Monday, November 24, 2014

Pilgrims & Immigrants: Wishbone Ash

Download [Wishbone Ash: The Pilgrim]

There have been several comments here recently that are fitting for our next theme: Blog contributor "A" notes survival despite anonymity (forging a new path and facing oblivion). J. David (to me) brings together farming and pilgrimages. Yasgur's farm was a pilgrimage for many: a difficult trek toward the hope of a future world. The Woodstock pilgrims set out on a journey to re-set their lives: it was a trip (in more ways than one for some) towards a new life.

The pilgrims that figure in the Thanksgiving story had little intention of returning home, although they appear to have been bound to many of their roots. Being as the pilgrims of Plymouth were not the first to settle in the new land, they were also not the first to celebrate a "thanksgiving". Recently, current president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would have us believe that other Old World peoples may have thanked their lord on the shores of the New World earlier than previously recorded. His claims aside, there is evidence that earlier North American settlements celebrated a thanksgiving of some sort.

That said, the 1620 pilgrim/refugees from England via Holland had much to be thankful for. Half of them were still alive and they had a decent crop that would keep the remainder alive for the following year. It was thus that they (so the story goes) celebrated the harvest of 1621  with a feast of thanks, to which they invited their friends to partake.

It was no small feat for the Mayflower voyagers to arrive in one piece: they left once in 2 boats, returned to regroup when one boat began taking on water, cut their number, and started out again. It took them from Sept 6 to Nov 19 to cross the ocean and then nigh on 2 weeks to actually get ashore after they sighted the shores of North America. It then took them another year or so to establish a viable outpost, during which time half of them perished - all of which would certainly incline one to offer thanks.

Few pilgrimages are simple. Chaucer, in the Canterbury Tales, relates a relatively easy (for the 15th century) pilgrimage to the relics of Thomas Becket - there are tales of the whole spectrum of mankind that the narrator meets along the way. As bloggers "A" and J. David note, there is someone somewhere who keeps a flame burning - even today - for Thomas Becket.

There is, in fact, a flame still burning for Wishbone Ash - rewind not quite to the pilgrim fathers, but back to the 70s. As one who should have paid more attention to the band back when they were big (reaching the top 30 in the 70s), I regret not having listened more carefully back then (and as "A" says, one of the benefits of blogging here is the chance to learn/delve deeper.) My search for a <Pilgrim> song lead to Wishbone Ash's Pilgrim, nan lo-and-behold, I find myself learning more about and hearing good sounds from a seminal band that featured dual lead guitars. To my ears, it sounds -pleasantly - like the Allman Brothers Duane Allman  and Dickey Betts (edited since first post - sorry). What's even more amazing is that Wishbone Ash is still doing their thing 23 albums/40 years later.

Check it out:

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