Saturday, March 21, 2015

Folk Songs for Solar Sailors, by Leslie Fish and the Dehorn Crew

I hate doing taxes, and so I don't. Eventually, though, that bites me on the keester, like last summer when the IRS got tired of me, and took a ferocious bite out my paycheck for four months. I couldn't complain, really, I did it to myself.
So, with another tax deadline approaching, and my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant foxy praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, was getting progressively more antsy. She didn't get ugly about it, mind you; it's just that she doesn't have the ability to ignore things the way I do. So, to please her, I decided it was time to get the job done. Our church is built around the small group ministry, and at our last home group meeting, I asked the group to expect me to file at least one of the three years I was ignoring. So, I waited until the last day, and went for it. I downloaded the software from TaxACT ( a great package, if you do your own) and sat down to sort through three years of un-opened mail from the IRS.
But I needed something to help me along.
Leslie Fish.
It's the sheer beauty of her burn-it-to-the-ground attitude that called to me. The juxtaposition of the Lady Fish and the IRS has its' own dynamic tension; it's like eating a deep-fried tuna salad sandwich with raspberry preserves. And it got me through the initial rough spots, I was in the groove, and I finished 2012, 2013, and 2014. Took me about six solid hours.
And in the background, I got to listen to the smooth harmonies, and the lead singing of the Lady Fish, alternating with Mary Frohmann, and the haunting flute melodies.
I suppose my favorite song (at the moment) is Wobblies From Space. The liner note says it's a tribute to Joe Vlad, the oldest member of the Industrial Workers of the World. In the song, he organizes the crew of an un-specified spacecraft (probably the Enterprise) with humor and enthusiasm. I was fortunate to be raised in a union home, and hearing the old man telling of organizing the cows and leading them out on strike reminds me of a particular meal in Miami, listening to my dad discuss negotiating strategy with his old buddy Jimmy.
I was pleasantly surprised to find one particular song included. Yes, it's THAT song, the one that can get you stoned (I'm told) if you request it at a filk singing. I've also heard that the Lady herself refuses to include it in any of her song sets, and on the one occasion I mentioned it to her, her immediate response was GRRR! and I was glad there was about 2500 miles of country separating her fingers from my throat. Yes, I'm talking about BANNED FROM ARGO, that delightful banjo rendition celebrating a particular shore leave by the Enterprise where things got a bit active.
I suppose, since this is allegedly a review of the CD, that I should mention that the songs were released way back in the day when music came on flat vinyl, and you played them by jabbing the disk with a sharp object and rotating it. In 1976, the first 11 songs came out in the album "Folk Songs for Folks Who Ain't Even Been Yet," and the next year, the remaining eleven came out on "Solar Sailors." I can't resist the next pun, and I'm truly sorry for it: this was a labor-intensive production. All of the musicians and production crew are members of the union, and proud of it.
Flipping through: there's a love song here written by Leslie Fish. It's the perspective of Nurse Chapel, who has had cow eyes for Spock since the beginning. There's a song about a spaceship propelled by beer. And there is The Engineer's Hymn, rendered in a distinctly Scottish accent.
Okay, it's getting late, and we are baby-sitting, so there are three or four other kiddos running through the house, and my back hurts from sitting in this chair all day. I'm going to go tend to the pain, and assist Vanessa in entertaining our guests. If you have the opportunity to do so, make a $50 contribution to Leslie's endangered species planting, and she'll send you an autographed copy of this CD (or another one, I suppose, if you prefer) and you'll be a part of her project. It's a worthwhile endeavor.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, if you think Folk Songs for Solar Sailors is good do-your-taxes music, you must not have a copy of Lock and Load yet. Hie thee hence and buy!

    (Seriously hating “Banned From Argo” was mostly an ’80’s thing, from what the graybeards tell me—it was overplayed in filk circles badly enough back then (I get the impression we’re talking “Macarena” levels here) to cause a major backlash. It usually gets sung at least once at any given con these days, and no one actually minds—the groans are traditional. Leslie normally only sings it once a year though, at WorldCon, and she will be unhappy with you if request it.)