Quiet Valley Ranch, Kerrville, Al Grierson memorial (picture Chuck Brodsky)


for the roses
Al Grierson (1948-2000)

South Carolina songwriter Jack Williams brought us copies of the Al Grierson memorial concert when he came through the shires in the Spring of 2004. Jack plays an intro to our programme and Limey Mike talks with Jack about Al Grierson.

Annie Wenz (left) "Just wanted to take a little pinch of Al and hold him a little bit a while we celebrate . . ." and Anne Feeney "I think tonight we are going try to get as many songs of Al's songs sung as we can, I know we have some great songs about Al as well , if you've got a dangerous song or a song with a sing-a-long chorus you might consider adding it to the mix."

Petals (Part 1) sung by Steve Brooks Al Grierson's "unrecorded masterpiece". We have chosen to divide this beautiful song into several verses which fold in and out of the rest of the concert.

"Come with me and be my love and we'll go high above the city to the mountains where the olden rivers run and I'll lay for you a table just as fine as I am able there to eat the golden apples of the sun." (Petals, Al Grierson)

Al's Ashes and Me (Chuck Brodsky) "I met Al his first year here down at Camp California, which is now  Sing-Kerr-nicity Camp. I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he heard a good song. That look of  awe and wonder and joy and that laugh that went with it. I ran into Annie Wenz at Folk Alliance this year in Vancouver, about  five in the morning maybe and we were in the elevator and she mentioned that Al's sisters had given her some of Al's ashes. And I was moved to ask for a little bit that I might take them around with me, take them on the road and let them do some gigs and this is a little travelogue." Chuck Brodsky

In The Texas Sky (Jack Williams) "This may be a little off the wall . . .  but I figure most of us here are, so this song's total fantasy . . ." Jack Williams was Chuck Brodsky's room mate at the Folk Alliance when Chuck was given a phial of Al Grierson's ashes.

"Al Grierson sings his story although it takes a little time how he got snorted by the boys on the US Canada line . . ." (Jack Williams)

Anne Feeney ". . . we've all been talking how absolutely intolerable Al would have been after Ray Wylie sang Resurrection . . ."

Petals (part 2) sung by Steve Brooks: "Lay beside me like an autumn afternoon, lay beside me til I shiver in that place inside the river where you hide the silver apples of the moon . . . Saying Pharoah's drunken army wasn't even after Moses they were looking for the answer everywhere, to the riddle of the Spinx its not where anybody thinks, it's in the flowers in the petals of your hair. . ." (Al Grierson)

Things That Never Added Up To Me (Al Grierson) Austin Kessler performs the title song from Al Grierson's first album. "Rock around, rock around, rock around my Sarah Jane all the way from Dublin Bay to Valparaiso, for we'll be of better cheer when we're ankle deep in beer and the dark eyed ladies haul our woes away. If I could find the oyster of the world, I'd buy the gun they used to shoot the moon, and ballyrag the Governments to never make a law, just tell the truth on Thursday afternoons . . ."

Kevin So and unknown fiddle player "I thought this song would be appropriate for Al, I lost my Dad back in August and wrote this song a month after . . .'Daddy's now gone but life must go on, we'll be alright as long as we have each other . . .' "

"Next up is the host and spirit father of Camp Calm, Al's dear friend and mentor Blair Powell . . ." Anne Feeney. A eulogy for the gathering.

Petals (part 3) sung by Steve Brooks ". . . And it will be you and me honey at the fall, at the burning of St. Joan pulling meaning from a senseless sacrifice, like a pair of lonely pilgrims on our way to find forgiveness in a place between the fire and the ice, and the streets are all embarrassed at the sound of her confession and there's incense in the smoke that fills the square as the smell of holy flesh from Burgundy to Bangladesh recalls the petals on the flowers of your hair. . . " (Al Grierson)

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