Posts Tagged ‘Susan Tedeschi’

Sophie’s Bowl

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

My sister and I are still sorting through Mom’s things, and we will be doing so for some time. During the various moves that took place in Mom’s last years – from Kilian Boulevard to a patio home, from the patio home to assisted living, and from assisted living to memory care – Mom not only put a lot of stuff in two storage units, but she also sent boxes home with me and many more boxes home with my sister.

So Monday morning, I headed down to my sister’s home in Maple Grove to tackle two tasks: Decide what to do with first, Mom’s framed pictures and memorabilia and, second, her silver.

Along with art – a couple of watercolors by a local artist and some prints – and some smaller pieces like doilies her aunt had made, Mom had framed four beautiful certificates issued by a rural church near Lamberton, Minnesota, in the early 1900s. The certificates – all in German – noted the marriage of her parents and her own christening as well as the christening of her two sisters. Mom also had framed certificates noting Dad’s birth and confirmation, issued by churches in the east central portion of Minnesota where Dad grew up, and a couple of other similar events.

My sister thinks her children will take the watercolors, and we’ll put the doilies in the vast amount of stuff heading for an estate sale sometime in the next few months. As to the certificates, we’re going have a local photo shop remove them from the frames and get digital photos of them, and then I’ll contact historical societies in the various counties where the churches were located and see if the folks there are interested in the certificates. If they’re not, I guess we’re going to have to find a safe way to store them and figure out later what to do with them.

As to the silver, Mom had trays, bowls, and a coffee and tea service, a collection that seems typical for the middle class in the Upper Midwest during the middle years of the Twentieth Century. My sister already has enough silver she said, and I didn’t need it. She was going to check with her kids, but the likelihood was that most of the silver would go to the estate sale.

So we each chose one thing: She chose a silver bowl that she and her husband had given Mom and Dad for their silver anniversary in 1973. I pulled bowls from flannel bags and out of mounds of tissue paper, not entirely certain what I might want. As I looked at things, I found the notes my sister had made when the silver was put away in March; with each piece, she’d asked Mom where it came from: they came from cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents.

And one bowl came from Sophie Kashinsky.

The name caught my eye. In April of last year, one of Mom’s stories over lunch had introduced me to Sophie Kashinsky. I’d been asking Mom about the recipe for the punch that had been served at Mom’s 90th birthday celebration in 2011 and at my sister’s wedding in 1972. And Mom told me that the same punch had been served at my grandparents’ fiftieth anniversary celebration in 1965 and at Mom and Dad’s own wedding reception in 1948.

I wrote then:

So where had Grandma gotten the recipe? Well, Mom said, she’d gotten it from her sister Hilda.

And Hilda, Mom said slowly, thinking, had gotten it from her roommate at nursing school. The memories began to spool out, as they always do when Mom gets to talking about things that happened sixty or more years ago: Hilda was living in St. Paul, and the nursing school was at the long-gone Miller Hospital . . .

Hilda’s roommate was a nursing student, too, Mom said, visibly sifting the memories . . . . [Her name was] Sophie, Sophie . . . Kashinsky. Sophie came from Hutchinson, Minnesota, a town about sixty miles straight west of the Twin Cities, with a population back then of not quite 5,000 people.

Where did Sophie get the recipe? Mom didn’t know. She’d met Sophie a number of times, the last occasion being a potluck picnic at the Hutchinson home of the recently married Sophie during the summer of 1950. Mom recalled the year of the picnic because she was pregnant with my sister at the time, and she also recalled that she brought baked beans to the picnic. I have no doubt that if I’d asked her what color the table cloth was, she’d have remembered.

But there was no answer to the question: Where did Sophie get the punch recipe? I didn’t say this at lunch, but it’s reasonable to assume, I think, that Sophie got the recipe from her mother, and I’d like to think that it was served at a reception for Sophie’s graduation from Hutchinson High School sometime during the 1930s, or maybe even at the reception when Sophie’s own parents were married, most likely in the early 1900s.

So when I found inside one of Mom’s silver bowls a note with Sophie’s name on it, I looked a little more closely. The note indicated that in July 1948, when Mom and Dad got married, Sophie had been the supervisor. To me, that means that Sophie took care of the numerous details a wedding day brings: organizing the ushers, getting the flowers in the right places, coordinating transportation for the bridal party back to my grandparents’ farm after the wedding, getting the photographer in the right place, and so on and so on.

So there was no question which piece of silver I’d take from Mom’s collection. I took Sophie’s bowl.

Sophie's Silver Bowl

I’d like to know more than I do, but so far, I’m finding nothing online. On the note, my sister spelled Sophie’s last name as “Kashinski,” but I don’t know if Mom spelled it for her or if my sister made an assumption. In any case, I’ve searched using both “Sophie” and “Sophia” along with “Kashinsky,” “Kashinski,” “Kachinsky,” “Kachinski,” and “Kaczynski.” And I’ve done all of those using “Hutchinson” as an added term. I may be missing something in the results, but nothing seems to be out there for our Sophie. (Searching is complicated by the fact that one of the characters in the CBS comedy Two Broke Girls is named Sophie Kaczynski-Golishevsky, which many fans misspell as one of the other variants listed here.)

So what do we listen to as we think about Sophie and a wedding gift of a silver bowl? I decided quickly against anything from the soundtrack to Sophie’s Choice. I like some work by singer Sophie Zelmani, but my favorite, her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Most Of The Time,” isn’t on YouTube (and would likely be blocked anyway, I think). So I looked for things about silver.

And here is Susan Tedeschi and her cover of the Rolling Stones’ “You Got The Silver.” It’s from her 2005 album Hope and Desire.

‘And You Can Follow . . .’

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

As I was getting going this morning – putting together a lunch for the Texas Gal and getting the rinsed dishes from last evening into the dishwasher – I had my mp3 player pushing its tunes through the radio speakers. And as I focused on the mundane, there came from the speakers the unmistakable – to me, anyway – ringing of Richie Havens’ guitar and the introduction to “Follow,” my favorite recording of his.

The morning got brighter right away. And, with my tasks done, I leaned against the kitchen counter sipping the day’s first cup of coffee and listening. Now, I’ve written about Havens’ version of “Follow” at least twice before – once long ago and then during this last year when I included it in my Ultimate Jukebox. But I got to thinking about the song itself. And about other versions of the song.

(I consider Havens’ version to be the original version of the song, which was written by Jerry Merrick. Havens’ version was first on Mixed Bag, which was released in 1967, and Merrick’s version was first released on Follow in 1969. Which puts Merrick in the odd position of covering his own composition.)

Based on the tale Merrick tells in the single entry at his blog, Jerry Merrick, the entire process of recording his album for Mercury in 1968 was at best disappointing. He writes: “As so often was the case during that time period, the label, seeking to make an acoustic singer/writer fit into the then popular radio music format, released a heavily orchestrated album, which though quite nice in its musicality, proved to perhaps not be the most compatible vehicle for [my] intricate lyrics and intimate performances.”

Merrick repaired those flaws with the recording and the release in 2002 of Suddenly I’ll Know You, which includes “Follow” the way he originally envisioned it. I listened to a sample of Merrick’s new version of “Follow” this morning, and it sounded good; Merrick’s voice isn’t as robust as it was forty-some years ago, but that’s time for you. The album, for those interested, is available here.

So that’s two cover versions. Who else has taken on “Follow”? I turned to All-Music Guide, knowing that first, the listings there are not comprehensive, and second, there are errors: AMG lists groups called Chomsky and Android Lust as having covered Merrick’s song. Not so. Chomsky’s tune is a pleasant pop-folkish ballad, and Android Lusts’ “Follow” is also a different composition, an avalanche of sound in a style called “industrial dance.” There are probably other errors in the listings, but those popped out at me.

So who has covered Merrick’s tune in the last forty-some years? Here are some of the names I found: Chad Mitchell. Hedge & Donna. Jerry Jeff Walker. Mick Sterling. All That Remains. Evan Teatum. Susan Tedeschi.

 (According to AMG, All That Remains gives Merrick a co-writing credit on its 2002 CD Behind Silence and Solitude, but if there’s any of Merrick’s “Follow” inside All That Remains’ slashing metal attack, I can’t hear it.)

Some of those names shine brighter than others, of course, and a few of those versions are – to my ears, anyway – more worthy of a listen than others. Hedge & Donna Capers were a folk-rock duo that released five albums from 1968 through 1970. They’re still around – you can find them on Facebook – and several of their tracks are available at YouTube. Here’s their version of “Follow” from 1968’s Hedge & Donna:

One name that surprised me was that of Mick Sterling. He’s long been known in the Upper Midwest as the leader of the blues and R&B band Mick Sterling & The Stud Brothers. The band is no longer together – there are annual December reunions at a Minneapolis nightspot that are reported to be very well-attended – and Sterling is now pursuing a solo career. His version of “Follow” shows up on his 2007 CD Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. I grabbed the track at Amazon this morning, and I think I’m going to have to get the entire album. It’s good.

Another surprising name in the listings at AMG was that of country outlaw/individualist Jerry Jeff Walker. I’ve not listened to a lot of Walker’s stuff over the years; I don’t know if that’s going to change, but he did a pretty good job on “Follow.” It’s on his 1978 album, Jerry Jeff.

But the best cover I’ve heard of Merrick’s song – the best version outside of Richie Havens’ original – comes from a source that surprised me. I’ve listened to a fair amount of Susan Tedeschi’s music over the past decade, finding her pretty well settled into the blues, a place that I think was reinforced in my mind with her 2001 marriage to Derek Trucks, a member of the Allman Brothers Band and the leader at the time of his own Derek Trucks band (now the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band).

But in 2005, Tedeschi released Hope and Desire, an effort on which, says AMG, she “digs deep into the soul and R&B fakebook for inspiration and comes out a winner.” Among the songs she tackles on that CD – and I agree with AMG’s assessment; it’s a great CD – is “Follow.” And to my ears, only Havens’ original version of the song is better than Tedeschi’s take on Jerry Merrick’s song.

“Follow” – Susan Tedeschi

Let the river rock you like a cradle.
Climb to the treetops, child, if you’re able.
Let your hands tie a knot across the table.
Come and touch the things you cannot feel,
And close your fingertips and fly where I can’t hold you.
Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you,
And maybe you can sing to me the words that I just told you,
If all the things you feel ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ’cause I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The mockingbird sings each different song.
Each song has wings. They won’t stay long.
Do those who hear think he’s doing wrong?
While the church-bell tolls its one-note song,
And the school-bell is tinkling to the throng,
Come here where your ears cannot hear,
And close your ears, child, and listen to what I’ll tell you:
Follow in the darkest night the sounds that may impel you,
And the song that I am singing may disturb or serve to quell you.
If all the sounds you hear ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ’cause I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The rising smell of fresh-cut grass,
Smothered cities choke and yell with fuming gas.
I hold some grapes up to the sun,
And their flavor breaks upon my tongue.
With eager tongues, we taste our strife
And fill our lungs with seas of life.
Come taste and smell the waters of our time,
And close your lips, child, so softly that I might kiss you.
Let your flower perfume out and let the winds caress you.
And as I walk on through the garden, I am hoping I don’t miss you.
If all the things you taste ain’t what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ’cause I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

The sun and moon both arise,
And we’ll see them soon through days and nights;
But now silver leaves are mirrors, bring delights,
And the colors of your eyes are fiery bright.
While darkness blinds the skies with all its light,
Come see where your eyes cannot see,
And close your eyes, child, and look at what I’ll show you.
Let your mind go reeling out and let the breezes blow you,
And maybe when we meet, then suddenly I will know you.
If all the things you see ain’t quite what they seem,
Then don’t mind me ’cause I ain’t nothin’ but a dream.

And you can follow.
And you can follow.
Follow . . .

(Words and music by Jerry Merrick)