Friday, April 22, 2011

VINYL-PALOOZA #7: Music For Tree-Huggers

If you like trees - I mean, if you really like trees - well, today's your lucky day: here's an entire album's worth of songs about our leafy, barky buddies, courtesy of the US Dept. of Agriculture. Your tax dollars at work! Released in connection with the Bicentennial in 1976 (not sure what the connection is there, but, oh well) folkie Ray Schmitt and the Free State String Band play original, painfully earnest songs with lines like "Have you ever seen a tree cry? Well I did/Have you ever heard it sigh? well, I did." Beavis and Butthead's hippie teacher Mr. Van Dreesen probably has this album. On 8 track.

Just as I was starting to zone out from all the mellow vibes, along comes the song "Just A Tree," a kind of funky jazz rap song about all the things we make out of trees, with multiple vocalists, including children. Cool! And "Imagine," (not the John Lennon song) is really cool - a psychedelic jazz trip-out, with Yma Sumac-ish soaring female vocals. Imagine...Alice Coltrane making
public service announcements. I guess they ran out of ideas for more tree songs because the last two tracks are wild bluegrass instrumental jamz, played so fast I thought I had the turntable on the wrong speed. Can't blame 'em for the filler tho - I mean, how many songs about trees can one write?

 Ray Schmitt and the Free State String Band "A Forest Is..."

Schmitt is still around, mostly making documentary films, but he has a few CDs for sale as well on his site. Since we just had Earth Day, and Arbor Day is coming up (hey, remember Arbor Day?) if there was ever a time to listen to an album like this, this would be it.

Thanks again, windbag!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks amazing
but what file type is it?

Mr Fab said...

Not an 8 track! Nope, just a bunch of mp3s recorded off vinyl

Anonymous said...

Actually, I can think of a connection with 1976 and trees. February 1975 to Feb 1976 was the Chinese/Asian year of the Wood Rabbit. In this cosmology, Wood is the natural spiritual zone of the hare/rabbit.

NathanG