Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Lyrically Speaking

The idea for this post comes from a “Group” I belong to, Birches. It is a fan site/blog for the artist Bill Morrissey. For those of you who are not familiar with him here is a little info.

“Since 1984, Bill Morrissey has released a series of albums of original songs that have startled and delighted the following he's built up in touring around the Northeast. By the second one, North, he'd been picked up by the Philo division of Rounder Records. Bill sings in a surprisingly flexible deep voice (somewhat reminiscent of Leon Redbone’s croak, but more supple). His songs are full of humor and pathos, expressed in keenly observed details. This is small-town life, sometimes desperate, sometimes hopeful, but always presented in new, unexpected ways on releases including 1989's Standing Eight, 1992's Inside, 1994's Night Train, and 1996's You'll Never Get to Heaven. Something I Saw or Thought I Saw continued that tradition in 2001.” ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Bill is currently in Rehab (alcohol) in NY and will be returning to Tamworth, NH (about an hour from me) where he lives, in the middle of February. Now, in my Monday Melee I mentioned I hate people who use Rehab as the “All Forgiven” This is not the case with Bill. There were no blunders, dunders or otherwise tawdry instances that he needed rescuing from, other than his own demons. He had just finished working on his newest album, which will be released in March. I can’t wait!

Anyway, long story short, some of his fans have been sharing their favorite lines from his past works. If you haven’t ever listened to his music, it is quintessentially small town. You know these people he sings about, they live in your town too, or they are at some point in your life..YOU! Here is the assignment, list five lyrics that stick out in your mind and their significance to you. It can be as zany, quirky or catchy to having had an influence or impact on some aspect of your life.

Here are mine: (Not necessary in order of significance)

1.) Long Gone-Bill Morrissey- Inside: “I’ve been long gone, now I am standing in the doorway of your front hall. Ain’t this better than a letter or a phone call, tell me once again that your still mine.”

Significance: My recent reconnecting-this whole song is “Us”.

2.) Different Currency- Bill Morrissey-You’ll Never Get To Heaven: “She knew strangers don’t do favors and nothing is for free. You gotta pay for everything it’s just with different currency.” “He wasn’t much to look at but she didn’t really care. She was pretty sure his car was good enough to get her all the way down there. She leaned back in her seat, just another bird on the wing . He said “you know this rides a trade off?” she said “Yeah, isn’t everything”.

Significance: My life in general. I have paid a lot of dues, sometimes with different currency.

3.) Ordinary Average Guy-Joe Walsh: “And every Saturday we work in the yard. Pick up the dog doo, hope that it's hard (woof-woof)”.

Significance: It is just freakn’ funny!

4.) Little Head-John Hiatt: “I’m loyal as a dog but I’m a hog for that sexual attraction.It starts up in my mind and makes a bee line below the belt no consequences just satisfaction. Baby in my heart I’m faithful. This two headed monster is so distasteful. Forgive me when my instincts start stinkin, I’m just so easily led when the little head does the thinkin’”

Significance: Aren’t we all a bit “Doggish” when the Little Head does the thinking!

5.) Keep Me In Your Heart-Warren Zevon-The Wind: “Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house, maybe you'll think of me and smile. You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse. Keep me in your heart for awhile. Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams touch me as I fall into view. When the winter comes keep the fires lit and I will be right next to you.”

Significance: I will have this played at my dad’s funeral. He has Alzheimers. That is all I can say about that.

O.K. I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours!


Sassy Sundry said...


Well, there's the one at the top of my blog. I like that one. "I think of the things that matter/And I think of the things that don't." It's true. That one's from Drug Test by Yo La Tengo.

The entire Eff'n Run song, specifically "I want all that stupid old s$%#, like letters and sodas," by Liz Phair. Self-explanatory.

"Oh it's okay for you to say
What you want from me
I believe that's the only
Way for me to be
Exactly what do you want me to be?
Exactly what do you want me to be? " Handshake Drugs, Wilco. I think that line sums up some bitterness I have nicely.

"If you want to sing out, sing out. If you want to be free, be free." Cat Stevens. It makes me think of Harold and Maude, and that makes me happy.

"And you were in the parking lot
Subterranean by your own design
The virtue of your style inscribed
On your contempt for mine
Jesus was a beggar, he was rich in grace
And Solomon kept his head in all his glory
It's just that some steps outside the boho dance
Have a fascination for me." Boho Dance, Joni Mitchell. That little section always makes me stop and listen. I want to live my life outside the boho dance.

OK, these aren't great. But they're the ones that came to mind today.

dive said...

What a brilliant assignment, Prudence.
I'll get my thinking cap on.

Great to see John Hiatt in there. Just about all of his lyrics could go in my list.
I love the way hte rhymes the Wueen of Sheba with an Amoeba in "Thing Called Love" and he crossed the Mississippi like an oil slick fire in"Tennessee Plates", and any number of others.
Actually, I'd better ban John Hiatt from ly finished list, otherwise nobody else will get a look in …

Lovely to see Joni in Sassy's list, too.

dive said...

Yikes! Typo Hell!

Anonymous said...

Great idea Prudence, another reason for me to put off my homework for the night and do yours instead. Far more fun.

Robyn said...

Prudence, I am so far behind the times--anything written after the days of Beethoven is beyond me--it's a pity.

Did I know your father has Alzheimer's? My father and father-in-law both had the shitty disease. I know exactly what you're going through, and I wish I had words of encouragement.

Sassy Sundry said...

Wait... Yetta, I didn't know that your father has Alzheimers. I was so busy writing the lyrics I forgot to mention that. I'm sorry. I like him.

Dear Prudence said...

Great lyrics Sassy. The Boho Dance. Brings back great memories of weekends at a friend’s house drinking Dickle, smoking load of, well you know and playing Risk until all hours of the morning. I am going to check out Liz Phair! Harold and Maude...ahhh I remember!

O.K. Dive we await your list and John Hiatt rocks! I took my youngest to see him this year for his birthday in a little venue on the coast. We were so close we could see the veins in his head pop out while he wailed. Oh, I was in Hiatt Heaven. Ethan, well he appreciated his guitar playing.

Kate, please don't use me as an excuse to procrastinate. I applaud you for going to school and glad you have all teachers you like this time around.

Robyn, then there’s the challenge for you! It is important to listen to new music! There are some great artists out there that are actually breathing! LOL

All; I don’t believe I have mentioned my dads Alzheimers before. He is my hero and I am his only daughter. We are closer than close, bluer than blue about what he is going through. His dad also died of this disease so we are very conscious of the path he is on. I try not to think about it too much as I believe I will lose my mind when he is gone. I can’t imagine that someday he will not know me. He is my constant.

Dear Prudence said...


dive said...

She has SUCH a potty mouth!

I love the image of the veins on John Hiatt's head popping out. He really does that, doesn't he?
I'm now going to do Bring The Family and Slow Turning back to back. Wow! Ry Cooder on the first and Sonny Landreth on the second. Slide heaven!

Dear Prudence said...

Hiatt is so under most peoples radar it is truly a travesty. He has written so much for so many others who don't sing his stuff anywhere close to his feeling. Yes, his veins really do pop and his “Orbisinish” trailing are so great person. He sings with his face if that makes any sense. My fav off Bring the family is Tip of my tongue.. what we say can sure bring it all down around us.. “from the back of my mind to the tip of my tongue” yeow!

dive said...

And his choice of sidemen! Jim Keltner's drums on Memphis in the Meantime (great lyrics again), and Ry Cooder's slide solo on Lipstick Sunset … Whooooeee.
And on Slow Turning … From Icy Blue Heart, "Girl, you're a beauty like I've never witnessed
And I've seen the Northern Lights dance in the air" I've always wanted to use that line but never found the girl … Or "Feels Like Rain" or …
Oh hell, let's just say Hiatt is one of the VERY top lyricists of the past fifty years.
Everybody! Go out and buy John Hiatt's music now!

Dear Prudence said...

Put the cow horns back on the cadillac and change the message on the coat of arms! Yep GO find him NOW!
Dive you haven't mentioned if you have listen to Bill Morrissey, I would say he is lyrically second to Hiatt.

dive said...

I haven't got any of his stuff yet, Prudence, but those Amazonian folk are winging a copy of The Essential Collection to me so I can sample some.
They estimate delivery time at three weeks. I think they're going to float it across the Atlantic in a bottle …

Dear Prudence said...

Geeze.. I could email you some if you like.. I have plenty on my hard drive!

dive said...

Never deprive a musician of royalties, young Prudence (lectures an old musician, sternly).

… Aww hell. I was never any good at being stern. I'd be a crap S&M master; I'd keep giggling …

Dear Prudence said...

Dive, I was in no way implying that you could cancel your order with Amazon. Only to share a song or two, that I bought myself, just to satiate the inquiring mind till your tunes arrive. No thievery on this side of the pond!

dive said...

No worries, Prudence.

And I've always got half a dozen CDs coming from Amazon or various record companies. I tend to order them late at night, then forget all about it and it's a nice surprise when they come.
With any luck I will have forgotten all about Mr. M by the time I open the package and go "Ooh!".

Dear Prudence said...

I will anxiously await your review!