With summer upon us, we moved the singalong to Barton Springs to beat the heat Sunday, July 3rd. It was a wonderfully windy and somewhat overcast day beneath the trees, with a good holiday-weekend crowd of bathers on the hillside. I am happy to have finally delivered a new songbook, covered, bound, with the lyrics to fifty songs.
1. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by The Beatles
2. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by The Beatles
3. HELP! by The Beatles
4. HERE COMES THE SUN by The Beatles
5. LET IT BE by The Beatles
6. MOTHER NATURE’S SON by The Beatles
7. RAIN by The Beatles
8. STRAWBERRY FEILDS FOREVER by The Beatles
9. THE WORD by The Beatles
10. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS by The Beatles
11. WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIEND by The Beatles
12. YELLOW SUBMARINE by The Beatles
13. HALLELUJAH by Leonard Cohen
14. TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS by John Denver
15. THERE IS A MOUNTAIN by Donovan
16. A HARD RAIN’S A-GONNA FALL by Bob Dylan
17. BLOWING IN THE WIND by Bob Dylan
18. FORVER YOUNG by Bob Dylan
19. I SHALL BE RELEASED by Bob Dylan
20. MR. TAMBOURINE MAN by Bob Dylan
21. THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND by Woody Guthrie
22. GIVE ME LOVE (GIVE ME PEACE ON EARTH) by George Harrison
23. CLOSER TO FINE by Indigo Girls
24. DAYS by The Kinks
25. WHAT’S SO FUNNY ‘BOUT PEACE LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING by Nick Lowe
26. IMAGINE by John Lennon
27. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE by John Lennon
28. ONE LOVE by Bob Marley
29. REDEMPTION SONG by Bob Marley
30. THREE LITTLE BIRDS by Bob Marley
31. PEOPLE GET READY by Curtis Mayfeild
32. AMAZING GRACE by John Newton
33. RUNNIN DOWN A DREAM by Tom Petty
34. ONE WORLD NOT THREE by The Police
35. SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD by The Police
36. SHOWER THE PEOPLE by James Taylor
37. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
38. RAINBOW CONNECTION by by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher
39. ALL I REALLY NEED by Raffi
40. IF YOU WANT TO SING OUT, SING OUT by Cat Stevens
41. MOONSHADOW by Cat Stevens
42. MORNING HAS BROKEN by Cat Stevens
43. THE WIND by Cat Stevens
44. I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR by U2
45. LOVE RESCUE ME by U2 (Bono and Bob Dylan)
46. INTO THE MYSTIC by Van Morrison
47. SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT by Wallis Willis
48. A PLACE IN THE SUN by Stevie Wonder
49. HEAVEN HELP US ALL by Stevie Wonder
50. LEAN ON ME by Bill Withers
For a bit of background, here are the criteria I used to choose the songs.
Is it about higher love? Usually about charitable love (not romantic/sexual), brotherhood/sisterhood, unity, peace, wonder, mystery, gratitude
Is it eccumenical, non-denominational? (No particular faith, all inclusive)
Do people know it? (Is/was it popular? Or can they learn it easily?)
Can people sing it together? (Is it rhythmically regular and melodically feasible?)
Is it appropriate for all ages? (Does it make references that are too adult?)
We have a family tradition of going to lunch afterward where Maile and I usually review how it went, laughing and cringing and trying to learn how to make these better. Because this one was both such a good one, and fraught with the missteps created by the new songbook (and my slightly different version with chords), there was a lot to go back over. But overall it was a great morning, and in order to not obsess I made these three rules for myself as the essential job I must remember to do:
Show up. (My main job.)
Get into it. (Put my heart into singing.)
Let it go. (Don’t obsess.)
Here was the view from our hillside spot.
Thanks to Sarah W. for the great shot at top of the whole crew (with our girls running around).
The music just below is one one of the recordings I made in Paris, this one of an accordion player on a pedestrian bridge. Hit play now so that the sounds of Paris will accompany you. OK. Can you hear the melancholy French jazz?
Maile and I originally planned to travel to Paris together for our 10th wedding anniversary. Two and a half years later we made it, by ourselves, for a full week. We rented a wonderful loft appartment on AirBnb in the Marais, from which we sauntered out an back every day.
We stayed two blocks from the Pompidou, passing it every day, eating across from it. Here are a few of the outside and then a few of my favorite works inside.
I particularly liked the Gerard Fromanger exhibit, his use of monochrome figures and infographics.
There was so much great street art everywhere, from centuries old sculpture to to stickers, art sellers and graffiti, chalk artists and street musicians. Hardly a block went by that I didn’t notice a gorgeous door. I was always stopping to snap something and then running to catch up with Maile.
Now listen to the slow funky Flamenco sounds of a guitarist echoing in the Subway.
Musée d’Orsay was a pure delight and inspiration. So many beautiful works of art that I’d never seen, and in a beautifully converted old converted train station.
While I was helping run the BSA conference, my brother Pete was in town to attend the MLA conference and present with a panel of War Lit writers. It also happened to be free-week at many clubs downtown, so we walked 6th St. and stopped in a few clubs on Red River.
First we hit the Mohawk and caught a band, then singer-songwriter Ben Ballinger.
Then we hit Cheer Up Charlie’s to meet up with Pete’s fellow panelists, Patrick and AB. We arrived to Girls In The Nose , a band of older women. They were great. A friend informed me that they are a lesbian band that’s been going for decades. And what a refreshing contrast to the cool, unintelligible band that was playing for hipsters next door.
I was smiling before I could see them because as we walked in they were singing about the “pedagogy of the pussy.” Then there was “More Madonna, less Jesus!” My favorite, that was in my head for days, went, “We juxtapose the pantyhose with FREE-DOM, FREE-DOM!”
Gray and I jammed at his place. Check out the selections below.
I photographed and video taped the UT MLK Day ceremony and march to the capitol. Jessica edited it together into the video below.
This little guy stole the show!
Maile took me on a great date to see Kool an the Gang at the ACL Live stage.
We resumed our Singalong for the New Year in Little Stacy Park. I was thrilled to be playing a new, handmade guitar that I got for Christmas. Check out this beauty and listen to how nice it sounds as we sing, below.
UT sponsored a night at the Austin Trail of Lights again this year and I got to play on the community stage again, this time with coworkers Krysta and Thais backing me up. Had a great time playing the gig and a great time taking Anais around the trail, on the ferris wheel, and to spin under the Christmas tree of lights. View the whole set of photos on Flickr.
Maile, Anais and I drove West for Thanksgiving weekend. We stayed in Marathon and Balmorhea, visiting Big Bend, a rattlesnake museum and Sonora Caverns on the way home. View the whole set of photos on Flickr.
Brother Franklin Bache Molin died suddenly, unexpectedly on Sept. 29, 2015, at the age of 53. Too young, too sad. No words.
This post is to pull together all the Franklinalia I could for myself, family, friends, so we would have a place to find info, pictures, music, memories, when we want to visit the brother we lost. I’ll keep adding to this page, especially before and after this weekend as we mourn together.
Franklin Bache Molin died at home in Arlington on September 29, 2015, after a long illness. Molin, born February 26, 1962, in Lynchburg, Virginia, attended Washington-Lee and H-B Woodlawn High Schools (class of 1980) in Arlington before graduating from Amherst College in 1986 and George Mason University School of Law in 1992. He practiced law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for many years before returning to Arlington several years before his death. At Washington-Lee, Molin was a member of both the varsity football and gymnastics teams. He also attained Eagle Scout status as a member of Boy Scout Troop 648 in Arlington.
Molin was nationally known for his expertise in intellectual property law. In Pittsburgh, he was a partner at K&L Gates LLP, one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he handled the accounts of many major national corporations. He also taught intellectual property law at Duquesne University School of Law and published numerous articles in law journals.
Before turning to law, Molin was an active participant in Washington DC’s punk rock music scene in the early 1980s. He helped make H-B Woodlawn an important site for punk shows and later played drums for Iron Cross and guitar for Thorns, both local bands. He also played guitar for several years for Bomb, a San Francisco psychedelic punk rock band.
Molin is survived by his widow Elizabeth Barr Molin and his three children Benjamin Franklin Molin, Louisa Elizabeth Molin, and Caroline Bache Molin; his mother and stepfather, Ann C. and Jackson C. Boswell, of Arlington; his brothers Karl T. Molin, Peter C. Molin, and John B. Molin; and a half-brother, Jason E. Molin. Molin was preceded in death by his father, Sven Eric Molin.
My beloved younger brother Franklin Bache Molin ’86 passed away on Sept. 30, 2015, in Arlington, VA, after a long illness. He was 53 years old. Franklin was survived by his wife, Elizabeth Barr Molin, and three children, Benjamin Franklin Molin (Harvard College ’18), Louisa Elizabeth Molin and Caroline Bache Molin, all of Pittsburgh, PA. He was also survived by his mother and stepfather, Ann Castle Boswell and Dr. Jackson C. Boswell of Arlington, VA; his brothers Karl T. (“Ted”) Molin ’78, Peter C. Molin and John B. Molin; his half-brother Jason E. Molin; and numerous nieces and nephews, including my son, Teo Molin ’11. Franklin was preceded in death by our father, Dr. Sven Eric Molin ’50.
Franklin was born on February 26, 1962, in Lynchburg, VA, where our father was a professor of English at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. Our family moved to Arlington, VA, in 1967. There, Franklin attended Washington-Lee and H-B Woodlawn High Schools. In high school, Franklin was a member of the varsity football and gymnastics teams. He also attained Eagle Scout status. Franklin was a cute little kid, sturdy, with a big head of curly gold hair. One of Franklin’s friends sent us a snapshot of Franklin as an eight-year-old cub scout. He is standing in his uniform with his cap perched on his hair, strong, proud, with a calm and steady gaze. Something about his look caught my eye and I studied his face carefully to see what the essence of it was. I think I found it: he had a true look of character and greatness about him, even as a little boy.
Franklin graduated from George Mason University School of Law in 1992. He practiced law in Pittsburgh, PA for many years before returning to Arlington several years before his death. Like his famous ancestor and namesake, Benjamin Franklin, he was fascinated by science and all the potential for scientific improvement in the life of mankind. Franklin became nationally known for his expertise in intellectual property law. In Pittsburgh, he was a partner at K&L Gates LLP, one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he handled the accounts of many major national corporations. Franklin also taught intellectual property law at Duquesne University School of Law and published numerous articles in law journals.
Although he was an accomplished attorney, Franklin’s greatest passion was music. Our mother always encouraged us and challenged us to pursue whatever dreams we wanted, especially artistic dreams. Of her four sons, Franklin responded most fully to the artistic challenge. Before turning to law, he was an active participant in Washington, DC’s punk rock music scene in the early 1980s. Franklin played drums for Iron Cross and guitar for Thorns, both local bands. He also played guitar for several years for Bomb, a San Francisco psychedelic punk rock band.
Franklin loved Amherst College—so much so, we used to joke, that he stayed for six years. Our father taught us to revere Amherst and what it represents as the paradigm of a liberal arts college. Unlike our father, whose idols were G. Armour Craig and other luminaries of the English department, Franklin chose to become a physics major because, he said, he had heard that it was the “hardest” major. Notably, Franklin left a piece of himself at Amherst: a fingertip that he severed on a table saw while working on a project in the basement of Fayerweather Hall. Our family often wondered why he working on a shop project at a liberal arts college. Also unlike our father, who cherished his time at Theta Delta Chi, Franklin lived off-campus for much of his time at Amherst, with a group of friends in a house that was not exactly a showplace from House & Garden. He loved his Amherst friends and vacationed with a number of them in Maine just a few weeks before he died.
Franklin was a wonderful son, brother, father, mentor and friend. He loved his children with a great passion. Franklin was accomplished and well-informed but also kindly and a good listener; hence, he was a fascinating conversationalist. He was intelligent, deep, very interested in people, sweet, humorous and intrepid. Franklin confronted many challenges in his life, many of them of his own making. He was a perfectionist and very demanding of himself. Franklin faced life, especially the challenges of his last years, with courage and determination. In his long final illness, Franklin had the unwavering love and support of our family, especially our mother and stepfather.
By Ben Houghton, delivered at the funeral
I’m sorry that we are all here talking about Franklin in the past tense. I’m also sorry that Franklin did not have a chance to reconnect with a lot of his old friends. I know that he meant to and was working himself up to it.
There really aren’t any words that do justice to what an amazing person Franklin was; I feel like there is a big hole in the world where Franklin should be that nothing else can fill. Since he was my oldest and one of my very best friends, and one of my favorite people in the whole world, I would like to try to convey some small iota of what I loved about him to the people here.
No one person knew everything about Franklin. He was an interesting and complex person. I could not count the thousands of hours of conversations I had with him. I do not consider any of that time wasted, but some of the most valuable stuff of life. You might think you knew what Franklin would say about any given topic, but you would often be wrong because he was always trying to see things from a different angle or seeking a deeper truth.
Franklin was a great teacher and inspired people around him. He really listened to people and cared about people. Franklin taught me a lot of things; so many that I’ve forgotten most of them and they are now a part of me. Before Boy Scouts I barely knew Franklin but Franklin was one of those people who made things easier for other people and led by example. When I first joined the Boy Scouts, hiking and camping were what it was all about, maybe hiking on the Appalachian trail, maybe hiking on the sand of Assateague island, maybe comping in the woods on our annual deep freeze. It was great fun, but there was also plenty of work to be done. It was especially when it was cold or rainy that you might notice Franklin would be doing what needed to be done, rolling up the heavy canvas tents, packing up equipment, or helping other people set up tents. He never griped or complained about hard work, and inspired others to do the same. I can’t remember him ever complaining about his share of the work, in fact he was almost always cheerful about the work he did. Franklin helped me realize that work didn’t have to seem like work, and you could have a good time no matter what you were doing. In a broader sense, life’s experiences could be whatever you want to make of them.
His infectious enthusiasm is another thing we all remember about him. He and I shared a love of punk rock music which led us to many adventures. Sometime around 1979 Franklin suggested that the two of us should go check out the local bands that were playing around DC at the time. This had not occurred to me before, but I was game to see what it was all about. So we started going into DC to see bands like Tru Fax and the Insaniacs, The Killer Bees, The Insect Surfers, and many others in tiny little clubs and bars. This was a great eye opener for both of us. You could see some very talented, some less talented musicians giving everything they had up on the stage with an audience of 20 or 30 people. This was completely different than watching a nationally known band in a big venue. Pretty soon Franklin learned to play guitar, got his brother John to sing lyrics, and started a punk band around 1980 called the Necros and practiced in the upstairs room of their house. This was the beginning of his life-long obsession with playing in bands, and he never stopped. He was always interested in new sounds and new bands. I was lucky enough to have gone along with him in March to his first gig, drumming with his latest band, at an open mic night.
Franklin often had a vision of how things could be long before anyone else did. Franklin and I shared a love of old things and fixing things, but his projects were quite ambitious compared to mine. In high school I had an old Volkswagen that I just wanted to keep running. Franklin restored a ‘67 Mustang convertible. Or you may remember his Karmann Ghia. But the 1963 Chevy Panel Truck was his magnum opus and he had it for many years. The rest of us saw this giant old faded blue truck, but Franklin could see the custom-painted hot rod that lurked within.
And he didn’t want to slap it together with Bondo body filler and sell it, he wanted it to be “right”.
He didn’t mind suffering for his art. Sometime around 1986 we shared an apartment in Boston including the future reverend Hank Peirce. I asked Franklin if he was driving to down to Arlington for Christmas. He said he was happy to take me but there was no heat in the truck. Anyway, it was really really cold but we had piled on as much clothing as we could. I had sweaters and coats and 3 pairs of pants, including my second hand red wool plaid pants, but even that was not enough to keep me warm during the 10 hour trip. I guess we were quite a sight to see coming out of the panel truck when Franklin dropped me off at Laura’s parents’ house since her parents still like to remind me of it. Some kind of plaid Michelin man. He never quite finished that beautiful-on-the-inside Chevy Panel Truck but I admired him for his ambition.
In an email thread among the brothers Molin last January, Franklin talked about some of his favorite albums at the moment. Here is a Spotify playlist of the six albums he listed:
Peter found this video of the Zydeco Dogs playing in 2010. It is the only video we know of where Franklin is playing drums. Coincidentally, the video is named for another Franklin, who is waltzing with Abby… but our Franklin can be seen as the camera pans past him on stage behind the kit.