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  • Love Songs, Continued…

    Posted by Dan from Madison on August 15th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Lex and I are having a friendly back and forth on love songs, and we have been concentrating mostly on rock.  I recently introduced a little ambiguity into the discussion, and Lex brought out some (what used to be called) alternative rock in his last post.  Some big guns have been pulled out recently, with Lou Reed and REM entering the discussions.

    Not only will I pull out another big gun in this post, I will introduce us to a completely new genre of music as related to love songs – while pulling myself out of the ambiguous and bringing the discussion into the obvious.

    Glad you clicked through.  Today, it is country.  Not that packaged crap we are hearing pop up on radio, I mean real country.  Some people call it alt-country or indie country.  I just remember it as country music, like I used to hear when I was a small boy.

    My mom always played records when I was young, and I heard a lot of Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Ernest Tubb and many other masters.  Robbie Fulks sort of sums up what I think of most country being put out today with his classic Fuck this Town (for this post I will use links to YouTubes instead of embedding them):

    Well, I came down to Nashville in 1993
    ‘Cause my friend Jim said Nashville had money growin’ right on the trees
    So I thought I’d go pick some, and I don’t mean musically.

    Now it’s 3 years later, and I’m wonderin’ where I went wrong
    Shook a lotta hands, ate a lotta lunch, wrote a lotta dumbass songs
    But I couldn’t get a break in Nashville, if I tried my whole life long

    So, fuck this town…fuck this town
    Fuck it end-to-end, fuck it up and down
    Can’t get noticed — can’t get found — can’t get a cut, so
    Fuck this town.

    Hey, this ain’t country-western!
    It’s just soft-rock feminist crap!
    And I thought they’d struck bottom back in the days of Ronnie Milsap
    Now they can’t stop the flood of assholes: there ain’t a big enough ASCAP.

    Sure, I like old Tim Carroll, and BR5-49
    But Nashville don’t need that noise, no,
    Nashville’ll do just fine
    As long as there’s a moron market
    And a faggot in a hat to sign.

    Fuck this town! Fuck this town!
    Fuck…this…town.

    With that out of the way, there are so many drippy, sobby country songs to choose from, it is hard to figure out where to start.  How about Hank Senior – Cold, Cold Heart.

    I tried so hard my dear to show that you’re my every dream.
    Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme
    A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
    Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

    Another love before my time made your heart sad and blue
    And so my heart is paying now for things I didn’t do
    In anger unkind words are spoke that make the teardrops start
    Why can’t I free your doubtful mind,and melt your cold cold heart

    You’ll never know how much it hurts to see you sit and cry
    You know you need and want my love yet you’re afraid to try
    Why do you run and hide from life,to try it just ain’t smart
    Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

    There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me
    But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory
    The more I learn to care for you,the more we drift apart
    Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold cold heart

    Ugh, how can you listen to that song and not have a pang.

    Lets move to George Jones – If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me, (Her Memory Will)

    The bars are all closed
    It’s four in the morning
    Must have shut ’em all down
    By the shape that I’m in
    I lay my head on the wheel
    And the horn begins honking
    The whole neighborhood knows
    That I’m home drunk again

    Chorus:
    And if drinking don’t kill me
    Her memory will
    I can’t hold out much longer
    The way that I feel
    With the blood from my body
    I could start my own still
    And if drinking don’t kill me
    Her memory will

    These old bones they move slow
    But so sure of their footsteps
    As I trip on the floor
    And lightly touch down
    Lord it’s been ten bottles
    Since I tried to forget her
    But the memory still lingers
    Lying here on the ground

    How about the aforementioned Ernest Tubb – Tomorrow Never Comes (how about those getups!):

    Oh you tell me that you love me yes you tell me that you care
    That tomorrow we’ll be married but tomorrow’s never there
    No tomorrow never comes no tomorrow never comes
    Now you tell me that you love me but tomorrow never comes

    Many weeks now have I waited many long nights have I cried
    Just to see that happy morning when I’d have you by my side
    (No tomorrow never comes no tomorrow never comes
    Now you tell me that you love me but tomorrow never comes)
    So tomorrow I’ll be leaving yes tomorrow I’ll be gone
    And tomorrow you’ll be weeping but tomorrow never comes
    No tomorrow never comes…

    We can’t forget the Man in Black – I Walk The Line:

    I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
    I keep my eyes wide open all the time
    I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
    Because you’re mine, I walk the line

    I find it very, very easy to be true
    I find myself alone when each day is through
    Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you
    Because you’re mine, I walk the line

    As sure as night is dark and day is light
    I keep you on my mind both day and night
    And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right
    Because you’re mine, I walk the line

    You’ve got a way to keep me on your side
    You give me cause for love that I can’t hide
    For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide
    Because you’re mine, I walk the line

    I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
    I keep my eyes wide open all the time
    I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
    Because you’re mine, I walk the line

    One more, Hank Snow – Now and Then There’s a Fool Such as I:

    Pardon me, if i’m sentimental when we say goodbye
    Don’t be angry with me should i cry
    When you’re gone, yet i’ll dream a little dreams as years go by
    Now and then there’s a fool such as i.

    Now and then there’s a fool such as i am over you
    You taught me how to love and now you say that we are through
    I’m a fool but i’ll love you dear until the day i die
    Now and then there’s a fool such as i.

    (now and then there’s a fool such as i am over you
    You taught me how to love and now you say that we are through)
    I’m a fool but i’ll love you dear until the day i die
    Now and then there’s a fool such as i…

    I think the reason that these relatively simple songs put out by outstanding singers get to me is that they are so heart felt.  There aren’t any complex metaphors or obtuse meanderings that you have to work your way through – just simple, plain lyrics that are at times gut wrenching.

     

    3 Responses to “Love Songs, Continued…”

    1. Lexington Green Says:

      Hell, man.

      This is like shooting a few mortar rounds over the hill, and have a full broadside from a Missouri class battleship’s 16″ guns come back over the hill.

      This is the mother lode.

      These are all good picks.

      “drippy, sobby country songs”

      Hmmm. I will take no pretense of superiority or ironic distance from these gems out of the past.

      I will unironically tell you, these songs unironically work as love songs, and are unironically sad, and are unironically good, and unironically address feelings that people have always had and always will have (even if we pretend these days to be too cool and past-all-that-stuff and that there is only sex not love), and they all have unironic staying power for those reason.

    2. TallPines Says:

      The great thing about mid-century country&western is the emotion. The voice, the lyrics, the quite-simple musical structure all of it, the conviction of their pain/pleasure – it doesn’t just tug, it rips out your heartstrings.
      If you love this kind of music I strongly recommend you try out the Avett Brothers’ Emotionalism (start with that album and work backwards).

    3. TallPines Says:

      and +1 for the Hank Snow reference. He gets overshadowed a lot by the other Hank but his works shouldn’t be discounted