(26) Four Strong Winds

It has been a busy day.  When I finally got home, I was bereft of something to write about.  Part of this project is to keep myself open, to meditate a bit on the five questions, and see how what shows up.

And yes, something did show up.

It came on Facebook.  American Songwriter magazine does a weekly analysis of a song — usually an older song, something about its history and the writing of the song.  Today the song was “Four Strong Winds” written by Ian Tyson and performed by Ian and Sylvia, sixties folk artists.  I know the song from Neil Young, who recorded it on his Comes a Time album.

I thought just posting a video of the song would suffice, but then I made a connection to it.  I play an online game called Song Pop, and I play challenges from people all over the country, guessing songs from a short snippet played. This is one of my guilty pleasures, and on a weekly basis I play up to 800 games with fifty different people.

One of my recent playlists has been Top Hits of 1979.  On Song Pop this includes songs such as “Y.M.C.A.”, “I Will Survive,” and “Too Much Heaven.”  There are many more songs, most of which I just don’t care much about:  “My Sharona.”  “Ring My Bell.”  “Bad Girls.”  I definitely was not much for Disco, and at the time I didn’t even care for New Wave that much.

As I’ve been playing this playlist, the question has come to me:  What was I listening to then?  I haven’t really thought about it enough to formulate an answer, but today it came.  In 1979 one of my favorite albums was Neil Young’s Comes a Time.  And I adored “Four Strong Winds,” not knowing until today that it is one of the few songs he has recorded that he didn’t write.

There were some good songs and albums in 1979, but they were definitely at odds with the heavily Disco era.  I loved listening to Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, the Eagles, and Nicolette Larson.  But by far, Neil Young’s album stands out.  I recently downloaded it from amazon Prime, and listening to it felt as fresh and real and new as ever.

Here is a video of “Four Strong Winds” by Neil, that include scenes of nature.  I am putting this in the category of opening to the beauty of nature (the photos in the video) and to the beauty of human nature.  The words tell the story.

Postscript:  Just looked up the chords and now I’m going to teach myself how to play this on my mandolin!


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