Hold On to My Dreams

‘Close My Eyes Forever’ was written by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne and it is sung as a duet by Ford with Osbourne from Ford’s 1988 album Lita.  The song became the result of an accident in the studio, where they both drinking heavily and getting stoned when they unintentionally wrote the lyrics to this song together.  Ozzy’s wife, Sharon was Lita’s new manager at the time this song was recorded and the Osbournes brought a housewarming present for Lita to the studio, which was a life-size duplicate of Koko the gorilla from the San Diego Zoo.  Sharon got bored of hanging around, but Ozzy stayed to jam and sing and this is a product of them messing around in the studio.  This song is Ford’s highest charting single, peaking at #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charting #47 in the UK and it was also Osbourne’s highest charting single of his solo career.

They were in the studio together all night till the sun started coming up the next day.  The lyrics explore love, death and Lita thought that they both might be in trouble for staying out all night, while Sharon was waiting at home for Ozzy.  The song is about a broken relationship where the woman is scared about how things are turning out.  She doesn’t know if she loves the man anymore or if it’s just become something fake.  The man suggests that if she doesn’t make things right again, he will commit suicide closing his eyes forever.  Something wrong happened in their relationship, but it is not clear whether this couple had an abortion or possibly she had a child with another man.  They are both deeply hurt by this tragic event and the song keeps getting darker, as he can no longer hold on to his dreams and things are no longer the way that they once were.  She compares him to a dagger that stuck her in her heart.  She tastes the blood from the blade and thinks about him in a warm and darkened grave.  She knows what she did was wrong and it is hard for her to ask forgiveness.  Her solution is to close her eyes and hope that they can still be together.

Baby
I get so scared inside, and I don’t really understand
Is it love that’s on my mind, or is it fantasy?

Heaven
Is in the palm of my hand, and it’s waiting here for you
What am I supposed to do with a childhood tragedy?

If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?

Sometimes
It’s hard to hold on
So hard to hold on to my dreams
It isn’t always what it seems
When you’re face to face with me

You’re like a dagger
And stick me in the heart
And taste the blood from my blade
And when we sleep, would you shelter me
In your warm and darkened grave?

If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?

Will you ever take me?
No, I just can’t take the pain
But would you ever trust me?
No, I’ll never feel the same, oh

I know I’ve been so hard on you
I know I’ve told you lies
If I could have just one more wish
I’d wipe the cobwebs from my eyes

If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?
Close your eyes
Close your eyes
You gotta close your eyes for me

Written for Thursday Inspiration #169 Back to the Cave.

Thursday Inspiration #169 Back to the Cave

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word waste, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Back to the Cave’, or by going with another song by Lita Ford, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Back to the Cave’ was written by Mike Chapman, David Ezrin and Lita Ford and released on her third solo album Lita from 1988.  This was her best-selling album and it peaked at #29 on the Billboard chart.  Chapman produced this album, which was Ford’s first for RCA Records after leaving Mercury and her first working with her new manager Sharon Osbourne.  This album featured a pair of top twenty singles on the Billboard Hot 100, ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ which reached #12 and ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ which went to #8.  ‘Back to the Cave’ got to #22 on the USA Mainstream Rock chart.

Lita Ford played guitar and she sings lead vocals on this song backed by David Ezrin on keyboards, Don Nossov on bass guitar and Myron Grombacher on drums.  Mike Chapman who was Pat Benatar’s first producer called Myron Grombacher who was the drummer on nine of Benatar’s original albums and has numerous writing credits to ask him if he would play on this album and Myron brought in bass guitarist Don Nossov who also worked with Benatar.  Ford found herself coming to terms with the baggage left over from her days of being in the Runaways, as her first two solo albums, Out for Blood and Dressed to Kill didn’t go anywhere.  She lived with Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx as her career was falling apart.  Ford is a great rock guitarist who knows how to flaunt what she’s got and although the lyrics on this song are not very deep, Lita does a great job of flirting her sex appeal with her fans on this.  It is not very clear what is going on in this song besides a lot of great rock and roll guitar riffs, but there seems to be some urgency for her to get back to this cave where she is going to spend a little bit of time with her man.

Oh, let’s get back to the cave
No-one ever told us we had time to waste
Oh, let’s get back to the cave for a little while

I Don’t Want to Fade Away

‘Bell Bottom Blues’ was written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock, and it was performed by Derek and the Dominos.  It deals with Clapton’s unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend George Harrison, who asked him to get her a pair of bell-bottom blue jeans from the United States.  They were hip huggers called Landlubbers that were only available in a little shop in Miami.  Clapton wrote this song for Pattie, but it was inspired by another girl.  This song was recorded on the 1970 double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.  It was issued as a single, backed with ‘Keep on Growing’, and it reached #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.

Derek and the Dominos formed after Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon worked on George Harrison’s 1970 third studio solo album, All Things Must Pass.  They went to England and played a bunch of small clubs all over Europe, with Clapton and Whitlock writing songs along the way.  The band was in France when the inspiration for this song hit.  Eric met this girl, she was like a Persian princess or something, and she wore bell bottoms.  The band was staying with the son of Frandsen De Schonberg, a French artist who painted the picture used for the album cover, when Clapton met the bell bottom princess.  She was all hung up on him and he gave her a slide that Duane Allman had given him, and he wrapped it in leather, and she wore it around her neck.  She didn’t speak a word of English and they had to date through an interpreter.  The relationship only lasted a week.  Clapton started the song over there, then when they got back to England, they finished it in his TV room in Hurtwood Edge.

Bobby Whitlock didn’t initially get a songwriting credit on this, because he sold all of his royalties, but this was rectified just before the 40th anniversary of Layla came out.  Eric wrote three quarters of this song and Bobby helped him to finish it.  The lyrics describe a lover’s quarrel, and this song is a portrait of a man who is on the brink of collapse, because he is so much in love with a girl that he can’t have.  He is willing to crawl and beg for her love even though he feel like he is going to lose her.  He tells her not to be surprised if she finds him with another lover, because he doesn’t feel that they will ever be together.

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

It’s all wrong, but it’s all right
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it because
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it ‘cause
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Bell bottom blues, don’t say goodbye
I’m sure we’re gonna meet again
And if we do, don’t you be surprised
If you find me with another lover

Do you want to see me crawl across the floor to you?
Do you want to hear me beg you to take me back?
I’d gladly do it ‘cause
I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day, please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

I don’t want to fade away
Give me one more day please
I don’t want to fade away
In your heart I want to stay

Written for Thursday Inspiration #168 I’d Love You to Want Me where the theme is want.

Thursday Inspiration #168 I’d Love You to Want Me

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word want, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘I’d Love You to Want Me’, or by going with another song by Lobo, or anything else that you think fits.  Roland Kent Lavoie is much better known as Lobo (meaning wolf in Spanish) was an individual artist, although many people thought of him as a group.  ‘I’d Love You to Want Me’ was his most successful song, which got to #2 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 and became a #1 hit on the Easy Listening adult contemporary chart.  It was released on his 1972 second album Of a Simple Man, and the single went to #5 in the UK.  Lobo wrote every song on this album, and he played all the instruments on this song.  Rock & Roll Hall of Fame songwriter and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Ellie Greenwich who cowrote mostly with her partner Jeff Barry was a background singer on this album, but not this song.

From 1971-1979, he charted eight times on Billboard, and his first big hit came in 1971 with the song ‘Me And You And A Dog Named Boo’, which peaked at #5 on the Billboard pop charts.  This song is about two hippies and a dog taking a cross-country road trip in an old car, and Lobo actually had a German Shepard named Boo.  He was born in Tallahassee and grew up in Winter Haven, Florida.  When he was in high school, he got into a band with Gram Parsons who was in the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers and Jim Stafford famed for novelty songs like ‘Spiders and Snakes’ called The Rumours.

Lobo had a really pretty art teacher in his high school who became the inspiration for this song.  He was a high school senior, and his teacher was 22, and when they looked at each other, he felt a connection.  This was a forbidden love, and the teacher has an obligation not to get involved with her students, so maybe this love was just in his mind, as this was a love he couldn’t have.  He sees this love in her eyes and even though it is totally normal for a High School student to crush hard on his teacher, he was a world away from actually being with her.

Baby
I’d Love You to Want Me
The way that I want you
The way that it should be

You Raise Up Your Head

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded ‘Ballad Of A Thin Man’ for his 1965 sixth album Highway 61 Revisited.  Dylan said that Mr. Jones was a real person that worked as a pinboy in a bowling alley, but that could be Dylan teasing everyone.  Dylan said in a 1978 concert that he wrote this for a reporter who was working for The Village Voice in 1963, but in general this was a response to people who kept asking him questions all the time.  He got tired of that, and he didn’t want to answer any more questions, so this was meant to put these pesty people in their place.  This seems like it could be about an LSD trip with all the weird stuff happening in this song.  A man named Mr. Jones gets himself into all of these odd circumstances, blundering into strange situations, and the more questions he asks, the less the world makes sense to him.  This song never reached the mainstream charts, but I have always loved it.  The musicians that played on this track were Mike Bloomfield on lead guitar, Bobby Gregg on drums, Harvey Goldstein on bass, Al Kooper on organ, and Dylan played piano.

Dylan mentions that Mr. Jones walked into a naked man someplace and things only get worse after that, as there is no escape for him.  Mr. Jones might be a journalist because he has a pencil in his hand, and he may be going to see a show, because he has a ticket in his hand.  The narrator discusses conversations where Mr. Jones become perplexed, because he doesn’t understand what is happening around him.  There are a lot of freak show people in this song like a one-eyed midget, a sword swallower and a lumberjack.  Mr. Jones feels like he is all alone, when a geek hears him speak and calls him a freak and then hands him a bone.  Several phrases in this song always end up be interpreted as sexual in nature, like the sword swallower on his knees clicking his high heels and the one-eyed midget demanding milk.  The song ends with Dylan suggestion that Mr. Jones should be wearing headphones, so he can better understand what is happening.

You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked and you say, “Who is that man?”
You try so hard but you don’t understand
Just what you will say when you get home
Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You raise up your head and you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says, “It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?” and somebody else says, “Well, what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God, am I here all alone?”
But something is happening and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You hand in your ticket and you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you when he hears you speak
And says, “How does it feel to be such a freak?”
And you say, “Impossible!” as he hands you a bone
And something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

You have many contacts among the lumberjacks
To get you facts when someone attacks your imagination
But nobody has any respect, anyway they already expect you to all give a check
To tax-deductible charity organizations

Ah, you’ve been with the professors and they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well-read, it’s well-known
But something is happening here and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, the sword swallower, he comes up to you and then he kneels
He crosses himself and then he clicks his high heels
And without further notice, he asks you how it feels
And he says, “Here is your throat back, thanks for the loan”
And you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Now, you see this one-eyed midget shouting the word “Now”
And you say, “For what reason?” and he says, “How”
And you say, “What does this mean?” and he screams back, “You’re a cow!
Give me some milk or else go home”
And you know something’s happening but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Well, you walk into the room like a camel, and then you frown
You put your eyes in your pocket and your nose on the ground
There ought to be a law against you comin’ around
You should be made to wear earphones
‘Cause something is happening and you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?

Written for Thursday Inspiration #167 Just Can’t Get Enough where the prompt word is head.

Thursday Inspiration #167 Just Can’t Get Enough

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word head, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, or by going with another song by Depeche Mode, or anything else that you think fits.  Depeche Mode has been around for over 40 years having sold over 100 million albums and they are one of the most popular live acts on Earth.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.  Depeche Mode plays what is called Synth-pop new wave, or Industrial music, which is an abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music that was initially developed from a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation.  Their founding member and keyboardist Vince Clarke wrote this synth-pop tune.  Musically, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ was inspired by the Spandau Ballet song ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’, which was released in 1980.  Clark wasn’t into dance music, till this Spandau Ballet song changed his mind.  This song was released on Depeche Mode’s 1981 debut album Speak and Spell.
The English band’s humble beginnings took place in the sordid halls of the apparently thriving music scene in Basildon, which is located in south Essex.  The natives Dave Gahan (lead vocals and co-songwriter), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, co-lead vocals and main songwriter), Andy Fletcher keyboardist, and Vince Clarke synth-pop musician and songwriter spent much of their formative years playing clubs and halls around the county.  They entered the British new wave scene when they played at Southend Technical College and debuted this iconic song ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’.  Their journey was filled with departures, personal pain, and flagrant drama after their keyboardist and songwriter Vince Clarke quit the band.  They had recently changed their name from Composition of Sound and introduced a young Dave Gahan into the mix, when punk was on its way out, and people were looking for music that they could dance to, which wasn’t so violent or aggressive.  Actress Jenna Elfman danced in a bunch of Depeche Mode videos.

This was the only album where the songs had already been performed for a year and a half beforehand, and they went into the studio and recorded them as they would live fast and short with really simple boom-thwack, boom-thwack riffs.  The band came from the punk era where they just wanted to make a single and they never thought much beyond the next single and playing gigs.  This song was featured in the 1982 film Summer Lovers, and it also appeared in The Wedding Singer in 1998.  It was also utilized on an episode of “Friends” (1996) and other popular TV shows.  This was Depeche Mode’s first Top 10 single in the UK, and although it didn’t chart in the US, it became a club favorite and made it to Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play list.

The singer “just can’t get enough” of the love and affection that he is experiencing with his significant other and he continues to display his adoration for her.  He relishes all the tasks that might be seen as being mundane like “walking down the street” with his lady.  Every time he thinks about her, he can’t get her out of his head, as her love is setting him free.  She turns rain into rainbows, and he compares her to an angel, feeling fortunate to have her around.

When I’m with you baby
I go out of my head
And I just can’t get enough
And I just can’t get enough
All the things you do to me
And everything you said

 

Going Through the Show

‘Comfortably Numb’ is one of Pink Floyd’s most beloved songs and it was recorded on their 1979 eleventh studio album The Wall.  ‘Comfortably Numb’ was released again in 1980 as a B-side single to ‘Hey You’.  The six-minute song is one of Pink Floyd’s most well-known, boasting one of the most legendary guitar solos of all time by David Gilmour.  ‘Comfortably Numb’ was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  The melody and music were written by David Gilmour and the lyrics were by Roger Waters.  This was the last song Waters and Gilmour wrote together.

Pink Floyd’s The Wall is a concept album, or as they considered it, a rock opera.  The storyline follows the protagonist, Pink, based on Syd Barrett and Roger Waters.  Pink is a depressed musician who’s stuck in a wall that he built when his father died in World War II.  Roger Waters’ father, Eric Fletcher Waters, died on 18 February 1944, during the Battle of Anzio during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War.  Pink is not well, and he stays in his hotel room, but his management breaks into his hotel room.  Along with Pink’s management is a doctor, who suddenly, injects Pink with a drug.  The drug counteracts his already drug-induced state to ensure that Pink can perform at a concert later in the evening.

This song describes a state of loss of muscle movement where a singer is anaesthetized before coming on stage.  Waters said that much of the song comes from something that really happened one evening when he was in Philadelphia.  Walters got hepatitis but he didn’t know it and when he talked to a doctor, the physician thought he was suffering from a severe stomachache, which was probably caused by nerves.  The doctor gave him a sedative so he could perform, but he was not able to focus.  On the stage, his hands were numb, and his vision was blurred, but none of this derailed the crowd, who continued to dance and sing.  Waters said that this felt like it was the longest two hours of his life, as he kept trying to do this show, but he couldn’t hardly lift his arm.

This song is a conversation between a man that is not feeling well and his doctor that is trying to help him.  The man is a singer, and he needs to get better so he can perform.  He is in pain, but he has a will to survive even though he is unable to express himself and his sensations.  The man seems to be totally out of it, so the doctor asks him if there is anyone in there, or if anyone is home.  This doctor needs some information, so that he can treat his patient properly.  The singer speaks about his childhood when he was sick with a fever, and it seems like there was a distance between his mind and the perception of reality.  The flu and an infection along with a temperature of 105 made him delirious.  His hands felt like they were really big kind of like balloons, which must have been frightening.

He feels that way again being comfortably numb, so the doctor gives him an injection, and warns him that it could make him feel sick and then he asks him to try and stand up.  The drug appears to be working, so the show will go on, without pain, or possibly with diminished pain.  Things are still a little bit foggy for the singer like a distant ship that is spotted by its smoke on the horizon.  Information is being processed in his brain, but it is coming through in waves and the doctor sees his lips moving, but he can’t make out what his patient is saying.  The song ends with the guy recounting his childhood again where he sees something, but it disappears before he can put his finger on it.  He has grown up and this dream is gone, but he remains comfortably numb.

Hello? (Hello? Hello? Hello?)

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?
Come on now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again
Relax
I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb

I have become comfortably numb

Okay (okay, okay, okay)
Just a little pinprick
There’ll be no more, ah
But you may feel a little sick
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

Written for Thursday Inspiration #166 Sign of the Times where the prompt is show.

Thursday Inspiration #166 Sign of the Times

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word show, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Sign of the Times’, or by going with another song by Harry Styles, or anything else that you think fits.  I am not a big fan of any Boy Bands and I tried to avoid One Direction, even though they are notably one of the most successful boy bands the industry has ever seen.  In the beginning One Direction did not write their own music or play instruments, they just danced around singing cheesy pop songs, which gave them a very dedicated fan base.  Eventually Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson were able to crack the boy-band code, but they were never as popular as NSync, or the Backstreet Boys.  New Kids on the Block also had more record sales than 1D, but One Direction became the first band in the US Billboard 200 history to have their first four albums debut at number one and when their fifth album debuted in the Billboard top 10, they broke a record set by The Beatles.

I was watching God’s Favorite Idiot on Netflix when I heard ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles and I liked it, so I decided to find out who he is and what this song is about.  English singer, songwriter and actor Harry Styles started his musical career in 2010 as a solo contestant on the British music competition series The X Factor.  After he was eliminated, he was brought back to join One Direction, who all entered the competition as individuals.  The five-piece boy band signed with Simon Cowell’s record label in 2010 and they went on to record 5 studio albums, but they have been on an indefinite “hiatus” since December 13th, 2015.  Styles released his self-titled debut solo album in 2017, which debuted at #1 in the UK and the US and was one of the world’s top-ten best-selling albums of the year, while its lead single, ‘Sign of the Times’, topped the UK Singles Chart.  It was written by Styles, Jeff Bhasker, Mitch Rowland, Ryan Nasci, Alex Salibian, and Tyler Johnson, and it has been described by critics as a pop rock and soft rock ballad.  In 2021, Rolling Stone placed this song at #428 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Styles revealed that ‘Sign Of The Times’ deals with a young mother being told that she has five minutes left to live after childbirth.  Something went wrong with the delivery, there’s a complication, the baby will live, but it is looking dark for the mother.  Supposedly the lyrics are what the mother is saying to her newborn and maybe this will help the baby deal with the unpleasantness that life is going to throw at it.  She wants the baby to stop crying so it can learn how to avoid the bullets that may be fired at it.  She wants her baby to have the time of its life and maybe they can meet one day up in heaven.

Just stop your crying
It’s a sign of the times
Welcome to the final show
Hope you’re wearing your best clothes

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

‘Baby, Let Me Follow You Down’ is a traditional folk song that was popularized in the late 1950s by blues guitarist Eric Von Schmidt.  The song is best known from its appearance on Bob Dylan’s debut album Bob Dylan which was released in 1962 on Columbia Records after he turned 21.  The album contained a few covers, some traditional songs that were reworked by Bob and two original Dylan songs.  Originally this album did not sell well, but as Bob became more famous and after he toured the UK in 1965, it did reach #13 on the UK Top 75.  This song has a complicated story involving how it was created and then evolved over the years.  Dylan indicates that he heard this song being played by Eric Von Schmidt who was part of the folk boom of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Eric Von Schmidt disagrees feeling that the Dylan cover resembles the 1960s Greenwich Village folksinger Dave Van Ronk’s version.  Von Schmidt said that he had copied it from another folksinger, Geno Foreman, who in turn had found it on a Blind Boy Fuller album.  He goes on to say that all of these versions were titled ‘Baby, Let Me Lay It on You’.  To complicate matters further, Reverend Gary Davis claimed that he wrote the song and that Blind Willie Fuller learned it from him.  Another twist in the history of this song comes from American blues singer, guitarist and songwriter Mance Lipscomb who claims that he learned the song in 1926 and that he was the one who taught Dylan this song in the early sixties.  This song was credited to Davis when it was played on the Last Waltz, The Band’s final concert which Martin Scorsese made a documentary out of.

The story doesn’t end here, as Songfacts® and Wikipedia® both say that it was first recorded as ‘Don’t Tear My Clothes’ by the State Street Boys in January 1935, a group that included Big Bill Broonzy singing vocal, and playing guitar, Jazz Gillum on harmonica, Black Bob on piano, Zeb Wright with violin.  This was a studio group that formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1935 to blend modern swing music and country blues.  This link opens up a proverbial can of worms, as I listened to that song and I don’t see the similarity between ‘Don’t Tear My Clothes’ and ‘Baby, Let Me Lay It on You’, but I have been known to be wrong before.  Robert Clifford Brown who was reputedly the half-brother of Big Bill Broonzy and professionally known as Washboard Sam also did a version of this song.  The Locke Brothers Rhythm Orchestra, a basically unknown Carolina regional band also covered the song for Bluebird records in 1936.  The Chicago jazz band Harlem Hamfats covered it again, and then Rosetta Howard did a version with the Hamfats, changing the title to ‘Let Your Linen Hang Low’.  Big Bill recorded this again with new lyrics performed with a group called the Chicago Black Swans.

It is possible that this song originated from the Papa Charlie Jackson 1928 recording of ‘Lookout Papa Don’t Tear Your Pants’.  In 1952, Smokey Hogg recorded ‘Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes’ after it was ignored for nearly a decade and then Lightnin’ Hopkins recorded it in 1962.  Model T Slim (Elmon Mickle) and Little Richard both recorded this in 1968.  By 1938, Blind Boy Fuller changed the name of this song to ‘Mama Let Me Lay It On You’ and his rendition took it in a lascivious direction, telling his woman all the things he’ll do for her if she’ll just let him lay it on her.  Von Schmidt didn’t receive any royalties from this song even though Dylan paid homage to Schmidt in the introduction of this song.  Two years later, Dylan’s song publisher Whitmark & Sons copyrighted the tune as a Dylan composition.  It seems that this song was never in trouble of being lost to history, and no matter who wrote it the State Street Boys, Blind Boy Fuller, or Reverend Gary Davis, or Mance Lipscomb, as it kept on getting edited and changed and it took on a life of its own.

I first heard it from Rick von Schmidt
He lives in Cambridge
Rick’s a blues guitar player
I met him one day in the
Green pastures of Harvard University

Baby, let me follow you down
Baby, let me follow you down
Well, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Can I come home with you?
Baby, can I come home with you?
Yes, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me come home with you

Baby, let me follow you down
Baby, let me follow you down
And I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Yes, I’d do anything in this God Almighty world
If you just let me follow you down

Written for Thursday Inspiration #165 Red House where the prompt is baby.

Thursday Inspiration #165 Red House

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word baby, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Red House’, or by going with another song by Jimi Hendrix, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Red House was written by Jimi Hendrix and this twelve-bar blues song was one of the first songs recorded in 1966 by the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  ‘Red House’ was released on the Jimi Hendrix Experience debut studio album Are You Experienced in 1967.  Jimi worked on this song in New York City when he was still a struggling musician.  He was staying in a friend’s apartment that was decorated almost completely red, which gave him the lyrical inspiration for this song.  In late May of 1966, Linda Keith a strikingly beautiful twenty-year-old model who had been the girlfriend of Keith Richards from 1963, when she was just seventeen, and had witnessed the birth of The Rolling Stones went with her model friends to The Cheetah Club in New York, where Jimi was playing with Curtis Knight and the Squires.  After the set she invited Jimi to join her and her friends at their table and when the last set and asked Jimi to join them back to an apartment at 63rd Street.

Linda and Jimi quickly became good friends however it was said not to be a romantic relationship, as she would play a lot of music for him at this apartment, because she felt that he needed it.  She said that she felt silly being a middle-class white girl playing the Blues for him, but Hendrix stayed at what they called the Red House apartment because of its red velvet walls and decor where the rent was paid by Keith Richards for days on end.  Linda played Bob Dylan’s new album Blonde on Blonde for Jimi and he liked that a lot.  She was convinced that he would become a big star, so she asked him why he was playing with Curtis Knight, and he said, “I don’t have my own guitar”.  Linda promised to get him a guitar and she also introduced him to LSD.

‘Red House’ was inspired by blues songs that Hendrix had been performing early in his career when he worked as a sideman.  Some music critics have said, “Red House’ is very similar to the song ‘California Night’, which Hendrix performed with Curtis Knight and the Squires at The Cheetah Club and that this was originally recorded by Albert King in 1961 as ‘Travelin’ to California’.  It is a slow blues tune that features lyrics that follow the common blues theme of a rambling man that lost his love.  Elmore James recorded ‘The Sky Is Crying’ in 1960 which contains, “I got a bad feeling my baby don’t love me no more” and this may have also been an inspiration for Hendrix.

This song is about a guy who has been away from his girl for over three months, and he decides to return home to see her, where she lives in a red house.  When he gets there, his key doesn’t work, and he realizes she doesn’t live there anymore, and she probably doesn’t love him anymore.  He decides that instead of wallowing in his misery, that he will pay a visit to her sister, because he thinks that he can get some loving from her.  Noel Redding the bassist in Experience, said that Hendrix told him this song was about his high school girlfriend Betty Jean Morgan, and Jimi’s brother, Leon also felt that it was about Betty Jean, and he said that she had a sister named Maddy.

There’s a red house over yonder,
That’s where my baby stays
Lord, there’s a red house over yonder
Lord, that’s where my baby stays
I ain’t been home to see my baby
In ninety nine and one half days