Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In like a lion.

Well, say goodbye to Runtmonth -- oh what a month she was.

Say hello, or perhaps aye, to the month that is the end of Winter and the beginning of new life, new horizons, and such wonderful, wonderful green...


Month # 3. 

Most importantly -- the Irish Month.

Oh, bless me soul, the amount, the depth of SPOOKY we owe our dear Ireland.

We'd have precious little Hallowe'en but for the Irish. And precious fewer public houses.

If not for Ireland, then, there'd certainly be no Skull & Pumpkin (and very likely no Humble Pubkeep for that matter).

And... we'd have no Elphaba.

That's right, the Wicked Witch is (at least partially) Irish. It's in the book. Deal with it.


As ever, a changed month means changed music on our li'l ol' S&P jukebox to the right.

We always begin with the official S&P theme song, The Great Pumpkin Waltz, but the second slot is usually a position of fun. In that vein, I offer a song that for me signifies something very early Spring, something very March-like.

From the now-classic 1977 animated TV movie The Hobbit, comes a lovely instrumental version of the memorable Roads Go Ever, Ever On, composed by Maury Laws. The soundtrack to this film has long been a family favorite and this song, for me, is such an integral element of the very idea of Spring.

In fact, all of Tolkien's incredible works are, in my mind and heart, wrapped up in Spring, renewal, family, music, celebration... all the things that make life so worthwhile. So sticking with this notion for one more song, I thought a bit of Howard Shore's breathtaking score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) would be perfect. Concerning Hobbits is my favorite motif of the entire trilogy's worth of them. That pennywhistle...

Then, we have piece that I had on the player last March. Near Northern is the closing piece on the 1986 Live at Montreaux album from my favorite "new grass" group, the Anger-Higbie Quintet. You hear them a lot here at the S&P -- they write a lot of Autumn into their music.

And then, considering Ireland's many gifts of ghostliness to our culture, I thought I'd add a haunting little piece from 2001. From the piano of William Allaudin Mathieu and the inimitable pipes of Bobby McFerrin comes an improvisation called To The Well. One feels a sense of drawing, of quickening, in the repeated phrases and reel-like passages that fill this almost alien beauty.

Finally, a piece of real, honest-to-goodness Irish reel from a group called The Bothy Bandy, titled The Green Groves of Erin. It's exactly what you want to hear. Go on, no one will be bothered if you play this one first. I just thought it would live best next to last month's British Isle beauties John Barleycorn and The Unquiet Grave, which shall, of course, remain for yet another month -- they are just as appropriate now as ever.


March, you make me happy to have lived through a dark, deep Winter without ruining myself. 

You help me dream again, and dream new dreams.

And like the hobbitish songs above suggest, life is often full of new dreams, new opportunities, choices to pick a new road, to maybe see an old road as something new, and to know that for the journey undertaken, coming home again will always be the sweeter...

... and if sweet homecomings ain't Irish, I simply don't know what is.

Oh, wait -- that's right:

O' ZOM-beeee!


  1. Amazing post....got me thinking in so many directions. Thanks for the inspiration.

    And I love The Bothy Bandy - thanks for reminding me about them.....now where is my iPod? :)