Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sing! Sing a Song. . .

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If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
Why?
And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

Iris DeMent wrote my theme song:

The Way I Should

A cold wind against my shoulder woke me up in the middle of the night
An autumn leaf was scraping against my window
like it was trying hard to get inside
and then a ghost that I had met before kept me up 'til dawn
and everything I thought was right was suddenly all wrong
He said, "Your score is looking pretty bad"
and then he asked me what it was that I had to show

So I went running down a list of things
some were real, but on some of them I lied
'cause I felt I had to justify each breath that I'd been breathing in this life
Then I realized I was playing into someone else's rules,
trying to keep my score up in a game I did not choose
Then I looked that ghost straight in the eye
and said "You'd better not be coming back by again"

And it's true that I don't work near as hard
as you tell me that I'm supposed to
I don't run as fast as I could
but I live just the way I want to
and that's the way I should

October's leaves were dancing 'round
like angels dressed in robes of red and gold
but November's come and gone now
and they're lying in the gutter out along the road
They're gonna make their way out to the ditch or someday to the sea,
they'll get to where they're going without the help of you or me
and if each life is just a grain of sand
I'm telling you man, this grain of sand is mine

And it's true that I don't work near as hard
as you tell me that I'm supposed to
I don't run as fast as I could
but I live just the way I want to
and that's the way I should
but I live just the way I want to
and that's the way I should

I couldn't find "The Way I Should" at YouTube, so here's another classic Iris Dement, "Let the Mystery Be":




My favorite music of all time comes from Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash. I love the combination of voice, the sensibility of the lyric, and--because I'll always be a hillbilly at heart--a bit of banjo if at all possible.


Emmylou singing One of These Days:



Johnny singing Folsom Prison, my daughter's favorite roadtrip song:



and

Dwight, back at YouTube, singing Sunnyside of the Mountain and his own Miner's Prayer

Twang you for listening.

Booking Through Thursday

6 comments:

Beth F said...

Great choices!!

Mrs. B. said...

Such an interesting song! Thank you for sharing it...

Jeanne said...

I like musicals, and my favorite lyrics are to "The Swamps of Home" from Once Upon a Mattress. A sample:
The swamps of home are brushed with green and gold
at break of day
The swamps of home are lovely to behold
from far away...
On a more serious note, I also love "Soon it's gonna rain" from The Fantasticks because the melody is, if anything, even lovelier than the lyrics.

Terri said...

I LOVE Iris Dement's songs - When My Morning Comes Around, Let the Mystery Be, many others. I have a hard time listening to her voice though. She is a great writer.

NoBS said...

Johnny Cash is great! That reminds me of the song where he works in a car factory and steals a car part each year, eventually building himself a complete car at home:

"...I got a 1950, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56, '57, '58, '59 automobile..."

sherry said...

Iris DeMent's hubby made my list.

~ nite swimming ~