(Going, Goin’) Home (Coming, Again)

I was born in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Over the course of the sixty-something years since, I’ve lived in a handful of locations around the Granite State. Besides Exeter, I’ve taken up residence in North Conway, Raymond, Dover and Hampton Beach.

Well, my wife and I recently joined the ranks of down-sizing baby boomers and, since the end of December, I am once more living in Exeter.

No small accomplishment. Therefore, this post.

There were many contenders for a recording to accompany this missive. Among them were:

“Goin’ Home” – the 11-minute-plus track by The Rolling Stones from the album, Aftermath (1966);

“I’m Going Home” – as performed by Ten Years After at the famous Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August, 1969 and included in the 1970 documentary film of that event;

“Home Again” – by Carole King and part of her 1971 album Tapestry;

and “Homecoming” – by Josh Ritter, from Sermon On The Rocks, his 2015 album.

I also thought of:

“Homeward Bound” – by Paul Simon and released in 1966 on Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme album and “My Hometown” – by Bruce Springsteen from his 1984 album Born In The USA.

But the piece that musically best fit the bill was (drum roll, please…):

“Going Home (Theme of Local Hero)” by Mark Knopfler.

To me, “Going Home” sounds like moving; from the initial idea to the unpacking of the last box, all in 5 gorgeous minutes of music.

Listen for yourself. (Headphones recommended.)



The inimitable and brilliant Mark Knopfler plays the acoustic and electric guitar on that track; Michael Brecker is the saxophonist; Alan Clark covers the various keyboard duties; Tony Levin plays bass and Terry Williams is the drummer.

“Going Home” is the theme music of Local Hero, a charming British film, written and directed by Bill Forsyth in 1983.

All of the music for Local Hero was created and performed by Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Mark Knopfler. (Knopfler was, at the time, internationally well known as the leader of the very popular British rock band, Dire Straits.) The music from the film was released in March, 1983, on an album also called Local Hero. (Highly recommended!)

And yes, Carole King, it is very nice to be home again.

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Pat The Fish

I first took my daily morning walk on the concrete-paved promenade of New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach State Park back in October. Starting that morning near the southern end of the park, I began looking for some kind of landmark that I could use over the next couple of months as a turn-around point for the routine of my walk.

I soon found exactly what I was looking for.

I found the fish.


The fish is a granite sculpture entitled “Pale-scaled Snapper.” It was created in 2011 by Alexander Renard, an Armenian-born artist who, at the time, resided in Eliot, Maine.

The sculpture is one of several art works installed in the park by the N.H. State Council on the Arts during the Hampton Beach State Park Redevelopment Project that ran from May, 2010 to November, 2011.

“Pale-scaled Snapper” is approximately 46″ long, 23″ tall and 12″ wide. It is displayed on a large round, two-tiered, concrete and granite pedestal that is located on the southern end of the Park’s Central Beach Access. The pedestal elevates “Pale-scaled Snapper” so that it is eye-to-eye with a six-foot tall admirer like myself.

That October morning, as I turned at the Central Beach Access to head back south, I had a thought: “Pat the fish.”

So, I did. (And still do.)

“Pat the fish”

As the phrase rattled around in my head for the next few days, I decided that it would make a good title for a new instrumental guitar piece.

Here, many stolen moments later, is what I came up with:

“Pat The Fish” – created and performed by Eric Sinclair.

“Pat The Fish” was recorded in the guest bedroom of our rented Hampton Beach condominium on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 30, 2016. I used the GarageBand app in my iPad outfitted with an external Zoom iQ6 XY Stereo Microphone.

Hampton Beach State Park was established as a state park in 1933. It is 1.2 miles long and extends along the southern half of New Hampshire’s coast line. The Park is bordered on the west by Ocean Boulevard/Route 1A.

P.S.: On the morning of the day after Thanksgiving, “Pale-scaled Snapper” had something in its mouth. The space had been carefully filled with a fish-sized meal of mashed potatoes, green peas, carrots and turkey. The next day, the food was gone!

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A Thanksgiving Song (Reprise)

The other day, I was telling a friend about this song and I couldn’t quite recall all the details of its story. As I searched the sixstr stories archives, I thought, “Time for a reprise!”

So, here’s to Lydia Maria Child and here’s to you, with best wishes to you and yours for a very happy Thanksgiving Day!


I know what you’re going to say.

“‘Over The River And Through The Woods’ is a Christmas song.”


Here’s the story.

The words to “Over The River And Through The Woods” were taken from a poem.

The poem was called “The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day” and it was written by Lydia Maria Child. The original 12 verse poem was included in Ms. Child’s book, Flowers for Children, Vol. 2 and was published in 1844.

Lydia Maria Child was born on February 11, 1802 in Medford, Massachusetts. She was a prolific author, a journalist and an active antislavery and women’s rights activist. Her first novel, Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times, was published in 1824. Her last publication, Aspirations of the World, came out in 1878.

Lydia Maria Child passed away on October 20, 1880 in Wayland, Massachusetts. She was 78 years old.

No one seems to know who set the poem to music or when. One source suggests 1870 and another cites a published version of the song dated 1897. One source believes the melody to be “an old French Folk tune.” The song is generally listed as being “traditional,” or authored by “Anonymous.”

I’ve long enjoyed this song, both the words and its jaunty, infectious melody. We have home videos of past Thanksgivings with me merrily whistling the tune in the background, a soundtrack for the family craziness.

For your Thanksgiving listening pleasure, I have arranged and recorded a fingerstyle, acoustic guitar arrangement of this timeless song. Here, too, are the lyrics, if you’d like to sing along! (Good luck with the second and third verses!)

“Over The River And Through The Woods” – arranged and performed by Eric Sinclair.


Over the river and through the woods, to Grandfather’s house we go;

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh, through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the woods, oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes and bites the nose as over the ground we go.


Over the river and through the woods, to have a full day of play;

Oh, hear the bells ringing, “Ting-a-ling-ling!,” for it’s Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the woods, trot fast my dapple gray;

Spring over the ground just like a hound for this is Thanksgiving Day!


Over the river and through the woods and straight through the barnyard gate.

It seems that we go so incredibly slow, it is so hard to wait.

Over the river and through the woods, now Grandmother’s cap I spy.

Hurrah for fun, the pudding’s done, hurrah for the pumpkin pie!


This post (in a slightly different form) originally appeared in sixstr stories on November 28, 2013.

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Moving Day

That it is: the day that my wife and I say “Farewell!” to our house and home of 36 1/2 years.

I’ve known and loved Jim Kweskin’s recording of “Moving Day” for way longer than that.

I can think of no better soundtrack for this day.

Take it, Jim.


“Moving Day” was published in 1906. Andrew B. Sterling wrote the words and Harry von Tilzer composed the music.

The song was first recorded by Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers sometime between 1926 and 1931.

Jim Kweskin and The Neo-Passe Jazz Band included their rendition of “Moving Day” on their truly joyous 1967 album, Jump For Joy.

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A Somewhat Recent Rediscovery

James McMurtry’s debut album, “Too Long In The Wasteland,” came out in August of 1989. After hearing “Painting By Numbers,” “Talkin’ At The Texaco” and the title song on the radio, I soon added a copy of this intriguing singer/songwriter/guitarist’s record to my collection.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that as much as I enjoyed “Too Long In The Wasteland,” I kind of lost track of James McMurtry until this past Spring. In May, my beloved Prescott Park Arts Festival in near-by Portsmouth, NH released their 2016 schedule and James McMurtry was booked as part of their River House Restaurant Concert Series. I immediately marked the Thursday, September 1st date on my calendar and began doing some research.

I soon discovered that McMurtry was touring in support of his most recent (February, 2015) and highly acclaimed album, “Complicated Game.” After a visit to the iTunes store, three of the songs from the album were getting frequent plays on my iPod, especially the album’s first track, “Copper Canteen.”

Now, I’m a sucker for a country waltz with a descending bass line, so McMurtry had my attention at the intro. But when he sang the first line, I was completely hooked.

Give a listen for yourself.

That song is definitely going to be on my list of the “Best of 2016.”

I did go to see James McMurtry and his band perform at Prescott Park on September 1st. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening of exceptionally fine songs played by a four-piece, down-to-business band of road warrior musicians. The setlist included several songs from the new album (including “Copper Canteen”) and even “Painting By Numbers” from his first. I picked up a CD copy of “Complicated Game” at the merchandise booth after the show and was lucky enough to be able to get James to autograph it!

I’ve made a promise to myself to not lose track of James McMurtry again.

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Not Just Another “B”


Yes, “B.”

Let me explain.

For quite some time now, I have been aware that an inordinately high number of all of the musicians and bands that I’ve ever seen perform live have the letter “B” as the first letter of either their forename, surname or, in the case of the bands, their title.

I’ve even made a list.

Here’s the bands: The Band, The Beach Boys (not with Brian Wilson), Blue Oyster Cult and The Byrds. (That would be the 1971 version with Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, Gene Parsons and Skip Battin.)

Now, the surnames: Joan Baez, Sam Baker, William “Count” Basie, Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Kenny Burrell and Gary Burton.

The forenames: B.B. King, Bette Midler, Bill Evans (the Jazz pianist), Bill Morrissey, Bill Staines, Bill Wyman (bass guitarist with The Rolling Stones), Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bob Franke, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Cockburn, Bruce Hornsby, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Guy and Buddy Miller.

Finally: Banana (aka Lowell Levinger) with The Youngbloods and Ringo Starr, a Beatle.

Quite the list, if I do say so. However…

Not one “B” on that list has had a number-one album in each of the last six decades.

And all of those artists and bands combined have not compiled a list of accolades that includes ten Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Daytime Emmy Award, a Special Tony Award, four Peabody Awards, nine Golden Globes, three People’s Choice Awards, an American Film Institute award, a Kennedy Center Honors prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

There is only one artist in the history of popular music whose resume looks like that and I am quite pleased to say that I can now add her to my list.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, Barbra Streisand’s nine-city, North American concert tour – the retrospective Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic! – came to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Thanks to the combination of my daughter’s mad on-line ticket-scoring skills and the amazing early-Christmas-gift-giving generosity of her & my son-in-law and my son, my wife (the big – make that “huge” – Streisand fan in the family) and I were not only able to attend the concert, but we had really good seats!

Ms. Streisand and her 13-piece band started the night beautifully with – what else?! – “The Way We Were.” Over the course of the highly-entertaining 50-minute first set, Ms. Streisand consummately performed a collection of eight songs and a three-song medley. [A passionate “Being At War With Each Other,” a simply gorgeous “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and the energetic medley of “Woman In Love/Stoney End/No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” were, to me, among the most memorable numbers.]

Between each song, Ms. Streisand engaged the audience with some conversation and an interesting, often humorous background story about the next number. Her reminiscing would be highlighted with photographs and film clips presented on the massive video screen that stretched across the back of the stage.

The second half of this superb concert included more of Ms. Streisand’s magnificent vocalizing, intimate storytelling and the outstanding playing of her first-rate band. The setlist of classic songs included “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” and – much to my wife’s great delight – “Don’t Rain On My Parade” (from Ms. Streisand’s 1968 movie, Funny Girl).

At the end of the show, Ms. Streisand honored her totally adoring (except for the small number of rather vocal Republicans in the house) and unashamedly enthusiastic Boston audience with three fabulous encores: “People,” “Happy Days Are Hear Again” and “With One More Look At You.”

Musical, memorable and magical, indeed.

I must add that my wife and I and the other 14,000 fans gathered in Boston’s cavernous TD Garden last Tuesday would not have been able to enjoy Barbra Streisand’s stellar performance nearly so completely had it not been for the rich and remarkably crystal-clear sound that was produced by the expansive state-of-the-art sound system and the obviously-gifted crew of audio engineers who ran it.

Bravo to one and all!

For your listening pleasure, here’s the original soundtrack recording of Barbra Streisand singing “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from Funny Girl.


Welcome to my “B”-list, Barbra Streisand! It is truly an honor to have you there.

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This Historic Day In Music: Ivan Vaughan Changed The World

Here’s how.

Ivan Vaughan was born on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England.

Ivan attended the Dovedale Primary School where one of his friends was an older boy named John Lennon.

After primary school, Ivan went to the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys. (John had gone to the Quarry Bank High School.)

At the Institute, Ivan became friends with Paul McCartney, a musically talented boy who happened to have the same birthday as Ivan.

John, meanwhile, had learned to play the guitar and, in November of 1956, decided to form a skiffle group with some of his friends from Quarry Bank and Dovedale. The group, known as The Quarry Men, featured John on guitar and vocals and Ivan, briefly, on tea chest bass.

By the spring of 1957, The Quarry Men – John Lennon, guitar & vocals; Eric Griffiths, guitar; Rod Davis, banjo; Len Garry, tea chest bass; Pete Shotton, washboard & vocals; and Colin Hanton, drums – began performing at parties, school dances and community events around Liverpool. Ivan often went to hear them play.

On Saturday, July 6, 1957, The Quarry Men were scheduled to play 2, 1/2 hour sets (the first at 4:15 pm and then again at 5:45 pm) at the St. Peter’s Parish Church Garden Fete in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool, England.

Ivan invited Paul to the Fete to hear the group. (Paul did not have a group.)

Paul, riding his bicycle, arrived at the Fete about half-way through the Quarry Men’s first set.

Paul watched and listened intently. He was especially impressed with John.

When the Fete was over, at a little before 7:00 pm, in the nearby St. Peter’s Church Hall, Ivan Vaughan introduced Paul McCartney to John Lennon.

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This Historic Day In Music: “Sallie Gooden”

Two fiddlers performed together at the Old Confederate Soldiers’ Reunion in Richmond, Virginia during the third week of June, 1922. 34-year-old Texas fiddler Alexander Campbell “Eck” Robertson was one and 77-year-old Henry Clay Gilliland from Oklahoma (and a former Confederate soldier himself) was the other.

When the festivities ended, the duo took the train to New York City. Henry knew a lawyer in New York named Martin W. Littleton, who had done some legal work for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Eck and Henry were hoping that Martin could get them an audition at the well-known record company based in Camden, New Jersey.

On Thursday, June 29, Martin introduced Eck and Henry to “that man (who) was running the shop in the Victor office.” Right on the spot, the manager told Eck, “Get your fiddle out and start off on a tune.” Eck hesitantly complied but didn’t even get half way through “Sallie Gooden” before the manager stopped him and said, “Come back in the morning at nine o’clock and we’ll make a test record.”

On Friday, June 30, 1922, Eck Robertson and Henry Gilliland recorded “Arkansaw Traveler,” “Turkey In The Straw” and two other fiddle duets in the Camden, New Jersey recording studio of Victor Records. The next day – Saturday, July 1, 1922 – Eck went back to the studio and recorded “Sallie Gooden,” “Ragtime Annie,” “Done Gone” and three other solo fiddle pieces.

These recordings stand as the first commercial recordings in the history of Country music.

Victor Records released the first record from these sessions – “Sallie Gooden” backed with the duet “Arkansaw Traveler” – on September 1, 1922.

Sallie Gooden copy

Victor Records #18956 – a 2-sided, 10 inch, 78-rpm disc – was the first commercial record ever released by a Country musician.

In an April, 1923 Victor Records advertisement for Instrumental Records, “Sallie Gooden” is described as: “a medley of jigs and reels, in the very best style of the travelling cowboy fiddler, with almost continuous double-stopping, one string being used for a kind of bag-pipe drone-bass, and the other to carry the melody.”

Author Tony Russell writes in his 2007 book Country Music Originals: “’Sallie Gooden’ is not just good for its time, it is great for all time, a small but perfect masterpiece of American music.”

Listen for yourself.


Here’s Henry and Eck from the B-side.


The sources for the quotes and information used in this post are: Country Music Originals: The Legends and The Lost (2007) by Tony Russell; the Eck Robertson page on the Old Time Music website; the Henry C. Gilliland page on the website of the Oklahoma Historical Society; and Wikipedia.

“Good music doesn’t get old.”

Ferdinand Joseph “Jelly Roll Morton” LaMothe (1885-1941)

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Wrestling With The Angel, Chapter 11

If you’re a new visitor to this blog, the purpose of my Wrestling With The Angel series (or category) is to highlight and share individual songs that are on a list of mine entitled: Devastatingly Great Songs. The title phrase, “Wrestling With The Angel,” is my paraphrase of a line from a poem by Herman Melville called “Art.” You can read the complete poem in my archived post of November 4, 2011: “The Source.” (This is the first time a chapter in this series has been about an entire album.)

Given the size of my music collection, selecting the perfect soundtrack for an afternoon in the car running errands can be a daunting task. Every now and then, however, I find that a specific disc almost seems to call out to me from the shelves.

The CD that beckoned most recently was Marshall Crenshaw’s first album.


Well, I barely got out of the driveway before the instantly-infectious opening track, “There She Goes Again,” reminded me that Marshall Crenshaw is one totally incredible record!

First, there are the twelve extraordinary songs: ten Marshall Crenshaw originals  (“There She Goes Again,” “Someday, Someway,” “Girls…,” “I’ll Do Anything,” “Rockin’ Around In N.Y.C.,” “The Usual Thing,” “Cynical Girl,” “Mary Anne,” “Not For Me” and “Brand New Lover”), one by Crenshaw with Rick Cioffi & Fred Todd (“She Can’t Dance”) and one cover of a song from 1962 written by Buzz Cason & Tony Moon and recorded by the R&B/Country vocalist Arthur Alexander (“Soldier Of Love”). Each and every one of these numbers is memorably melodic, lyrically well-crafted, irresistibly danceable and appropriately concise. (The longest cut logs in at 3:07.)

Then, there’s the band and let me tell you, these guys can rock! Marshall Crenshaw plays all of the intricately-layered electric and acoustic guitar parts and is a fabulous lead vocalist; Chris Donato joins in on really good-sounding bass guitar; and drummer Robert Crenshaw, Marshall’s brother, contributes much of the records spirit and energy. All three collaborate on the album’s outstanding back-up vocals. (Marshall spent from 1979 to 1980 being John Lennon in the West Coast road company of Beatlemania, so he knows a thing or two about quality back-up vocals!)

Last but certainly not least, this record sounds fantastic! Marshall Crenshaw was recorded at The Record Plant in New York City in January of 1982. Richard Gottehrer and Marshall shared the producing duties and Thom Panunzio was the engineer with assistance from Jim Ball. This talented team managed to capture the guitars, drums, bass and vocals in all of their gorgeous tonal glory and then carefully honed a mix that allowed every sparkling detail of each impassioned performance to shine through loud and clear.

Ultimately, Marshall Crenshaw does on Marshall Crenshaw what a great Pop musician is supposed to do: bring together the best elements from the music of the past and create new music that sounds fresh, exciting and timeless.

Hey, now! Don’t just take my word for it. Give a listen for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!(Headphones highly recommended.)

Here’s “Someday, Someway,” the song that was released as the single from the album.


And here’s “Mary Anne,” the third track on Side 2 of the original vinyl LP.


Marshall Crenshaw was released by Warner Brothers Records on April 28, 1982.

The album received a 4-star review from Rolling Stone magazine and a 5-star review in the AllMusic Guide To Rock. It made the “Best Albums Of The Year” list from the critics of several publications including the L.A. Times, Trouser Press and Newsday. Stereo Review magazine gave it a “Record Of The Year” award for 1982.

In the liner notes to the 2000 Warner Archives/Rhino Records Reissue/Compilation CD of Marshall Crenshaw, Marshall Crenshaw writes: “This stuff is pretty celebratory throughout and was deliberately designed as music to dispel anxiety – my own and anybody else’s.”

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On This Historic Day…

…I’ve become a grandfather.

“Oh, Boy!”

(“Oh, Boy!” was composed and performed by yours truly, with all due respect to Buddy Holly and Big Bill Broonzy.)

Happy Birthday, Grandson.

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