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MP3 Ramshackle Day Parade - Ramshackle Day Parade

Folk-rock, World Music

11 MP3 Songs in this album (73:26) !
Related styles: FOLK: Progressive Folk, WORLD: Native American

People who are interested in Van Morrison The Waterboys should consider this download.

A FEW WORMS...em...WORDS...from Steve

Nacogdoches is a long ways away, a dreamplace of my imagination.
Nacogdoches is yellow, hot and hums dustily!
My friend Tim lives here.

Ten years ago or was it more?
a familiar Stranger bid me play on his record.
There is an implied intimacy and trust with the sharing of music, as
lovers share dreams.
Tunes and songs in this infancy begin growing,
and nurtured in the musicians hand, they can become sturdy musical trees.
I listened to Tim''s searing soulful voice, crying about a land of his imagination.
For several months the tracks zoomed back and forth between us by post.
Fiddles, strings, whistles, bodhrans and mandolins flew.
We recorded as if the vast Atlantic ocean and continents were the
figments of our fertile imagination.

We are at it again, ten years later.
Much has changed on both sides of the Atlantic and Tim and I are
still sharing music,
and again the Atlantic and the continents are figments of our fertile imagination.

This time, these pieces have come together
like the fragments of a broken dream reassembling itself whole again.
This time it is not only Tim and I, for gathered here are more

-- Steve Wickham

by Tim

The Ramshackle Day Parade CD was conceived by accident.
I had been exchanging mp3s with my friend, Mike Scott, who was in the
midst of a Waterboys tour in Europe. As Mike himself said, the stream became a flood,
and what began with us trading old Springsteen tracks ended with
Mike playing internet deejay. He enlightened me with everything
from Fine Friday‘s “Beacher Lass of Kelvinhaugh” to Harry Belafonte‘s
“My Lord What A Morning” to “Song For Suzie” by Heads Hands and Feet.
(If I wasn’t forever in his debt for “This Is The Sea,“ then I am now for this!)
Then Mike started sending some mash-ups that he’d made for his own entertainment.

It was exciting, stimulating, this high-tech, long-distance version of trading records
and turning friends on to new sounds.
Something in my head clicked.
What if I could use this sound file technology and emails to collaborate on a
project? Could I channel this same excitement, this same energy into
creating something new?

I approached several musician friends with the idea, and, to my surprise, all
expressed interest. Steve Wickham, on tour with Mike, of course, was the
first to hear from me. “I will be at home for a few weeks and I will put a few
pieces down for you,” he said. “It sounds like a novel idea.”

The first track completed was the first track on the CD, “Willie McCool.”
With that, I knew we were on to something.

I told Steve, when I first approached him about this project, that he was the
first person on my list. Truth is, at that point, he was the only person on my
list. If Steve had said no, I’m not sure if it would have ever got any further.

He ended up recording a few of his tracks in a Spanish hotel, late at night,
after a Waterboys show. One of those tracks was used. They were thick with
mystery and sadness, and I fell in love with them. I am so pleased that
Steve’s “Caoineadh” made the CD. That piece of music means more to me
than I can put into words.

I’ve always been fascinated with Native American history, culture and music,
having a fair amount of Cherokee blood in me. I learned of Strong Buffalo
through Mike Scott. Buffalo, a Dakota Indian, and I struck up a very quick
and easy friendship. He gave me an Indian name, Iron Horse. He also gave
me some great words to put music to. The man is a gentle force of nature.
(Check out the great work he does, along with Asmund Gylder, for the peace
project One People.) It’s good to know that there are people like him in the
world, balancing out the shysters and tricksters.

What can I say? Joe Kingman, of We Free Kings fame, is the secret weapon
on this CD. The musical glue that makes all of these disparate things stick.
He comes at everything from left field, hits you from the blind side,
and makes you see-- and hear-- even the most mundane things in
whole new ways. He gave without ceasing and without conditions.
And he gave enough music to power the next two or three
Ramshackle Day Parade CDs.

Dave is on one track of the CD, but, in many ways, he is the heart and soul
of the bunch. I knew that Dave would come through because Dave does that.
He is family to me. A brother. The only one of the group that I’ve played on
the same stage with, drank the sun up in New Orleans with, and
lived to tell the tale. He and his wonderful wife Erin are Godparents to
my girl, Molly. It is a great pleasure to play with Dave again.

Doc can eat me for breakfast when it comes to playing the piano. A musical
monster but a selfless and beautiful human being. A true New Orleans piano
player from Trondheim, Norway. I’d give up my space on the piano bench for
him any day.

The band never got together. Didn''t hang out and jam. No one was ever
late for practice. No one ever got in the way. The music came together.
That''s what counts. Yeah, we might be an imaginary band.
But some real music-- and some really fine music-- is coming out of it.
That''s more than you can say for a lot of the "real" bands I''ve been in.

More to come.


First song on the CD, first song we recorded. I was interested in writing a group of songs about the Space Shuttle Columbia, which exploded and fell over Nacogdoches. For a good while, we were the center of the world’s attention., for all the wrong reasons. The whole thing was surreal: the lines of shiny black cars snaking into town from the north and south, the jets endlessly circling overhead, the satellite trucks lining the brick streets downtown.
Everybody had a story to tell. Pieces fell in our backyards, through our roofs, into the lake where my dad was fishing. Many will probably never be found.
I took a reel that Steve had written during the Book of Lightning recording, called “Notting Hill Reel,” and incorporated it. This song was inspired by a quote from space shuttle pilot William Cameron "Willie" McCool: “From our orbital vantage point, we observe an earth without borders, full of peace, beauty and magnificence, and we pray that humanity as a whole can imagine a borderless world as we see it and strive to live as one in peace.”

The second in a trilogy of songs about the Columbia disaster. This one, like fate, connects the heroes of the flight with a strange land that I call home. It’s a land that belonged to the Indians. Through the land, we are all connected. Dust to dust. All that separates us is time.
I brought Tom “Strong Buffalo” LaBlanc in on this one, with a cry recognizable by all humankind. This is a cry of sadness but also one of strength and nobility. Hopefully, like the song itself.

A spaghetti western, starring everyone’s favorite member of the Dakota Nation, Strong Buffalo. Like a voice from the burning bush, Buffalo stops us in our tracks, tells it like it is. “You want it all….right?” No sir, Mr. Buffalo, I’ve changed my mind. Strong Buffalo is in the business of changing minds. Even more, he’s in the business of changing hearts. He is a teacher. Let this song be a lesson to you.

The music is by Joe. The words come from a piece of writing I did for an art exhibit at the local university. It was never meant to be a lyric, never wanted to be a song. Maybe that''s why it works so well.
Dedicated to the people of my second home, New Orleans. When you can''t find the words within you, sometimes it is best to look to the words of others. The vocal is a true first take. And, might I add, one of my all-time favorites.

Dave Sharp is one of the most overlooked guitarists of his generation. This track puts him front and center. Actually, it puts him on the tube, riding into Manchester station. I had spoken with him via cell phone just days before recording this track and Dave was on his way into London for a gig. I could clearly hear the clickety-clack of the wheels along the track and used it for inspiration. Dave plays a Gretsch ProJet through a Marshall blues breaker and I play everything else. Except for the station agent. He unknowingly played himself…(and isn’t that how we all do it?)

A space gospel song. Slyly patterned after Dylan’s Knocking On Heaven’s Door. An examination of mortality, a questioning of life and non-life. I think only someone who is from East Texas, who was here during the days after the Columbia disaster, could have written this. The third in the trilogy.

Joe, Steve and me are all on this one. It was almost titled "The Second Coming Of What''s His Name." Before that, it was "This Ain''t Teardrop Texas," because the computer we were working on had some weird kind of glitch and kept trying to name it "Teardrop Texas." It was a grand experiment, created from scratch, out of a single loop. What it became surprised everyone, I think. Maybe the purest piece of music on the CD. This wasn''t written; it was discovered.

Strong Buffalo sent me the spoken word track and I created a song around it. A beautiful testament to the love he has for his children; his youngest daughter, in particular. As different as we might be in some ways, Buffalo and I could automatically relate to each other through being fathers. I connected with this track on an emotional level. Later, I took a snippet of a song he''d sent me, a piece he called "Cha-Ya," and added it to the end. He sounds as if he just about to burst into song toward the end of "So What." When he does, at the end of this one, it resonates beautifully.

This was composed by Steve Wickham. A stunningly moving piece. Steve recorded this in a Spanish motel room, while on tour with The Waterboys, and sent it straight to me. I loved it right away. I think Steve didn''t quite know what to make of it, when he heard it back. Joe certainly performed some of his trickery on it. In the end, as Steve put it best, it was what it was. He told us to run with it.
At the beginning of this project, when only Steve had signed on, I told him I was interested in writing songs backwards. Taking pieces that he gave me and building around them. Although we never truly abandoned that idea, this remains one of the purest examples of what I was originally intending to do.

This was an entirely different song, called "To Never Come Down." I never got a good grasp on it, though, so I stripped it down and started over. After slaving over the original idea for two or three weeks, I wrote the new text in about twenty minutes. That''s the way it goes.
Any song that name drops Flannery O''Connor, Albert Camus and Jesse James has my interest to begin with. This one is an allegory, a train ride of the spirit, a continuation of the journey begun at the end of "Space Shuttle Debris." It brings the two strands of the CD together. Looks death in the face and doesn''t blink. You can''t do that in real life. That''s why people write songs.

Puts Strong Buffalo, Doc Bekken and me in the middle of a sultry New Orleans evening, playing our hearts out to an unconcerned audience. Buffalo considers New Orleans to be a spiritual home, same as me. Another way we connect. I like the way we sing around each other on this until, finally, at the end, we seem to be finishing each other''s thoughts. That''s the way music works, when it really works right. That''s the way this CD project worked.
We''re all dropped off out here in this strange land, and we spend our lives trying to make our way home. If we don''t give up, we find it. You know the old saying, "you can''t go home again?" I''m not sure there''s any truth at all there. More likely, as far as I can tell, you can''t not go home.

There were a bunch of great ideas, half-formed songs, and even complete tracks that could have made it on to this project. Those include, but are not limited to the following:

One or more will likely make an appearance in the not-so-distant future. That is, if we can quit writing new songs.

More Later.

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