In 1991 Billy Bragg released the album, Don’t try this at home.
“… (this album) was where Bragg first began to sound completely comfortable with the notion of a full band. With Johnny Marr (who helped produce two tracks), Peter Buck, Michael Stipe, and Kirsty MacColl on hand to give the sessions a taste of star power, Don’t Try This at Home sounds full but uncluttered; the arrangements (most complete with — gasp! — drums) flesh out Bragg‘s melodies, giving them greater strength in the process” – Mark Deming (Allmusic)
“I’ll do your bidding, comrade mine, If I ride back again. But if you ride back and I am left, You’ll do as much for me.”
We get thrown right into a story of two Union soldiers during the Civil War who are about to go into battle. They promise each other to bring the message of their death to their loved ones in case they fall in the assault on a ridge. They both describe their longing for the ones that are waiting at home. The rich language and storytelling is astounding. The song goes on and we witness the battle and the tragic death of both soldiers. And none will be able to give their promised and tender message of loss.
But among the dead that were left on the hill Was the boy with the curly hair. The tall dark man who rode by his side Lay dead beside him there. There’s no one to write to the blue-eyed girl The words that her lover had said. Momma, you know, awaits the news, And she’ll only know he’s dead.Continue reading “The Saddest Songs: Two Soldiers (trad.) by Bob Dylan”→
Walking On A Wire by Richard and Linda Thompson from the album, Shoot Out The Lights
The clear sound of a marriage falling apart. It is about regret and resignation but no anger, and so much more sad for it. The Album, Shoot Out the Lights was a culmination of Richard & Linda Thompson’s career together.
Marie she didn’t wake up this morning She didn’t even try She just rolled over and went to Heaven My little boy safe inside
Townes Van Zandt’s Marie from his album, No Deeper Blue
Marie is one of the most harrowing but touching songs ever written; if you’re not affected in some way by this tune upon hearing it, then you have no soul! I’m kind of joking (but not much…)
No other songwriter brings out emotions the way Townes do, and that’s why his songs stand the test of time. It is a late career masterpiece. Townes Van Zandt said the song was inspired by Meryl Streep’s character in the film Ironweed and describes the harrowing plight of a homeless couple who wind up living under a bridge until the woman dies with the protagonist’s unborn child “safe inside her.” Townes Van Zandt performed the song years before he recorded it.