Gesælig æsc Wodnesdæg to eow. On þone wodnes dæg wide geond eorðan sacerdas bletsiað swa swa hit geset ís clæne axan on cyrcan and þa siððan lecgað uppa manna hæfda þæt hi habban on gemynde þæt hi of eorðan comon and eft to duste gewendað... Yes, I've broken into Anglo-Saxon verse (copied from Ælfric's paper) to commemorate Ash Wednesday and present yet another Song for Odin. I know it's weird. Like many things, it works better if you don't think about it too hard. Anyway, "Sackcloth and Ashes" seems like the right song for today. https://youtu.be/ZzVuQSFMAGc I spilled some "minor secrets" on this song a ways back, with video from a 2016 show in Chicago. https://www.minds.com/newsfeed/904405669021937664?referrer=frankportman This one is from Genoa, Italy, October 1996, that is, twenty years earlier, and just a year after it was recorded, with the line-up that first recorded it, so you could say this is "Sackcloth and Ashes" in its purest form. To be honest, though, the voice plus tremolo guitar version on Shards vol. 1 is more along the lines of how it it was originally conceived. https://youtu.be/-DbMNssW35U When I imagined it being done by a band, I always thought of it as a kind of folkie acoustic string-band "Walk Right in Sit Right Down..." sort of thing. I was very into the old time music at that time and I had the New Lost City Ramblers in mind when I wrote a whole lot of those Love Is Dead songs, believe it or not. Probably the stupidest idea I ever had, I never coulda pulled it off I'm sure. But it turns out simple "folk songs" with complex lyrical compositional conceits concerning love and loss played in minimal punk rock arrangements did "click". And it is, of course, the most popular and approved-of thing I've ever done. It resulted from a combination of our own limitations, and misfiring on some ambitions that laid bare unintended consequences that were unexpectedly viable... and of course, good songs, you can't do anything without that. But distilling something to its essence isn't always as easy or obvious as you might think, and when it happened here it was largely accidental. That's the thing about studio recording... you never have as much control as you want to have, and things sometimes take on a life of their own and come out their own way. (And when this happens in a big way it tends to be really, really awful or really, really good -- you have no way of specifying, or even of knowing, which it is to be, or which it was.) I guess that's how it is with all art. It's certainly the case with writing novels. If it "comes out" exactly as planned, it's dead. Something has to happen in the process to zap life into it. Then you've got to catch that charge and amplify it and try to capture and present it in such a way that others out in the world can grasp it. It's not all that easy to make that happen. Anyway, I'm not knocking it. This is one of my best-loved songs, as far as I can tell, the opening track on the best-loved album described above. I see why, but I also don't quite get it either. Just, you know, remembering that I am dust and to dust I shall return. Rock and roll, folks. Like, subscribe, comment, share, and do all those other things one does with "content" these days. It can't hurt. #music #songs #ashwednesday #punkrock #minds
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