Saturday, November 29, 2008

Schallern mit Thore

I spent another day walking with my Kumpel, Thore, on Friday. We snapped some pictures of us together in a park along the Ruhr. It took a while for us to get the range right, but we finally got something for the blog.

As we walked, Thore was in danger of falling asleep, so we sang together and I taught him some America folk songs. Oh! Susannah, John Henry, The Greenland Fisheries, Joe Hill...Most of the songs were from an old Pete Seeger album I listened to a lot when I was in high school. One song I really enjoy from the album is Go Down, Old Hannah, which I also had a recording of on a Lightin' Hopkins album. It's a real classic. It's a statement/response work song, sung originally by slaves, and then later by chain gangs. I tried it with Thore, who was supposed to sing the "chorus" part so to speak. As leader, I sing, "Well won't you go down old Hannah...won't you rise no more..." and then he is supposed to sing, "Won't you rise no more..." in response. The trouble is, because he's only a baby, when he remembered to sing at all, he just sang, "Na, na, na." If we had been singing "Land of a Thousand Dances" (Wilson Pickett, 1966) Thore would have been a star. As it was, we did better when I did all the singing and he was responsible for listening.

There was no turkey at our house for Thanksgiving. Instead we went out for dinner to a nice place in Essen that features a menu from the Alsace region. I had a fabulous meal of Kurbisspätzle, pan fried with sauerkraut. I know it doesn't sound all that good, but it was one of those dishes that's got a kind of depth and resonance that's still humming in your brain the next morning. We'll probably be back. Dessert was a Flammeküchen with cinnamon and apple: as close as we could come to a pie.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

I think that when you sing with kids, and teach them old songs, it reveals how old strange songs come into being. I was teaching Hanna "I Got a Woman" (Ray Charles), but it was weird for her to repeat the line, so it became "I Got a Bullfrog." "Go tell Aunt Rhodie" probably was originally "I have a dog named Mary" or something.