At the River

Having spent two afternoons and evenings at the beach this week, I’m keenly aware of and appreciating the beauty of the living world — the sky, the land, the water and the air. Such magnificence all around us. (And sure, a little irony that my sweety and I drove out there twice, but I rationalize that by driving a car with a four-cylinder engine, and we walk and bike as much as we can to conserve non-renewable energy. Okay, enough justification… on with the post!)

“At the River” is a song I’ve heard a few times on BBC 6 Music, including at least once on Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour (episode of August 9, 2020 — a repeat of an earlier program sometime back when Garvey and family were living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada while his wife was working on the TV series spin-off, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco).

Wikipedia tells about how the English duo Groove Armada conceived the song: “A sample of Patti Page’s ‘Old Cape Cod’ forms the basis of the song: the lines ‘If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air/Quaint little villages here and there,’ sung in Page’s multi-tracked close-harmony, is repeated throughout the song, with the addition of synthesizer bass and slowed-down drum programming.” 

The trombone in the song makes me think of childhood beach memories for some reason; maybe it’s something to do with horn-playing musicians like Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and others that I grew up hearing, and how childhood time at the beach was magical (even though I never learned to swim!). Today, hearing the song brought back memories old and new of watching and listening to waves lapping the shore and examining and touching the many types and colours of stones that wash up on the beach.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. 

This is the audio for the song (not an official version):

Also, here’s a video of an extended, live performance from the official Groove Armada YouTube channel. I find it goes off and rambles a bit too long, not as tight and compact as the studio version, though it’s cool to see some of the performance. Please click on “thumbs-up” on the video if you appreciated the artist’s work.

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