elmergantry

' I've lost the power I had to distinguish between what to ignite and what to extinguish' – Rowland S. Howard

Tag: Merle Haggard

‘No Time to Cry’: A Selection of Songs For Father’s Day

A Kite for Michael and Christopher

All through that Sunday afternoon
A kite flew above Sunday,
a tightened drumhead, an armful of blow chaff.

I’d seen it grey and slippy in the making,
I’d tapped it when it dried out white and stiff,
I’d tied the bows of the newspaper
along its six-foot tail.

But now it was far up like a small black lark
and now it dragged as if the bellied string
were a wet rope hauled upon
to life a shoal.

My friend says that the human soul
is about the weight of a snipe
yet the soul at anchor there,
the string that sags and ascends,
weigh like a furrow assumed into the heavens.

Before the kite plunges down into the wood
and this line goes useless
take in your two hands, boys, and feel
the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.
You were born fit for it.
Stand here in front of me
and take the strain.

Seamus Heaney

Reading Thom’s Hickeys fine post on Father’s Day at The Immortal Jukebox gave me the idea for this selection of songs. The idea of using a Heaney poem to introduce it also came from that piece.
As Thom points out there, the relationship between a child and its parents is one of the most significant in our lives. In consequence it is, perhaps, unsurprising that many of these songs are of a very high quality, indeed. By the way, my favourite is the last one…
Although the majority of the ten songs I have chosen here look at the relationship from the child’s perspective, the first three look at it from the other direction.

1. Jackie Leven, ‘Single Father’:

2. Sean Keane, ‘Kilkelly Ireland”:

3. Loudon Wainwright, ‘The Day That We Die’:

4. Merle Haggard, ‘I Still Can’t Say Goodbye”:

5. Paul Westerberg, ‘My Dad”:

6. Rosanne Cash, ‘Black Cadillac’:

7. Lucy Kaplansky, ‘Today’s The Day”:

8. Jimmie Rodgers, ‘Daddy and Home”:

9. Rodney Crowell, ‘The Rock of My Soul”:

10. Guy Clark, ‘Randall Knife”:

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Trucking, driving, Rambling and Rollin’ Songs – Part 2

Another ten songs on this theme. Realised the previous one had not included any Chuck Berry, so will start with:
!. Chuck Berry, ‘Maybelline’:


2. Dave and Phil Alvin, ‘Trucking Little Woman'”


3. J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices, ‘Truckstop Amphetamines (thanks to Paul Kerr of Blabber ‘n’ Smoke for putting me on to this fine artist]’:


4. Rory Gallagher, ‘Livin’ Like a Trucker”;


5. Jimmy Witherspoon, ‘No Rollin’ Blues”:


6. Rodney Crowell, ‘Many a Long and Lonesome Highway”;


7. Gordon Lightfoot, ‘Restless’:


8. Merle Haggard, ‘Ramblin Fever’:


9. Jimmie Rogers ‘Somewhere Down Below the Dixon Line’:


10. Woody Guthrie, ‘Ramblin’ Blues’;

 

Trucking, Driving, Rambling and Rollin’ Songs

Another return to the ‘theme time’ format. Idea came to me while listening to this excellent Son Volt song, so will start with it:

1. Son Volt, ‘Looking at the world through a Windshield’

Will follow it with one of the classics of the genre:

2. Little Feat, ‘Willin”:

3. Robert Johnson, ‘Rambling on My Mind’:

4. Merle Haggard, ‘Truck Drivers Blues”:

5. Don Baker, ‘Six Days on the Road”:

6. Woody Guthrie, ‘Ramblin Round”:

7. Tom Paxton, ‘Rambling boy”:

8. Charley Patton, ‘Down the Dirt road Blues”:

9. Bob Dylan, ‘Ramblin, Gamblin Willie”:

10. The Dubliners, ‘Champion at Keeping Them Rolling”:

Surnames and Placenames: More Songs about Cities, Towns & People – 2

There are so many songs on these topics have decided to add a second post.

So here goes:
1. Randy Travis, ‘What have you got planned tonight, Diana’?

2. Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, “My Mary”;

3. Wilbert Harrison, ‘Kansas City”:

4. Hoagy Carmichael, ‘Georgia on my Mind”;

5. Van Morrison, ‘Cyprus Avenue”:

6. Lyle Lovett, ‘One Eyed Fiona’:

7. Bing Crosby, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’:

8. Paul Robeson, ‘Joe Hill”:

9. Phil Ochs, ‘Joe Hill”:

10. Al Green, ‘Belle”;

11. The Kinks, ‘David Watts’:

12. Lou Reed, ‘I Love you, Suzanne”:

‘On the Road…again’: a Theme-Time 30 minutes

‘On the Road…again’: a Theme-Time 30 minutes
by elmergantry

Would like to dedicate this post to the ‘mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars’.

Also for the purposes of this post, ‘Road’ is taken to extend to highways, freeways, railroads, bóithríni and so on…,

Have to start with this one:

1. Willie Nelson, ‘On the road Again’:

Will follow it up with this typically raucous ditty from Kraftwerk

2. Kraftwerk, ‘Autobahn’:

To change the mood slightly, this great song from Nick Drake’s final masterpiece, “Pink Moon’:

3. Nick Drake, ‘Road’:

4. Bert would have been 70 on the 3 November – perhaps the greatest British acoustic guitarist:

5. Woody Guthrie, ‘Goin’ Down the Road feelin’ bad’:

Steve Earle has written at least fine three songs with ‘road’ in the title – this one is my favourite, by a whisker…

6. Steve Earle, ‘Telephone Road”

Not only a great singer, but a great man as well…

7. Paul Robeson, ‘Lonesome Road’

8. Merle Haggard ‘On the Jericho Road”;

As ever, a beautifully understated song from a master…

9. Guy Clark, ‘LA Freeway’:

10. Paul Clayton, ‘Green Rocky Road: There is a sample of this song here:

http://www.artistdirect.com/nad/window/media/page/0,,4764222-14833483,00.html

Although it doesn’t have the word in the title, this must be among the greatest road songs ever written

11. Chuck Berry, ‘Promised Land’:

In The Garden, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Randy Travis

Was at a gospel choir here in Sydney recently and they did a great version of this country gospel song, which I had not heard before.

This sent me looking for other versions of the song on You Tube yesterday and I came up with these three which are my current favourites. Have placed them in ascending order (the last is my favourite – a magnificent version by Randy Travis – one of those occasions where he finds a song that is worthy of that great country voice. I like the other two, but it would have been good if George Jones had recorded it earlier in his career. His voice is somewhat wavery here, but it adds an air of vulnerability to his version, which fits with the theme of the song.

This is George Jones’ version:

Here is Merle’s Haggard’s version, which has a nice ‘Dixieland’ feel, at times:

This, to my mind, however, stands out as the definitive reading of this great song:

There is also an Elvis’ version, which I mean to check out

Alternative Ten Neglected Nuggets List

Here is an alternative list of ten equally good and neglected nuggets:

Merle Haggard, Kern River:This song is, simply, a masterpiece, by one of the great American songwriters:

Martin Carthy, Prince Heathen: Masterly version by, perhaps, the greatest English folk singer

Al Green: Belle: Among the greatest songs ever recorded:

Dion, Abraham, Martin & John: Magnificent singing from one of the greats (ignore the appalling chorus)…

Marvin Gaye, Some Kind of Wonderful. This is as good as it gets..

Nic Jones, Clyde Water: Great English Folk Singer whose career was cut tragically short:

Paul Clayton, The Twa Sisters: The definitive version:

Lal Waterson, Red Wine Promises: A great English songwriter:

Dick Gaughan, Jamie Foyers: Great song & a great singer

Gene Vincent, Git it. One of the originals…