Caught by the River

Jeb's Jukebox

3rd December 2012

Lets Live Together
The Road Apples


This is what happens in the morning: I get up early, pull on my jeans and work coat, my hat and boots, my gloves and scarf; there’s mist on the fields, the grass is wet, my jeans and boots are instantly soaked; I walk down to the barn.
I walk slowly, watching a bird of some standard design flit between trees.
The barn, barely standing, ready to give up and fall, shelters the wood pile. The wood pile is made of sawn lengths, six to ten inches long. Talking about ash, larch, willow, birch, elder. The occasional length of alder and hazel. Never enough. Every year I cut more and every year there’s never enough.
This morning I split wood for two hours. Heaving the axe up and over, up and over. Then I stack it against the wall.

This is what happens in the afternoon: I sit at my desk and write a letter to my dad. I print out a couple photos for him. I tell him about the wood pile and all the little things I do. I tell him about the gigs I’ve done, the books I’ve read, the things I’ve seen.
While writing I listen to music; Jungle Brothers ‘Done By The Forces Of Nature’, Lambchop ‘Mr, M’. Then I put on a couple singles. The first one is I Hate The Way I Love It by George And Ava. The second one is Let’s Live Together by The Road Apples.
I know nothing about this record. Only that it presents itself to me with alarming regularity. I bought my first copy in New York, 15 years ago, at Downstairs Records (which was four flights up). I knew it from a cassette that Geoff Grandfield had made me; I thought I better buy it as I was unlikely to ever see it again.
I saw it again later that same day, in a junk shop in Brooklyn.
I’ve since bought it in Nashville, in Texas, in Missouri; twice in Ohio and three times in Arkansas.

As I said, I know nothing about it.
Only that I love it and it seems to return my affection.
It follows me around the country and throws itself into my path.
For which I’m grateful.
I hand it out to friends safe in the knowledge that I’ll always find another copy. I have three copies at the moment.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s rare but it happens. A good, reliable, thing.
For me it’s Let’s Live Together by The Road Apples.

Jeb Loy Nichols.