Music from The Swamp – the ‘Richard Shindell’ edition

Richard Shindell is one of my all-time favourite folk singers.[1] He hails from the United States but has been living in Argentina for many years. The very first song I ever heard Shindell sing was Cold Missouri Waters originally written by James Keelaghan. He partnered with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky[2] forming Cry Cry Cry and they covered mostly each other’s songs. This song compeletly blew me away the first time I heard it over 10 years ago.

It was very difficult to find Shindell’s music in the early part of 2000. Record stores didn’t carry him and the ease of music purchasing online was still in its infancy. Music sharing sites like Napster didn’t have any of his music then. I can remember ordering the original Cry Cry Cry cd from my local record store then. The first cd I was able to purchase was The Courier. This is a live cd and really cemented my love affair with Shindell’s music. There are several standouts for me on this album.


This is one of two songs about the US Civil War on Courier. Shindell really shines when he tells stories. This song is about a young kid who joined the Confederate army. I couldn’t find the album version. Here is a different live version.


This song is about an American immigration agent trying to get information about the ‘campesionos’ from one of their own. He does this by threating his wife. In the song he weaves a very interesting story while the tension continues to build in the song. I couldn’t find the Courier edition of this song either.


In Transit, Shindell tells the story of a nun who leads a choir at a prison. The story is about the difficulties she encounters getting there. This song, like many of his songs, is quietly political; offering commentary about the issues of the day. Interestingly, he will change some of the lyrics when he performs it live. Unfortunately this is not a great recording.

A Summer Wind a Cotton Dress

Another story, this time about a relationship that cannot be consummated because both people are married.

Are you Happy Now?

Are you Happy Now is seriously the best break up song ever!

All of Richard Shindell’s music is available on iTunes.

[1] This will be the first of several posts covering Shindell’s music by album.

[2] Lucy Kaplansky often toured with Shindell providing back up vocals.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘coming up for air’ edition

  • The month of January has literally flown by for me. Usually I hate January because it seems to drag on forever. This January has been one of the best in recent memory. The first week sucked but a lot of that was my annoyance that the Christmas break was over and I really had to go back to work. Once I got passed that it was all ok.
  • As I have mentioned, I hired a research company to find my biological parents. At the beginning of the third week of January, she had located my biological father. I had almost forgot this was going on until I got an email from her with the information. We subsequently met a couple of days later. It was interesting because when I thought about my biological family, I really focused on my mother. I never thought about him. I was quite conflicted about the meeting with him. Although it went well in the sense that he did not reject me, I found the evening frustrating, as I could not get any real information. I will definitely see him again as I really would like to get to know him a bit. I also feel like he took advantage of my biological mother in that he was almost 10 years older than her. When I pointed that out she said she didn’t realize that he was that much older. Plus I get the sense that he drinks a lot[1] and it has really affected his mind. I really want to meet my half-brothers as I feel they may be able to give me more insight.
  • This week I was able to make contact with my biological mother! We talked on Tuesday and met on Wednesday. I was so stressed out when I was meeting my biological father; I was quite relaxed meeting my mother. We are quite alike in a number of ways. I really went from feeling like an alien[2] to seeing myself reflected in someone else. She clearly suffered for being forced to give me up for adoption.[3] I, of course, want to jump in spend as much time with her as possible but she is not there yet. So I am backing off and giving her time.[4] She said she has a lot of things coming up in the next couple of weeks that will make her too busy to spend time together. I think she also needs some serious time to process this reunion. She has never told anyone that she had a baby she gave up for adoption. She has told me she will tell people in her life. I am confident that we will have a great relationship once she has some time.
  • Deb, Angelina and the dogs are my rock. I have a safe place to come home to where I am loved and accepted no matter what. This is something my biological mother never had. I really want her to come here and share what we have.
  • I have been feeling so much better since I began to incorporate music into every day. Music really is the thing that keeps me sane, balanced and in harmony with the world. Lately I have been enjoying David Francey,  Richard Shindell, the Decemberists, Paul Simon, and Cara Luft. I am hoping to go to a house concert Cara is putting on in Maple Ridge.
  • Talking about dogs – Zoe is so happy in the morning. She runs like a puppy and if she can find a toy she is over-joyed. She goes out to pee, comes in for her treat[5]. I got some great pictures of her with my new iPhone 4S:
Zoe - looking like a puppy!
Zoe waiting not so patiently for my breakfast!

[1] He might have given it away by the 2 vodkas on the rocks he drank while we were at the freaking White Spot!

[2] I have several idiosyncrasies like not being able to stand the feeling of dirt on my hands and so does she!

[3] Her mother forced her to give me up as they would not have supported her in keeping me in anyway.

[4] Anyone who knows me will realize how difficult this is. I am not known for patience and waiting when it comes to something I want. I think this may be maturity showing.

[5] The only reason she will go outside and get her feet wet is for that little chunk of pupperoni!