Some Songs: Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
Peace Like A River – Paul Simon – “The opening line (and title) of this song seems mysterious. However, it comes from a late 1800s hymn called “It Is Well With My Soul,” which begins: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way/ When sorrows like sea billows roll/ Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say/ It is well, it is well, with my soul.” (The reference to “sorrows” alongside “sea billows” is sadly personal to its author, Horatio Spafford, as the song was inspired upon his ship passing over the spot in the Atlantic where his daughters drowned.) The original source of the simile “peace like a river,” however, is Isaiah. Specifically, 66:12– “I will extend to [Jerusalem] peace like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.” That quote is from a terrific blog called “Every Single Paul Simon Song” (here) by a blogger with the handle Another Paul. The song is off Simon’s eponymour solo debut, debatably his greatest achievement, it is the antidote for everything about Paul that could possibly ail you, and on an album that includes “Duncan” and “Me And Julio Down By The school Yard” AND “Mother And Child reunion” it stands as the best of the best. As well as one of the finest civil rights songs you will ever here, even while he skewers away from rallying calls and into story telling – A+
Good-bye-ee – Courtland And Jeffries – “Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin, Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee,” that’s upper crust ebonics, sland that is almot another language, like a harbinger to PG Wodehouse. “Nah-poo” is one of the nest ways to say good bye, it is a cross language contraction of il n’ya plus,translate to “there is no longer. The song, composed by R. P. Weston and Bert Lee in 1915, isn’t parody or satire, it is barely concealed cynicism as the men went off to war for the price of a kiss and never came back – A+
The Girl On The Mountain – Steve Earle – Earle ended his performance on Monday night with this one, “There’s a girl up on the mountain I once knew, I let her go and now I’m sad and blue,” begins the myth before Earle loses a different girl as well, and ends the song dreaming of the first one. God, how sad can you get? I claimed that in the 21st century Earle has been good for no more that a couple of songs an album, but if this is typical of what we are left with, it will do.