Archive for August, 2011

To most people Fleetwood Mac means the band, featuring Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, that had a string of huge hits in the 70s.

But that was only one of the many incarnations of Fleetwood Mac. Before that the shining lights of the band were Christine McVie and Robert Welch. Curiously, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, who gave the band their name and whatever continuity it had, never had a discernable sound of their own. They just sort of played along with whoever was the real creative force at the time.


And in its earliest incarnation that was Peter Green and Danny Kirwan. Although the band began, like so many British rock bands, playing straight up American blues, it was not long before Green and Kirwan began finding their own unique voices.

I commented when I was writing about the book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music, that it was a strange omission to not mention early Fleetwood Mac at all.

Here is one of Danny Kirwan’s compostions, showing his work at its most beautiful:

Photo: Danny Kirwan and Peter Green


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“I hope you don’t have friends who recommend Ayn Rand to you. The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky”.

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Get Up Again

Another brother asked Abba Sisoes, ‘I have fallen, Abba; what shall I do?’ The old main said to him, ‘Get up again.’ The brother said, ‘I have gotten up again, but again have I fallen.’ The old man said, ‘Get up again and again.’ So the brother asked, ‘How many times?’ The old man replied, ‘Until you are taken up either in virtue or in sin. For a man presents himself to judgment in that state in which he is found.’  – Sayings of the Desert Fathers

(Thanks to Terry at Abbey Roads)


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An Icon and a Request


This is my most recent icon. I have written before of my struggles painting, and how I have been diagnosed with a cataract in my left eye, which makes fine brushwork difficult. I continue to paint, but it is work now, rather than a joy.

I am scheduled to have the cataract removed September 20, and ask your prayers for a successful outcome. In fact, I ask your prayers for much more. I don’t have a hurricane bearing down on me, like so many people I love on the East Coast, but plenty is going wrong: various physical affilictions, automobile breakdown, with no money for repairs, baby William is sick, etc. I am feeling discouraged and overwhelmed….

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Eden Decayed

I have finished Rob Young’s book Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music. While it is full of new information and certainly interesting to anyone who likes the music, the second half of the book becomes a sort of chronicle of the descent of the British counterculture into paganism. As I read I started feeling sick, the sort of spiritual nausea I once felt when I became critical of the counterculture in the early 70s.

Now, a Catholic does not simplistically condemn everything that existed before Christ; paganism possessed both light and shadow, and the Church has always been intent on building on what good there was in human culture, the things that pointed to Christ or were at least harmless.

But it is quite another thing when those whose roots are Christian turn toward paganism as a form of rejecting their faith. Young seems sympathetic to this, and while I understand the appeal of “earth religion” and pantheism to those raised in an artificial environment, it is in the end a descent into darkness and, ultimately, despair.

Here, Pentangle sings a Yorkshire hymn about the Last Things; it is a cautionary tune to anyone enamoured with paganism:

Here is a discussion of the tune, with lyrics: http://www.duntemann.com/likewakepage.htm

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Sandy Denny…

Someone objected when I said that Anne Briggs had the purest voice of the British folk revival; she said that distinction belongs to Sandy Denny. While I am a great fan of Sandy Denny’s I stand by my assertion. But you be the judge; this is a great tune, from her solo career:

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Pax Obama

“Could it be that when Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama leaves office that the defining image of his presidency will have been his use of unmanned drone aircraft and military death squads to achieve the will of the Empire?”


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