A Wheelchair that Can Climb Stairs and Season of the Witch

This morning, I caught Stephen Colbert in a wheel chair that can climb stairs.  It was so awesome.  My dearly loved Uncle B. had crutches and then a kind of motorized scooter do-hickey.  But he was a history teacher and he’d drag anyone who’d be dragged out to battlefields or down obscure roads or out along paths as far as he could get.

How awesome would it have been if he could have gotten farther?  Down rocky paths, right along shallow creek beds, if he could have cast his eyes on the things he’d only heard about?

Shoot, we’d have all pitched in and gotten him a tiny one-man tank if we’d thought of it.   

I don’t know why I was thinking about him today.

Probably that’s where we first got this idea of an afterlife, don’t you think?  The way that someone’s absence can well up out of nowhere to catch you up short.  You hurt like you did days after his death.  Shoot, if grief is that powerful, can stay that fresh, it seems so likely that some part of him must also carry on, doing whatever it is he does, caught up short in grief himself, waiting for us to come to him.

I finally found a cool version for free of “Season of the Witch.”  It’s by Brian Auger and the Trinity.  Julie Driscoll is the singer, I think.  It’s nice.  It’s got a fun organ-heavy arrangement, drums with just the right light pop, and a guitar doing a nice rhythm line.  Something about the whole thing makes you think it’s going to break out into a really grand version of Innagadadavida.  But the real treat is at the very end when everything winds down, the drummer takes a last few slow swats, and the guitarist wraps it it up with a bluesy progression of three notes that resolves into a kind of pleasant chord.

It’s so nice, it makes you wonder if “Season of the Witch” isn’t secretly a blues song.  In a traditional blues song, you’ve got a line that repeats itself, sometimes with slight variation, and a third line that resolves the tension of the first two, in some way.

Here you have a line and then a big variation on that line in the second line and then a third line which is the same at the end of every verse.

I don’t know.  The arrangements I’ve heard of it are all so trippy and I’m no musicologist.

But it’s definitely a song haunted by the blues, that’s for sure.

5 thoughts on “A Wheelchair that Can Climb Stairs and Season of the Witch

  1. OK, I’m waaaay off-topic here (well, it is about music, sort of, partly) but I heard today that Ellen Willis died last night. I’m very sad.

  2. I think that’s right on topic. Music and being sad about the folks who’ve gone on. That’s the whole point of my post.

  3. I still grieve for my brother-in-law who died four years ago from cancer at a young 43. I agree that is seems so odd how you can go for weeks without thinking of someone you’ve lost, but when you do think about them again, the loss is still fresh.

  4. Yah, true. Ya know, when I was in high school, I used to write long letters to her, responding to some of her music articles. Then I didn’t send them, figuring that she wouldn’t want to be bothered. Now I just shake my head over that — I’m sure she would have been delighted to know that she was inspiring girls to write about music (though I doubt she would have responded to me at much length). Girls need models.There’s a nice obit for her in the NY Times. I’m not sure whether it’s behind their firewall or not.

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