WORDS FILL MY HEAD

 

Album Liner Notes

 

The New World Singers. 1

In The Wind. 3

Joan Baez In Concert, Part 2. 5

2nd Right 3rd Row.. 5

Planet Waves. 6

A Tribute To Woody Guthrie. 7

World Gone Wrong. 8

 

The New World Singers

 

I aint a record note writer - I never was, never will be an never wanna be -

but that's ok tho cause the New World Singers ain't record note writer's subjects either -

they're everybody's subject - they're everybody's assignment -

they're for everybody to look into -

they're everybody's textbook an' travel guide -

they're everybody's fortune teller an' fact finder -

there ain't no one that can't use what they do as a windmill or roadmap -

they ain't just a rich man's encyclopedia or a poor boy's dream -

they're real and they're here -

they're in front of yer eyes an' ears in all shapes an' sizes an' lines,

angles an' directions -

thery're everybody's newspaper -

thery're everybody's radio -

thery're everybody's ol' time feelings an new found heartaches -

thery're everybody's ol' fangled generator, modern day telephone an'

thery're everybody's new world.

    I know the New World Singers - I know all three of 'em as good as I know anybody -

the first time I met "Gil Turner" it was in Mill's Bar in Bleecker Street

about two years back - we talked an' preached at each other there across the

table an' thru the air all about the

crazy one-sided triangles caused by the loose tempers an' mad tongues that

was suckin' us up outside on the street -

an'we both agreed at top speed that what we was lookin' for, was some kind of

new world .....

I met "Happy Traum" an' his wife about the same time I guess an'

I can remember when their baby girl Merry was born an' now she's over a year old -

an' with one laugh out a beautiful Merry you'd know why Happy wants a new an'

better world -

just look some time at long haired little Merry an' you'd know why anybody'd

want a new world -

but Happy's got the reason right there in his eyeview ... closer to it than

a lot of us are .....

"Bob Cohen"'s quiet - I first seen him at a City College folksong hall

an' thought he was some sort of a Spanish gypsy by the way he wore his

sideburns an' moustache an' eyebrows -

but he didn't talk so I couldn't tell - I must a sat an hour next to

him waitin' to hear some gypsy language -

he never said a word -

he laughed a few times but all folks no matter what race laughs

in the same tongue -

I seen him sing later that night an' it didn't bother my thoughts no more

as to if he was gypsy or gigolo -

he tol' me more about my new world in that ten minutes time

than the pop radio station did all that week -

    Listen to the New World Singers - listen to 'm with a clear head an' open mind -

let your girl friend or boy friend hear 'm -

let your mother an' yer father hear 'm -

let yer kids hear 'm -

they ain't no tin pan alley put together group -

they ain't been sucked in or swallowed down or drawn under by the money eaters -

their kind a music ain't the brainstorm of the halfwit hit office boys -

they ain't singin' to sell soap suds -

their kind a songs ain't worked over an' layed out by no music factory an'

their singin' ain't spat out a any IBM machine -

they ain't wearin' no song they sing as their own private expensive suit -

they ain't changin' no songs cause  Mr. Sense a Style tells 'm to ....

they sing like they are -

They sing like they know who they are

They sing like the Ol' Almanacs used to sing

They sing like the Memphis Jug Band used to sing

They don' have to prove nothin' to nobody

They don' have no row to hoe

They got a new world to win

I got a new world to win

You got a new world to win

 

                            BOB DYLAN

                            with a brain

                            full of hard rains

                            an' hunger pains

 

[Source: Album liner notes from The New World Singers' 1963 self-titled album]

 

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In The Wind

 

Snow was piled up the stairs an onto the street that first

winter when I laid around New York City

it was a different street then -

it was a different village -

Nobody had nothin -

There was nothin t get -

Instead a bein drawn for money you were drawn for for other people

Everybody used t hang around a heat pipe poundin subterranean coffee

house called the Gaslight -

it was at that time buried beneath the middle a MacDougal Street -

It was a strange place an not out a any schoolbook -

More'n seven nites a week the cops a n firemen'd storm down the steps

handin out summons for trumped up reasons -

More'n five nites a week out a town bullies'd start trouble an everybody

from John the owner t Dave the cook t Rod the cash register ringer t

Adele the waitress t anybody who was on the stage t just plain friends

who were hangin around would have t come up swingin dishes an handles

an brooms an chairs an sometimes even swords at hung on the wall in

order t match the bullies' weight an the bullies was always big bullies -

Everybody that hung out at the Gaslight was close -

Yuh had t be -

In order t keep from going insane an in order t survive -

an it can't be denied -

It was a hangout -

But not like the street corner -

Down there we weren't standin lookin out at the world watchin girls - an

findin out how they walk -

We was lookin at each other ... an findin out about ourselves -

It is 'f these times that I remember most sadly -

For they're gone -

an they'll not never come again -

It is 'f these times I think about now -

I think back t one a them nites when the doors was locked an maybe

thirty or forty people sat as close t the stage as they could -

It was another nite past one o'clock an that meant that the tourists on

the street couldn't get in -

 

At these hours there was no tellin what was bound t happen -

Never never could the greatest prophesizor ever guess it -

There was not such a thing as an audience -

There was not such a thing as performers -

Everybody did something -

An had somethin t say about somethin -

I remember Hugh who wore different kinda clothes then but still shouted

an tongue twisted flowin lines a poetry that anybody who could be

struck by the sounds 'f a rock hittin a brick wall could understand -

I remember Luke playin his banjo an singin "East Virginia" with a tone

as soft as the snow outside an "Mr. Garfield" with a bitin touch as hard

as the stovepipe on the inside -

An Dave singin "House a the Risin Sun" with his back leaned against the

bricks an words runnin out in a lonesome hungry growlin whisper that

any girl with her face hid in the dark could understand -

Paul then was a guitar playin singer comedian -

But not the funny ha ha kind -

His funnyness could only be defined an described by the word "hip" or "hyp" -

A combination a Charlie Chaplin Jonathan Winters an Peter Lorre -

Maybe it was that nite that somebody flicked a piece a card-

board in front a the tiny spotlight an he made quick jerky movements on

the stage an everybody's eyes was seein first hand a silent movie for real -

The bearded villain 'f an out a print picture -

There aint room enuff on the paper t tell about everybody that was there

an exactly what they did -

Every nite was a tree high degree novel -

Anyway it was one a these nites when Paul said

"Yuh gotta now hear me an Peter an Mary sing"

Mary's hair was down almost t her waist then -

An Peter's beard was only about half grown -

An the Gaslight stage was smaller

an the song they sang was younger -

But the walls shook

An everybody smiled -

An everybody felt good -

An down there approval didn't come with the clappin a hands at the end 'f the song -

It came burstin out anytime any way it felt like burstin out -

An they were approved -

By the people watchin'm and by 'mselves -

Which really was one -

An that's where the beginning was at -

Inside them walls 'f a subterranean world -

But it's a concrete kind a beginnin -

It's concrete cause it's close -

An it's close cause it's gotta be close -

An that feelin aint be forgotten

Yuh carry it with yuh -

It's a feelin that's born an not bought

An it cant be taught -

An by livin with it yuh learn t see and know it in other people -

T sing an speak as one yuh gotta think as one -

An yuh gotta believe as one -

An yuh gotta feel as one -

An Peter an Paul an Mary're now carryin the feelin that was inside them

walls up the steps t the whole outside world -

 

The rooster never crowed on MacDougal Street -

There was no dew on the grass an the sun never came shinin over the

mountain -

There was nothin t tell yuh it was mornin cept the pins and needles feelin

in yer arms an legs from stayin up all nite -

But all 'f us find our way a knowin when it's mornin -

an once yuh know the feelin it dont change -

 

 

It can only grow

For Peter's grown

An Paul's grown

An Mary's grown

An the  times've grown

 

                    Bob Dylan, 1963

 

[Source: Album liner notes from Peter, Paul & Mary's 1963 "In The Wind" album]

 

[TOP]

 

Joan Baez In Concert, Part 2

In my youngest years I used to kneel
By my aunt's house on a railroad field
An yank the grass out a the ground

An rip savagely at its roots

An pass the hours countin strands

An stains the green grew on my hands
As I waited til I heard the sound

A the iron ore cars rollin down

The tracs'd hum an I'd bite my lip

An hold my grip as the whistle whined;
Crouchin low as the engine growled
I'd shyly wave t the throttle man

An count the cars as they rolled past
But when the echo faded in the day
An I understood the train was gone
It's then that my eyes'd turn

Back t my hands with stains a green
That lined my palms like blood that tells
I'd taken an not given in return

 

But glancin back t the empty patch

Where the ground was turned upside down

An the roots lay dead beside the tree

I'd say "how can this bother me"

Or "I'm sure the grass don't give a damn

Anyway it'll grow again an

What's a patch a grass anyhow"

An I'd wipe my hand t wash the stain;

An fling a rock across the track

With the echo a the railroad train

Hanging heavy like a thunder cloud

In the dawn a t'morrow's rain

An I asked myself t be my friend

An I walked my road like a frightened fox

An I sung my song like a demon child

With a kick an a curse

From inside my mother's womb

 

In later years altho still young

My head swung heavy with windin curves

An a mixed-up path revolved and strung

Within the boundaries a my youth

Til at last I backed so far away

From the world’s walls an friendless games

That I did not have a word t say

T anyone who t d meet my eyes

An I locked myself an lost the key

An let the symbols take their shape

An form a foe for me to fight

T lash my tongue an rebel against

An spit at strong with vomit words

But I learned t choose my idols well

T be my voice an tell my tale

An help me fight my phantom brawl

An my first idol was Hank Williams

For he sang about the railroad lines

An the iron bars an rattlin wheels

Left no doubt that they were real

An my first symbol was the word

    "beautiful"

For the railroad lines were not beautiful

They were smoky black and guttered colored

An filled with stink an soot an dust

An I’d judge beauty with these rules

An accept it only ‘f it was ugly

An ‘f I could touch it with my hand

For it’s only then I’d understand

An say "yeah this’s real"

An I walked my road an sung my song

Like a saddened clown

In the circus a my own world –

 

In later times my idols fell

For I learned that they were only men

An had reasons for their deeds

‘f which weren’t mine weren’t mine at all

An no more on them could I depend

But what I learned from each forgotten god

Was that the battlefield was mine alone

An only I could cast me stone

An the symbols which by now had grown

Out a shape but strong in sight

Were seen by me in a sharper light

An the symbol "beauty" still struck my guts

But now with a more shameful sound

An I rebeled twice as hard

    an ten times as proud 

An I walked my road an sung my song

Like an arch criminal who’d done no wrong

An committed no crime but was

    screaming through the bars

A someone else’s prison –

 

Later yet in New York town

On my own terms I said with age

"The only beauty's in the cracks an curbs

Clothed in robes a dust an grime"

An I searched for it in every hole

An jumped head-on t meet its breast

An whispered tunes into its ear

An kissed its mouth an held its waist
An in its belly swam around

An on its belly passed out cold

An like a blind lover bold in flight

I shouted from inside my wounds
"The voice to speak for me an mine
Is the hard filthy gutter sound

For it's only this that I can touch
An the only beauty I can feel"

An I dove back in by my own choice
T feed my skin a hungry holes

An rejected every other voice

An I walked my road an sung my song
Like a lonesome king

Standin in the fury a the queen' s garden
Starin into

A shallow grave –

 

Time travelled an faces passed

An many thoughts t me were taught

By names an heads too many t count

That touched my path an soon were gone

But some stayed on t remain as friends

An tho each is best an none is best

It is at this time I speak 'f one

Who proved to me that boys still grow

A girl I met on common ground

Who like me strummed lonesome tunes

With a lovely voice

Who like me strummed lonesome tunes

With a "lovely voice" so I first heard

"A thing a beauty" people said

"Wonderous sounds" writers wrote

"I hate that kind a sound" said I

"The only beauty's ugly, man

The crackin shakin breakin sounds're

The only beauty I understand"

 

So between our tongues there was a bar

An tho we talked a the world's fears

An at the same jokes loudly laughed

An held our eyes at the same aim

When I saw she was set to sing

A fence a deafness with a bullet's speed

Sprang up like a protectin glass

Outside the linin a my ears

An I talked loud inside my head

As a double shield against the sounds

"Ain't no voice but an ugly voice

A the rest I don' give a damn

'f I can't feel it with my hand

Then don' wish me t' understand

But I'll wait tho til yer song is done

Cause there's something about yuh

But I don' know what"

An I walked my road an sung my song

Like a scared poet

Walkin on the shore

Kickin driftwood with my shadow

Afraid a the sea –

 

In a cruisin car I heard her tell

About the childhood hours she spent

As a little girl in an Arab land

An she told me ‘f the dogs she saw

Slaughtered wholly on the street

An I learned ‘f how the people laughed

An I learned ‘f how the people’d laugh

As they beat the gentle dogs t’ death

Thru a child’s eyes who tried an failed

T’ hide one dog inside her house

An I turned my head without a word

An coldly stared out t’ the road

An with the wind hittin half my face

My memory creeped as the highway rolled

Back if not but for a flash

T’ an empty patch a grass that died

About the same time a dog was hid

An that guilty feelin sprang again

Not over the roots I’d pulled

But over she who saw the dogs get killed

An I said it softly underneath my breath

"Yuh ought a listen t’ her voice …

Maybe somethin’s in the sound …

Ah but what could she care anyway

Kill them thoughts … they ain’t no good

Only ugly’s understood"

 

An I stuck my head out in the wind
An let the breeze blow the words

Out a my breath as a truck roared by
An almost blew us off the road

An at that time I had no song t’ sing –

 

In Woodstock at a painter’s house

With friends scattered round the room

An she talkin from a chair

An me crosslegged on the rug

I lit a cigarette an laughed

An gulped red wine an lost

Every shakin vein that dwelled

Within the roots a my dancin heart

An the room it whirled and twirled an sailed

Without one fence standin guard

When all at once the silent air

Split open from her soundin voice

Without no warnin from her lips

An by instinct my blood reversed

An I shook an started reachin for

That wall that was supposed t fall

But my restin nerves weren’t restless now

An this time they wouldn’t jump

"Let her voice ring out" they cried

"We’re too tired t stop ‘er sing"

Which shattered all the rules I owned

                     An left me puzzled without

                        no choice

                     Cept t listen t her voice

 

An when I leaned upon my elbows bare

That limply held my body up

I felt my face freeze t the bone

An my mouth like ice or solid stone

Could not've moved 'f called upon

An the time like velvet floated by

Until with hunger pains it cried

"Don't stop singing … sing again"

An like others who have taught me well

Not about themselves but me

She laughed out loud as ‘f t know

That the bars between us busted down

An I laughed almost an insane laugh

An aimed it at the ceiling walls

When I realized the command I called

An my elbows folded under me

An my head lay back upon the floor

An my shaky nerves went floatin free

But I memorized the words t write

For another time in t'morrow's dawn

An held close unchallenged dreams

As I passed out somewhere in the nite –

 

(I did not begin t touch

Till finally felt what wasn't there

Oh how feeble foolish small an sad

‘f me to think that beauty was

Only ugliness an muck

When it's really jus a magic wand

That waves an teases at my mind

An knows that only it can feel

An knows that I aint got a chance

An fools me into thinkin things

Like it’s my hands that understand

Ha ha how it must laugh

At crippled ones like me who try

T pick apart the sounds a streams

An pluck apart the rage ‘f waves

Ah but yuh won’t fool me anymore

For the breeze I heard in a young

     girl’s breath

Proved true as sex an womanhood

An deep as the lowest depths a death

An strong as the weakest winds that blow
An as long as fate an fatherhood

An like gypsy drums

An Chinese gongs

An cathedral bells

An tones ‘f chimes

It just held hymns 'f mystery
An mystery's all too involved

It can't be understood or solved
By hands an feet an fingertips

An it shouldn't be called by a shameful

    name

By those who look for answers plain
In every book cept themselves

Go ahead lightnin laugh at me

Flash yer teeth

Slap yer knee

It's yer joke I agree

I'm even pointin at myself

But it's a shame it's taken so much time)

 

 

So once more it's winter again

An that means I'll wait til spring

T ramble back t where I kneeled
When I first heard the ore train sing
An pulled the ground up by its roots
But this time I won't use my strength
T pass the time yankin grass

While I'm waiting for the train t sound
No next time'l1 be a different day

For the train might be there when I come
An I might wait hours for the cars t pass
An then as the echo fades

I'll bend down and count the strands a grass
But one thing that's bound to be

Is that instead a pullin at the earth
I'll just pet it as a friend

An when that train comes near

I'll nod my head t the big brass wheels
An say "howdy" t the engineer

An yell that .Ioanie says hello

An watch the train man scratch his head
An wonder what I meant by that

An I'll stand up an remember when
A rock was flung by a devil child

An I'll walk my road somewhere between
The unseen green an the jet black train
An I'll sing my song like a rebel wild
For it's that I am an can't deny

But at least I'll know now not to hurt
Not t push

Not tache

An God knows … not t try –

 

 

[Album liner notes to “Joan Baez In Concert, Part 2”, released November 1963.

Source: poem to joanie. A Booklegger Realization with an introduction by A.J. Weberman.

Also published under the title Poem To Joanie in a limited edition of 300 copies by Aloes Press, England 1972.

The album liner notes had no title.]

 

[TOP]

 

2nd Right 3rd Row

 

Eric Von Schmidt  Of course, we had heard about Eric

Von Schmidt for many years. The name itself had become

a password. Eventually, after standing in line to meet him, there

it was -- his doorstep, a rainy day, and he grated his visitors,

inviting them in. He was told how much they liked Grizzly Bear and he then

invited the whole bunch to the club, where he was about to perform the

thing live. "C'mon down to the club" he said -- "I'm about to perform it live".

 

We accepted the invitation. And that is what his record is. An

invitation. An invitation to the glad, mad, sad, biting, exciting, frightening,

crabby, happy, enlightening, hugging, chugging world of Eric Von

Schmidt. For here is a man who can sing the bird off the wire

and the rubbber off the tire. He can separate the men from the boys and

the note from the noise. The bridle from the saddle and the cow from

the cattle. He can play the tune of the moon. The why

of the sky and the commotion from the ocean. Yes he can.

 

                                                                 Bob Dylan

 

[Source: Album liner notes from Eric Von Schmidt's 1969 album]

 

[TOP]

 

Planet Waves

 

Back to the Starting

Point! The kickoff, Hebrew

letters on the wall, Victor Hugo's

house in Paris, NYC in early

autumn, leaves flying in the park, the

clock strikes Eight, Bong \(em I dropped a

double brandy & tried to recall the events ...

beer halls & pin balls, polka bands, barbwire

& thrashing clowns, objects, headwinds, &

snowstorms, family outings with strangers \(em

Furious gals with garters & smeared lips

on bar stools that stank from sweating

pussy \(em doing the Hula \(em perfect,

priests in overhauls, glassy eyed,

Insomnia! Space guys off duty with

big dicks & duck tails, all wire up &

voting for Eisenhower, waving flags &

jumping off of fire engines, getting

killed on motorcycles whatever \(em

We sensed each other beneath

the mask, pitched a tent in the

street & joined the traveling circus,

love at first sight! History

became a lie! the sideshow took

over \(em what a sight ... the tresh-

hold of the Modern Bomb,

temples of the Pawnee, the

cowboy saint, the Arapshop,

snapshots of \(em  Apache poets

searching thru the ruins for a

glimpse of Buddah \(em I let out

for parts unknown, found Jacob's

ladder up against an adobe wall &

bought a serpent from a passing angel \(em

Yeah the ole days are gone

forever and the new ones aint far behind, the

laughter is fading away, echoes of a star

of energy Vampires in the gone world going

Wild! Drinking the blood of innocent people,

Innocent lambs! The wretched of the Earth,

my brothers of the flood, cities of the flesh \(em

Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Bismarck, South

Dakota, Duluth! Duluth \(em where Baudelaire lived

& Goya cashed in his chips, where Joshua brought

the house down! From there it was straight up \(em a little

jolt of Mexico and some good LUCK, a

little power over the Grave, some

more brandy & the teeth of

a lion & a compass

 

 

[TOP]

 

A Tribute to Woody Guthrie

 

I first heard Woody Guthrie over at a house party. I was over at somebody's

house who was a lawyer and also a folk singer. He had Woody Guthrie and Cisco

Houston records. Folkways records. "Grand Coulee Dam", "Pastures of Plenty",

"Pretty Boy Floyd", "Tom Joad", "Vigilante Man." And what was different

about it - you know, it's hard to say. There are so many reasons why he was

different, you could fill a book. He had a sound. Well, everybody had a

sound, but he had a particular sound, more or less a Carter family-type

sound. And he had something that needed to be said. And that was highly

unusual to my ears. Usually you would have one or the other, you know,

but he always had something to say.

 

I had a lot of lost time to make up. I mean, I really had to find out who

this guy was and everything I could about him. I started learning his

songs. I mean, there was a time when I did nothing *but* his songs. And

I read this book. I read "Bound for Glory," which a folk music professor at

the University of Minnesota loaned to me to read - because it was not the

kind of book they sold in a bookstore. I thought "Bound for Glory" was the

first "On the Road," and of course it changed my life like it changed everyone

else's.

 

By this time I was completely taken over by him. By his spirit, or whatever.

You could listen to his songs and actually learn how to live, or how to feel.

He was like a guide. I couldn't believe that I'd never heard of this man - I

didn't know if he was dead or alive, but by now I was trying to find out

where he was.

 

When I finally met him, he wasn't functioning very well, but I was there

more or less as a servant - I mean, I went there to sing him his songs. That's

all I went to do, and that's all I did. I never really talked too much to him.

He couldn't talk anyway. He was very jittery. He always liked the songs, and

he would ask for certain ones. I knew them all! I was like a Woody Guthrie

jukebox.

 

If Woody Guthrie was around today, I think he'd be very disillusioned. But

everything happens in its own time. Woody Guthrie was who he was because he

came along in the time he came along in. For me he was like a link in a

chain. Like I am for other people, and we all are for somebody. We're all

just links in a chain. There was an innocence to Woody Guthrie. There was a

certain type of innocence that I never regained - I know that's what I was

looking for. Whether it was real, or whether it was a dream, who's to say?

But it was kind of lost innocence. And after him it was over.

 

 

[TOP]

 

World Gone Wrong

 

ABOUT THE SONGS (what they're about)

 

BROKE DOWN ENGINE is a Blind Willie McTell masterpiece. it's about trains, mystery on the rails-the trains of love, the train that carried my girl from town-The Southern Pacific, Baltmore & Ohio whatever-it's about variations of human longing-the low hum in meters & syllables. it's about dupes of commerce & politics colliding on tracks, not being pushed around by ordinary standards. it's about revival, getting a new lease on life, not just posing there-paint chipped & flaked, mattress bare, single bulb swinging above the bed. it's about Ambiguity, the fortunes of the priviliged elite, flood control-watching the red dawn not bothering to dress.

 

LOVE HENRY is a "traditionalist" ballad. Tom Paley used to do it, a perverse tale. Henry-modern corporate man off some foreign boat, unable to handle his "psychosis" responsible for organizing the Intelligentsia, disarming the people, an infantile sensualist-white teeth, wide smile, lotza money, kowtows to fairy queen exploiters & corrupt religious establishments, career-minded, limousine double parked, imposing his will & dishonest garbage in popular magazines. he lays his head on a pillow of down & falls asleep. he shoulda known better, he must've had a hearing problem.

 

STACK-A-LEE is Frank Hutchinson's version. what does the song say exactly? it says no man gains immortality thru public acclaim. truth is shadowy. in the pre-postindustrial age, victims of violence were allowed (in fact it was their duty) to be judges over their offenders-parents were punished for their children's crimes (we've come a long way since then) the song says that a man's hat is his crown. futurologists would insist it's a matter of tatse. they say "let's sleep on it" but they're already living in the sanatirium. No Rights Without Duty is the name of the game & fame is a trick. playing for time is only horsing around. Stack's in a cell, no wall phone. he's not some egotistical degraded existentialist dionysian idiot. neither does he represent any alternative lifestyle scam (give me a thousand acres of tractable land & all the gang members that exist and you'll see the Authentic alternative lifestyle, the Agrarian one) Billy didn't have an insurance plan, didn't get airsick yet his ghost is more real and genuine than all the dead souls on the boob tube - a monumental epic of blunder and misunderstanding, a romance tale without the cupidity.

 

BLOOD IN MY EYES is one of two songs done by the Mississippi Sheiks, a little known de facto group whom in their former glory must've been something to behold. rebellion against routine seems to be their strong theme. all their songs are raw in the bone & are faultlessly made for these modern times (the New Dark Ages) nothing effete about the Mississippi Sheiks.

 

WORLD GONE WRONG is also by them & goes against cultural policy. "strange things are happening like never before." Strange things alright-strange things like courage becoming befuddled & nonfundamental. evil charlatans masquerading in pullover vests & tuxedos talking gobbledyook, monstrous pompous superficial pageantry parading down lonely streets on limited access highways. strange things indeed - irrationalist bimbos & bozos, the stuff of legend, coming in from left field-infamy on the landscape-"pray to the Good Lord" hit the light switch!

 

JACK-A-ROE is another Tom Paley ballad (Tom, one of the New Lost City Ramblers) the young virgin follows her heart (which cant be confined) & in it the secrets of the universe. "there was a wealthy merchant" wealthy & philosophically

influential perhaps with an odd penchant for young folk. the song cannot be categorized-is worlds away from reality but "gets inside" reality anyway & strips it of its steel and concrete. inverted symmetry, legally stateless, travelling under a false passport. "before you step on board, sir..." are you any good at what you do? Submerge your personality.

 

DELIA is one sad tale-two or more versions mixed into one. the song has no middle range, comes whipping around the corner, seems to be about counterfeit loyalty. Delia herself, no Queen Gertrude, Elizabeth 1 or even Evita Peron, doesnt ride a Harley Davidson across the desert highway, doesnt need a blood change & would never go on a shopping spree. the guy in the courthouse sounds like a pimp in primary colors. he's not interested in mosques on the temple mount, armageddon or world war III, doesnt put his face in his knees & weep & wears no dunce hat, makes no apology & is doomed to obscurity. does this song have rectitude? you bet. toleration of the unacceptable leads to the last round-up. the singer's not talking from a head of booze. Jerry Garcia showed me

 

TWO SOLDIERS (Hazel & Alice do it pretty similar) a battle song extraordinaire, some dragoon officer's epaulettes laying liquid in the mud, physical plunge into Limitationville, war dominated by finance (lending money for interest being a nauseating & revolting thing) love is not collateral. hittin' them where they aint (in the imperect state that they're in) America when Mother was the the queen of Her heart, before Charlie Chapin, before the Wild One, before the children of the Sun-before the celestial grunge, before the insane world of entertainment exploded in our faces-before all the ancient & honorable artillery had been taken out of the city, learning to go forward by turning back the clock, stopping the mind from thinking in hours, firing a few random shots at the face of time.

 

RAGGED & DIRTY one of the Willy Browns did this - schmaltz & pickled herring, stuffed cabbage, heavy moral vocabulary - sweetness & sentiment, house rocking, superior beauty, not just standing there-the seductive magic of the thumbs up salute, carefully thought out overtones & stepping sideways, the idols of human worship paying thru the nose, lords of the illogical in smoking jackets, sufferers from a weak education, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle-taking stupid chances-being mistreated just so far.

 

LONE PILGRIM is from an old Doc Watson record. what attracts me to the song is how the lunacy of trying to fool the self is set aside at some given point. salvation and the needs of mankind are prominent & hegemony takes a breathing spell. "my soul flew to mansions on high" what's essentially true is virtual reality. technology to wipe out the truth is now available. not everybody can afford it but it's available. when the cost comes down look out! there wont be songs like this anymore. factually there aren't any now. by the way, don't be bewildered by the Never Ending Tour chatter. there was a Never Ending Tour but it ended in '91 with the departure of guitarist G.E. Smith. that one's long gone but there have been many others since then. The Money Never Runs Out Tour (fall of '91) Southern Sympathizer Tour (early '92) Why Do You Look At Me So Strangely

Tour (European '92) The One Sad Cry Of Pity Tour (Australia & West Coast American '92) Principles Of Action Tour (Mexico-South American '92) Outburst Of Consciousness Tour ('92) Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Tour ('93) & others too many to mention. each with their own character and design. to know which was which consult the playlists.

 

 

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This page last updated 03 February 2011.