Monday, March 1, 2021

New Recording!: "Spring Comes To El-Rio Beach"

El-Rio Beach is a little beach right by a bridge in a backwoods part of New Castle, Pennsylvania USA.   In the late winter/early spring as melting snow and rain increased the water flow, the Neshannock Creek could often be heard from my home far above the creek.   I always knew spring was near when I heard that sound around that time.  This song, written in 1993 or thereabouts, is basically a little reflection on spring fever after a long winter.   El-Rio Beach comes to mind because it was a weird place along the creek.   Every spring there always seemed to be somebody getting murdered there or a body washing ashore or something.  Despite the sinister undertones of the place and its general weirdness, it was a fun place to play as a teenager.  It had caves not far away to explore, plus the surrounding woods leading down to the creek, plus the creek itself, and even some ruins from an old factory or something abandoned a half-century before.  The people living down there were also a different breed, reminiscent of the characters in Deliverance.  It was a little bit of country right in the middle of a small city.  I remember one time even getting chased by a brood of chickens down the beat up road down there.   The road was so beat up, that part of it, called Snake Hill, now is closed, but when I was a kid you could still drive if you were adventurous enough to try a twisty, barely maintained road on the edge of a gully.   By the time I left town, it was pretty much only traversable by bike.   Now, you'd have to be half-nuts to even try walking down the hill.  In any case, some of the song's lyrics are based on fact, some on fancy.  There really was a strange man wearing only underwear who would jump out of the bushes and try to surprise passerbys down there.  Conversely, the reflection on death at the end is just a general reflection that historically spring was the deadliest time of year.  Nowadays, if you're hungry in the spring, you just head to the local grocery store and find foods grown from all over the world so that it doesn't really matter what season it is.  In the past, even a hundred years ago, that wasn't the case.  By the spring, the store from the previous harvest was pretty much gone, and the new crops hadn't come in yet, so people had to make due with foods such as dandelions that one would only eat perhaps when one was really hungry.  The various spring fasting rituals such as Lent seem to basically be a cultural way of clamping down on people complaining too much about the lack of food.  Spring's my favorite season, but that's based mainly on the hope spring provides that things are getting warmer and better after the winter, not on everything being hunky-dory right away.  Yeast? played this song a few times, but it always seemed to be better solo.  In this recording, I fleshed it out though.  For the weird instrument, I tried a keyboard drone that just sort of flowed through the track like the creek does past the beach.  I like the guitar sounds near the end, particularly when everything pauses before the last line of the lyrics.

For more music, check out this Yeast? 7".

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