Beneath the Singing Oak Tree…

Daniel and I recently returned from our annual trek back to my hometown, New Orleans where we always march in the St Anne’s Parade on Mardi Gras day.

After an amazing march through the quarter on Fat Tuesday, we spent a leisurely Ash Wednesday scouring pawn shops for gear, eating the first crawfish of the season and lounging beneath the “Singing Oak Tree” at Big Lake in City Park.  We shot a little clip of the tree in action, but its hard to capture or explain the serenity that overcomes you in person, as the wind conducts its chance music orchestra of pentatonic bells (some 14 feet tall), strung up in the branches of the old oak.

There are dozens of home videos of the tree, made by fellow admirers, trying to capture its voice to no avail – here’s my attempt. (I’m going to try to use this windy recording in a song at some point, so stay tuned for that.)

And, with New Orleans still on my mind, I thought I’d share one more rare find (feel free to download for free as usual), called “Let Me be the First to Kiss You Good Morning,” by The Dixie Stars. There was a time that New Orleans had a very melancholy heaviness in my heart, but the longer i am away the closer we get. This is a charming little love song… one I sing in my heart to the city of New Orleans whenever I am there.

Here’s a little more about the writer and singer, in case you’re interested:

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Al Bernard started his recording career around 1916. He was one of the first white singers to record blues songs. He recorded with songwriter J. Russel Robinson as “The Dixie Stars” and, with Robinson, wrote the Bessie Smith feature “Sam Jones Blues”.

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