A Child's Garden of Verses

 
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1 By Way of Introduction More Info / Lyrics / Download
2 To Alison Cunningham More Info / Lyrics / Download
3 Bed in Summer More Info / Lyrics / Download
4 Young Night Thought More Info / Lyrics / Download
5 Rain More Info / Lyrics / Download
6 My Shadow More Info / Lyrics / Download
7 Time to Rise More Info / Lyrics / Download
8 At the Seaside More Info / Lyrics / Download
9 Windy Nights More Info / Lyrics / Download
10 Pirate Story More Info / Lyrics / Download
11 Whole Duty of Children More Info / Lyrics / Download
12 Foreign Lands More Info / Lyrics / Download
13 System More Info / Lyrics / Download
14 A Good Play More Info / Lyrics / Download
15 The Land of Counterpane More Info / Lyrics / Download
16 A Good Boy More Info / Lyrics / Download
17 Looking Forward More Info / Lyrics / Download
18 The Swing More Info / Lyrics / Download
19 Good and Bad Children More Info / Lyrics / Download
20 Marching Song More Info / Lyrics / Download
21 Travel More Info / Lyrics / Download
22 Where Go the Boats? More Info / Lyrics / Download
23 Escape at Bedtime More Info / Lyrics / Download
24 From a Railway Carriage More Info / Lyrics / Download
25 The Wind More Info / Lyrics / Download
26 Auntie's Skirts More Info / Lyrics / Download
27 Happy Thought More Info / Lyrics / Download
28 The Cow More Info / Lyrics / Download
29 My Bed is a Boat More Info / Lyrics / Download
30 The Land of Nod More Info / Lyrics / Download
31 Fairy Bread More Info / Lyrics / Download
32 Keepsake Mill More Info / Lyrics / Download
33 Winter-Time More Info / Lyrics / Download
34 Looking-Glass River More Info / Lyrics / Download
35 The Sun's Travels More Info / Lyrics / Download
36 The Lamplighter More Info / Lyrics / Download
37 Foreign Children More Info / Lyrics / Download
38 The Moon More Info / Lyrics / Download
39 The Hayloft More Info / Lyrics / Download
40 Farewell to the Farm More Info / Lyrics / Download
41 A Thought More Info / Lyrics / Download
42 Singing More Info / Lyrics / Download
43 North-West Passage: Good-night More Info / Lyrics / Download
44 North-West Passage: Shadow March More Info / Lyrics / Download
45 North-West Passage: In Port More Info / Lyrics / Download
46 The Unseen Playmate More Info / Lyrics / Download
47 My Ship and I More Info / Lyrics / Download
48 My Kingdom More Info / Lyrics / Download
49 Picture Books in Winter More Info / Lyrics / Download
50 My Treasures More Info / Lyrics / Download
51 Block City More Info / Lyrics / Download
52 The Land of Story-Books More Info / Lyrics / Download
53 Armies in the Fire More Info / Lyrics / Download
54 The Little Land More Info / Lyrics / Download
55 Night and Day More Info / Lyrics / Download
56 Nest Eggs More Info / Lyrics / Download
57 The Flowers More Info / Lyrics / Download
58 Summer Sun More Info / Lyrics / Download
59 The Dumb Soldier More Info / Lyrics / Download
60 Autumn Fires More Info / Lyrics / Download
61 The Gardener More Info / Lyrics / Download
62 Historical Associations More Info / Lyrics / Download
63 To Willie and Henrietta More Info / Lyrics / Download
64 To My Mother More Info / Lyrics / Download
65 To Auntie More Info / Lyrics / Download
66 To Minnie More Info / Lyrics / Download
67 To My Name-Child More Info / Lyrics / Download
68 To Any Reader More Info / Lyrics / Download

Personnel:

Dan Easley - vocals, synthesizers, guitars, drums, accordion, theremin

Recording Notes:

Robert Louis Stevenson's collection of poetry, set to music.

For Mothers everywhere, especially my own.

Sure seems like a lot of my friends are having kids these days.  Often not longer after, their own parents die.  Funny how, after tens of thousands of years, we still haven't figured out how to process this.

I don't often enjoy the company of children.  I had a very good childhood - full of warmth and joy and the best one could expect - but I believe I spent much of it preoccupied with wanting to become an adult.  Now I tend toward the opposite direction.

I was very lucky in that my parents were loving and encouraging, that they could and did introduce me to much art and literature (including this book), and that I could spend a few years as a child in the country, riding a bicycle down gravel roads surrounded by pasture and hills.  My adult years have grown happier as I have returned to more pastoral settings. 


While not envisioned as a piece of music specifically for small children, I was cognizant of the possibility that they might want to listen to it.  This raised concerns over the general tone of the piece, as much of my solo output has been, at times (and not always intentionally), challenging, or even disconcerting.

Vocally I found new characters to inhabit, taking inspiration from the sprechstimme of John Prine, the lightness of Thom Yorke; sometimes casting myself as the illegitimate gay son of Mary Poppins and Bert the Chimney Sweep!

Also, whenever things felt a bit too heavy or creepy, I threw in a bassoon or an oboe.  Bassoons and oboes can get formidable only to a point, beyond which they take on qualities of the finer sorts of waterfowl.


For any Children who should read this:

The words are full of lovely things, but the man who wrote them is very wrong to speak about foreign people the way he sometimes does.  He uses names for non-European people which are now considered rude, and he insults their food and way of life.  Were he alive today, I suspect he would've been wiser, like you and me.


A Note on Formatting:

While this material will fit on two 80-minute CD's, I'd like to suggest distributing it across three. Tracks 1-45 encompass A Child's Garden of Verses proper, with a nice place to breathe between tracks 23 and 24. The Child Alone (tracks 46-54), Garden Days (tracks 55-62), and Envoys (tracks 63-68) fit nicely on a third disc. To whit:

  • Disc One: tracks 1-23 (44:01)
  • Disc Two: tracks 24-45 (44:28)
  • Disc Three: tracks 46-68 (61:37)

Equipment / Instruments Employed:

hardware: Desktop w/ Focusrite Saffire Pro40, Netbook w/ ART Dual USB, AT 3035 and SM58 microphones
software: (all free / open source) KXStudio on Ubuntu 12.04, Ardour 2.x, LinuxSampler, Hydrogen, IR, LV2 & LADSPA plugins by Steve Harris, Pere Rafols Soler, David Yeh, Tim Goetze, and Invada
samples/synthesizers: Sonatina Orchestra, random GIGs/SFZs, Aeolus
guitars: 1930's B&J parlour-size acoustic, 1950's Kaykraft archtop acoustic, 1995 Korean Ibanez GR520OS electric, Peavey T-20 electric bass
accordion: Todeschini 100-button piano model
percussion: cheap snare and tambourine  
electronica: PAIA 9505 Theremin