Down By The Riverside

Acrylics on paper, 42x59cm.

Down by the river by the boats
Where everybody goes to be alone
Where you wont see any rising sun
Down to the river we will run

When by the water we drink to the dregs
Look at the stones on the river bed
I can tell from your eyes
You’ve never been by the riverside

Down by the water the riverbed
Somebody calls you somebody says
Swim with the current and float away
Down by the river everyday

Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep
And I don’t know why I go the way

Down by the riverside

When that old river runs pass your eyes
To wash off the dirt on the riverside
Go to the water so very near
The river will be your eyes and ears

I walk to the borders on my own
To fall in the water just like a stone
Chilled to the marrow in them bones
Why do I go here all alone

Oh my God I see how everything is torn in the river deep
And I don’t know why I go the way
Down by the riverside

Agnes Obel.



Let’s Face The Music…

Acrylics on canvas, 76x51cm.

…and Dance!

“There may be trouble ahead,
But while there’s music and moonlight,
And love and romance,
Let’s face the music and dance.

Before the fiddlers have fled,
Before they ask us to pay the bill,
And while we still have the chance,
Let’s face the music and dance.

Soon, we’ll be without the moon,
Humming a different tune, and then,
There may be teardrops to shed,
So while there’s moonlight and music,
And love and romance,
Let’s face the music and dance”.
– Irving Berlin, 1936.
From the musical “Follow the Fleet
With Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers.

Point of Interest:
In this painting Fred’s hands are mine.
I only wish my feet were his in real life!

Shady Grove

Acrylics on canvas, 46x61cm.

Cheeks as red as the blooming rose, eyes of the deepest brown,
You are the darling of my heart, stay till the sun goes down.

Shady Grove my little love, Shady Grove my dear.
Shady Grove my little love, I’m going to leave you here.

Shady Grove my little love, standing at the door,
Shoes and stockin’s in her hand and her little bare feet on the floor.

Wisht I had a big fine horse, corn to feed him on,
Pretty little girl stay at home, feed him when I’m gone.

Shady Grove my little love, Shady Grove I say,
Shady Grove, my little love,
Don’t wait till Judgement Day.

I learned this traditional Appalachian mountain-song at High School (Rutherglen Academy) Ballads Club under tutelage of Norman Buchan, my English teacher. This version is from a boys point of view unlike the version linked here by Shelly Colvin live at Music City Roots at the Loveless Café in Nashville. Don’t know who her guitarist is but he sure does a fine job on that gee-tar!

Original charcoal sketch inspirations:


Drawing in the Dark

Just returned from a fantastic weekend in sunny Dumfries for the first ever Ukulele Festival of Scotland.

What a great festival: brilliant venue (Easterbrook Hall and Crichton Church), effectively organised, and the diversity and standard of all the bands/individuals was superb. Well done to Linda and Stewart Butterworth (co-festival Directors) for all their organisation. Looking forward already to doing it all again next year.

Rather than just sit passively in awe at what some people can do with a ukulele, however, I like to take advantage of the parade of figures in front of me for a bit of people drawing (I won’t call it “Life Drawing” for there was no one actually naked. Not that I saw anyway :o)

The challenge is to catch something of the performers:  a) from a distance with the wummin in front and her big buffoned hairdo keeping leaning over to whisper in the lug of her paramour, b)when the musicians keep diving about as the music takes them, c) the house lights are down and I’m using guesswork to a fair degree, and d) the effects of that dinner wine is still having it’s wicked way with me.

Here’s a small sampler:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zahra Lowzley was playing what she called her “alien” uke.

The Mersey Belles (cousins Pearl and Nancy) who were much more lively and entertaining than my rather static sketch suggests.

Brothers Tim & Jake Smithies of Dead Mans Uke so named after yer actual resonator ukulele which belonged to Tiny Tim.

Sarah Kelly who not only won the New Performers Competition but must also get the prize for best dressed uker with her coifed hair and long pink frock.

Finally, I should mention the brilliant (in more ways than one) compère Paul L Martin who was got up like a Circus Master of Ceremonies with his red coat and top hat so much so that I simply couldn’t do him justice. Gay as the Lanark Lanimer Day bunting he kept us all well amused!