Get up, get up, get out of bed

I’ve always preferred Nantucket myself, but soon after we were married Linda and I took the short ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for a delightful stay with her elderly aunt.  A fascinating woman, Auntie Mary and her husband, Uncle Clement, had purchased the oldest house in what was then known as Gay Head back in the 1930s.  Although it was rather rustic compared to the homes that have sprouted since, it commanded an incredible view of the western end of the island, jutting into Vineyard Sound.

Officially known as Aquinnah since 1997, the area is a cultural center of the Wampanoags, who represent a third of the population there. Many of them were Auntie Mary’s friends and with no children of her own she would come to leave the better part of her property to the Wampanoag Tribe when she died.

Despite incurring one of the worst sunburns of my life (as red as the lobsters we later steamed) it was meeting some of the local characters that I now remember best during that visit, including an aging historian who lived across Lighthouse Road and wrote books about ship wrecks and Indian legends.  I also remember having a gander at some of the surrounding properties, particularly those owned by the Taylors.  Down to the right there was James’ place, then Kate’s house, and although I’m not sure about Alex, just over here was younger brother Hugh’s establishment, The Outermost Inn.

Personally I’ve never been comfortable around celebrities, particularly when I’m a fan.  Really, what does one have to say?  And I found it interesting that the only one of those siblings who didn’t seem to have a residence within view was the one I was most familiar with, Livingston, whom I’d seen in concert on countless occasions. His place was farther down the road.

Born in Boston (in 1950) and raised in Chapel Hill where his father was Dean of the UNC Medical School, like his brother and sister, he endured debilitating depression as a teen, receiving his diploma from Arlington High School, which had a program especially affiliated with McLean Hospital.  As was the case with his siblings, learning to play the guitar was apparently therapeutic.

When James appeared on the cover of Time in 1971, mention was made of a possible Taylor musical dynasty and although that never came to pass it meant that Livingston was far more accessible and invariably that his concerts were a lot more fun. Anyone of a certain age who lived in Boston in the ‘70s may well remember him as a coffeehouse and college campus regular, sometimes performing with a band, sometimes solo, sometimes with his sister, Kate.

I contend that although he doesn’t quite have his brother’s phenomenal writing chops, Livingston is a better performer, whose professorship at the Berklee College of Music seems to suit him to a tee.  Still recording and still touring, we even see him perform here in the wilds of Concord on occasion.  And as long as there isn’t any uncomfortable meet-the-celebrity chitchat afterwards, they’re shows that I’m always happy to attend.

Serving as the first track on Taylor’s second album, “Liv,” released in 1971, this is a perfect song for a Monday morning.

LISTEN TO THIS SONG – Monday 11 March 

Get Up, Get Out Of Bed

 There’s a festival today

Come and see it’s all so fine

People who are not my kind are here

There’s a festival today

The world is changing fresh and new

It’s mostly green with bits of blue

 But it’s all here for you

And here’s all you have to do

 Get up, get up, get out of bed

Let the sunshine fill your head

Listen to what your friends have said

Get up, get out of bed

 Morning with a quick yawn

I’ll be gone

I’ll be hurrying on my way

I hear there’s a bad cat

On your back

 And you’d best stay in today

And tomorrow I’m here to say

 Get up, get up, get out of bed

Let the sunshine fill your head

Listen to what your friends have said

Get up, get out of bed

 Can you see me clearly?

Lover, I do not know

Can you hear me nearly?

Oh, and I do think so

Then you ain’t got far to go

 Get up, get up, get out of bed

Let the sunshine fill your head

Listen to what your friends have said

Get up, get out of bed

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