Inclined To Borrow Somebody’s Dreams

On July 13th 1967, Pink Floyd made their second appearance on BBC Top Of The Pops to promote their new single, that Syd Barrett titled, ‘See Emily Play’.  Pink Floyd’s second single was originally titled ‘Games For May’ and it was recorded on May 23rd 1967, and released on June 16th and it went on to peak at No.6 on the UK chart.  Barrett’s lifelong passion was painting, and he drew the train that is depicted on the single’s sleeve.

Barrett took up the guitar at a young age, inspired by blues and R&B singers.  In Cambridge he was friendly with future Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and David Gilmour, so when he attended Art College in London in 1964, he sought out Waters, who had formed a band with fellow students Nick Mason and Richard Wright.  Syd joined The Tea Set in 1965 and he assumed front man duties on guitar and lead vocals.  Barrett originally claimed that he saw a girl named Emily, that was dancing naked in the woods while he was sleeping after he took a psychedelic drug, but later he stated that the story about sleeping in the woods and seeing a girl was made up for publicity.  ‘See Emily Play’ along with ‘Money’ and ‘Another Brick in the Wall Part 2’ are included in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll”.

Syd Barrett, founder of Pink Floyd, came up with the band’s name by juxtaposing the first names of Bluesmen Pinkney ‘Pink’ Anderson and Floyd ‘Dipper Boy’ Council. In 1967, he said, “The name Pink Floyd came from two Blues singers from Georgia, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council”.  He noticed the names on the notes of a 1962 Blind Boy Fuller album.  The text, written by Paul Oliver, read, “Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, Pink Anderson or Floyd Council, these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys.”

Fulton Allen was called Blind Boy Fuller by his manager J D Long and he had a short career as he was only 33 when he died, but he became one of the most influential and best-selling bluesmen of his time.  Curly James Weaver was encouraged to sing and taught to play the guitar by his mother,  Savannah ‘Dip’ Shepard and he is perhaps one of the least appreciated of the great Piedmont blues singer/guitarists, generally overshadowed by his  contemporary, long term frequent partner and friend, ‘Blind’ Willie McTell.  Fred McMullen was an American blues singer and guitarist that played the bottleneck blues guitar, often along with Curley Weaver and Buddy Moss.  He spent time incarcerated at a convict camp in DeKalb County, Georgia and you can find recordings of him singing ‘DeKalb Chain Gang’ with Curly Weaver.  Pinkney Anderson was playing guitar at the age of 14 to entertain the folks who came to the medicine show to buy Dr. Kerr’s ‘cure-all medicine’.  He teamed up with a blind guitarist called Simmie Dooley, and they worked up a huge repertoire of Folk, Piedmont-style Blues and Ragtime songs as they both sang their way around the South.  Floyd Council was a superb Piedmont guitarist, mandolin player and singer who recorded 27 songs over his career, seven of them backing Blind Boy Fuller.

The main inspiration for ‘See Emily Play’ is thought to be a fifteen year old girl named Emily Young, who was the daughter of Wayland Hilton Young, 2nd Baron Kennet.  She was nicknamed “the psychedelic schoolgirl” at the UFO Club in London, where Pink Floyd used to play before they went mainstream.  Emily frolicked across Holland Park to the London Free School (a kind of underground Citizen’s Advice Bureau and loose-knit quasi-university where a coterie of stimulating students, activists, poets, musicians, and would-be hippies met) with her friend Anjelica Huston.  Intellectual curiosity prompted Emily to visit the Free School and educate herself beyond school curriculum.  Her private ‘evening classes’ consisted of reading William Blake, existentialists and Romantic poets, dressed at the same time in a noticeable long Victorian style gown that touched the ground.  Syd Barrett became friends with both Anjelica and Emily and one night after a performance, they smoked a few joints together.  Syd Barrett later lost his mind, probably from doing too much acid and his band mates kicked him out of the group in 1968.

On the track for ‘See Emily Play’ were Syd Barrett (lead vocals, electric guitar, slide guitar), Rick Wright (Farfisa organ, piano, tack piano, Baldwin Spinet electric harpsichord, backing vocals), Roger Waters (bass, backing vocals), and Nick Mason (drum).  Barrett did the slide guitar work on the song with a Zippo lighter.  This Emily is living her life as a cheap imitation of someone else, following what her friends are doing, copying the way they dress and not understanding why she is this way.  Since she is not an original, she has to borrow somebody else’s dreams till she becomes her own person.  After dark, Emily cries while gazing through trees in sorrow, probably because she is not able to see the forest through the trees, because she is a follower and she will never get the whole picture.  Since Emily does not have her own dreams, she will hardly make a sound till tomorrow.  When she wakes, she will put on a gown that touches the ground, and then float on a river forever and ever, because her spirit is carefree and she enjoys playing games.

Emily tries but misunderstands, ah ooh
She’s often inclined to borrow somebody’s dreams till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play

Soon after dark Emily cries, ah ooh
Gazing through trees in sorrow hardly a sound till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play

Put on a gown that touches the ground, ah ooh
Float on a river forever and ever, Emily
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play.

Written for Ragtag Community – Coterie and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Stimulating.

The Enemy Is Closer Than You Think

I am watching the Netflix series Versailles where this dude spits in the face of King Louis XIV and says, “the enemy is closer than you think” and then after that the king gets sick. I heard that Trump is starting to worry about getting impeached, as the evidence keeps piling up against him.  Trump’s lies are catching up with him, but nothing will happen till the Muller investigation is over.  I have never seen a bigger cry baby than Trump as he is threatening to shut the government down, if he doesn’t get his way with that stupid wall and he is actually proud of his actions.

Written for Linda G. Hill Life in progress One-Liner Wednesday – December 5 prompt which is “It’s a Friendly Appliance”.

Fast Mover

“I got up to wash my face, when I come back to bed someone’s taken my place.”  The German composer George Frideric Handel referred to Cecilia the patron saint of musicians, singers and music as the “goddess of music”.  The story of Cecilia is found in a part of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales called “The Second Nun’s Tale”.  Cecilia declared she would forever remain a virgin and serve Christ, but her parents did not take this vow seriously, so Cecilia was betrothed to marry a man named Valarian against her will.  On the day of her wedding she sat all alone singing praises to the Lord and an angel that was attracted to her beautiful voice came down from heaven to visit her.  On her wedding night Cecilia asked Valarian to respect her promise to God, informing him that an angel was watching over her, that would harm any man who tried to take her virginity.  Valarian did not see the angel and he was told that he had to become a Christian in order to see it, so he went to Rome to see the Pope.  Valarian converted to Christianity and when he returned, he saw an angel standing by Cecilia.

They seem to be two different women to me, as Simon and Garfunkel’s Cecilia was clearly not a virgin, that is unless the guy is Valarian and the angle is the one that took his place.  The song is generally interpreted as a lament over a capricious lover who causes both anguish and jubilation to the singer.  I read one interpretation that said Paul Simon was singing about having writer’s block.  Everything was going great for him (indicated by the fact that he was making love in the afternoon) and when he takes a short break (gets up to wash his face), he finds that his inspiration has left him.  But his muse comes back and he is jubilant.  However, I feel that it is probably about a guy who comes home and finds his girlfriend fooling around on him, which is not all that surprising to him.  He begs her to come back to him and she does and that makes him happy, but there is a good chance that she is just going to fool around on him again.

‘Cecilia’ was written by Paul Simon and it was recorded on Simon and Garfunkel’s 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water.  This song reached #4 on the US charts, but the single did not chart in the UK.  ‘Cecilia’ is a ballad about the frustrations of young love and the ability to move beyond it.  With the Vietnam war still raging in 1970, the soldiers who returned home during this period, heard these lyrics, “Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia Up in my bedroom (making love)”, and they realized how much the country had changed while they were away.  The soldiers who were lucky enough to have a girlfriend or a wife waiting at home for them to return, were all hoping that she was not like Cecilia, a girl that in the few minutes it takes to wash their face (serve their tour of duty), would invite another person to be in bed with her.  However, many Vietnam veterans did return from the war to find their girlfriends and wives had found other men in their absence.

‘Cecilia’ was Simon and Garfunkel’s fifth biggest hit, having three number one songs those being, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and ‘ ‘Mrs. Robinson’. ‘I Am A Rock’ peaked at number 3, ‘Homeward Bound’ got to number 5 and ’The Boxer’ reached number 7.  ‘Cecilia’ spent 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Simon never dated anyone named Cecilia, but he did have a black Labrador retriever named Cecilia.

Paul Simon had these pounding sounds stuck in his head and he decided to make a record out of it, as he came up with the lyrics, “You’re breakin’ my heart, I’m down on my knees”, during a late-night party.  Art Garfunkel and some friends began banging on a piano bench and they came up with the rhythm, which they recorded on their Sony reel-to-reel recorder.  Their producer Roy Halee added some reverb, and they had their basic backing track from this home recording.  Simon later wrote the song’s guitar line and lyrics on the subject of an untrustworthy lover.  The strange sounding rhythm to this particular track was Paul and Art slapping their thighs, while Paul’s brother Eddie thumped a piano bench and a friend named Stewie Scharff strummed a guitar with its strings slackened to the point of atonality.  Drums were played by veteran Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine.

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home
Come on home

Making love in the afternoon with Cecilia
Up in my bedroom (making love)
I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed someone’s taken my place

Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please to come home
Come on home

Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba

Jubilation
She loves me again
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

Jubilation
She loves me again
I fall on the floor and I’m laughing

Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Whoah-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Barber Shop Song

We were doing coke and this dude dumped a big pile on the mirror and I said, “Sweet add a line.”  Sorry that was just a joke as this is a traditional folk song and definitive barbershop-quartet ballad titled ‘Sweet Adeline’ is not about drugs.  ‘Sweet Adeline’ began its life in 1896 under the title ‘Down Home in New England’ or ‘My Old New England Home’.  Harry Armstrong sang in a Boston vocal quartet, and he wrote the original words at age eighteen and then he came to New York where he met Richard Gerard Husch who created a melody for his verses.  The two men were introduced by James J. Walker, then a lyricist working in Tin Pan alley and who would later become the mayor of New York City.  Under the revised title ‘You’re The Flower Of My Heart, Sweet Rosalie’, it was rejected by multiple publishers.  Armstrong and Husch saw a poster advertising the New York Metropolitan Opera farewell appearance of Spanish-horn light opera star Adelina Patti in 1902, they decided on a name change to Adeline and soon after the song was published, to little initial response.  The lyrics were inspired by a girl who worked at the music counter of a New York department store.

The vaudeville singing group the Quaker City Four came to the publisher Witmark in search of new material, and they loved Adeline and introduced it in 1903 at Oscar Hammerstein. Sr.’s, Victoria Theatre in New York.  In 1904, the first standardized piano rolls were invented which lead to this song growing in popularity, and by 1906, the Victrola was invented, the earliest jukebox, and the first broadcast of music on radio was made possible.  The song is usually sung a cappella by men in four-part harmony.  Barbershop music features songs with understandable lyrics and easily singable melodies whose tones clearly define consonant four-part chords for every melody note.

In June 1926, Max Fleischer and Red Seal Pictures released an animated version of ‘Sweet Adeline’ as part of his series Song Car-Tunes, featuring “follow the bouncing ball”. Max had made training films during World War I in which he used a pointer to identify equipment. This gave him the “Bouncing Ball” idea.  A white ball on the end of a black, hand-held pointer bounces from one word to the next onscreen to help the audience sing in unison.  A piece of ‘Sweet Adeline’ was featured in Broadway Folly (1930), an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon who was a predecessor of Mickey Mouse.  ‘Sweet Adeline’ also appeared in the 1931 Marx Brothers comedy film Monkey Business with the four parts being sung by Groucho, Zeppo, Chico and the brother who never spoke Harpo.  Lucille Ball attempts to sing ‘Sweet Adeline’ on the I Love Lucy show.  The song was also covered by jam band Phish in several live performances.

Before The Grateful Dead were formed in 1965, Jerry Garcia played in a lot of local San Francisco folk and bluegrass groups like the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers, Hart Valley Drifters, Wildwood Boys, Asphalt Jungle Mountain Boys and Black Mountain Boys.  Part of the chorus of ‘Sweet Adeline’ was performed by the Black Mountain Boys in January 1964, where group members included Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, Eric Thompson, Geoff Levin, Sandy Rothman, and David Nelson.

I am not going to try to interpret the lyrics for this song as it was written in a different time period, known as the Gay Nineties which refers to the decade of the 1890s in the US.  This was a decade of supposedly decadent art of Aubrey Beardsley, the witty plays and trial of Oscar Wilde, society scandals and the beginning of the suffragette movement along with being a period regarded nostalgically as a decade of prosperous comfort and associated with gaslights, early bicycles and cars, and the Gibson girl, who was a personification of the feminine ideal of physical attractiveness.

In the evening when I sit alone a-dreaming
Of days gone by, love, to me so dear,
There’s a picture that in fancy oft’ appearing,
Brings back the time, love, when you were near.
It is then I wonder where you are, my darling,
And if your heart to me is still the same.
For the sighing wind and nightingale a-singing
Are breathing only your own sweet name.
Sweet Adeline, (My Adeline,)
My Adeline, (My Adeline,)
At night, dear heart, (At night, dear heart,)
For you I pine. (For you I pine.)
In all my dreams, (In all my dreams,)
Your fair face beams. (Your fair face beams.)
You’re the flower of my heart,
Sweet Adeline. (My Adeline.)
I can see your smiling face as when we wandered
Down by the brook-side, just you and I,
And it seems so real at times ‘til I awaken,
To find all vanished, a dream gone by.
If we must meet sometime in after years, my darling,
I trust that I will find your love still mine,
Though my heart is sad and clouds above are hov’ring
The sun again, love, for me would shine.
Sweet Adeline, (My Adeline,)
My Adeline, (My Adeline,)
At night, dear heart, (At night, dear heart,)
For you I pine. (For you I pine.)
In all my dreams, (In all my dreams,)
Your fair face beams. (Your fair face beams.)
You’re the flower of my heart,
Sweet Adeline. (My Adeline.)

A Wanted Man

I love this song, but I had a hard time trying to figure out which video to use.  I finally settled with a poor picture quality, but great sound, as Jerry Garcia’s voice was at its peak when the Grateful Dead played the Fillmore East in 1970.  With the prompt being “boys” for today, I am going with a traditional bluegrass outlaw song titled, ‘I’ve Been All Around This World’.  The origins of this song are uncertain and it is thought that this song was put together from pieces of other songs such as, ‘The Gambler’, ‘My Father Was a Gambler’, ‘The New Railroad’, ‘The Hobo’s Lament’ and ‘The Hobo’s Blues’.  The chorus of this song appears to come from Vance Randolph’s Ozark Folksongs, a collection of traditional music that was originally recorded and compiled between 1949 and 1965.  This collection contains a song titled, ‘Dixon and Johnson’ which has many similar lyrics.

‘Johnson-Jinkson’ is an original seventeenth century English song which is attributed to a Paul Burges, where three good guys named Johnson, Jackson, and Dickey are heroes.  A dozen robbers are the bad guys who place a naked trussed lady by the roadside to distract our heroes’ attention.  The song has been collected in several places in southeastern America, sometimes with the title ‘The Three Butchers’, and Randolph collected this song where the three butchers defeat all of the robbers.  Pete Seeger sang this song and some of the lyrics are, “Johnson was riding along, As fast as he could ride. When he thought he heard a woman. He heard a woman cry”, which was sung to the same tune as ‘I’ve Been All Around This World’.

‘My Father Was A Gambler’ is a US ballad that is about a murderer who was hanged in 1870. The chorus given in Ozark Folksongs from a 1929 field recording is:
Hang me, oh hang me, an’ I’ll be dead an’ gone
Hang me, oh hang me, an’ I’ll be dead an’ gone
I wouldn’t mind the hangin’, but to lay in my grave so long
To lay in my grave so long
This song is thought to have been derived from historical events where the outlaw captured in this song was reportedly hanged for murder in Fort Smith, Arkansas in the 1870s.  If this is true, the chances are good that he was sentenced to die by the famous hanging judge himself, The Honorable Isaac Charles Parker, who had had jurisdiction over Oklahoma and all of the Indian Territory from 1875 to 1896.  Over those twenty-one years, he tried over 13,500 cases and sentenced 106 men to death.

The following lyrics to this song come from an earlier versions before the Dead started singing it and they might be from the version that Grandpa Jones recorded in February of 1946.

Working on the new railroad with mud up to my knees,
Working on the new railroad with mud up to my knees,
Working for big John Henry and he’s so hard to please,
I’ve been all around this world.

The new railroad is finished, boys, the cars are on the track,
The new railroad is finished, boys, the cars are on the track.
My doney girl has left me, boys, I know that she won’t come back
God knows, I’ve been all around this world.

Up on the Blue Ridge Mountains it’s there I’ll take my stand,
Up on the Blue Ridge Mountains it’s there I’ll take my stand,
With a rifle on my shoulder, six shooter in my hand,
I’ve been all around this world.

Lulu, oh lulu come and open up the door,
Lulu, oh lulu come and open up the door
Before I have to open it with my old .44,
I’ve been all around this world.

When you go a fishing, take a hook and line,
When you go a fishing, take a hook and line,
When you go a courting don’t never look behind,
I’ve been all around this world.

If you see a rich girl, just pass her down the line,
If you see a rich girl, just pass her down the line,
And when you see a poor girl, just ask her to be mine,
I’ve been all around this world.

I started out from Memphis with two dollars and a dime,
I started out from Memphis, boys, with two dollars and a dime,
But I landed in old Hazard, boys, I did not have a shine
Lord, I’ve been all around this world.

I went up to the Midway Inn with money to shoot some dice,
I went up to the Midway Inn with money to shoot some dice.
They took from me my money, boys, I begged them for my life
God knows, I’ve been all around this world.

Hang me, oh hang me and I’ll be dead and gone,
Hang me oh hang me, and I’ll be dead and gone,
It’s not the hanging that I mind it’s layin’ in the jail so long,
I’ve been all around this world.

They take me to the court house, boys, and there I had a crowd,
They take me to the court house, boys, and there I had a crowd.
The sentence was to hang me and leave my wife and child
God knows, I’ve been all around this world.

The sentence was to hang me, well I don’t care if you do,
The sentence was to hang me, well I don’t care if you do.
But look out boys, when you hang me, it’s liable to injure you
God knows, I’ve been all around this world.

Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I’ll take my stand
Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I’ll take my stand
A rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Lord, Lord, I’ve been all around this world

Lulu, my Lulu, come and open the door
Lulu, my Lulu, come and open the door
Before I have to walk on in with my old forty-four
Lord, I’ve been all around this world

Mama and papa, little sister makes three

Mama and papa, little sister makes three
They’re coming in the morning, that’s the last you’ll see of me
Lord, lord, I’ve been all around this world

Hang me, oh hang me, so I’ll be dead and gone
Hang me, oh hang me, so I’ll be dead and gone
I wouldn’t mind your hanging boys, but you wait in jail so long
Lord, I’ve been all around this world

Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I’ll take my stand
Up on the Blue Ridge mountain, there I’ll take my stand
A rifle on my shoulder, six-shooter in my hand
Lord, Lord, I’ve been all around this world

Written for 12/9/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is “boys”.

Times Are Bad

‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ (sometimes titled simply as ‘Hard Times’) is an American parlor song that was written by Stephen Foster in 1854.  Foster spent much of his time in Pittsburgh and in the mid 1850’s, when Pittsburgh was in the grip of out of control unemployment and disease and cholera that had killed 400 people one summer.  This song was likely inspired by the growing political divisions and rising tensions in the United States at the time, the issue of slavery was poised to rip the nation apart in the Civil War, and the nation’s economy was rapidly transforming thanks to the rise of factories in the North and growing infrastructure.  The nation would soon find itself falling on hard times.

The song ‘Down On Penny’s Farm’ is a traditional folksong that was first recorded and released by The Bentley Boys in 1929. This song originated in the American south, dealing with the exploitation of sharecroppers just after the conclusion of the American Civil War.  The renters are subjected to dreadful conditions including bad land, houses with no windows that have cracks in the walls, low income, high expenses, and the added threat of having to be put on a chain gang to pay off their debt.

It is thought that ‘Down On Penny’s Farm’ was developed from the song ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ as there is a line in the song that says, “It’s a hard time in the country, down on Penny’s farm”.  Bob Dylan’s song ‘Maggie’s Farm’ is a protest song that may have been developed from ‘Down On Penny’s Farm’, illustrating that when power is concentrated it inevitably becomes misguided.  In the song Dylan is trying to be a nonconformist, by comparing a musician who is trapped into a particular mode of expressing himself because he must follow the rules that Maggie and her family have created which have become a type of slavery for him.  When Dylan sings, “I ain’t going to work on Maggie’s Farm no more”, he means that he was not going to be part of the conventions of music anymore, as he wanted to do things his own way.

Bob Dylan appeared at the Newport Folk festival three times and his first time there was in 1963, when he was an obscure young singer, little known to anyone that was outside of the Greenwich Village scene.  He appeared as a guest of Joan Baez, who was far better known than him as she had recently appeared on the cover of Time magazine.  Dylan was received enthusiastically when he performed ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ with Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, and other Festival performers.  At the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, Dylan performed ‘With God on Our Side’ and ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ where he also got positive reviews.  In 1965, Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, performing a rock-and-roll set publicly for the very first time, amidst a chorus of shouts and boos that rained down on him from a dismayed audience.  With guitarist and organist Al Kooper and guitarist and piano player Michael Bloomfield, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing him, Dylan took to the stage with his Fender Stratocaster on the evening of July 25 and launched into an electrified version of ‘Maggie’s Farm’.  This set of music included three songs, those being, ‘Maggie’s Farm’, ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, and ‘Phantom Engineer’, all of which offended his fans, but this electric sound fundamentally changed the way Dylan viewed his art and it resulted in one of the most infamous concerts in modern history.

It is thought that the booing was caused by a number of incidents, including a bad sound system that made Dylan’s words sound garbled, however this does not show up on the recording.  There was a long rain delay which usually gets people pissed off, especially if they got wet or muddy because of this.  There was also a physical fight that erupted between Alan Lomax one of the organizers of the festival and Albert Grossman who managed both Dylan and the Butterfield Blues Band. Maybe the folk music fans were just not ready for electric guitars?  Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary, and another of the Festival’s organizers) persuaded Dylan to return to the stage to sing a few more songs.  Dylan borrowed an acoustic guitar (allegedly from Johnny Cash) and opened with ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue’ and the acoustic set seemed to placate everyone.  ‘Maggie’s Farm’ was written for his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home and until this time, Bob Dylan was a folk singer who performed solo acoustic songs.

This song is about escaping the boredom of work, especially when you have a job being an unskilled servant where you will never get any prestige.  This guy is praying for rain, so he will not have to work on Maggie’s farm.  The man in the song has a head full of ideas, but he is told that he must do menial tasks like scrubbing the floor.  Next Maggie’s brother pays this guy an insignificant wage, but after he fines the guy for doing such things like slamming the door and he gets his money back that way.  Maggie’s father puts his cigar out in this guy’s face just for kicks, his window is made out of bricks keeping him secluded and the National Guard stands around his door, probably to protect him from being attacked by all those who despise him.  Maggie’s mother is also a piece of work, as she talks to all the servants about man and God and law, she’s probably the brains behind pa and she lies about her age saying that she’s only twenty-four.  The guy tries to do his best, but he wants to be his own person and not be like the others that are working on Maggie’s farm that are putting up with all the bullshit and singing while they slave which gets boring.

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I wake up in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin’ me insane
It’s a shame
The way she makes me
Scrub the floor
I ain’t gonna work on, nah
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
Nah, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more
Well, he hands you a nickel
And he hands you a dime
And he asks you with a grin
If you’re havin’ a good time
Then he fines you every time you slam the door
I ain’t gonna work for, nah
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s brother no more

I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
I ain’t gonna work, nah
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s pa no more
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
No, I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law
And everybody says
She’s the brains behind pa
She’s sixty-eight, but she says she’s twenty-four
I ain’t gonna work for, nah
I ain’t gonna work for Maggie’s ma no more

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while they slave and just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on, nah
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

 

Talentless

I am not musically inclined, I have no aptitude for dancing and I never learned how to play a musical instrument.  I did have a harmonica when I was young, but I did not like it very much as it seemed to get covered with spit when it was in my mouth and that made it get all yucky and gross.  I bet I could probably play the tambourine or the maracas, as that does not look like it takes much skill at all, and even a person with Parkinson’s disease can shake, but I never tried, so I just don’t know.  The only thing worse than my dancing is my singing and if anyone ever heard me singing, they would usually ask me to please sing ‘Far, Far Away’, but I never learned the lyrics to that song.  I am so far away from possessing any musical talent, doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?

Written for 12/8/18 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is “musical”.