Jimi, Janis, Jim, John, and Elvis on the streets of San Diego.
Preserve the Dead: 57 Irish Railroad Workers of Duffy’s Cut
…often I think of going up to some of ’em like say blonde ones with wild hair and torn shirts and say, “You oughta apply for the railroad it’s much easier work you don’t stand around the street all day and you get much more pay…”- Jack Kerouac, October in the Railroad Earth
What Kerouac’s story doesn’t tell, is the risk of death when you’re working in cholera-ridden, hostile-to-Irish territory. There’s a patch of land that silently holds a mass grave of Irish railroad workers—I pass it everyday on the Amtrak Keystone in between the Paoli and Exton train stations. It’s only just now—today—that I’ve learned some of the history behind this railway burial site. And I learned of it because a few good people bothered to preserve the dead.
One such person is Dan Leyden, who not only preserves the dead by singing in a Grateful Dead tribute band, Splintered Sunlight, but also preserves the dead by passing along the stories of the dead through song.
Preserve the Dead: George Harrison (Feb 25, 1943 – Nov 29, 2001)
I was going to post “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) but I’ve decided, instead, that My Sweet Lord is one of the few songs that completely opens my heart. No matter what injustices rage beyond the borders of my home and country—no matter how empty and hollow I feel about living on Earth…
This song fills me.
Just wanted to give a shout out to the woman who brings it hard with the Dark Star Orchestra. It would be really cool to interview her. This guy did…
Lyrics by Robert Hunter, Music by Jerry Garcia
Just a song of Gomorrah
I wonder what they did there
Must have been a bad thing
to get shot down for
I wonder how they blew it up
or if they tore it down
Get out, get out, Mr Lot
and don’t you look around
Who gave you your orders?
Someone from the sky
I heard a voice inside my head
in the desert wind so dry
I heard a voice telling me to flee
The very same voice I always believe
Said: a lot of trouble coming
but it don’t have to come to you
I’m sparing you so you can tell
the rest what you been through
But don’t you turn around, no
Don’t look after you
It’s not your business how it’s done
You’re lucky to get through
You’re a good upstanding man
A credit to the flock
But if you don’t face straight ahead
You could not stand the shock
Blew the city off the map
Left nothing there but fire
The wife of Lot got turned to salt
because she looked behind her
Because she looked behind
Because she looked behind
Preserve the Dead: Thomas Weelkes (Oct 25, 1576 – Nov 30, 1623)
I learned of this song in a course I took on Music History. When I listen to voices blending and dancing together like this, I have to believe in the goodness of what it means to be alive on Earth.
As Vesta was from Latmos hill descending
She spied a maiden Queen the same ascending,
Attended on by all the shepherds’ swain;
To whom Diana’s darlings came running down amain
First two by two, then three by three together
Leaving their Goddess all alone, hasted thither;
And mingling with the shepherds of her train,
With mirthful tunes her presence did entertain.
Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana:
Long live fair Oriana!
Source: Kerman, Joseph and Gary Tomlinson. Listen. Brief Fourth Edition. Boston & New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000. Pg. 75. CD 1, track 13. Retrieved from: http://departments.ozarks.edu/hfa/slgorman/renaissance_madrigal_lyrics.htm
Just because I was curious, I decided to look further into the lyrics of John Perry Barlow, as I’d noticed a theme of darkness—either literally or figuratively—that manifests when he writes about women and love. In short, he’s a passionate dude and I like it. I’ll examine his astrology chart (along with Bob Weir’s—both Librans) at some point as well. Here are some excerpts that I found. Someone was kind enough to create a search function that puts all (or most of) his lyrics in one place.
She comes from a town where they call her the woodcutter’s daughter
She’s brown as the bank where she kneels down to gather her water
Ah, Mother American Night, I’m lost from the light
Oh I’m drowning in you
The last time I saw the devil
She was smiling as she waved
She was taller than the Sutra tower
Staring down into my grave
Don’t leave me darkness, she is no lover
She hides the day
Now miss sweet little soft-core pretender,
Somehow baby got hard as it gets.
With her black leather chrome spiked suspenders,
Her chair and her whip and her pets.
Well we know you’re the reincarnation
Of the ravenous Catherine the Great.
And we know how you love your ovations
For the Z-rated scenes you create.
The Z-rated scenes you create.
I need a woman ’bout twice my height
Statuesque, raven-tressed, a goddess of the night
A secret incantation, candle burning blue
We’ll consult the spirits, maybe they’ll know what to do
She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town
I didn’t know her stage-line ran from hell
She had raven hair, a ruffled dress, a necklace made of gold
More Barlow songs here: http://www3.clearlight.com/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~acsa/findbarl.pl