Apr 11, 2011

Sometimes, Sometimes Completely Confused

One of my favorite so-bad-it's-good songs is Tom T. Hall's "I Love." Favorite non-rhyme: "And onions."

But recently, on a Stax collection, I stumbled across another oldie whose guileless, almost naked directness really blew me away: Calvin Scott Sr.'s "A Sadness for Things." It's not only closer to the bone, but it's a fascinating piece of music (that disorienting chord under "have" in "I have...a sadness for things"), the fadeout mid-lyric (a la the Heads' "Life During Wartime"). Indeed, my love for this tune is far less ironic than my devotion to Hall's:

A Sadness for Things

I couldn't decipher all the lyrics but the ones I can, I love:
I have a sadness for things
For houses with children
Where no one sings
For acres of wheat fields
When cupboards are bare
For love being spoken
And no one to care
For trains that are empty
And tables for one
For books seldom opened
And clocks that don't run
And songs soon forgotten
And paths never crossed
For wars that are fought
And all that is lost

I have a sadness for things
For every [indecipherable]
Whose phone never rings
For intelligent parents
That are sometimes, sometimes completely confused
For words in the Bible
Just said and never used
For [indecipherable]
And birds that can't fly
Stray dogs and lost kittens
Old people that cry
For the tired and the weary
With a little to show
For those who don't listen
And for those who don't know

I have a sadness for things
For houses with children
And nobody there can never sing
For lonely girls
Whose phone never rings
Like Weill and Anderson's "Lost in the Stars," it's a great, melancholy gospel song for nonbelievers.

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