Album cover

Jim Spencer

The Most Beautiful Song In The Forest

Jim Spencer was always looking for a stairway to success beyond, but Milwaukee was a Mobius loop he could not escape. He played many roles with grace; he was a musician, songwriter, poet, magus, and congenial salesman of ideas. He was a dealer in rare books, antiquities, and fantasies. He was a D.I.Y. publisher and indie recording artist at a time when circulating self-produced poetry and music beyond one’s hometown was a challenge on par with swimming the English Channel. He was Milwaukee famous—at least to anyone who cared about music and poetry. He was not much known elsewhere.

He released three albums under his own name and one as Major Arcana, a band-persona that enabled him to escape his singer-songwriter image. All were issued under the imprimatur of cryptically-monikered labels: Thoth, Akashic, and Castalia Records. “He had forbidden books in his basement,” said frequent collaborator Sigmund Snopek, a classically trained progressive rock keyboardist. “He was fascinated by other cultures and religions and incorporated some of that into his music.”

With 1977’s The Most Beautiful Song in the Forest, Spencer wove a lovely and sincere cycle of children’s songs whose roots can be heard in the lullabies and folklore of centuries past. He was inspired to make the album for his young daughters, who recall being present at the recording session, but he also believed an international market existed for his children’s music.

Track List

  1. Jim Spencer I’ll Sing You A Song
  2. Jim Spencer Interlude I
  3. Jim Spencer Old Chairs To Mend
  4. Jim Spencer Interlude II
  5. Jim Spencer Once I Saw A Little Bird
  6. Jim Spencer Interlude III
  7. Jim Spencer Boys and Girls Come Out To Play
  8. Jim Spencer Interlude IV
  9. Jim Spencer Here We Go
  10. Jim Spencer Interlude V
  11. Jim Spencer Johnny Come Give Me Your Fiddle
  12. Jim Spencer Interlude VI
  13. Jim Spencer O Who Is So Merry?
  14. Jim Spencer Interlude VII
  15. Jim Spencer Bird, O Bird
  16. Jim Spencer Interlude VIII
  17. Jim Spencer We’re All in the Dumps
  18. Jim Spencer Interlude IX
  19. Jim Spencer The North Wind Doth Blow
  20. Jim Spencer Interlude X
  21. Jim Spencer Cheer Up
  22. Jim Spencer Interlude XI
  23. Jim Spencer Monday Alone
  24. Jim Spencer Interlude XII
  25. Jim Spencer Quiet the Night, Soft is the Breeze