”Memories linger, sad yet sweet/And I think of the souls in heaven who we’ll meet”
‘Cross the Green Mountain was written for the soundtrack of Gods and Generals, a Civil War TV series, in this very well constructed ballad Dylan puts himself in the mind of a Civil War soldier (a dying man). I’m not sure that it was written specifically for the movie or if Dylan had written it earlier and found use for it now, it’s hard to say. The mood is strikingly brought forward by his band, rolling along like in so many of his long and significant tunes. It is a major work of art, it deserved a better fate than to be tucked away on the bootleg series or on a TV-soundtrack!
I do not pretend to have the complete meaning to the song or found all the references Bob Dylan has used, so please enlighten me in the comments section. When I get enough new information I will update the post.
The Best Songs: Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes by Blind Willie Johnson
Chuck Berry, Louis Armstrong, Bach, Beethoven and Blind Willie Johnson was included on the golden record that was sent into deep space in 1977 as part of the Voyager missions. What potential alien life forms might make of Johnson humming along to his slide guitar on “Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground)” is anyone’s guess. The track moves me in a way that’s hard to explain, it’s the sound of pure emotion.
Steve Martin, the actor, once told a story about the golden record: “the first message from extraterrestrials has been received… ‘Send more Blind Willie Johnson’.”
Today we will give you more Blind Willie Johnson, we will present the fantastic, “Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometimes” (audio only):
Wikipedia: “Blind” Willie Johnson (January 22, 1897 – September 18, 1945) was an American singer and guitarist, whose music straddled the border between blues and spirituals.
While the lyrics of all of his songs were religious, his music drew from both sacred and blues traditions. His music is distinguished by his powerful bass thumb-picking and gravelly false-bass voice, with occasional use of a tenor voice.
Johnson was not born blind, and, although it is not known how he lost his sight, Angeline Johnson told Samuel Charters that when Willie was seven his father beat his stepmother after catching her going out with another man. The stepmother then picked up a handful of lye and threw it, not at Willie’s father, but into the face of young Willie.
Johnson made 30 commercial recordings (29 songs) in five separate sessions for Columbia Records from 1927–1930.
The Negro spiritual, Motherless Child Blues is a Negro Spiritual that turned into “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” (or simply “Motherless Child”) .
The song dates back to the era of slavery in the United States when it was common practice to sell children of slaves away from their parents. An early performance of the song dates back as far as the 1870s by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Like many traditional songs, it has many variations and has been recorded many times.
The song is clearly an expression of pain and despair as it conveys the hopelessness of a child who has been torn from his or her parents. Under one interpretation, the repetitive singing of the word “sometimes” offers a measure of hope, as it suggests that at least “sometimes” I do not feel like a motherless child.
Although the plaintive words can be interpreted literally, they were much more likely metaphoric. The “motherless child” could be a slave separated from and yearning for his African homeland, a slave suffering “a long ways from home”—home being heaven—or most likely both. (- wikipedia)
The Avett Brothers are a band from Concord, North Carolina. Two brothers, Seth and Scott, formed the group after the breakup of the former rock band, Nemo, adding a third member, Bob Crawford on bass. More recently, they have been joined by cellist Joe Kwon. Simone Felice (Felice Brothers, The Duke & The King) played drums on some of the tracks on their latest album I and Love and You.
Murder in the city (official video):
The Avett Brothers combine country, bluegrass, pop, folk, rock and roll, honky tonk and ragtime to produce a sound described by the Washington Post as “post civil-war modern rock”, or by other reviewers as “grungegrass”.
They are great on record and their concerts take your breath away. I saw them in August 2011 at oyafestival in Oslo, Norway and heard the song Murder in the city for the first time, I mean really heard it for the first time. I did listen to it before the concert, but at the show it really hit me, hard. Continue reading The Best Songs: Murder in The City – The Avett Brothers→
Always on my Mind is seldom considered among the best of Elvis’ 70’s output, but if you ask me it’s at the top of the list. The recording sessions was great, it included Burnin Love and For the good times. I almost cry when I listen to it, it embodies everything, everything I love about Elvis, heartbreak, slow ballads, empathy and true feelings. What a voice!
Peter Guralnick writes in his book Careless Love:
The trouble was, he (Elvis) wasn’t interested in cutting a hit record. “He was trying to get something out of his system.”
On the second night Felton finally got his way, but he was under no illusion that Elvis was doing it for any other reason than to indulge his producer. With encouragement from Joe Esposito and Jerry Schilling, and with Charlie pounding away on acoustic guitar, they got a good, energetic version of “Burning love”, the song Felton had brought to the session, but it was tossed off in six quick takes, in almost throwaway style, and everyone could see that Elvis’ heart wasn’t really in it. They kept working till four in the morning but got only one more song that night and two the following night, including “Always on my mind”…