Monday, June 1, 2009

More This and That

Another post about this and that....

My last post, about a single recording by a strong-voiced African-American woman, put me in mind of a (somewhat) more recent recording by another such woman, along with her sisters and father. I don't care about most music that makes the top 10, but in the summer of 1972, "I'll Take You There" by the Staple Singers made it to the number one spot on both the Billboard R & B and pop charts. And it's still an amazing song, although it's pretty simple: two chords, a cool bass line, the great Muscle Shoals rhythm section, some touching lyrics, the amazing Mavis Staples on lead vocals, and a hypnotic drive. A few years ago, I was driving around Atlanta with John Lewis - no, not that one; this JL is one of Atlanta's best drummers. I had The Best of The Staple Singers in the CD player, and when this song came on, I started talking about how hip the bass line was. John listened for a minute, and pointed out something I hadn't noticed - there is only one syncopated note in the bass line: the second one. It's so full of life that I would have thought it was heavily syncopated, but it's pretty simple. Again, what a great song.

I was feeling a little under the weather today, but I had to get out and run some errands anyway. In between stops, I decided to stop by a nature preserve here in Atlanta and hunt a geocache that was recently hidden by my friend Lee. It was amazing how better I felt as soon as I was in the woods and on the trail. I don't understand how searching for a box hidden in the woods and signing the logbook inside can be so therapeutic, but it is.

About half of our daylilies are in bloom right now. The daylilies in our yard are all from my mom's garden - she raised them and hybridized several new varieties, as did her father. My grandfather, Charles Blakely, was well-known in daylily circles back in the sixties and seventies; several of his hybrids won awards. We have his Green Wonder in our yard - it was all the rage about 30 years ago. My mom's garden was really amazing for about two months every year; it's gone now, as is the house I grew up in. We don't have nearly as many daylilies in our little yard as she did, but I'm glad we have the ones we do - it's a connection to her that I'm grateful for. I think about my mom every day; she is even more on my mind when the daylilies are in bloom.

Daylilies don't last long. Each flower lasts only a day. All the blossoms on a plant obviously don't come out at the same time, but each plant is in bloom only for a short period. Different varieties bloom at different times; the earliest blooms come out in May, the late bloomers don't show up until July. By late July, all the flowers are gone. They're only here for a short time, and they remind me that we only have a little time here as well. Thanks for the daylilies, Mom.


robo said...

Makes me smile.

Cheryl said...

Hi Jeff,
This is Cheryl Blakely, I'm Grant's wife. I have dug up a lot of the daylilies from Charles and Berniece's House and now trying to identify the daylilies that are coming up. I was wondering if you would send me pictures and names of the daylilies you have. I would appreciate any help you could give me. my email address is

Thanks Cheryl