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Posts Tagged ‘eden ahbez’

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I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightning, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.

–eden ahbez

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The painting shown above is a new piece, a smallish 6″ by 12″ canvas, that will be going to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for my Gallery Talk there. Its title is And the Sky Cracked and is part of a small recent series that features my interpretations of lightning strikes. How accurate they are in a realistic or scientific way, I can’t say. That doesn’t really hold much sway for me, at least not as much as capturing how the lightning feels to me.

Lightning is an amazing thing, a natural wonder that inspires awe and fear like it was some sort of god. No wonder so many religions give their main gods the power to wield lightning. It can destroy yet can also illuminate, bringing clarity to a course of action. Being struck by lightning is how we often describe moments of the revelation of great truths, of moments of self-discovery that alter the lives of those who experience these moments.

Like the finger of a god pointing the way and giving light to the path forward.

Powerful stuff.

Walking through my woods I often see the traces of past lightning strikes etched in the bark of the trees. Some have splits that run from their tops all the way to the way to the ground, blackened by the heat of the electricity that surged through them. In the case of some recent strikes, the ground at the base of the tree is burnt where the cracked bark of the trunk runs into the soil.

We had one strike several years back that was like a multitude of shotgun blasts going off outside our door, so close there was not thunder to give us warning. The next morning I saw that an old, large white pine down our driveway had been hit by the lightning. A deep crack ran down one of its thick upper branches down into the main trunk.

About forty feet away I noticed a chunk of pine the size of a large brick laying in the grass. Looking back at the trunk I immediately saw the spot where it had been blown away from the tree, no doubt the boiling sap of the pine finding a weak spot there in which to explode.

About a year later, that large branch, the size of a mature tree in itself, came down in another storm. The power to destroy.

Here is another in this lightning series that will also be with me on Saturday. It is called Real Power and is an 18″ by 18″ canvas.

The quote at the top is from eden ahbez, perhaps one of the earliest hippies back in the 1940’s and the man who wrote the song Nature Boy, most famously recorded by Nat King Cole. I wrote about ahbez here back in 2009 and Nature Boy remains a favorite of mine. Below is the Nat King Cole version.

Hope you can make it to the Gallery Talk at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria on Saturday. It starts at 1 PM and there is at least one painting to be given away along with some other goodies. Oh, and some good conversation. See you there!

 

 

 

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It was about this time last year that I ran a post with a couple of different versions of the song, Nature Boy, the wonderful song first sung by the incomparable Nat King Cole. Maybe it is the time in which we live, with an administration that seems hellbent on decimating all conservation efforts and environmental protections, but I really felt a need to hear the original again this morning. I thought it might be a good opportunity to repost the story of the interesting man who wrote the song. 

eden ahbez with cowboy jack pattonSometimes when you look behind something that’s been in front of you for years you find out things you would have never imagined otherwise. Such is the case with the song, Nature Boy.

Nature Boy, as recorded by the great Nat King Cole, has long been one of  my favorite songs. It has a wonderful haunting melody and tells the story of a “strange enchanted boy” and his search to find love. It always has had a sort of mystical feel to me, a real oddity in the world of popular music in 1948 when Nat King Cole recorded and had a huge hit with it, staying at #1 on the charts for eight weeks.

I was going to just have a short post and put up a YouTube video of Cole’s version but in doing so I saw the name of the songwriter, eden ahbez, and was intrigued, perhaps by the lack of capitalization in his name. Doing a little research I came across some photos of him such as the one above, from the late 40’s sitting with Cowboy Jack Patton (who wrote the song Ghost Riders in the Sky) and a spaniel of some sort. I’ll let you figure out who is who in the photo.  ahbez’s long hair and attire seemed really out of place for me in thinking of 1948 so I read on.

eden ahbezeden ahbez was a real one of a kind character in the world of music and in general. You could probably guess that from the name which he adopted and wrote only in lower case letters. Born in 1908, he is regarded as the first hippie by many, a long-haired and bearded wanderer who crisscrossed the country on foot, wearing robes and sandals, maintained a vegetarian lifestyle and slept out under the stars. In fact, when Nature Boy hit the charts he and his wife were living under the first L on the Hollywood sign, which stoked a bit of a media frenzy around ahbez. He worked in and frequented a vegetarian restaurant (that’s where he met Cowboy Jack Patton, another interesting character) in 1940’s Los Angeles whose German owners preached the gospel of natural and raw foods. Their followers became known as the Nature Boys.

Not really what I was expecting from a pop songwriter in 1940’s LA. ahbez died in 1995 from injuries sustained in an auto accident. He was 87. His was a truly unique life, just waiting for a biographer to tell the story, and reading the little I discovered makes me find the song even more interesting. Hope you’ll do the same now that you know a bit more about eden ahbez

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GC Myers- Signals 2006It’s Sunday morning and I want to play one of my all-time favorite songs, Nature Boy.  It’s an extraordinary song from an unusual character by the name of eden ahbez, who I have written about before here on the blog, who wrote the song specifically for Nat King Cole.  The story of ahbez and how the song came into the hands of Nat King Cole is really interesting but the result was a glorious rendition of the song by Cole that remained locked on the charts at #1 for eight weeks in 1948.

Spare and elegant, it is an absolutely gorgeous song which I think is evidenced by the many, many fine versions of it through the years by a wide range of artists.  I thought for today I would stray from the Nat King Cole performance, as perfect as it is, to focus on versions by two other giants of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis.  The first video is a wonderful piece of animation from artist Ros Lukman that has the inimitable Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by guitarist Joe Pass.  Just a great version as is Miles Davis’ interpretation  which is immediately below it.

Relax and give a listen. Have a good Sunday…


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I was looking for something else and came across this post from back in 2009 about one of my favorite songs and the unusual man who wrote it.  I thought it deserved a replay.  Plus I just felt like hearing “Nature Boy”this morning.  Here’s how it goes:

eden-ahbez-with-cowboy-jack-pattonSometimes when you look a little more behind something that’s been in front of you for years you find out things you might have never imagined otherwise.  Such is the case with the song, Nature Boy.

Nature Boy, as recorded by the great Nat King Cole,  has long been one of  my favorite songs.  It has a wonderful haunting melody and tells the story of a “strange enchanted boy” and his search to find love.  It always has had a sort of mystical feel to me, a real oddity in the world of popular music in 1948 when Nat King Cole recorded and had a huge hit with it, staying at #1 on the charts for eight weeks.

I was going to just have a short post and put up a YouTube video of Cole’s version but in doing so I saw the name of the songwriter, eden ahbez, and was intrigued.  Doing a little research I came across some photos of him such as the one above, from the late 40’s sitting with Cowboy Jack Patton ( who wrote Ghost Riders in the Sky) and a spaniel.  I’ll let you figure out who is who in the photo.  ahbez’s long hair and attire seemed really out of place for me in thinking of 1948 so I read on.

eden-ahbezeden ahbez was a real one of a kind character in the world of music and in general.  You could probably guess that from the name which he adopted and wrote only in lower case letters.   Born in 1908, he is regarded as the first hippie by many, a long-haired and bearded wanderer who crisscrossed the country on foot, wearing robes and sandals, maintained a vegetarian lifestyle and slept out under the stars.  In fact, when Nature Boy hit the charts he and his wife were living under the first L on the Hollywood sign, which stoked a bit of a media frenzy around ahbez.  He worked in and frequented a vegetarian restaurant (that’s where he met Cowboy Jack Patton, another interesting character) in 1940’s Los Angeles whose German owners preached the gospel of natural and raw foods.  Their followers became known as the Nature Boys.

He was not really what I was expecting from a pop songwriter in 1940’s LA.  ahbez died in 1995 from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  He was 87.  His was a truly unique life, just waiting for a biographer to tell the story, and reading the little I discovered makes me find the song even more interesting.  Hope you’ll do the same now that you know a bit more about eden ahbez

Read Full Post »

eden ahbez with cowboy jack pattonSometimes when you look behind something that’s been in front of you for years you find out things you would have never imagined otherwise.  Such is the case with the song, Nature Boy.

Nature Boy, as recorded by the great Nat King Cole,  has long been one of  my favorite songs.  It has a wonderful haunting melody and tells the story of a “strange enchanted boy” and his search to find love.  It always has had a sort of mystical feel to me, a real oddity in the world of popular music in 1948 when Nat King Cole recorded and had a huge hit with it, staying at #1 on the charts for eight weeks.

I was going to just have a short post and put up a YouTube video of Cole’s version but in doing so I saw the name of the songwriter, eden ahbez, and was intrigued.  Doing a little research I came across some photos of him such as the one above, from the late 40’s sitting with Cowboy Jack Patton ( who wrote Ghost Riders in the Sky) and a spaniel.  I’ll let you figure out who is who in the photo.  ahbez’s long hair and attire seemed really out of place for me in thinking of 1948 so I read on.

eden ahbezeden ahbez was a real one of a kind character in the world of music and in general.  You could probably guess that from the name which he adopted and wrote only in lower case letters.   Born in 1908, he is regarded as the first hippie by many, a long-haired and bearded wanderer who crisscrossed the country on foot, wearing robes and sandals, maintained a vegetarian lifestyle and slept out under the stars.  In fact, when Nature Boy hit the charts he and his wife were living under the first L on the Hollywood sign, which stoked a bit of a media frenzy around ahbez.  He worked in and frequented a vegetarian restaurant (that’s where he met Cowboy Jack Patton, another interesting character) in 1940’s Los Angeles whose German owners preached the gospel of natural and raw foods.  Their followers became known as the Nature Boys.

Not really what I was expecting from a pop songwriter in 1940’s LA. ahbez died in 1995 from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  He was 87.  His was a truly unique life, just waiting for a biographer to tell the story, and reading the little I discovered makes me find the song even more interesting.  Hope you’ll do the same now that you know a bit more about eden ahbez

Read Full Post »

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