Archive for the ‘Dave Van Ronk’ Tag

Come Blow Your Horn   4 comments

Old Pueblo“Come Blow Your Horn” — Image by kenne

Jazz in the Old Pueblo
where music fills the air
on summer evenings, 
where the dry air is cool
after 
a hot day in the desert.

*****

“All right, everybody, shut up!
And listen!

— Dave Van Ronk

A Morning Distraction — “If It Doesn’t Taste Good, Put Ice In It!”   Leave a comment

(First posted July 27, 2010)

While reading the poetry of Writers in Performance Series presenters this morning, I became distracted by an email message from the Tom Russell@yahoogroups.com Re: A Cover Song Request in Memory of Warren Zevon. Russell seems to have great respect for Zevon’s work, but probably none more that “Carmelita,” which he combines with Charles Bukowski’s, “Crucifix In A Deathhand,” on his Modern Art CD. By putting the two together, Russell demonstrates his appreciation and understanding of Bukowski’s words and the lyrics of Warren Zevon. “Crucifix In A Deathhand” is my favorite Bukowski poem.

Crucifix In a Death Hand

yes, they begin out in a willow, I think
the starch mountains begin out in the willow
and keep right on going without regard for
pumas and nectarines
somehow these mountains are like
an old woman with a bad memory and
a shopping basket.
we are in a basin. that is the
idea. down in the sand and the alleys,
this land punched-in, cuffed-out, divided,
held like a crucifix in a deathhand,
this land bought, resold, bought again and
sold again, the wars long over,
the Spaniards all the way back in Spain
down in the thimble again, and now
real estaters, subdividers, landlords, freeway
engineers arguing. this is their land and
I walk on it, live on it a little while
near Hollywood here I see young men in rooms
listening to glazed recordings
and I think too of old men sick of music
sick of everything, and death like suicide
I think is sometimes voluntary, and to get your
hold on the land here it is best to return to the
Grand Central Market, see the old Mexican women,
the poor . . . I am sure you have seen these same women
many years before
arguing
with the same young Japanese clerks
witty, knowledgeable and golden
among their soaring store of oranges, apples
avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers –
and you know how 
these look, they do look good
as if you could eat them all
light a cigar and smoke away the bad world.
then it’s best to go back to the bars, the same bars
wooden, stale, merciless, green
with the young policeman walking through
scared and looking for trouble,
and the beer is still bad
it has an edge that already mixes with vomit and
decay, and you’ve got to be strong in the shadows
to ignore it, to ignore the poor and to ignore yourself
and the shopping bag between your legs
down there feeling good with its avocados and
oranges and fresh fish and wine bottles, who needs
a Fort Lauderdale winter?
25 years ago there used to be a whore there
with a film over one eye, who was too fat
and made little silver bells out of cigarette
tinfoil. the sun seemed warmer then
although this was probably not
true, and you take your shopping bag
outside and walk along the street
and the green beer hangs there
just above your stomach like
a short and shameful shawl, and
you look around and no longer
see any
old men.

– – Charles Bukowski (Source: Oldpoetry.com)

There’s a video on YouTube of Russell in a live performance talking and singing about Charles Bukowski, Warren Zevon and Dave Van Ronk that will give you a better feel for this morning distraction.

kenne

Poetry That Echoes Around The Room, Out the Door And Into The Fields   9 comments

NogalesImage by kenne

I love the music of Tom Russell, he is a singer-songwriter who is in touch with those who ramble the earth. In the introduction to his 2012 book, “120 Songs” Russell writes about how songs beckon you to move a little closer, “Let me tell you a story.”

“They beguile us with their sing-song rhyme and tinkle-down melodies, yet they are imbued with trued feel for human history, poetry, emotion and cold hard facts of life, than a thousand dusty tomes from social scientists, poets, politicians, theologians and academic historians. Songs travel.”

Russell’s songs are about real people, their suffering and survival, and times when whiskey needs to be drank like wine — songs for as long as forever is.

GUADALUPE

There are ghosts out in the rain tonight,
high up in those ancient trees
Lord, I’ve given up without a fight,
another blind fool on his knees
and all the Gods that I’d abandoned,
begin to speak in simple tongue
and suddenly I’ve come to know,
there are no roads left to run

Now it’s the hour of dogs a barking,
that’s what the old ones used to say
It’s first light or it’s sundown,
before the children cease their play
when the mountains glow like mission wine,
then turn gray like a Spanish roan
ten thousand eyes will stop to worship,
then turn away and head on home

She is reaching out her arms tonight,
lord, my poverty is real
I pray roses shall rain down again,
from Guadalupe on her hill
and who am I to doubt these mysteries?
Cured in centuries of blood and candle smoke
I am the least of all your children here,
but I am most in need of hope

She appeared to Juan Diego,
she left her image on his cape
five hundred years of sorrow,
cannot destroy their deepest faith
so here I am, your ragged disbeliever,
old doubting Thomas drowns in tears
as I watch your church sink through the earth,
like a heart worn down through fear

She is reaching out her arms tonight. . . 

When you read the words in Russell’s songs, you can see the influence of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Federico Garcia Lorca and Charles Broskoski. The words and songs, “. . . suck  us in, slap us around, kick us in the belly and heart, and then push us back out into the world with a memory we’ll never purge from our blood.”

kenne

 

 

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