It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.
Richard Brautigan (30 january 1935 -1984) poet, novelist & short story writer
for decades one of my absolute favorite songs has been the shaker hymn simple gifts. whenever i start feeling overwhelmed and i start becoming more difficult, i turn to the lyrics of this pure and simple song for a bit of strength and clarity.
the song was written and composed in 1848 by the shaker elder joseph brackett. outside of shaker communities the song was virtually unknown for almost a century - then in 1944 aaron copland used the tune for the score of ballet appalachian spring. since copland's shout out for the tune and song - the song has been covered widely, new verses have been written, in 1963 the tune was even borrowed and adapted by english songwriter sydney carter for his song lord of the dance.
although i knew judy collins covered the song, until today i never saw this video! wow, look how young judy is and her hair, well it is so short - so unlike the image of judy collins emblazoned in my mind's eye!
according to the info accompanying the youtube posting:
Judy Collins sings "Simple Gifts" for the February 1963 TV broadcast of Dinner with the President, the 50th anniversary celebration of B'nai B'rith in Washington, D.C. President Kennedy received a Democratic Legacy Award and spoke during the broadcast. Several years later, Judy recorded "Simple Gifts" for her 1970 Whales and Nightingales album.
photo: detail of a mural celebrating the legacy and diverse community of slavic village, a neighborhood located in southeast cleveland. november 2012