"Spring Winds Will Blow"

©1962 Lee Ruth

Tomi Greentree - Vocal & Guitar
Doireann O'Brien - Vocal
Nirtana Goodman - Vocal
Lori Thweatt - Vocal
Kathy Gordon - Upright Bass
Forest Shomer - Flute
  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original


Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
Spring winds will blow
and the whole world will know
there can be no mistake
It's time to awake
and Spring winds will blow

Snows disappear
and rivers run clear
and songbirds will sing
and church bells will ring
and Spring winds will blow

Bees will be bees
and trees will be trees
and children will make noise
and boys will be boys
and girls will be girls
and Mother Nature whirls . . .
and Spring winds will blow

Grass will turn green
and flowers be seen
and skies will be blue
and I will love you
and Spring winds will blow
and our love will grow
and Spring winds will blow . . .
and Spring winds will blow . . .
and Spring winds will blow . . .

Spring winds will blow, and the whole world will know
There can be no mistake, it's time to awake
And spring winds will blow

Snows disappear, and rivers run clear
And songbirds will sing, and love's bells will ring
And spring winds will blow

Bees will be bees, and trees will be trees
And children will make noise, and boys will be boys
And girls will be girls, and Mother Nature whirls
And spring winds will blow

Grass will turn green, and flowers be seen
And skies will be blue, and I will love you
And spring winds will blow, and our love will grow
And spring winds will blow

Artists on the Song:
Lee on the Song:

"Spring Winds Will Blow" is the first song I've ever recorded. Seeing lots of folks recording songs, I felt inspired to ask several friends to join me. We chose "Spring Winds" because of its cheerful, upbeat nature. My main focus was on harmonies, because I wanted the blend of our voices to reflect the sweetness and innocence of the song.

Lee wrote the song as a very young man, so it touches on some of the truly timeless joys of life--a song about springtime and about love. It was a lot of fun to do a song about springtime and love on a perfect spring day, when I was in love. (Thanks to my sweetie who provided strawberry shortcake with whipped cream for the musicians after practices [yum] and to my son, Keenan, for graciously sharing his home and mom with all of our late-night musical visitors.)

On "Spring Winds," I chose people who made me feel comfortable, with voices I felt would blend well. The song gave all of us a chance to contribute unique strengths. We could not have done it without outstanding contributions from everyone. Tomi offered lots of creative input on arrangements, harmonies, and accompaniments. In addition, she has a lovely voice and a joy that really comes across in the way she sings and plays guitar. Nirtana is a dear friend with a clear, strong voice and a very compassionate nature. Lori's voice is very sweet and pure, and her sense of humor adds a lot. Although I met both Forest and Kathy Gordon for the first time through doing this song, their contributions speak for themselves--the bass and flute added a beautiful touch to the piece. We had a lot of fun experimenting with harmonies. The true success of this song to me is that we had so much fun doing it together. Doireann O'Brien

I loved practicing in Doireann's house, and practicing last minute outside the studio in the spring with the breeze accompanying us (the rest of the band just having arrived from Sufi camp). I loved watching Tomi, Nirtana, Lori, and Doireann standing in a circle around one mike making that great four-part harmony. I was amazed at Pete and Steve's professionalism and patience
with us novices. Those guys really know what they're doing! Great tune, great harmonies, great experience! Kathy Gordon

When Doireann called together some of us singers from Caravan we met to try our hand at some of Lee's songs. We really liked a number of them but when we started harmonizing to "Spring Winds," we stopped and looked at each other--some magic was happening! Seemed it was made for us four alto women in our deepest most resonant tones. And what better accompaniment than Kathy's beautiful acoustic bass? We were in heaven, practicing it whenever we got the chance, and Forest joined us with his
exquisite flute.

Singing it together under the trees down at the Lake we heard the spring birds singing with us--could Steve give us some birdsong for our recording, we wondered? When we asked him he simply responded: "Do you want morning birds or evening?" We left all of that in Steve's capable hands. He and Pete did their magic, adding their wonderful talents to the recording. You guys rule! Tomi

This is one of two pre-Columbia songs on the album… I moved to Columbia in the fall of 1962… this was probably written in the spring of that year. I was 21, and at that time my music playing was in the early stages of a long transition from rockabilly to folk, and the structure of this song, with its "Woolworth chords" (I-relative minor-IV-V) reflects an aspect of the former while the lyrics, melody, and sentiment bridge the distance between pop-rock ballads and some of the commercial folk music of that time. So simple. (And so pretty the way the women sing it here).
Artists on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artists:

I met Lee for the first time a few days prior to our "Spring Winds" session. It's testament to the quality of his songwriting that I was able to find a nice groove and contribute to the artistry--considering that I blew in on a spring wind from two thousand miles away! Very accessible music.

Truly, Forest Shomer, Port Townsend, WA

I first met Lee and Rena Ruth on a cold winter morning almost 20 years ago at Doug Elley's store in Lupus, Missouri. Susie (now Bartelette) was cooking breakfast as I sat with my friend Roseann, holding her 3-month-old daughter Miranda, on my lap. Suddenly a sparkling little red-haired toddler (Lee's daughter Willow) ran up to greet us, and it was love at first sight.

That may be why I've always thought of Lee as a family man. I loved his recording "Happy Hollow Songs," which reflects a powerful love of his family and home. I've come to know Lee as a man of simplicity and integrity with a dry sense of humor and an encyclopedic knowledge of music and history. (Usually if you ask him for a story about one of his songs, he's happy to oblige--it's always interesting.)

I see Lee and his family as genuine, caring, down-to-earth people who are fun to be around. And you've got to respect a man whose beard is older than half the people in town... Doireann

The one thing I admire the most about Lee is his dedication to the Public Domain, and how he wants his music to belong to everyone, much as the scent of a flower belongs to all the world. It was an honor and a thrill to play with him. He taught me the backup to his song in the parking lot
of Turner Hall during the Big Muddy festival, and even though our fingers were cold, he was very gentle and patient with me. Thank you, Lee, for all the harmony you have brought to the world! Kathy

I've known Lee for about 23 years and have been listening to and singing his songs that long. I was tickled to be asked to sing harmony with my Sufi sisters, one of my favorite things in the world to do. I sang on "Spring Winds Will Blow" and "Candy from Delaware." Concurrently I was falling in love with our "Spring Winds" flute player, Forest, with whom I was living out the story of "Candy from Delaware," a
long-distance romance. I had to learn the song as soon as I heard it. Substitute Washington for Delaware and the song was mine. Once again Lee's songs came (from and) to life. Nirtana

Heady times they were, the sixties in Columbia (as everywhere). Back in 1967 i was new to Missouri. I blew in from the West Coast for J-School with my guitar full of old English folk ballads and joined another co-ed to sing at the Ivanhoe as a harmony duo. There they all were--the
Sound Farm, the Celebrated Renaissance Band, songwriters like Don Cooper, Tom Cooke--it was HAPPENING! And i met this guy Lee Ruth, this lanky red-haired folksinger who sang E. A. Poe's "The Bells" to an astounding hypnotic melody. To some of us he was a kind of Pete Seeger character, a bard and balladeer of our lives, singing songs that taught me what life here in the heartland is about. You could just weep for the sheer beauty of a heart so bared in its raw feeling and simplicity. I can't hardly picture him without an old beat-up guitar in his hands. My guitar and i went travelling for the next 30 years and when fate brought me back to Missouri, one of the first people i looked up was Lee, his guitar even more beat up, his heart still bared and singing our lives as
always--but that chisled chin of his covered now with a red-and-grey beard
that must have been growing ever since i last saw him! He helped me find my musical friends here to sing and harmonize with and over the years our singing group Caravan came into being. Lee would accompany us sometimes in practices and performances down at the Lake of the Ozarks. Sometimes he'd just reach into his deep bag of tunes and get us all singing lustily into the night lots of wild & wonderful folk/pop/rock--everything and anything. We love ya, Lee! Tomi



Caravan, Tomi Greentree, & Doireann O'Brien

The details of how Caravan came to be assembled are not clear in my mind, but it was Doireann who first had the idea to do a song featuring women's voices, setting the wheels to turning, and Tomi who first climbed aboard, guitar in hand; then with the addition of Nirtana and Lori, Caravan came into being. The arrangement and the performance were a collective effort. I'm pleased they found a song of mine to sing.

I first met Tomi in the winter of 1968-69, and though I did not know her well, we did share a memorable weekend trip in the spring of 1969, down to Springfield, MO, in my VW Microbus filled with friends, to attend an outdoor concert by The Sound Farm, a great Columbia band. She left Missouri not long after that and traveled all over the world for the better part of thirty years before she returned to Columbia. She's been a great addition to the musical community that Columbia ever is.

I first met Doireann in the late 1980s on an autumn evening in Doug Elley's general store at the Lupus Chili Fest. As I recall, we both had our guitars handy and we sat down to play a few tunes. In the fifteen or so years since that night, our paths have crossed countless times in many different Missouri places where quite frequently live music has been taking place. Providential. I expect it will continue to be so.

Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:
The unison harmony of the women's voices in Caravan was as sweet as a warm breeze on an early spring day. Kathy Gordon laid down a solid bass line for the voices to float above. We used a small piece of recording of wind in some treetops to intro into "Spring Winds Will Blow." I changed the sound effect ending on this tune from the promised spring birds to a recording I made twelve years ago of Northern Spring peepers and Western Chorus frogs in a small pond near my house. No sound I can think of heralds the coming of spring to Missouri as clearly as the peepers. The local spring peepers started their singing about a week after we mixed this song, such an uplifting sound no matter how long or short the winter.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Date: 5/28/03

Mixed: 3/19/04

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio


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