)

Described as tall, good-looking, broad-shouldered and physically strong he was also blessed with musical talent. It was said he was a gifted singer, well versed at playing guitar and a songwriter.

My dad, like his nine other siblings who lived into adulthood, had a rough life growing up. Coming from a broken home, they struggled through the years of the depression. At a very young age they often had to fend for themselves… just to eat. And on occasion some found themselves at odds with the law.

In talking about those days and their tough, undisciplined childhood an uncle described one of his brothers as “one rough character, eleven years old and packing a thirty-eight revolver.” That young boy, through his own determination, overcame those beginnings, and even before the war, was well on the road to turning his life around. He would go on to honorably serve his country as a combat soldier. He was one of the most respected, admired and finest men I’ve ever known.
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Music Monday – Flanders Fields

It was the early days of World War I in the Second Battle near the town of Ypres. A 22-year old Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed, from the explosion of a German artillery shell. He died 102 years ago tomorrow, May 2, 1915.

Ypres a small, ancient Belgian town saw some of the most intense and sustained battles during the war. Helmer was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as his friend, doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.

John McCrea

The son of Scottish immigrants, for McCrea, medicine, the Army and poetry were family traditions.

As the brigade doctor, McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis. Later that evening, in his grief, for his lost friend, he began the draft for the poem In Flanders Field.

Written from the perspective of the dead it speaks of their sacrifice and serves as their wish for the living, that they press on. It became one of the most notable poems of its era and has attained iconic status in Canada.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Music Monday – Feel My Love

MusicIt’s break time. Time for a respite from all the opinion, perspective, the politics, questions and issues of life. Time, just to relax… to reflect. What better way to do that, than through music? Let’s call it “Music Monday!

Music has always been a big part of my life and in so many ways. Anyone who knows me well… knows that.

I grew up on the rock music of the 60’s and 70’s but, as I’ve “matured” I’ve grown to have an eclectic taste in music. I enjoy most everything ranging from Sinatra to The Doobie Brothers to Diana Krall to Delbert McClinton, Acoustic Alchemy, Tim McGraw, Enya, and everything in-between. (I know… “Delbert Who?”) The list is a mile long and what I choose to listen to, probably just like you, depends on my mood at the time. Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues etc. etc. Bring it on! Thank God for iTunes and iPods. I mean really… who needs music radio?

Someone said, music is an expression of the human condition… the reflection of a soul. It is Art! For me, much like film, music can bring us relief and escape from the struggles of the world, even if just for a few moments. Music is my muse and I love it. I can’t imagine my world without it.

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Tomorrow

I’ve never seen the stage play but I loved the movie “Annie”.  I’m not much “into” musicals, but a few stand out.  A few I could watch again and again.  In Annie I especially enjoyed Carol Burnett’s portrayal of Agatha Hannigan, the drunk, cruel, caretaker at Annie’s orphanage who all the girls feared.  I love Carole Burnett.

Annie’s story is based on the popular comic strip character Little Orphan Annie from a bygone era and articulates an optimistic view of life through the theme just hang on, until tomorrow.  Times weren’t easy in those days for Annie.

Anyway, how can any of us forget Annie’s rendition of that classic song Tomorrow?  To my way of thinking, despite the setting and the uncertain future Annie faced, the song evokes the spirit of optimism.  Sing the first few lines along with me … Continue reading