Snow!

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Snow began to fall last night around 7:30 or so.  It looked so gorgeous and was such a rare treat for us.  Graham was able to see the snow falling before he went to sleep and then wake up to see the ground covered in snow’s white blanket.  It is such a breathtaking sight!  We bundled up this morning and went out to play.  Surae got to wear Graham’s old bear snow suit which looked absolutely adorable on her.  My mom actually got that for Graham before he was born.  Graham and I had a snow fight in the yard, attempted to make a snow man, and then took Surae on a wagon ride around the park.  We stayed out until it we were too wet and Surae’s cheeks felt a bit too cold and then came in for some hot chocolate.  This is what winter is all about! 

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The Giraffes Arrive

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There has been talk of the giraffes arriving at the Greenville Zoo for quite some time.  Well, they are finally here and so worth the wait.  They are truly amazing creatures.  They also redid the lion exhibit and it is much improved.  This was Surae’s second trip to the zoo and she enjoyed herself thoroughly.  Graham showed her around and even was brave enough to feed the goats.

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Michael’s Top 10 Records of 2007

 
Joe Henry – Civilians:  A masterpiece from a musician who has several astounding ones already.  Intimate, burnished, chamber folk-jazz made with a huge cinematic scope.  It’s the slowburning record of the decade.  Bill Frisell on guitar, Van Dyke Parks on piano, Joe Henry writing majestic poetry and using his trademark production that makes a small, intimate set-up sound like the largest soundstage you’ve been inside.  Thoughtful, personal, brilliant.
Robert Wyatt – Comicopera:  Perhaps the only 60’s relic who’s still producing records as good as his old stuff?  Which says an awful lot here with the legacy involved…  A three movement concept record with topics ranging from war and religious hypocrisy to communism and Che Guevara.  Sung in English, Italian and Spanish, it’s the rare record (nowadays) that demands that you release all expectations of content, both lyrically and musically.  At times really a jazz record, even when played with traditionally un-jazz instruments, and sung with Wyatt’s traditionally intimate, other worldly vocals.  A second masterpiece for the year.
Tinariwen – Water is Life: Further proof that the new prog movement is in West Africa.  Hyponotic re-constructed Danelectro blues by a nomadic group of desert musicians.  It’s refreshing to hear guitars played in completely new ways; indeed the group began 25 years ago when members stumbled upon a room with dilapidated old electric guitars, and began to completely learn in isolation with no one to influence or copy.  Banned by the government for years, these protester/soldier/rebels have only just now started to be able to record songs that have been developed for decades.  Mojo Magazine’s 2007 Best “World” CD.  (God, what a stupid term…)
Dungen – Tio Bitar:  Schizophrenic Swedish psychedelia wearing all sorts of influences on it’s sleeve: Tull, The Who, Donovon, Hendrix, Can, Gong, Coltrane, etc.  Gorgeous analog production recorded all on tape, and it makes you realize you forgot how bad digital sounds. 

Grant Lee Philips – Strangelet:  Another dreamy, floating trip with Philips’ hypnotic vocals, beautiful poetry, and meticulous orchestral arrangements.  The best voice in rock today produces his finest solo album that rewards more and more with repeated listens.

Chuck Prophet – Soap and Water:  Another great record from Chuck that just keeps on growing on you, with Chuck’s usual flair for mixing R&B,  roots rock, old and modern, with minimalist arrangements.  One minute you think you hear Television, the next you hear Lou Reed, then Zappa, then…

Richard Thompson – Sweet Warrior:  A great return to form with Thompson’s usual intelligent, mature,  metaphorical lyrics, mind bending guitar work, and very live sounding band arrangements.  Can’t wait to hear these live!

Corey Harris – Zion Crossroads:  One of a small handful of journeyman dedicated to traveliing to musical headwaters (Africa and delta America) and preserving and restoring it’s original art forms, Harris here records a fantastic roots reggae album with a tight band that he’s toured for some time with now. 
Iron and Wine – The Shepard’s Dog:  Acoustic psychedelia with a dense but delicate mix of wonderful analog instruments.
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black:  Ok, go ahead and laugh.  Were there many other, better records out in 2007?  Sure, but two things:  One, I liked it, Ok?  Two, let’s face it: the greatest thing that modern pop has aspired to for the last 20 years or so, with a small handful of exceptions, is to affectionately or accurately copy old music.  Is this new?  Certainly not.  But it is a fun “update” of some of my favorite music, and if this causes one kid to become curious enough to discover Phil Spector, The Ronettes, Billie Holiday, or the others she’s channeling, then it’s all good.

And my favorite reissues of the year:
Bonzo Dog Band – Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse
Pylon – Gyrate
Flying Burrito Brothers – Live at The Avalon Ballroom 1969
Roland Kirk with Jack McDuff – Kirk’s Work
Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow
Monk in Paris- Live at the Olympia

More Christmas Pictures

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Nana and Poppy came over this past weekend and we had Christmas all over again.  It was wonderful and Graham and Surae loved seeing them!  Surae is feeling much, much better, thank goodness!  She is barely coughing at all anymore.  She should be just about ready to start at the child development center on Monday where I am sure she will be exposed to a whole new slew of illnesses.  It may just be one long winter! 

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve and Happy New Year to you all!

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