Songs of the River

By The General on February 28, 2017

I'm not a great fan of humans' music. I like the songs of the bush and the river - I know what I'm doing amongst all that. I know when the Kookaburras are gathering in the morning to remind everyone of their territory; I hear the Blackbirds getting up early, before everybody else, then the Willy Wagtails, the Shrike-Thrush, the Magpies and the Turtle Doves - not to mention the odd flock of those pesky Indian Mynahs.

Right now I can hear the Bee-Eaters and Dollarbirds on the river. They come down here to nest in late spring and head back up north, usually by the middle of March when it starts to cool down and the insects get harder to find. 

Then there's the tiny Wrens and Firetails - they are here pretty much all year-round and they poke around the wood-heap and in my yard in case there's bugs and crumbs and bits of dry left-overs. They hop around in front of my nose and I used to snap at them when I was little - but now I like them for company.

The Boss likes all that too, and tries to tell me their names, but I know more than he does. I don't know what they're all called but I know them - and I know straight away when something odd pops up - when the Corellas or Cockatoos start squawking louder than usual, which might mean a fox or a snake is on the prowl.

And then there's the south wind, which messes it up when its blowy and sharp. That's when I can sneak inside and hear The Boss's music. And he's excited at the moment about Alison's new album - one of her songs is River in the Rain. I don't mind it myself and you can listen to it here.

He says Alison Krauss has a stunning voice and he's followed her a while - says she had another river song a while ago in O Brother Where art Thou? called Down to The River to Pray and he likes that too.

Me? I don't pray for anything else but more food, whenever I can get it. The Boss thinks I lack the sophistication of a higher being - but so does he, to be honest.  One of his river songs is Willy's Whiskey River - which is not the kind of river I like swimming in. 

Then there's the William Warfield version of Old Man River, which he prefers to Paul Robeson's out of Showboat - so there you go. 

Whenever he has to pick up a bunch of rubbish and smooth out the sand after blokes driving down the sandbar, covering up the Bee-Eaters' nests, he gets riled up and gives John Prine a run. Paradise tell the story of a river neglected. I have to keep his spirits up then; he says Prine's Sam Stone is the saddest song of his generation.

So he's better on river songs, although once he's listened to John Prine he might get onto to Joni Mitchell's River, which sounds like its about Christmas but it's a mite sad too. And The Ballad of Easy Rider by the Byrds is another one, back from when every band named themselves after animals.

Fortunately there's no band I know of named The General: I'm not inclined to hang about waiting for stuff to happen - I'm a fighting, hyper sort of dog.  Well, at least when my Mum, Queenie, isn't bossing me around. Woof.

By The General on February 28, 2017

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