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“The Air, the Sunshine & the Rain” – Grandpa Jones

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I appreciate Randy Newman singing “God’s Song,” in which the deity expresses his amusement at the worshipful reactions of his subjects to all the misery he inflicts on us.

But that’s not the whole story. Often times, life is sweet, though we don’t notice it.

Down here on the farm, this has been about the most beautiful, perfect June in 2004 that I’ve had the privilege to experience. We didn’t get much of the cicadas, but that’s ok. It’s been mostly in the 70s and modest humidity. Even the insects haven’t been bad. You couldn’t have asked for anything nicer.

Which has me listening again to an old favorite by Grandpa Jones. “The Air, the Sunshine & the Rain” was recorded live in Cincinnati in 1969 – if memory serves, within a few days of the Rolling Stones’s infamous Altamont concert (for contrast).

This is a simple gospel song of appreciation for the simple things that you get for free from the Lord. Not really being a believer, I’ll take it metaphorically – but you should take it to heart just the same.

The lyrics make the point nicely on the printed page, but the simple joy of the tune, and his wife’s harmony vocals, and the simple beauty of the guitar make this a meditation that would repay daily listening.

THE AIR, THE SUNSHINE & THE RAIN

So you think you paid the baker for the bread you ate today
And he thinks he paid the miller for the grain
But nobody paid the maker for the things that made it grow
Like the air, and the sunshine, and the rain

Now, you don’t grumble when you pay your room and board
When the landlord comes around, you don’t complain
So the least that you can do is thank the Lord
For the air, and the sunshine, and the rain

As you travel down the highway in a bright and shiny car

Makes no difference if it’s Cadillac or Ford
You must pay for oil and gasoline, but air and water’s free
Don’t you think that you should pause and thank the Lord?

Now, you don’t grumble when you pay your room and board
When the landlord comes around, you don’t complain
So the least that you can do is thank the Lord
For the air, and the sunshine, and the rain

You can be the poorest hobo or the richest man in town
But the things that really count, you get your share
For a man with lots of money sometimes can’t afford a smile
While the hobo is a sunshine millionare

Now, you don’t grumble when you pay your room and board
When the landlord comes around, you don’t complain
So the least that you can do is thank the Lord
For the air, and the sunshine, and the rain

There’s a little bonus story on the end of this track, lest it become too pious. Grandpa tells a story about three old maid, a bawdy parody of the Goldilocks story. Yet it continues the expression of benign bliss of the gospel song, a nice aesthetic complement.

So then, thank you Mr or Miss Universe for this beautiful summer day bestowed upon us. Meanwhile, it’s time for me to leave the PC and get out in it.

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  • http://www.sxxxy.org Nyx

    I was looking around on the net, trying to find a transcript of Grandpa Jone’s “What’s for Supper” bits. There don’t seem to be any other than one line that was in his obiturary. I’d like to read some of those.

  • Harmon

    Would somebody please research and publish ALL the “Grandpa, What’s for Supper” menus?

    PLEASE, before it slips away!