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Lyr Add: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries

DigiTrad:
NEVER TURNING BACK
WALLS AND WINDOWS


Related threads:
Pat Humphries songs (19)
ADD: Vote:The Trump Rewrite (Emma's Revolution) (8) (closed)
Tune Req: Never Turning Back (3)


Charlie Baum 22 May 02 - 11:48 PM
Mrrzy 23 May 02 - 09:34 AM
greg stephens 23 May 02 - 09:44 AM
Mrrzy 23 May 02 - 11:09 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 23 May 02 - 11:46 AM
Ron Olesko 23 May 02 - 11:50 AM
MMario 23 May 02 - 12:04 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 12:23 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 12:40 PM
Mrrzy 23 May 02 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,Bent Whistler 23 May 02 - 01:35 PM
Áine 23 May 02 - 02:23 PM
hesperis 23 May 02 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Bent Whistler 23 May 02 - 03:41 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 04:06 PM
Mrrzy 23 May 02 - 04:18 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,sed 23 May 02 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,sed 23 May 02 - 04:41 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 04:47 PM
CapriUni 23 May 02 - 04:47 PM
CapriUni 24 May 02 - 04:36 PM
Mark Ross 24 May 02 - 05:05 PM
CapriUni 24 May 02 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,greg stephens 24 May 02 - 05:14 PM
CapriUni 24 May 02 - 05:43 PM
robomatic 24 May 02 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Goodfellow 24 May 02 - 10:53 PM
CapriUni 24 May 02 - 11:15 PM
DonMeixner 25 May 02 - 01:38 AM
DonMeixner 25 May 02 - 01:44 AM
Ebbie 25 May 02 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,MAG at work 25 May 02 - 11:31 AM
CapriUni 25 May 02 - 12:18 PM
CapriUni 26 May 02 - 10:10 AM
Don Firth 26 May 02 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road) 26 May 02 - 04:36 PM
BH 26 May 02 - 08:29 PM
CapriUni 26 May 02 - 09:43 PM
greg stephens 27 May 02 - 05:21 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 May 02 - 08:42 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 May 02 - 11:20 AM
TeriLu 28 May 02 - 12:19 AM
CapriUni 28 May 02 - 02:40 AM
Ron Olesko 28 May 02 - 11:28 AM
CapriUni 29 May 02 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,Al 01 Jun 02 - 02:28 AM
GUEST,GUest 02 Jun 02 - 12:42 AM
Dan Schatz 02 Jun 02 - 05:34 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 02 Jun 02 - 10:57 PM
CapriUni 03 Jun 02 - 10:46 AM
CapriUni 03 Jun 02 - 10:47 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 03 Jun 02 - 11:32 AM
Ron Olesko 03 Jun 02 - 12:02 PM
jackb 06 Jun 02 - 02:08 PM
CapriUni 06 Jun 02 - 10:15 PM
CamiSu 07 Jun 02 - 12:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jan 03 - 08:33 PM
CapriUni 17 Jan 03 - 09:25 PM
Ebbie 17 Jan 03 - 09:39 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 18 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jan 03 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,purplestreak 06 Jul 08 - 08:28 PM
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Subject: ADD:Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 22 May 02 - 11:48 PM

National Public Radio (USA) did a nice feature tonight on Pat Humphries's song "Swimming to the Other Side." If you go to the NPR website, you can read an essay by producer Marika Partridge on the song, click to listen to the radio feature via Real Audio, or click to listen to three versions of the song (two by Pat Humphries and one by Lui Collins with a nice descant).

The lyrics, taken from http://gamgee.acad.emich.edu/~roth/SONGS/swimming.html, but corrected on listening to the original:

Chorus:  (same melody as verse)

We are living 'neath the great Big Dipper
We are washed by the very same rain
We are swimming in the stream together
Some in power, some in pain
We can worship this ground we walk on
Cherishing the beings that we live beside
Loving spirits will live forever
We're all swimming to the other side.

I am alone, and I am searching, hungering for answers in my time
I am balanced at the brink of wisdom, I'm impatient to receive a sign
I move forward with my senses open, imperfection it be my crime
In humility I will listen, we're all swimming to the other side

On this journey through thoughts and feelings, finding intuition: my head, my heart
I am gathering the tools together, I'm preparing to do my part
All of those who have come before me, band together and be my guide
Loving lessons that I will follow, we're all swimming to the other side

When we get there we'll discover, all of the gifts we've been given to share
Have been with us since life's beginning and we never noticed they were there
We can balance at the brink of wisdom, never recognizing that we've arrived
Loving spirits will live forever, we're all swimming to the other side

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 May 02 - 09:34 AM

I heard this piece too, Charlie, and was going to post something about it but you beat me to it! NPR called it a "folk anthem" that has been taking over the folk scene - but I'd never heard it before... what about all you "real" folkies out there? Is this as commonly sung as NPR indicated?


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 May 02 - 09:44 AM

Not much use to Australians and Kiwis, is it?


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 May 02 - 11:09 AM

Yes, I noticed the "northern-hemisphere-centrism" in it too!


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 23 May 02 - 11:46 AM

What a wonderful song- I almost never listen to National Talk Radio any more- but I happened to catch this and almost drove off the road. I may try to arrange this for my chorus for next season.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 23 May 02 - 11:50 AM

I too would call the song a "folk-anthem". As Pete Seeger noted in the article, the song is being passed around folk circles in the same manner that brought "This Land is Your Land" to audiences. The is still in it's infancy but I have heard a number of artists perform it.

Pat Humphries is also one of the nicest folk-singers you will ever meet! Great writer!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: MMario
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:04 PM

substitute "old Southern Cross" for "great big dipper"


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:23 PM

When I hear the song, I add "except those under the Southern Cross" in mental parentheses... but an extra line is hard to squeeze in there...

But I do love the song -- the melody is one of my favorites And that big dipper line reminds me of this quote:

We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe compasses us. What does it matter what practical systems we adopt in our search for the truth? Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret.

Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (A.D. c. 340-c. 402), Roman senator. Letter, written 384, to the Christian Emperor Valentinian II, pleading for the continuation of pagan ceremonies (published in Finley Hooper and Matthew Schwartz, Roman Letters: History from a Personal Point of View, ch. 10, 1991).

The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations is licensed from Columbia University Press. Copyright © 1993 by Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Maybe we could replace "Great Big Dipper" with "stars so brilliant"...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:40 PM

Just listened to the NPR piece... tried to sing along, but got so choked up with emotion -- wanting to laugh and weep at the same time, that I couldn't get my voice out (remembering all the "Loving Spirits" -- human and non-who have gone before me, that were a joy to know and an ache to miss).


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:40 PM

Are there ANY constellations (thread creep alert, slightly) that are visible from all skies on the planet, at least at some point in the year if not year-round? Or does that very question show my ignorance...?


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,Bent Whistler
Date: 23 May 02 - 01:35 PM

How about key and chords?


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Áine
Date: 23 May 02 - 02:23 PM

From Pat's singing on the NPR program, I'm guessing here that the chords are:

Chords by line:

C / Am
F / C
C / Am
D / G
C / Am
F / C
C / Am
G / C

If anyone else has a better progression, please let us see it!

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: hesperis
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:18 PM

Oooooooohhhh!!!!! I LOVE this song! I know a dance to it, too! Choreographed by my friend Nicholas, an awesome person.

I can look up the notes on this, give me a couple of days, there may be chords. The lyrics are a little different too, and I didn't pay attention to the artist yet.

*Shameless plug*
Hehehe, come to the Junebug gathering in PA and we'll dance this on the lawn! *bg*
*End shameless plug*

~*sirepseh*~


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,Bent Whistler
Date: 23 May 02 - 03:41 PM

Thanks, Aine.

Mrrzy, I believe the constellations along the planetary plane (the zodiac) would be visible world wide (except maybe the poles during part of the year) just as the Moon and planets are visible world wide (aren't they?)

Bent


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:06 PM

I thought the zodiac was specific to the northern hemisphere... but I could be wrong...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:18 PM

Oh astronomy/ology buffs, where are you? Kinda like cops, there's never one around when you need one! I am pretty sure the constellations are hemisphere-specific or we'd see the Southern Cross and we WOULD all be below the big dipper, at least at some point of the year. Yes, I think the Aussies and Kiwis and whatever you call the Tasmanians get the moon - but it goes around the planet in a different plane than the planet goes around the sun, no? SORRY, we are seriously creeping here, or at least I am. I like this song but don't LOVE it - yet - ...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:24 PM

One of Mudcat's features is a link to any album in the mudcat shop that has songs mentioned in the message. At the top of Charlie's message is a link to an album by Peter and Mary Alice Amidon called "I'll never forget". Anyone familiar with this album? And is the track "Swimming to the other side" a version of this song?

(I notice that "Be kind to your parents" is another track, and if that's the song that Peter Seeger sang on a kids' album years ago, it's another of my favorites...)


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,sed
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:38 PM

It is a great song. But like every song it only tells part of the story and leaves out the most important part of all: Jesus and His essential salvation.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,sed
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:41 PM

It is a great song. But like every song it only tells part of the story and leaves out the most important part of all: that only Jesus will keep us from drowning.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:47 PM

Not every song leaves that bit out, Guest. That's what Christian gospel music is for...

Ann -- who agrees with Quintus Aurelius Symmachus


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 May 02 - 04:47 PM

Not every song leaves that bit out, Guest. That's what Christian gospel music is for...

Ann -- who agrees with Quintus Aurelius Symmachus


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 May 02 - 04:36 PM

There's another line that bothers me, a bit, in this song:

"imperfection, it be my crime"

First of all, it's not a crime not to be perfect, and second of all, deep down I believe all of us are perfect.

The only way any of us could be considered imperfect would be to compare ourselves to the Platonic Ideal. One: Comparisons are odious, and Two: the Platonic Ideal doesn't exist.

Our individual weaknesses compliment our strengths, and give us the oportunity to grow and learn. How could we be perfect if we couldn't grow or learn?

I may not be perfect in the Ideal sense, but I'm perfect in the Real -- no one can be a better CapriUni than I can. ;-)

But I can't think of a substitute line that would fit that melody and scansion... Any ideas on what idea Pat Humphries was trying to convey with that phrase, anyway?

Still the ratio of "Right on!" lines to "Yes, but" lines is pretty high, in my estimation...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Mark Ross
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:05 PM

Good song! But just remember what Oscar Wilde said,

"Perfection is Nature's greatest bore!"

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:10 PM

And if you're boring, you're not perfect... so you're only perfect if you're imperfect!


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:14 PM

Suggest the first line should read "we are living 'neath the zodiac constellations, though obviously at different times of year if you live say in Greenland or Patagonia". I appreciate this may mean modifying the tune slightly, but it makes kind of, you know, sort of universal .


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 May 02 - 05:43 PM

Slightly, Greg? Heh... ;-)

'Course, my first suggestion of "stars so brilliant" scans...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: robomatic
Date: 24 May 02 - 10:05 PM

sed, if the song mentioned Jesus it would ONLY be a gospel song. As it is not offensive to Christians nor the other great religions it becomes a universal song.

"To err is human, I'm uncomfortable around gods"


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,Goodfellow
Date: 24 May 02 - 10:53 PM

On the other hand......

I did not find this to be an epic folk anthem and thought the words were a bit pretentious and certainly not very lyrical; the melody and baseline are of course borrowed.

the opinion in our house is that there are much better "folk anthems" out there.

I wonder if this piece resonates with folks who have not been brought up in religious traditions and they are discovering these sentiments for the first time? If you enjoy this song you should check into Mormon and Shaker hymns... perhaps even budhist and hindu for that matter....

There are true folk songs passed down for generations that are much more powerful and will certainly outlast

To each his own though.....


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 May 02 - 11:15 PM

I wonder if this piece resonates with folks who have not been brought up in religious traditions and they are discovering these sentiments for the first time?

Well, that may apply to some. Personally, I've felt the sentiments of this song for as long as I was spiritually aware (from about 8 or so). The song resonates with me not just because of the sentiment of the lyric, or the meanings of the words, but also the rhythms, and play between the vowel sounds and consonants: "Balanced at the brink of wisdom" has a wonderful musical sound to it even when spoken as is.

As for the melody and baseline being borrowed... that is the case with so much folk music, I don't really see how that, in and of itself makes the song weaker.

And I raised with "real" folk music too, both traditional and political.

(I was raised in the Quaker tradition, btw, which is a religion that supports political action as much as a connection with God.)


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:38 AM

I have to admit this song doesn't thrill me to awful much. It is a nice sing alongy type tune for closing those special shows we attend now and then.

Maybe I am un moved by "We" songs and find the "I" songs to have more of a meaning to me. "River" By Bill Staines moves me more than "Swimming" does. "Don't Ever Take Away My Freedom" "There Is Only One River (?)" and a few others by PPM have more legs than this I think.

BUt after all it comes down to a matter taste, don't it.

Don


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: DonMeixner
Date: 25 May 02 - 01:44 AM

Thats "The River of Jordan" Actually. But "Weave Me The Sunshine" works as well. And "Turning Toward The Morning" may be the best anthem of all to my way of thinking.

Don


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 May 02 - 11:20 AM

"All of those who have come before me, band together and be my guide"

"...we'll discover, all of the gifts we've been given to share Have been with us since life's beginning and we never noticed they were there"

These are the two lines that grab me; strike me as unique in songdom. (And if you have other examples, please steer me there. As I said, I like them.)

At music last night they were talking about this song. I haven't heard it, but evidently it leaves a strong impression on some.

As for the 'under the Big Dipper', since it's not a rhyming phrase, I would insert anything I wanted to that said what I wanted to.

On the other hand, is singing it the way it was written any more bizarre than hearing frail little women singing lustily about how they overpowered and slaughtered faithless wives and lovers? :)


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 25 May 02 - 11:31 AM

Imperfection it be Zen sublime ...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 25 May 02 - 12:18 PM

LOL! I Loves that, Mag... I may just make it my own!


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 26 May 02 - 10:10 AM

Just listened to this song again, and I think I figured out why it resonates with me, even though it may be far from perfect as a "folk anthem" (and, I say again, that is no crime).

There are many folksongs that proclaim the message: "The people in power and the people in pain are all in the same boat (or whatever)" and/or the message that "With love we will outlast our troubles."

But this is the only song I can think of that specifically includes all beings, not just human beings, in that circle.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Don Firth
Date: 26 May 02 - 02:45 PM

With all due respect, there is much tepid, insipid, and generally boring stuff turned out by singer/songwriters within recent years, and it's often inflicted on unsuspecting and defenseless audiences at open mikes and on some of the stages at places like the Northwest Folklife Festival. There one hears hordes of S/Ss singing nothing but their own stuff, and that way, you get it straight and unfiltered, without warning labels. You can hear some really gawdawful stuff: navel-gazing and weltschmerz that goes on tunelessly and arrhythmically for thirty or more verses, says little beyond teenage angst, and inspires only yawns and an urge to tiptoe toward the door.

Although I myself do not indulge, I'm all for singer/songwriters. New songs have to come from somewhere, and it is an ancient and honorable tradition. Some of the older folk songs we sing today quite possibly originated with troubadours and minstrels, most of whom wrote their own stuff, often love songs or topical material. But an artist friend of mine once said, "An artist's most valuable tool is a wastebasket!. You have to be able to evaluate your own work and have the good sense to throw away the stuff that stinks!" More singer/songwriters need to avail themselves of that particular tool. Woody Guthrie wrote thousands of songs. A few of them were very good indeed. Most of them were stinkers. Guthrie knew that. He abandoned the stinkers.

With that said:— I missed this story on NPR and this is the first time I've heard of it. I followed the link above, listened to it, and listened to the song. Once in a great while, a singer/songwriter cranks out a really good one, and this is one of those times. Good singer. Good song. Whether or not it can be called a "folk anthem" is another question. Too early to tell. "Taking over the folk scene?" Not that I've seen yet. Will I learn it and sing it? I don't know. I feel no great, overwhelming urge to do so (I do with some songs), but I can think of groups I occasionally sing for where I might just learn it and sing it.

The Big Dipper line is a nice astronomical image, but it seems to arouse discontent south of the equator (by the way, since the constellations of the Zodiac are pretty much on the ecliptic, as is the sun, moon, and planets, they are visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres), and the equation of imperfection with crime clanks a bit. It has a rough edge here and there, but the "folk process" can probably smooth them out, given time. Efforts along that line seem to have already started. But just remember, most efforts to rewrite lines or "improve" a song should head straight for the wastebasket also. I do have a certain tolerance for the "crime of imperfection" if it results in a nice poetic image.

Thanks for the heads-up on this, Charlie. I'd like to hear more of Pat Humphries and her songs.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,Bullfrog Jones (on the road)
Date: 26 May 02 - 04:36 PM

Rather than drift too far from this thread, I've started another one HERE to discuss the ethics of 're-writing' someone else's song.

BJ


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: BH
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:29 PM

For starters Pat wrote this song some 10 yrs ago. I am glad it is finally getting the recognition that it (and her owther work) deserves.

We (Ron Olesko and I) have been playing it for many years on our program (TRADITIONS). Pat has also been a guest on the program. I usually term her "..l.my favorite anthem writer".

In the NPR piece an "expert" spoke of why this was a memorable piece. It has the bass notes in the sequence of the Pachobel Canon---says the expert--and hence the reason it is memorable. I don't know of the accuiracy of this---I just know the words and the sound is great. Now, try to hear her "Respit For My Soul". Great piece!!

All of these are on the "Same Rain" CD. Came out about 10 yrs ago.

Her new CD has a wonderful Phil Ochs piece---previously unreleased---Hands on it. Check Appleseeds Recordings web site and find out about it.

Bill H


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:43 PM

Re: "We're are living 'neath the great Big Dipper..."

While I did say to myself, when I first heard this line: "Hey! What about the southern hemisphere folks?!", this is also one of the lines that I like simply for its sound. The syllable endings "T" , hard "G" and "P" really give a nice, crisp definition to the words that balances nicely with the softer consonant sounds of:

"We are swimming in the stream together"

And she was living 'neath the Big Dipper when she wrote it... Also, in American history, this constellation has special relavance in the folk tradition because of its association in slave songs with the journey north to freedom [as in "Follow the Drinking Gourd"]. I don't know if she she had that in mind, consciously (or subconsciously, for that matter), when she wrote it, but it's an association that comes to my mind, when I sing it or hear it, and I think it adds to the song.

Re: "Imperfection, it be my crime."

It's the word "crime" that gets to me, but I understand the meaning of that whole verse to be: "I'm not perfect, but my life is moving toward perfection, and in the meantime, I'll remind myself not to be arrogant" Even though "crime" evokes a feeling of shame and punishment that I don't think quite fits with the overall message of the song, it's a good pick for the sound of it.

Throughout this song, she uses both end-rhyme words ("heart" "part", "rain" "pain") and internal, assonance rhyme words ("sign" "time", "together" "forever"). "Crime" and "time" are end-rhyme (argh, make it stop!) words, but they lines don't hit you over the head with it. (I was going to say that she chose the word 'crime' for its internal rhyme, until I went back to the top of this thread and actually read the lyrics.

In short: While I may have nits to pick with these two lines as stand-alone ideas, they work well in the song as a whole.

I was just in a nit picking mood, back there ...

(can you blame me? The nits are so tasty and sweet this time of year)

And yes, I was one of those damned English Majors! ;-)`


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 May 02 - 05:21 AM

I hope it is clear that my proposed rewrite of the Big Dipper line was a joke because I don't think it needs rewriting. The song may not technically apply to Australians or Martians or Alpha Centaurians but it's none the worse for that.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 May 02 - 08:42 AM

It may more correctly be sweeping NPR. I don't listen to the radio, other than to catch the news, and occasionally to pass the time while I'm driving. Usually though, I'm listening to tapes or CDs. The words to the song look good, but I've never heard the song. I just noticed that the thread was getting longer and thought I'd check it out, out of curiosity.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 May 02 - 11:20 AM

Oh yeah.... I was out in Wisconsin last week and my wife and I spent a lot of time with my Mother at the residence where she lives. They have a choir, made up of residents and they did a program of Patriotic Songs. One of the songs that they did was This Land Is Your Land. You know that a song has passed into the national consciousness when a choir of residents in a senior home sing it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: TeriLu
Date: 28 May 02 - 12:19 AM

1) Pat Humphries is one of the best people and folk artists around. I've watched her grow over the years in popularity, but not in ego. She is truly a good person, and lives what she writes and believes in. 2) I think she "gets" a lot of her songs very quickly, and doesn't nitpick what she "gets" as much as some people have with this thread. 3) I think she was being conversational and somewhat sarcastic with the crime thing. If you want to pick more, you could replace it with rhyme. 4) "Hands" has been recorded before - by Betty and The Baby Boomers - a wonderful group with two recordings so far. 5) "Waltzing Matilda" is about Australian stuff, but sung all over the world. 6) I hope Pat gets to read this forum - she'd get a kick out of it! 7) I predict she will someday be as famous as Pete Seeger. 8) Check out "Common Threads" and "Never Turning Back" - two of her other dearly loved songs. 9) the reason Pat isn't even more famous than she is is because she doesn't try to be. She lives a fairly low-profile life. 10) This song was the only one besides "Imagine" that I could get the teens in my high school folk music class to willingly sing at our school assembly, and of course everyone loved it, and sang along on the chorus.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 28 May 02 - 02:40 AM

Betty and the Baby Boomers! Wow -- talk about a flashback! I knew them from when they would sing at the Clearwater's Strawberry Festival in Beacon, NY ...

So, not only are they still going, but they have two albums out? Wowsa!

That's great!


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 28 May 02 - 11:28 AM

Jerry noted that the song might be sweeping NPR, which is probably true at the moment. A few people, in addition to Jerry, have noted that they have not heard this song before.

Reading this thread does remind me of the nearly lost art of folk song collecting. Swimming to the Other Side has been well known to my co-host Bill Hahn and myself as we've been playing it on our WFDU radio program Traditions for many years. In addition to that, I have heard the song performed at local song circles, the Clearwater Festival and by other musicians here in the greater NYC area.

It may very well be that this song started out as a regional folksong. Pat lives in the D.C. area and tours extensively through the Northeast which would explain why the song seems popular in my neck of the woods. Even though the song is not new, it is still in it's infancy and being spread. Because "folk" music is not heard on commercial radio, this song has to find legs through the oral tradition - people hearing it, singing it and sharing it. Now with exposure on NPR as well as other artists adding it to their repertoire, we might very well see this song added to list of songs considered "folk anthems" - songs that are known universally. In the past it would have taken a John Lomax or a Francis Child to collect the song and publish it in a collection for others to share.

The term "anthem" always disturbs me, it have to be a song that everyone agrees with or even likes to be an anthem. An anthem should be a song that people recongize, sing along with and find some sort of unity from the message. The feeling of community has been present everytime I've heard this song sung.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 May 02 - 11:29 AM

The term "anthem" always disturbs me, it have to be a song that everyone agrees with or even likes to be an anthem.

I think you skipped the word doesn't, Ron, didn't you?

Anyway, I was about to post something similiar. After all, I'm not overly fond of "Oh say, can you see?", but I can't deny that it is my country's anthem, and that something happens when everybody sings it...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,Al
Date: 01 Jun 02 - 02:28 AM

Lui Collins' version of this song is really good. Her descant part really highlights the tune. It's on her newest CD "Leaving Fort Knox". I highly recommend it. You can listen to a clip of the tune on her web site at luicollins.com. Al


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: GUEST,GUest
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 12:42 AM

"It may very well be that this song started out as a regional folksong."

Well maybe it is an anthem in the US Northeast perhaps particulary among a certain gender limited segment of the population ...

I've lived in several parts of the US now and noticed that modern commercial Folk music has regional quirkiness that does not translate or travel much. In the upper midwest Cities like Madison Wisconsin and Ann Arbor and the Detroit area have a certain circuit of "Stars" ... New York and Philadelphia another set that overlaps just a little with the New England crowd, Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico a different set and California a different set. A select few performers actually are known all over the country. Areas like the upper midwest and Philadelphia with strong Folk and Bluegrass influences on Public Radio tend to have a large pool of performers who generate a following. On the other hand southern California seems to be a folk music wasteland. No one I talked to outhere has heard of Pat Humphries, but the have never heard of Michael Cooney, John McCutcheon, or Art Thieme either ...other long term regional starts on the folk circuit, oh well.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 05:34 PM

I was thrilled to hear Pat finally get some attention. She probably could have gotten attention a lot earlier, but she's never been too active in promoting herself. "In humility I will listen" really holds true for her. She is, as others have said, a wonderful person.

Someone asked about religious people - I find this one of the best statements of Unitarian Universalism that I've ever heard, though I don't know that Pat is a UU. I like it so much that I sang it for an introduction to UUism course I was teaching this past winter. And "imperfection will be my crime" is one of my favorite lines.

Pat's written several other songs that I think have become "folk anthems" even more than this one. "Gonna Keep On Walking Forward" is as simple a song as you could ask for, and one anybody could learn in about 2 minutes flat. I use it often, along with the beautiful and powerful "Common Thread," a song about unity in diversity. I sang the latter several times during the weeks following the September 11th attacks - both in services and vigils immediately following the attacks and in demonstrations against U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. I've been immensely grateful to Pat for writing songs that are so singable and meaningful. (Both of these songs, by the way, are on her Same Rain CD.)

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 02 Jun 02 - 10:57 PM

I'd agree with Guest:Guest:

Imagine that, agreeing with a Guest. At least on the regional nature of folk music. Ironically, in this sophisticated age of electronics, folk music seems to remain in cultural "hollers." After running a concert series for 27 years in Connecticut, I hardly knew any of the West Coast performers. I knew the Midwest crowd more because they came East on tour fairly often, so Art Thieme, Dave Para and Cathy Barton, Jerry Rau and a few others became good friends. I don't know that it's that the music is radically different in each area. I think that it's economics that creates cultural Hollows. I would have liked to book more West Coast musicians but I couldn't pay enough to get them out to the East Coast, even with several other places booking them. Over the years, I performed fairly regularly in the Midwest as well as the East Coast but never even attempted to get a West Coast booking. I doubt that many people had even heard of me.

So, for a song to become an "anthem," it's going to take a long, long time. I also wonder about the term "anthem." I know that dictionary definitions carry absolutely no weight on Mudcat, but anthems are songs of praise. They can be religious anthems or Patriotic anthems. I don't think that Swimming To The Other Side quite fits the definition. Howzabout it becoming a weel-known, sung everywhere song? This Land Is Your Land has become that, and is more accurately called an anthem, because it is in praise of America.

I don't agree with Guest:Guest that this song is gender limited.

Member:Member


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 10:46 AM

Hmmm... Nor do I think that "Cultural Hollows" (love that term!) is necessarily a bad thing... In this day and age of cookie-cutter franchised restaurants, stores, highways, and houses, I think it's rather nice that I can travel to another part of the country/world and hear an artist I've never heard before...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 10:47 AM

Hmmm... Nor do I think that "Cultural Hollows" (love that term!) is necessarily a bad thing... In this day and age of cookie-cutter franchised restaurants, stores, highways, and houses, I think it's rather nice that I can travel to another part of the country/world and hear an artist I've never heard before...


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 11:32 AM

I agree, Capri Uni: The last thing I want to listen to is a McBallad. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Jun 02 - 12:02 PM

Guest: Guest noted : "In the upper midwest Cities like Madison Wisconsin and Ann Arbor and the Detroit area have a certain circuit of "Stars" ... New York and Philadelphia another set that overlaps just a little with the New England crowd, Colorado/Arizona/New Mexico a different set and California a different set".

As a host of a radio show in the NYC area, I really noticed that happening. I began my program back in 1980, just as Fast Folk was getting started in the NYC area. As Fast Folk started to dissolve (through artists moving on, nightclubs losing leases, etc.) I actually started becoming bored with what "seemed" like a dwindling folk scene. I began playing more traditional artists and focusing on so-called "classic" folk recordings. For awhile, in the early 90's, I felt that the folk scene was on the endangered species list - particularly here in the NYC area.

It was the advent of Internet and sites like Mudcat that opened my eyes (or perhaps my ears) to the incredible music that exists beyond our "borders" here in the NYC/NJ area.

I don't mean to sidetrack this discussion to a personal level by discussing my radio show (I do enough of that here on Mudcat - forgive me!) but I do find it incredibly exciting that we are seeing a new "folk process" at work. Even though artists tend to be regional, there seems to be great outlets to share the music.

The question is, does folk music need to expand? I know of one folk-singer who lives in New Hampshire. He is a full-time musician, but rarely travels beyond his geopgraphic region. I asked him why he doesn't travel more, and his answer was that it doesn't make sense. Because he has a bit of a following in his homebase, he can be assured of bookings. Even aside from travel costs, the money to play venues that wouldn't be familiar with his work doesn't pay. By traveling he would jeopardize his steady work for a payback that might not come. Too risky.

CapriUni summed it up perfectly - it is nice to travel to another place and hear music that is native to the area. I like to think of folk music using the old "stew" analogy - lots of tasty ingredients that maintain their own individiual tastes and add up to a great meal!

Ron


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: jackb
Date: 06 Jun 02 - 02:08 PM

First post by a newbie - (be gentle). Pat Humphries will be appearing at a house concert this Sat. night - June 8th, 7:30 PM in the Philadelphia area (Newtown Square, Delaware county). The concert will be hosted by Fortissimo Folk Music. We host house concerts, provide voluntary web services for folk artists and venues (mostly in the Philly area), and volunteer at Phila. Folk Fest, NERFA, Phila. Folksong Society and various local folk clubs.

Please check our website for details on the Pat Humphries concert at www.fortissimo.org, or email bill@fortissimo.org for details or directions. If you are planning to come, bring your instrument(s) and/or voice. We always circle up the chairs afterwards.

I've been logging on to Mudcat for several months and have enjoyed (mostly) the wide-ranging discussions. I did catch the NPR broadcast on 'Swimming'. Not quite sure about the folk anthem status, but we have enjoyed Pat's music for a long time, and are looking forward to her concert this weekend.

Thanks - JackB


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CapriUni
Date: 06 Jun 02 - 10:15 PM

Welcome to the 'Cat, Jack!

I'm too far from Philly to get to see Pat this time, but maybe someone else reading this thread will...

Not sure about the term "Anthem", either... strikes me as a little too "official and officious" for a song like this...

But I guess a news story about a "Very Good" folk song, wouldn't have the same punch, would it? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side
From: CamiSu
Date: 07 Jun 02 - 12:10 AM

Jack-- have FUN! Pat is quite wonderful. I met here at the Clearwater Revival 14 years ago (though my husband thinks we met her earlier in VT-I can't say.) I have always loved her songs, but being kinda shy in the song-circle, it never occurred to me that she would get to know ME! But she is hte kind of person who takes the time and energy to know who you are, and her songs make me feel GOOD. People will be grinning when she gets done, and thinking as well.

She told me she wasn't going to make the Clearwater this year...boo.

CamiSu


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 08:33 PM

For some reason I started thinking about this song tonight, and the only two things I could remember about it were that it was about swimming (sort of), and that I thought it was a great song. So I put "swimming" in the Mudcat forum search and found this thread, and used the link Charlie Baum gave to listen to it again.

And I still think it's a great song, so I thought I'd revive the thread to give people a chance to hear it or to hear it again. And with the shape the world is in right now, it seems a good time to hear it again.

Anyway, here is the link to it, to save scrolling up to the top of the thread looking for it.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 09:25 PM

Thanks for reviving this thread, McGrath. This has been one of my all time favorite songs since I first heard it a couple years ago.

I'm now listening to Lui Collins' cover of the song (the link to which is on the same NPR site), and while I love her descant,* I find her enunciation a little bit sloppier than Pat Humphries' -- she seems to "slide over" the ending consonants of the words, if you know what I mean. And the consonantal (was that a word before, or did I just make it up?) rhythms are one of the things that I like best about the song.

But enough nit picking! I just love the song... I have, for many years, ridden horses under the guidance of physical therapists as my primary form of PT, and often, we ride to music, sometimes as part of dressage exercises, sometimes for demonstrations, and sometimes just because the horses and riders like it (really, the horses tend to pick up on the tempo of whatever's playing, and move in time). And this song strikes me as being perfect for such a purpose -- not only do the lyrics celebrate creatures of all kinds supporting and helping each other, but I can almost feel the rhythm of a horse's walking stride within it. If/when I get the opportunity to design my own musical dressage exercise again, I'm going to pick this song...

*We are living, we are dwelling
in a grand and awesome time
We can worship, we can cherish
All the ones we live beside


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Jan 03 - 09:39 PM

I can visualize this song becoming the 'We Shall Overcome' of our day.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 08:56 AM

My women's chorus performed this in our latest concert, along with my 4th and 5th grade children's chorus from school. It was a hit, and had the audience singing along (which is the whole point of most of my concerts!!). It's a great song for that reason, but I don't know if it will reach the status of "We shall overcome" since the lyrics are not as straightforward.


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Subject: RE: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jan 03 - 01:23 PM

The thing about We Shall Overcome is that it's easy to improvise new verses and apply old verses to meet the need of new situations, such as water cannons and tear gas.

You couldn't do that with Swimming to the Other Side - but I can imagine that it'll become the kind of song where everybody knows the chorus though few know the verses to singbthem. But that's fine, because it's a great chorus and contains the heart of the song, and you could keep on singing it as long as needed - or until the tear gas got to you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Swimming to the Other Side (Pat Humphries
From: GUEST,purplestreak
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 08:28 PM

ok- this is a bit late but sed:

I appreciate and respect your views, but this song has nothing to do with Jesus.
And I say nothing whatsoever.
It is a folk song, which are rarely anything like gospel,
and while it may not be completely free of religious tone, it might be described as secular humanism. So please, think what you want, but leave the Jesus out of the post.


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