When I was a kid, I scoffed at those who worried about the lyrics in songs. How rock was leading the poor children down the road to sin and deprivation. I mean, who could understand any of the lyrics in a rock song?
At some point in my life I started paying attention to lyrics. Song structure. Instrumentation. In other words, the stuff that Roots music is good at. (I think it was about the time that banging my head started giving me headaches.) I started paying attention to the message as well as the music.
Train roll on, on down the line,
Won’t you please take me far away?
Now I feel the wind blow outside my door,
Means I’m leaving my woman behind.
Tuesdays gone with the wind
Oh, my baby’s gone with the wind.
There are dangers to paying attention to lyrics. There are songs with lyrics that rival classic poetry, with meaning layered on structure layered on meaning. Then there are lyrics that exist only for the sake of not taxing the lead singer’s whiskey-soaked vocals. For many years I assumed that Lynyrd Skynyrd was simply sad about a day of the week.
And I don’t know where I’m going.
I just want to be left alone.
Well, when this train ends I’ll try again,
But I’m leaving my woman at home.
I recently took some of my old favorites back off the wall, when I played thru my entire CD library for the sake of last.fm. I played old Zeppelin. I played old ZZ Top. I played old Skynyrd. And I started replacing some old cassettes and started listening to those old friends again, too.
Train roll on many miles from my home,
See, I’m riding my blues away.
Tuesday, you see, she had to be free
But somehow I’ve got to carry on.
Got on Facebook last year. Found alot of old friends, or rather they found me. Some haven’t changed a bit since high school or college or whenever. Some should have. Most just carry on.
The lyrics to my life have changed a lot over the 2nd quarter of my life. Sometimes I listen and most times I just hum along. The train’s rolled on—like poor Tuesday we all have to be free, to listen to the lyrics or simply rock on.
Somehow we all got to carry on.