"Sweet as Spring"

© 1977 Lee Ruth

Banastre Tarleton

Banastre Tarleton -Vocal & Acoustic Guitar

Pete Szkolka - Electric Guitar &
Korg DW 8000

Ravin' David Raithel - Bass
Johnny Walker - Drums
Billy Barnhouse - Backup Vocals

  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original


Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
The dryest summer of the century.
The coldest winter in history.
The sky is falling on the ground.
Mercury's crawling down and down.

Spring, she ain't comin', say the prophets of doomsday.
So turn your heat down and stay in your room.
Stay…stay but it ain't the prophet's turn to deal.
Survival threatens to be for real.

I know a girl--she ain't concerned
About what she's seen or hasn't heard.
She's living on from hand to mouth, yeah.
If it gets too cold she might head south.

Spring will be sweet as, spring will be sweet as
Spring will be sweet as spring…

The driest summer--of the century

The coldest winter--in history

The sky is falling--on the ground

Mercury's crawling--down and down--
Spring she ain't coming, say the prophets of doomsday

So turn your heat down, 'n' stay in your room, stay, stay

But it ain't the prophet's turn to deal

Survival threatens--to be for real--
My good friend--she ain't concerned

'Bout what she's seen--and hasn't learned

She's livin' on--from hand to mouth

If it gets too cold--she might head south--
Spring will be sweet as

Spring will be sweet as

Spring will be sweet as spring--
Spring will be sweet as

Spring will be sweet as

Spring will be sweet as spring

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:
I probably listened to a dozen of Lee's tunes, and there was no doubt that this was the best one for my kind of pop/rock style. I have always enjoyed taking a song from a different genre and adapting it to my own so it wasn't difficult once I heard "Sweet as Spring" to start the creative juices cranking. The melody was one that stuck in my head (and believe me, it got locked in and caused me to lose sleep on more than one night during the initial process). The chord pattern was ready made for a power pop British Invasion type 60s rocker. It has a key change twist that is subtle genius. That best describes Lee Ruth's lyrics and music to me. The summer of 1976 was as dry a summer in Missouri as I can remember. When I rolled back into Columbia from Crested Butte, Colorado, in late August the trees were already turning brown. The following winter of 1976-77 was as cold as--or even more cold than--the previous winter had been, and that winter had been one of the coldest ever in central Missouri. Late January or early February rolled around, and it seemed that the winter had already lasted longer than winter should or could, and it still had six weeks or so to go. There was much local grumbling about this, some of which I was guilty of. Late one cold night early morning a friend of mine gifted me with a dried mushroom of the psychedelic variety. "Can I give you something in return?" I asked. "Eat the mushroom. Go home. Write a song. Put me in it," she replied. And so I did.
Artist on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:
Lee and I have lived on parallel paths in the Columbia music scene for the past 25 plus years. Though we have been aware of each other's career, we were only formally introduced through this project. He was very helpful in getting me a copy of his songs that were still available for the CD. In the short time that I spent with Lee on the phone and in person, I found him to be a very polite professional and got the impression he was surprised and pleased with the interest shown by so many of his fellow musicians towards this endeavor. It has been a pleasant experience being involved with the Lee Ruth Tribute CD and I feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of it. Columbia is small enough that one can readily entertain the notion that it is possible to know everybody, or at least to know who everybody is. At the same time it is large enough that this notion often proves illusory. There are many parallel lives led, and many overlapping and non-overlapping circles of relationships. I first saw Banastre at some point in the mid-70s when he was relatively new in town, and playing music under a different name. Over the almost thirty years since then, he has proved to be quite experimental in his musical endeavors--trying his hand at many sub-genres within the rock music world. We've both been active in our local musical scenes, but our paths have only occasionally crossed, so when I heard he was interested in doing a song for this project I had some doubt as to whether he would even find a song he liked amongst the unclaimed songs. He did find one, and I was surprised to hear how well my song survived the transition, from a simple thumb-strummed ditty about the certainty of seasonal changes and how reality eludes metaphor, to a regular power-pop anthem.
Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:
A good deal of the basic tracks were recorded for "Sweet as Spring" while I was unable to be present. Pete Szkolka took extra special care to make sure this power pop rock version of the tune got recorded right. Pete and I did an early basic mix of this song in November 2003 after Pete had added an organ and synthesizer tracks. When it came time for final mix down Banastre came to the studio to add his ears and comments. If I had the mix to do over again I would have kept the synthesizer ending missing from this version.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Dates:

5/28/03 6/18/03 6/19/03 7/16/03

Mixed: 2/18/04

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio with assistance from Banastre Tarleton


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