Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Songs to make children (and me) cry

My fella's family are an interesting lot. He comes from a very lively, female-dominated family - he has three formidable sisters, a sassy teenage niece who begins most of her utterances with the sarcastic words, "Look, love..." and a very dominant mother (Val), who all remind me of Klingon women. Collectively, I call them The Val-kyries. His Dad used to play guitar round the clubs, and when they were younger, he used to delight in playing corny, tragic songs to all his kids, in order to make them cry. Sometimes, when they visit, he brings his guitar round, and embarrassingly, the songs have the power to make me blink away tears and look down. I am a sucker for songs that have a story.

My favourite is the old Hank Williams classic, Kawlija, about a wooden carved Indian who is in love with an Indian maiden across the street. He couldn't let it show, "because his heart was made of knotty pine". In the end, she gets sold to a wealthy customer and now he's as lonely as can be. Oh the agony of unrequited wooden love!

Another great one is the agonising tale of "Little Rosa" by Red Sovine. This is one of those songs that you talk rather than sing. It's about an honest working Spanish man who works on the railroad and his daughter little Rosa, who always comes running to greet him from work. Needless to say, one day she doesn't come, and by the end of the song he's laying a single rose on her grave. Guaranteed to get children bawling.

At least he doesn't do Bo Jangles. Otherwise I'd be reaching for the Paracetamol!


Lost Boy said...

The b-side to 'Puff the Magic Dragon' was called 'The Worm Song' and was probably my first childhood tearjerker. It's about a worm who falls in love with another worm only to find it's actually his arse. I was very young at the time.

matty said...

Helen Reddy's Angie Baby always freaks me out. I mean. I think it is about a spinster who keeps the body of a dead boy in her closet for romantic pleasures. I think.

However, when it was a big hit and I was about 7 or so --- she was on the Carol Burnette Show and the CB Dancers performed the song in a little circle edited to the side of Ms. Reddy's head. ...and the male dancer literally spun around getting smaller and smaller with the sound. cheezzzzy but I am sure it would be considered surreal art if I saw it now.

...angie baby. hmmmmmm... top 10. All very worrrying -- those krazy 70's!

Lubin said...

I love Angie Baby. It was one of the first tunes I downloaded onto my Ipod and it's on practically all my playlists. Who thought up the lyrics/story? There must have been some powerful LSD going around in the earlhy 70s.

matty said...

Yeah, I think there was a lot going around in the early 70's. I love Angie Baby, too! ...but I think I like that cheezy song where the kid tells Ms. Reddy, "I love you, mommy" ...I play that all the time.

rhino75 said...

I was a bit obsessed with "Angie Baby" and with Helen Reddy in general for a while, dancing around the sitting room, singing "I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore" to my parents' friends. On sad songs, do you remember "Platinum Blonde" by Renaissance? It was about a "showgirl" who's father shoots her then finds out she was going to give it all up and come home. And of course, the masterful "Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)".