Thursday, August 9, 2007

Darling I Need You

We'll segue outta this arc real easy-like, you get me, podner? By moving over to Galveston, Texas, 1899 or thereabouts. This island, the Manhattan of the west, was the center of Western American culture and industry and wealth, before it gets wiped out by the great hurricane of 1900. The sinnerman who's saying that "Darling I Need You", he's been drinkin' all day and all night and raisin' who knows what kinda hell. And when he finally wakes up, his godfearing and longsuffering honey is gone, gone away to join in the Pentecostal revivals going on back east.

The straight-talking lyric is matched with a straight-shooting piano-based tune. It's a frankly pleasing song that doesn't do anything innovative or surprising. I love it anyway. It's a great little character study, one that makes up for the lack of narrative depth with closely-observed detail. It's one of the highlights of Slow Dazzle (an album, admittedly, with many highlights that just don't gel). The song really turned my ear when I first heard Fragments of a Rainy Season - it's a real change of pace from the rest of the album, but a convincing and well-executed one that somehow feels natural as the link from Cordoba to Paris 1919. (As usual, the Fragments version is the definitive recording.) Not typical John Cale, nor essential on its own, but it's always welcome on my turntable.


Mark of the Asphodel said...

Yeah, this is a fine little tune. I don't know *how* it works as the transition from "Cordoba" to "Paris 1919", but it does. It's a shame that studio Cale albums aren't usually as organic as Fragments of a Rainy Season was. Also, you're dead-on about the Fragments version being definitive-- which is NOT something I'd claim for either that version of "Cordoba" or that version of "Paris 1919". Ah, well.

BTW, I sometimes mentally transpose lyrics from the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'" onto the melody of this tune. I dunno why.

Steve from Staines said...

Just been reading about the fundamental Signs Pentecostalists from Virginia and nearby states, who take the wording of Mark 16: 17-18 literally. It refers to believers not being harmed by serpents or drinking poisons, and so, at their services, ministers and worshippers sometimes handle deadly timber rattlesnakes and drink lethal strychnine. About 100 have died in the century or so of this church's existence.