Thursday, July 25, 2019

Acheronian Song of the Day

Dear Billy Joe,

Here is the song of today.  My DJ just played it for me.  In days past, I would have changed the station when this maudlin rot would come on the radio.  I guess I have gone soft.  One thing that has changed since those days is that Lucinda Williams kills this song.  Kills it.  She makes a true, operatic lament out of it, and it is great.

Try Bobby Gentry, too, for comparison.  Ms. Gentry would have sung it like Ms. Williams if she could have, I am certain.

The thing I love about this song is the way the dialogue tells the story.  Dialogue isn't the usual way a ballad is told.  I love the way that we know that Pa is a real insensitive piece of work, and that Ma is suggesting, hinting, that our storyteller ought to spend more time around that nice, young, eligible, tasty, and morally incontrovertible Brother Taylor.   But, what, exactly, do you suppose this bereft young woman and Billy Joe threw off of theTallahatchie Bridge?