Sunday, July 19, 2009

“Zebra Weather”

As you may have gathered, I’m looking at Sundays just now as a time for posting original music, & today I chose one of my very favorites of Eberle’s songs, “Zebra Weather.”

I recall that Eberle wrote this one spring when I was off visiting my parents in Florida. Her initial thought was that the song would be an instrumental, but it wasn’t too much later that she composed the wonderful lyrics. Honey possums are real creatures, by the way—you can read more about them here & that’s a drawing of them to the left.

Sadly, we never
got a recording of the full band version—the song was composed during the Alice in Wonder Band’s last year, & although we performed it several times we never did so with a microphone around. Deadre Chase, the band’s singer, had a lovely way with the song, & clarinetist Bob George did a nice job of weaving around a fairly difficult melody—made more difficult by the fact that the song is in Gb; for you non-musicians out there, let’s just say that’s not the people’s key. Art Troutner played mandolin, while Eberle & I played melodica & baritone uke, respectively—although it’s an odd key, the chords fell quite naturally on the baritone. The two of us kept the song alive during our Five & Dime Jazz duo existence, tho as an instrumental—I didn’t sing with Five & Dime Jazz, & the current key is way out of my my limited singing range.

We made this recording
for our Rootabaga Country soundtrack in 06. Since this is an instrumental, I’m posting Eberle’s lyrics as well; for those who want to sing along, the vocal part would start just before 1:30 & end just before 2:30. Hope you enjoy it!

Zebra Weather

The kind of weather that’s so soft & bright,
zinnias keep on shining all through the night.
A star on the horizon & nothing to do;
that’s the kind of weather I dream of for you.
Twilight on the garden gate, zebras drawing near,
the sulky sound of honey possums nuzzling your ear.
Anything can happen in weather like this;
the sky can come unfastened, cottonwoods can kiss.
Eberle Umbach
© Eberle Umbach 2004-2009 (both the lyrics & the music)

A note on the slideshow pix:
The following images are licensed for attribution under Creative Commons licenses:
Second Zebra image: Pharaoh Hound; Fir0002
Fifth Zebra image: Kevin Walsh (kevinzim)
Final Zebra image: eismcsquare
Finally, the first image of Eberle playing the melodica is by the late Earl Brockman, a gifted photographer from our area, who is missed


  1. How can you guys contain that much talent under one roof! That was wonderful -- the perfect Sunday morning fare. Thanks!


  2. That's so kind of you, Kat! Thanks, & glad you liked it.

  3. What a sweet song, which seems to wander between Louisiana and Paris. You two should always be photographed in a hammock.

    Zebras, hmm...okay, I am now obsessed with Zebras. Yet another obsession...

  4. Zebra Weather - shades of sun and sky and all things alive - my kind of day - delightfully captured - a Sunday treat for sure!

  5. The music is lovely, just enough swing to make me want to nod and tap and slide along. The slideshow is great, too. As Kat said, such talent under one roof! Applause for the pics and the music -- would love to hear the lyrics.

  6. Great song and video. I think I got the words to fit right, although I thought I was going a bit wonky near the end.

    There is a small hill called Zebra Hill not far from here. I have yet to discover how it got the name!
    (Making the link was complicated - I hope it works).

  7. Hi Susan & Rose Marie & Karen & Dominic:

    Susan: Glad you liked it--those photos were taken on our wedding day, which took place right here in the garden. I'd love to see your take on zebras.

    Rose Marie: Thanks so much-- it is a Sunday kind of song.

    Karen: Yes, I'd love to get a vocal version. Unfortunately, I'm the singer in the house now, so we'd have to change the key significantly, which would throw everything else off--the chord voicings especially. We'll see tho--it's actually in a key a lot of women could sing. Maybe down the line.

    Dominic: I got your link--interesting; I like topo maps quite a bit. Your part of England seems quite appealing--also regarding your comment on the Match Girl post. Thanks for the kind words.

  8. The music is absolutely superb. I keep playing the clip again and again. I probably owe you royalties!

  9. Bravo! Makes me want to sit on the porch and rock or swing, drink lemonade, watch the day go by.

    Zebra weather! I'm into it!!


  10. I came across your blog. Glad that I did. I loved hearing the music. I found myself tapping my foot and smiling as I listened. Very peaceful, indeed.

  11. Hi Alan & Reya & Choices:

    Alan: No royalties! Glad you liked it.

    Reya: Thanks--that's just the feeling Eberle was going for!

    Choices: Thanks for stopping by, & so glad you enjoyed the music.


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