Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 22nd May 2021

Swept For You Baby
Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

Swept For You Baby
The Heptones
Burning Sounds

Rainswept hills.  I walk along the ridge to the east of our house and look down at our roofs – they seem terribly fragile in the wind and sleet.  It doesn’t feel like May, it feels autumnal, an unseasonal swirl.  Everything feels, these days, upside down.  The hills are fog-addled, it’s been a week of heavy mists; birds flit like black flecks; there are no clouds or sun; a translucent wall hovers over the fields, creeping in and retreating.

I wonder about daydreaming and how it relates to its sister function night dreaming.  Daydreaming seems to be a time of heightened reverie, a time fully and wholly focused on nothing.  An awakened sleep, a personal, privately creative act.  While night dreaming is a kingdom of its own origin in which we’re not fully present, it’s foisted upon us; we can take no responsibility for it.

Looking down on our house, I can see, near a stand of ash trees, a brush pile.  I planned, years ago, to tidy it up.  I came out one Saturday, heaved aside some rotting branches and, peering into the vacated spot, saw the world I was disturbing.  Wood lice, beetles, centipedes, fungi, mold, lichen.  An entire connectedness.  The branches were replaced, apologies were made, the brush pile remains. 

I’m not much of a cleaner upper.  My feeling is that most things should be left alone to be whatever they are.  I don’t tidy, I don’t sweep.  There’s that word again: sweep.  As in windswept.  As in being swept along by the weather.  I return home and reach for something I haven’t heard in years.  Thinking of that word, swept.  Smokey singing ‘Swept For You Baby’.

How beautiful, how perfect?  How understated, how restrained.  And yet how ecstatic, how complete is his involvement in what he’s feeling.  Swept up.  Totally.  Because I want more, I reach for The Heptones singing the same song.  A mirror image of moderation, of self control.  Both saying, I’m gone completely, and yet, I’m holding back, keeping a part of myself free. 

I’m just like a falling leaf on a windy day
And you’re like the breeze that comes and sweeps me away
You’re like a broom, I’m like dust in the room

This is writing and singing of the highest caliber.  This is what I need.  I rarely sit down and listen to music these days, the silence is enough.  But right now, today, I’m happy to be swept up in Smokey and The Heptones.   


You can follow the Jeb’s Jukebox Spotify playlist here.