"Happy Hollow Song"

©1982 Ken Baker,
verse 3 ©1983-1984 Lee Ruth

MP3
Acoustic Swell
Tim Buckler- Vocal & Rhythm Guitar
Stacy Roberts - Harmony Vocals
Mark Ort - Lead Guitar
Dave Sabath - Bass
Dr. Dave Foley - Harmonica
Wayne Flower - Drums & Percussion
  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original

 

Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
Circling the hills, rolling moonlight calls the screech owl
Fog, hanging veil scatters echoes of predator's howl
All at once, here before us, night-time, the valley
Beckons all who are witness to enter gladly

Mystery breeds here, wonder so keenly recalled
Crashes my memory's river, turned waterfall
I could live and die here in this hallowed hollow
Grief, and grace of the years, gladly I'll follow

Humans have haunted this place since the red oak was taller
Harvesting earth and space, watching the creek rise and fall
Now it is our turn to keep the woodfire burning
Warm for our children, gladly to them we are turning

I could live and die here in this happy hollow
Grief, and grace of the years, gladly I'll follow

Now it is our turn to keep the woodfire burning
Warm for our children, gladly to them we are turning

Circling the hills, rolling moonlight calls the hoot owl
Fog, hanging veil scatters echoes of predator's howl
All at once, here before me, night-time, the valley
Beckons all who are witness to enter gladly

Mystery breeds here, wonder so keenly recalled
Crashes my memory's river, turned waterfall
I could live and die here in this happy hollow
Grief, and grace of the years, gladly I'll follow

Humans have haunted this place since the red oak was taller
Harvesting earth and space, watching the creek rise and fall
Now it is our turn to keep the woodfire burning
Warm for our children, gladly to them we are turning
and (repeat last 2 lines)

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:

The selection of "Happy Hollow Song" came about at KOPN radio station. Lee Ruth and I each have a late night radio show on Wednesdays--Lee's is "Radio Omega" from 3:00 to 5:30 am, mine is the "The Midnight Hour," from midnight to 3:00 am. I chose the song partially because it was one of the ones left to pick that I knew and liked. Nobody else had chosen it because it was never in the selection pool as it was one of the only songs not entirely written by Lee. The first two verses were written by Ken Baker, from a visitor's perspective. Lee then added verse three from a resident's perspective. Along with "Public Domain", "Happy Hollow Song" became, to me at least, one of Lee's signatures tunes.

After the selection, I briefly visited Happy Hollow to gain some inspiration. It was easy--just as the song says, Happy Hollow is a magical, mystical, beautiful place to be. We combined it with the Jerry Garcia / Robert Hunter tune 'Terrapin Station," and they went together perfectly. Both songs describe places of ultimate destination and wonder, where people aspire to be and to go seek truth and peace.

In 1982 Rena and I, along with another family, bought twenty-three acres with an old farmhouse, barn, and so on, in Moniteau County, Missouri, in a beautiful secluded valley that the local folks called Happy Hollow. It was late September when we moved our family out there and settled ourselves in for a long spell of country living. Around that same time, a friend and neighbor named Ken Baker visited "the Hollow" for the first time and, struck by the beauty of the place, in a moment of inspiration wrote this short but sweet song. After we had lived there for a while, I decided the song needed another verse, written from a resident's rather than a visitor's perspective, so I added a third verse and added the song to my repertoire. It's one letter shy of being the title song of my 1988 album, "Happy Hollow Songs," and now that we've moved to town after twenty-one years out there, singing it or even hearing it is a poignant experience for me. Perhaps I need to write a new verse about missing the place. Someday we're moving back.
Artist on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:

The first time I saw Lee Ruth was at Gladstone's in the late 70s. He sat near the front door and played his songs with purpose and conviction no matter what madness was going on around him. I don't think I ever really talked to him until I really met him at KOPN again in the late 80s where I was lucky enough for my radio show to be on just before his. One of the greatest pleasures is listening to Lee do "Radio Omega", his theme song, live every week. Lee is a truly great songwriter, musician, teacher, and radio show host. His knowledge of music and the recordings at KOPN is extensive. My greatest influences have been John Lennon, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, John Hartford, Janis Joplin, and of course Jerry Garcia, and Lee Ruth. Our participation in this project is a wonderful honor--thanks Lee! Taper Tim Buckler

I became acquainted with Tim some fifteen or so years ago when he became the host of "The Midnight Hour," the radio show on KOPN that preceded and still precedes "Radio Omega," my Wednesday morning 3:00 A.M. show. (Must be seven or eight hundred times that he's handed off to me the control of our wonderful community radio station.) He mostly airs recordings of live music, while these days I mostly play new albums: it makes for a good all-night music night on the station. Tim works as hard as anyone I know to find gigs and play live music in central Missouri, and these days he is the primary archivist of local live music in central Missouri (a role I used to play), taking his recording gear on location to more musical events than you can shake a microphone stand at. On a number of occasions I've enjoyed sitting in, usually on mandolin or banjo, with Tim and his band, and I'm glad he found a song to play for this album.
Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:

Happy Hollow is not only a song but also a place that Lee calls home. Oddly enough, during the recording of this project, Lee and his family moved into the metropolis of Columbia, Missouri, to take advantage of the schools and social opportunities for their teenaged son. Lee was and still is in the limbo of having two homes, one that is new and one that pulls him back to it like a giant electromagnet. Acoustic Swell picked this song, which tells the tale of that special hollow in Lee's life.

We recorded the basic track live, since that is really how this band usually performs. Stephan Gardner helped out in the digital editing, fixing a couple of problems on the drum tracks. Stacey came into the studio at another session and sang some sweet harmonies. In hindsight I would have liked to record this song after the band had had more opportunities to play it at their live gigs.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Dates: 4/10/03 and 5/15/03

Digital Editing at The Music House Studio by Stephan Gardner 10/7/03

Mixed: 2/11/04

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio

 

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