Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 22nd May 2022

Jeb Loy Nichols’ latest record selection transports him to the Land of Music.

Land Of Music
Ohio Knox
Reprise Records

In the nearest large town the high street isn’t looking good.  Empty shops, broken windows, people sleeping rough; a billboard says, GRAB LIFE!  Masked shoppers mooch around.  One man juggles, another plays a flute.  A woman on a mobility scooter shouts into her phone, I went to Primark but they were all sold out!  It doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of air around.  And what air there is doesn’t feel healthy.  It’s The Land Of Broken Stuff.  I retreat.  First to The Land Of Travel and then home to The Land Of Less.  I grab a record and it’s ‘Land Of Music’ by Ohio Knox.  I put it on and think that I could live there, for a little while anyway, for a few hours, in The Land Of Music.  It sounds like my kind of place.  Rough and not too fancy, a group of friends making noise after dark.

Keep on moving
Don’t stop grooving
It keeps on improving more and more

If only people were more moderate in their wantings and less fearsome in their desires.  If only alcohol and greed and hand guns featured less.  The internet too.  And mobile phones.  If only we were more like squirrels, wise and frolicsome and agile and indifferent.  Tails too would help.  If people had tails much would be better.  This is a simple fact and not to be argued with.

The betterness achieved by the addition of tails would be manifold.  Less time sitting looking at computers, typing, driving, watching TV, etc.  Improved balance.  An overall more attractive look.  The ability to hang from branches.  A ready aid against flies and wasps.  A further appendage with which to dance in The Land Of Music.  A constant and ready reminder of our animalness.  And also, tails are cool.

I try not to forget the moon rising behind the oak tree.  Nor do I forget the touch of my father’s roughened hand.  I don’t forget reading The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams.  Nor hearing, for the first time, Sandy Denny sing ‘Where Does The Time Go’.  I don’t forget to do my exercises every morning, bending and twisting and jumping in place for five minutes.  Nor do I forget to sit quietly for at least an hour each day.  I try to not forget those that were there for me when most needed.  I don’t forget my mother.  I don’t forget the last remaining curlews, nesting just behind the two hazels.  I don’t forget seeing, on a train leaving Amsterdam, a woman in a red coat that waved at me.  Everything else I forget.  Until I remember.  And then, again, forget.  

In the Land Of Music I remember everything.  And I forget everything.  I dance and I sit very still.  I’m me and occasionally I’m someone else entirely.  The Land Of Music is an exhaustive well spring of everything darkly good.  Truly.  So here I go again, friends, for a few minutes anyway, into that country less troubled with people.


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