elmergantry

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

Tag: Paul Clayton

‘A Life that I was living In some Cracked Rear View’: Songs of Experience

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Dylan Thomas ‘Fern Hill’

‘Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.’
George Orwell

“And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”
William Blake

As the title suggests, this post is a sequel to the one I wrote recently on ‘Songs of Innocence.’ So here are ten songs which deal with one way or another with the often bitter and disillusioning experiences which accompany the passage of time and the path to maturity. For all of us, life generally grows in complexity as we age and the balance of light and shade in it tends to lean more towards the latter. It may be, however, that these sufferings which we all have to go through ultimately lead to some kind of maturity…

The first part of the title of today’s post comes from this song:

1. John Hiatt, ‘Learning How To Love You’:

2. Phil Ochs, ‘Rehearsals for Retirement’:

3. Smog, ‘Cold Blooded Old Times’

4. Jim White, ‘Chase the Dark Away’;

5. Rowland S. Howard, ‘Ave Maria’

6. Iris De Ment, ‘No Time to Cry”

7. Steve Earle, ‘Goodbye’

8. Bob Dylan, ‘Things Have Changed’:

9. Mary Gauthier, ‘I Drink’

10. Paul Clayton, ‘All The Good Times Are O’er’
Sample here – http://www.folkways.si.edu/paul-clayton/dulcimer-songs-and-solos/american-folk/music/album/smithsonian

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All was Numbered

Ten songs with numbers in the title:

1. Frank Sinatra, ‘One For My Baby’ 9sorry Bob, but there are certain songs that when Frank sang them, they stayed sung’:

2. Paul Clayton ‘The Twa Sisters’ or ‘the Two Sisters’:

3. Planxty, ‘Three Drunken Maidens’:

4. The Clash, ‘Four Horsemen”:

5 Blue Rodeo, ‘Five Days in May’:

6. Don Baker, ‘Six Days on The Road”:

7. Bob Dylan, ‘Seven Curses”:

8. The Byrds, ‘Eight Miles High’:

9. George Harrison, ‘Cloud Nine”;

10. The Dubliners, Three Score and Ten:

3.

Another Place, Another Time

Great picture of Dave Van Ronk and Paul Clayton – not sure where it was taken:

https://i0.wp.com/blogs.lib.unc.edu/sfc/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/20239_pf0058_01_0038.jpg

Voices Part III: ‘The Death of Queen Jane”

To conclude my discussion of the way in which rock, folk and country music deal with the topic of the deaths of close relatives/friends, have included a few more songs here which deal with the topic. Most of these come from the latter two genres, which, it seems to me, are far more comfortable with discussing death than are rock and pop music with their emphasis on youth.

Will begin with The Bothy Band’s fine live version of ‘The Death of Queen Jane’:

Next up is Joe Heaney’s ‘Song of the Drowned’ or ‘Curachaí na Trá Báine:

This can be heard here at
http://www.joeheaney.org/default.asp?contentID=781

Will follow this with two songs by Paul Clayton, who had a special talent for covering melancholic songs:

The first is ‘The Seaman’s Grave’:

A sample can be heard here at http://www.pandora.com/paul-clayton/bay-state-ballads

and the second is ‘The Dying Stockman”;

A sample can be found here at http://www.pandora.com/paul-clayton/folk-ballads-of-english-speaking-world/dying-stockman.

Will finish up with two country songs. The first one is Roseanne Cash’s superb ‘Black Cadillac’

The second is ‘Peace in the Valley” from Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s excellent cd of covers of classic country songs, recorded as a tribute to his father:

A sample can be heard here at http://www.pandora.com/jimmie-dale-gilmore/come-on-back/peace-in-valley

“I Followed the River and I Got to the Sea”: 11 Songs with Either Word in their Title

A brief return to the ‘theme time’ format.

Will begin with Creedence

1. ‘Green River’:

2. Woody Guthrie ‘Red River Valley’:

3. Eric Andersen, ‘Blue River’:

4. Johnny Cash, ‘Sea of Heartbreak”

5. ‘Joni Mitchell, ‘River”

6. The Pogues, ‘The Broad Majestic Shannon”;

7. Paul Robeson, ‘Shenandoah’:

8. Paul Clayton, ‘Saturday night at Sea’:

9. Al Green, ‘Take Me To the River”:

10. Screaming Trees, “Ocean of Confusion”:

11. Mark Lanegan, ‘The River Rise’:

Paul Clayton Newport 1963

Good picture of Clayton performing at the Newport Festival in July 1963. He might even be singing the version of ‘The Two Sisters’ that Bob Dylan based ‘Percy’s song’ on:

Who gwine to bring you chickens, honey,?

Returning to this song, it seems clear that it is derived (or is, perhaps, a parody) of a long line of songs in this vein which goes back far into the past. An example would be songs such as ‘Who’s gonna shoe your pretty little feet’ which was recorded by Woody Guthrie among others. His version is below:

 

 

Here is the Everly’s Brothers version (as a belated tribute to the late great Don Everly who died in January):

 

 

Clayton himself (who incidentally would have been 83 on Monday) had also recorded a number of songs in this vein. Perhaps the best of them is his classic version of the Child ballad, ‘Lass of Roch Royal” from his album, ‘Folk Ballads of the English Speaking World’, with its lines:

 

“Oh who will lace my shoes so small?

And who will glove my hand

And who will lace my middle so jimp [slender]

With my new-made linen band?

 

“Who will comb my yellow hair?

With my new silver comb

And who will father my young son

Till Lord Gregory comes home?

Don’t Think Twice Revisited – Again

Have been looking further into the origins of Paul Clayton’s ‘Who’s gonna buy your Ribbons’ and have come up with a few new ‘leads’, as it were.

Especially after the contributions here from Jaan Kolk on ‘Gotta Travel On’, I have come to the conclusion that Clayton’s original songs were usually based on a range of sources -in effect, having a patchwork quality, which, ironically enough, is similar to the way in which Bob Dylan writes songs today…

Bearing this in mind, it seems that the formulation ‘sit and sigh’ was a pretty common one in folksongs – in a quick search, I found it used in “Lady Margaret” –
‘My hounds will eat o’ the bread of wheat
and ye of the bread o’bran
And then yo’will sit and sigh
That e’er ye loved a man’

It is also used in the song, the ‘Faerie’s Love Song’:
‘Why should I sit and sigh?
Pullin’ bracken, pullin’ bracken
Why should I sit and sigh,
On a hillside weary?’

The lines about the ‘long lonesome road’ and being forced to ‘travel on’ in Clayton’s song may also owe something to this song, ‘The Lonesome Road’, which was recorded by Gene Austin in 1927. In an ironic twist, Bob Dylan was to use part of the lytic of that song in his ‘Sugar Baby’.

Here is Gene Austin’s version of the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5AM8xtl-uU

and this is Bing Crosby’s, recorded in 1938:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB3CRO9WL10

Clayton also recorded his own version of ‘Lonesome Road’ on his classic album of dulcimer songs and solos. He claimed to have learned this version – which he suggested was the original that was followed by the other more commercial versions – from ‘Negro sources in Bedford County, Virginia”.

This version can be heard here:

Goodbye to 2013 – almost

Will start this post with some good advice for 2014 from Edwyn Collins:
Edwyn Collins, “Low Expectations”:

So, we are nearly at the end of this strange year, a year which I, for one, will be glad to see the back of.

Lost a few great ones this year, although perhaps the most nauseating spectacle I have seen in the past twelve months was the self-regarding and preening behaviour of the collection of political mediocrities who attended Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Not one of them had an ounce of Mandela’s courage, adherence to principle or dignity…

Among those we lost were Lou Reed:

And George Jones:

And Seamus Heaney:
http://vimeo.com/73559117

We also came closing to losing Randy Travis, whose album ‘Influences, Vol. 1: The Man I Am’ showed an artist at the peak of his powers and a singer who came closest to being the true successor to George Jones as the best ‘pure’ country singer:

To round off, would like to thank those who read this blog this year & to hope that 2014 is a good year for you.

To quote, Johnny Rotten, ‘May the Road rise with You”;

And here’s my suggestion for a ‘new’ New Year song to replace the cliched ‘Auld Lang Syne” – Paul Clayton’s great version of ‘Around the Ingals Blazing’:
[Sample Here, its No. 207, for some strange reason} –

http://www.folkways.si.edu/paul-clayton/bay-state-ballads/american-folk/music/album/smithsonian

‘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’: