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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 AD
New Book and Music
I finally spent my Christmas Amazon certificates on some new music and a book. The book was Caddie Woodlawn's Family. I remember multiple enjoyable readings of Caddie Woodlawn in my younger years, so I was happy to get the sequel. I don't often remember the details of books after I've finished them -- just a general sense of how much I liked them. Of course my memory gets better with multiple readings. One passage I always liked in the first book recounts a talking-to Caddie receives from her father after she'd gotten into some sort of tomboyish trouble and made her mother despair that she would ever display characteristics more typical of the fairer sex. The father tells Caddie that he doesn't expect her to be the sort of silly, frou-frou creature called a lady, but that he wants her to be a woman. Now I'm not sure Mr. Woodlawn's definition of a lady is quite fair, but I appreciated his distinction between useless ornamentality and true femininity.

These are the three CDs I got:
  • New Favorite, by Allison Krauss and Union Station -- This is the most popular of the three, but I like the other two better. If you're an AK&US fan, don't think of that as a slight to them, but as a compliment to the following.
  • Warm Strangers, by Vienna Teng -- I think I first heard the song "Harbor" on a Paste Music sampler. Then I was reminded of it when Jon noted Teng as one of his musical influences. Miss Teng's vocals and piano playing are beautiful -- bright and true. "Harbor" is probably my favorite on the CD, but I also like "Feather Moon" despite the sketchy poetry of its lyrics and the a capella "Passages" even though it is almost unbearably sad, and even though I think I got this accursed spyware while searching for the lyrics, which for some reason are not printed in the liner notes with the rest of the songs.
  • Turn to Me by Bill (short for Belinda) Jones -- This one's my favorite of the three. I discovered it through RadioCelt.com. Traditional Celtic is the musical language that most resonnates with me, and this young lady performs it with the sort of voice I find most delightful -- pure and clear and light and genuine. She combines some venerable tunes and lyrics with more modern ones including her own. My favorite cuts are "Táimse im Chodladh" and "Turn to Me," both of which combine Miss Jones's lyrics with older tunes.

    "The Fisherboy" (track three) is a ballad about a poor little lad who tragically loses both his parents, and is then kindly taken in by a young woman and her nobleman father, who not only foster the boy, but employ him, for which he is most grateful. Can't you just hear the shrieks of child protective services people now? "Exploitation! Child Labor!"

    This sort of situation arises often among refugees -- a child separated from his parents will often be taken in by another family as a servant -- and is always decried as a tragedy. But of course the natural children of the family are probably expected to work just as hard as the fostered children. Of course there are situations where abuse occurs, but they are held up as the norm. To the concerned voices, anything short of a typical middle-class American child's lazy life is tantamount to heinous torture.
As you might guess, I like vocalists, and female vocalists best of all. I had originally planned to get, at Mr. Saenz's recommendation, something by Ginny Hawkins, but now that DHP is selling a couple of her CDs, I think I'll spend my other Christmas money with Rick in a couple weeks at the HSC conference.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 4/06/2005 09:40:00 AM • Permalink

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