Straight Lines

12. Now Is The Cool Of The Day

Lyrics & music: Jean Ritchie
2003 Geordie Music Publishing Co.

Vocals: Mike Agranof & Hillary Foxsong

Jean Ritchie is a remarkable woman. Born in rural Kentucky in 1922, she grew up in an isolated agrarian community with no electricity or running water. All of the music in her life was learned from and made with her family and neighbors. She eventually attended the University of Kentucky, and did graduate work at Columbia in NYC. There she became part of the Great Folk Revival with Pete Seeger and his contemporaries in the early 50s. It was she who introduced the mountain dulcimer to the world at large. While the soft drawl of Kentucky never left her speech, she assimilated to urban well-educated society. Which gave her the rare perspective to be able to speak of the 19th century lifestyle of her youth in the first person to her 20th century audience (me) in my language. I was privileged to visit her home in Long Island for music parties, and to get to know her personally. She now lives in Berea, KY. I worked out this vocal arrangement of her song with spare modal harmonies. I had the great pleasure of singing it to her once.

Chorus:
Now is the cool of the day.
Now is the cool of the day.
This earth is a garden, the garden of my Lord.
And he walks in his garden In the cool of the day.

1.
My Lord, he said unto me,
" Do you like my garden so fair?
You may live in this garden if you'll keep the grasses green.
And I'll return in the cool of the day."

Chorus

2.
Then my Lord, he said unto me,
" Do you like my pastures so green?
You may live in this garden if you will feed my sheep.
And I'll return in the cool of the day.

Chorus

3.
Then my Lord, he said unto me,
"Do you like my garden so free?
You may live in this garden if you'll keep the people free.
And I'll return in the cool of the day"

Chorus