Derek Parrott - anachronist or futurist? Peter Pan or Rocket Man? His music sounds
so old, so young ... so wise, so naive. Ancient & Modern .... "Here's
my song for all of you lonely people ... I want you to love each other... Please
do it for me ..."
most people don't want to be reminded, thinkin' they're beyond that now - they
MUST be beyond that by now, for God's sake! Thus, some would judge Derek's message
as passé , simplistic, too ... um ... sweet.
fact, the arc of Parrott's perennial musical journey (this new collection continuing)
rises in birth and wheels inevitably towards death (those two moments, plus every
one between, nothing more than an endless Now), accompanied by Parrott's own attempt
at a permanent grin in the face of any and all.
his musical career in the mod and folk days of mid-1960s London, Parrott ran with
the movers and shakers of the time - Donovan, Dylan, and the others - and was
on the verge of commercial success in the British rock machine of the time, when
strange things began to happen. Drugs, sex, rock 'n' roll, sure, but then ...
a simple twist of fate relegated his Open Up album (a major studio production
with the best session musicians of the day, not to mention the London Symphony
Orchestra) to a vault for almost a quarter of a century.
he played the dice as they rolled and wound up in Virginia Beach, New World. Turning
negatives into positives has always been Derek's way, beginning with the inspiration
that dictated Derek's first song on a beach in Morocco, the same inspiration that
writes his stuff (kind of "through him," actually) to this day.
helps to explain the constancy and polar accuracy of his muse. There is always
hope here ("I'll answer your prayer"), always the road ("the journey
we must make"), always love ("the way is to love each other"),
and always the ancient companion ("And in the end when all's said and done,
then I'll join you and we will be one").
vocabulary of Derek's new album, Ancient & Modern, invites contemplation
and meditation, but, most of all, application.
who cares - bold, demanding love and optimism - put on the ears of a different
time and purpose to slideback 30-some years to the elegiac late 1960s. If we're
embarrassed by the straight statements of love and positivity,we need to examine
our own selves.
down your weary tune - Straightforward and Dylanesque (naturally, since Derek
shares the author's pantheistic view of nature), but underpinned and lifted by
the bagpipes and the heart shakra of this singer - always a time and words needing
to be spoken - "lay down your weary tune, lay down."
- everything comes in waves, translations into dialogue, here between Father and
Son, or between God and Adam - Beatlesque and burlesque - carousel waltz into
the inevitabilities of lives that go round and round and round and round and round
... children's voices drifting in the distance ... remembering, remembering ...
- dreamlike and near-apocalyptic revery of return to the comfort and protection
of the Lover from harsh inevitabilities - or are they? Indomitable spirit vs.
the machinery of modern society. Running, always running ..." and 1984 has
gone, Orwell and Huxley weren't so wrong, it seems we've lost our way ... running
like the wind, running back to you again" ... nice Larry Neubauer "running"
light - Thanks! "For all I ask and all you give and evermore shall be
... I thank you for the life I live" ... a dirge of a prayer planted firmly
in the conviction that a higher power is veiled behind the "ordinary"
events of our lives.
grin - and why not - it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown - negativity
is bad internal economy - think McCartney at his most unabashed .. upbeat and
faithful, but a little sad, always ...
in the storm - anthem of loss and the endless, lightless road ... faith and
trust in a positive outcome ... persevere.. we'll go on and on from the darkness
into the sunlight and beyond, disappearing in the end, still riding in the storm...
"hold on tight and don't lose sight, we'll know it when we're there"
precious life - Loss and caring and how little we know ... mantra and incantation
... a meditation re loss and death ... unknown and apparent injustice, but all
has a mathematical perfection ... life goes on as the human heart steers us throughthis
valley of death, navigating by dint of doing the best we can.
down - folky, down home, confessional observations on the cycles of life ...
nothing stays the same, as day follows night ... "loving and believing is
receiving what is always there" ... believing in the healing is the path,the
way ... "feeling and believing is relieving this old heart of mine."
band - "I lay my head down and close my eyes and dream a dream of golden
skies" ... ragtime country, syncopatin' tuba times the march ... "there's
more to life than wasting away, even in death it goes on" ... so I'll continue
to sing and to play in the Angel Band ... in "that resting place where our
souls will mend until we choose to live again."
still - "with all my heart ..." and that is true throughout this
sensitive, deep , and moving album of time spent in the human space - the ups
and downs and cycles of existence ... suspended by love above the abyss.. and
in the end when all's said and done, then I'll join you and we will be one ..."
are songs of the journey, sung far enough along in the whole process, yet still
connected to the earliest roots in a camaraderie of spirit with all the phases
of our own selves.
recurring lover, the object of desire and completion, is clearly fleshless and
transcendental here - ephemeral, eternal,ineffable, and utterly real.
Whidbey Island, Washington (4/26/03)
your bliss ... "