Sunday, April 24, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 36- SONG # 62

Day 36 - A song that takes you into the heart of darkness

Having redefined some categories, day 2 of the original "30 days song challenge" has become the day about darkness. By a strange coincidence, day 2 of the "3rd round" happens to be Easter Sunday, the day dedicated to the triumph of light over darkness in one of the most prominent religious traditions of the world. Nick Cave, one of my favourite artists, has made ample use of images and metaphors taken from the scriptures and cosmovision of this religion in his work. I will not refer to songs based upon biblical themes - like "The Mercy Seat" - here, as there already exists an article t on that topic to be found in "The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture" (Spring 2006).
I chose The Carny from The Bad Seed's fourth album "Your Funeral My Trial", in a live version that is said to have been performed shortly after Nick refused the honor of becoming MTV's "best male artist of the year" or something like that. It features Mick Harvey (the outstanding musician among those who have been part of one or more of Nick's bands, imho) on xylophon and glockenspiel:

And no-one saw the carny go
And the weeks flew by
Until they moved on the show
Leaving his caravan behind
It was parked out on the south east ridge
And as the company crossed the bridge
With the first rain filling the bone-dry river bed
It shone, just so, upon the edge
Dog-boy, atlas, half-man, the geeks, the hired hands
There was not one among them that did not cast an eye behind
In the hope that the carny would return to his own kind
And the carny had a horse, all skin and bone
A bow-backed nag, that he named Sorrow.
How it is buried in a shallow grave
In the then parched meadow
And the dwarves were given the task of digging the ditch
And laying the nag's carcass in the ground
And boss Bellini, waving his smoking pistol around
saying "The nag is dead meat"
"We can't afford to carry dead weight"
The whole company standing about
Not making a sound
And turning to dwarves perched on the enclosure gate
The boss says "Bury this lump of crow bait"
And the rain the rain came
Everybody running for their wagons
Tying all the canvas flaps down
The mangy cats growling in their cages
The bird-girl flapping and squawking around
The whole valley reeking of wet beast
Wet beast and rotten hay
Freak and brute creation
Packed up and on their way
The three dwarves peering from their wagon's hind
Moses says to Noah "We shoulda dug a deeper one"
Their grizzled faces like dying moons
Still dirty from the digging done
And as the company passed from the valley
Into a higher ground
The rain beat on the ridge and on the meadow
And on the mound
Until nothing was left, nothing at all
Except the body of sorrow
That rose in time
To float upon the surface of the eaten soil
And a murder of crows did circle round
First one, then the others flapping blackly down
And the carny's van still sat upon the edge
Tilting slowly as the firm ground turned to sludge
And the rain it hammered down
And no-one saw the carny go
I say it's funny how things go

Here is the album version:

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