Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bob Dylan – "Watching the River Flow" (1971)

What’s the matter with me?
I don’t have much to say

(Unlike the singer of today's featured song, not having much to say has never been the matter with me.)

In the last 2 or 3 lines, we visited Blockhouse Point in Montgomery County, Maryland, which was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War. 

Today it’s a county park with trails leading through the woods to beautiful overlooks of the Potomac River and C&O Canal:

Click here if you missed that post.

I spent an hour and a half hiking those trails on a mild day last month, and then drove a few miles west to the Seneca Aqueduct, a stone structure which was built between 1829 and 1832 to carry boats traveling along the C&O Canal over Seneca Creek.

Here's a photo of the aqueduct – which also served as a lift lock – as it appears today.  Two of its original arches are intact, but the third was washed away by a 1971 flood:

The National Park Service installed some steel beams to support the structure, but the aqueduct has never been fully restored – I don’t understand why that is.

There’s a small boat ramp a few hundred yards up Seneca Creek from the aqueduct and the Potomac River, and I saw a number of boaters going back and forth under the aqueduct the afternoon I visited:

Adjacent to the aqueduct is Riley’s Lock (which is the 24th of 74 lift locks on the C&O Canal) and its lockkeeper’s house:

It's only a few miles from Seneca Aqueduct and Riley's Lock to Rocklands Farm, a 34-acre working farm and winery.

Rocklands offers pasture-raised, grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, as well as eggs laid by those pasture-raised chickens, and fresh produce.

But I had plenty olives, cheese, salami, and bread to satisfy me – I wasn’t in need of food.  What I was in need of was wine, and Rocklands had a half-dozen or so different wines for sale inside this old barn:

After tasting a couple of their whites and a couple of their reds, I settled on a 2014 semi-dry Vidal Blanc, a hybrid that does well in colder climates and is popular in the Finger Lakes region of New York, Michigan, Missouri, Maryland, and Virginia.

Among the thoughts I did not think while sitting at a picnic table and enjoying my repast and the warm afternoon sun: “Gee, I wonder what what’s going on at the office right now?”  

I ended up taking home a bottle of the 2014 Farmhouse, a red wine that’s 80% Chambourcin and 20% Zinfandel:

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Dylan’s 1971 recording of “Watching the River Flow” was produced by Leon Russell. 

The genesis of the song was a studio jam session that featured Russell on piano and his fellow Oklahomans Jesse Ed Davis, Carl Radle, and Jim Keltner on guitar, bass, and drums, respectively.  After hearing the recording of the jam session, Dylan supposedly wrote the melody and lyrics in ten minutes.

Click below to buy "Watching the River Flow" from Amazon:

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