Sunrise, Sunset #2 – Trees, Tequila and A Bunch of Desperados

A bit of a picture post this one, as quite into my new series where I intend to share pictures of sunrises and sunsets (accompanied by a relevant featured song of course). This morning I could tell there was going to be a beautiful array of orange and yellow in the sky as when I came through for breakfast, the colours were dancing across the obscure glass in the back door. A quick grab of my new iPhone (which has a much improved camera) and this is what I got. I have to warn you now, that most of my sunrise pictures will involve next door’s garage wall which sadly blocks our views down the hill into town. It was built before we bought the house, so we knew what we were getting, but at times likes this it would be nice not to have that big block of grey getting in the way. No matter, a fine sunrise shot whatever.

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A Scottish Sunrise, 3rd Dec 2019

I think I’ve mentioned this around here before, but back in 2009/2010 I set myself the task of taking a picture of something from the natural world, every day, for a whole year. It was called my 365 Project and I have a great set of pictures that record the seasons during that period from November 2009 until the following November 2010. I had thought it would be a good idea to revisit the same locations a decade on, to compare the scenes, but of course that requires a fair level of commitment and so far I’ve been found wanting. What I have been able to record however makes for sobering viewing.

Exhibit A: On the 1st December 2009 I somehow managed to record the amazing sunrise on the left. Deep purple this one, with oranges so bright they looked like flames. Last Sunday was the 1st December 2019 and from the same vantage point I took the picture on the right. Not as impressive and I hadn’t even noticed before but it seems the cottage down the hill has lost its chimneys in the intervening years. Even worse is that the large tree that used to reside in its garden has been chopped down, and there are now stumps instead – It used to look spectacular in summer when in full leaf, but now only one left. This got me to thinking about what else has changed so radically, and it didn’t take long.

Exhibit B: Some of the roads leading up the hill to our house were originally tree-lined farm roads. Many were lined with very old Scots pines which could potentially have been there for hundreds of years. I took this fine shot on the left on a nice sunny day in November 2009. Sadly, a few years later the local council decided to cut down all but one of them, for health and safety reasons, and the shot on the right was the one I took on Sunday. Only one pine remains of the original four, and I don’t know about you, but to me it now looks really sad and lonely. Only two pictures in and already so much of the natural world had gone. Just think how I felt when I pulled into our street last week to be met with our next exhibit.

Exhibit C: Behind the hedge of the very first house in our street, there has always resided a tree that come springtime is covered in blossom. Our Japanese cherry flowers a bit later, and the blossom lasts longer, but the tree on the corner always flowers first and ends up producing a beautiful carpet of pink on the pavement. For some bizarre reason they have decided to get rid of it, to provide more light for their conservatory we suspect, but again just so sad to see yet another tree go.

But this is a music blog, and I have become side-tracked by trees, or rather the lack of them. This series is supposed to be all about songs relating to sunrises and sunsets so might as well get this one in early doors, as they say – Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles. The song wasn’t actually about the drink of the same name (that unmixed concoction made up of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup which does look remarkably like a sunrise), no, it was written for their 1973 album Desperado where all the songs were based on themes from the Old West. The band even appear on the album’s cover dressed like an outlaw gang.

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Tequila Sunrise was one of the first songs where Don Henley and Glenn Fry collaborated, and when Glenn came up with a guitar riff that sounded “kinda Mexican”, Don suggested the title, as they had been drinking straight tequila all night and now the sun was coming up. As for the line “take another shot of courage”, they called tequila “instant courage”, as without it they didn’t have the nerve to go and talk to women (but trust me, not always the best way to woo the opposite sex).

Tequila Sunrise by The Eagles:

So, “What’s It All About?” – A fine picture at the top there, but having revisited my pictures from ten years ago I am sad that in the town anyway, we have lost so many long-established trees.

As for the Eagles, they are one of the many bands that seemed to do just a little too well for themselves and lost their kudos along the way, becoming a tad corporate. Personally I still love listening to their songs but more because of that sense of nostalgia, remembering where I was, and who I was with, when I first discovered them. Growing up in the 1970s, if you were lucky enough to hang out at the house of a friend who had an older brother, there was usually an abundance of Eagles albums.

Just in case you don’t remember what a tequila sunrise drink looks like, here is it – The one we are most familiar with originated in Sausalito, California and those gradations in colour certainly do resemble a sunrise. One of the first alcoholic drinks I remember consuming in our local nightspot, once we become old enough to get served, was indeed a tequila sunrise and probably because it looked and tasted like a soft drink – An expensive 1970s alcopop!

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Until next time….

Tequila Sunrise Lyrics
(Song by Glenn Fry/Don Henley)

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky
Said goodbye
He was just a hired hand
Workin’ on the dreams he planned to try
The days go by

Ev’ry night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely boy in town
And she’s out runnin’ ’round

She wasn’t just another woman
And I couldn’t keep from comin’ on
It’s been so long
Oh and it’s a hollow feelin’
When it comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise
This old world still looks the same
Another frame

Sunrise, Sunset #1 – The Walker Brothers and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)”

The two series I have most enjoyed putting together for this blog have been the ones concerning the natural world. First there was The Wheel Of The Year In Song and over the last couple of years, as regular visitors to this place know, I have become a bit of an expert on all thing pertaining to our only satellite, the moon. I have written 21 posts in total for The Full Moon Calendar In Song and can see there will be a few more to be added, as the way the full moon falls, no two years will ever be the same. When writing about the annual rituals performed by the ancient Celts or Native Americans, it is clear that Mother Nature was the overriding influence over everything they did and how they lived. Oh how things change.

As someone who is usually heavily invested in the political coverage ahead of a general election, this time it leaves me cold. We are in effect watching our leaders “fiddle whilst Rome burns” but the political system being what it is, we seem to be relatively helpless in doing anything about it. Life has changed just so much in the last 10 years (and yes, I’m looking at you Mr iPhone) but we struggle to adapt quickly enough to these changes. My recent posts documenting the suicide of a close friend’s daughter due to cyber-bullying, is a case in point.

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So, what do you do if you have decided to bank all the hours usually reserved for watching political debate, and commune with nature instead? Why you go off in search of sunsets of course. Our forefathers would have had a short day at this time of year, as sunset was at 15:47 here today in the North of Scotland. After a period of twilight when we would have passed through civil, nautical and astronomical dusk, the sun reaches a point 18 degrees below the horizon and it becomes night.

I have long been fascinated by this period of twilight and have built up a fair knowledge of its foibles over the years, so my new series about the natural world is going to be called Sunrise, Sunset. One of the highlights of my recent trip to Bergen in Norway was travelling to the top of Mount Fløyen on the funicular, just before sunset. With its magnificent views over the city we took some great pictures, but I’m going to save them for another time. Instead, here are some I took only last week by the shores of Loch Ness. We’d had an Australian friend staying with us and as it was her last day we tried to find somewhere special to take her, and the sunset was just perfect. Sadly the temperatures were sub-zero so we couldn’t linger long enough to wait until darkness fell, but hopefully down the line we shall.

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Loch Ness just before Sunset
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Loch Ness just after Sunset

But of course this is a music blog, and as with the moon, there are many, many songs that relate to “the sun, sunsets and sunrises”. As ever I would love to hear your suggestions for future posts, but to get us started, and because I’m still feeling rather sad about our recent tragic bereavement, this time I’m going to feature The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) by The Walker Brothers. It was written by the prolific songwriting pair Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. They wrote many hits for The Four Seasons (Gaudio was a member of the group) and although originally released as a single by Frankie Valli, it was much more successful when recorded by The Walker Brothers in 1966. It topped the UK Singles Chart and also became their highest rating song on the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at No. 13.

It can be described as a very despondent song about the feeling that comes with the loss of love. In an interview Bob Gaudio explained: “I remember it was a rainy day and Bob Crewe and I were in his office, which was in the Atlantic Records building in the Lincoln Center area of New York, and it started to come together. It was a gloomy day and we were both a little depressed. And out it came.”

The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) by The Walker Brothers:

As for The Walker Brothers, they were an American pop group who moved to Britain around the time the British Invasion was happening at home, where bands like the Beatles were dominating the US Charts. They ended up achieving much more success in the UK than in their home country. They were unrelated and used The Walker Brothers showbusiness name simply because they liked it. After splitting up, all three continued to release solo records, with Scott Walker being by far the most successful and creating a large cult following.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I think I have a new series on my hands and I look forward to venturing out and about taking pictures of the perfect sunset or sunrise. Like with the moon, no two are ever the same so plenty of material to work with. Plenty of songs that refer to the sun, or phenomena associated with the sun (rainbows?) so feel free to come up with your own suggestions. And by this time you know, “I always reply”.

Until next time….

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The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) Lyrics
(Song by Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio)

Loneliness
Is a cloak you wear
A deep shade of blue
Is always there

The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore
The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky
The tears are always clouding your eyes
When you’re without love, baby

Emptiness
Is a place you’re in
With nothing to lose
But no more to win

The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore
The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky
The tears are always clouding your eyes
When you’re without love

Lonely
Without you baby
Girl I need you
I can’t go on

The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore
(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)
The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky
(The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky)
The tears are always clouding your eyes
(The tears are always clouding your eyes)
The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore
When you’re without love, baby

(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)
(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)
(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)
(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)
(The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore)