|Josh Ritter – Wings Lyrics||3 years ago|
|It's not about the trail of tears. All of the locations in the song are in North Idaho, Josh's home state. It's about environmental exploitation and historical abuse of the Native Americans and a lot of other things set in a very dreamy landscape.|
|Josh Ritter – The Temptation Of Adam Lyrics||5 years ago|
|When I got my copy of "Conquest" in the mail, I had to check and make sure this song wasn't spelled "The Temptation of Atom". I also love that Josh pronounces the Roman numerals III as "ay yi yi", a universal expression of mild alarm. Masterful wordplay.|
|Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues Lyrics||5 years ago|
Mama's in the pantry preparing the yeast
Sister's in the kitchen preparing for the feast
Papa's in the cellar a-mixing up the hops
And Brother's at the window a-watchin' for the cops
This is from a song called "New Talking Blues" by Hershal Brown, recorded in 1927. It wouldn't surprise me if Dylan, who had a voracious apetite for all kinds of traditional music, heard this song one day (or one like it) and used that 3rd line as a jumping off place for Subterranean Homesick Blues. With this song, and several others during that period, Dylan was evidently experimenting with the "Talking Blues" genre, and for him, the song may very well have had no meaning beyond that. I think that very creative people like Dylan will have an itch about something and it will pour out in their work. But then, once it's on the page, so to speak, it's value to the artist is spent, and as Dylan claimed, it really did not have any other meaning for him. On the other hand, Dylan was really something of a "channeler" for the mass consciousness in those days (as someone suggested in Scorcese's documentary), and the 50's and early 60's were very much about trying keeping a low or "subterranean" profile where the government is concerned. ("think McCarthyism") SHB was released in 1965 and activist movements (outside of civil rights) did not really take off until the late 60's.
As to what the "medicine" was, I really don't think that Dylan was talking about LSD here. LSD required fairly sophisticated lab equipment that the average "johnny" would not have laying around in the basement. Dylan might have been talking about amphetamines (considering the "speedy" tempo of SHB, this might even be likely), but this would have nothing to do with "meth labs", which were unheard of in those days. Amphetamines were readily available in pill form throughout the 60's and early 70's, so the only "mixing up" required would be pulverizing the pills and mixing with water.
|Josh Ritter – Wings Lyrics||5 years ago|
It's about the historical exploitation of the West and the people who developed it. Set in
Ritter's home state of Idaho (Anthony, Coeur d'Alene, Harrison, Wallace, and the Cataldo Mission are all in North Idaho) As the protagonist travels from East to West, he also travels in time (to Hanford, on the Columbia River, a nuclear waste site)
In the end the "people" escape into obscurity - but with the saving grace of wings which they may use to ascend (or transcend) their history. Or not.
|Josh Ritter – Harrisburg Lyrics||5 years ago|
|I don't think this song is about Oscar Romero. "Romero" is a generic name that was used during the crusades and referred any Western European making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Ritter changes the "place" of the pilgrimage from Europe to the US (he was married the day after the 4th of July). This song is about the modern-day "pilgrimage" which people take without really knowing what they are doing ("He didn't make Heaven, he didn't make Harrisburg. He died in a hole in between")|
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