New Song: Galilee Blues
I was walking on the waters, just minding my own
When a crowd of sandal-wearers saw and put me on a throne
I said “Lord! Please won’t you leave me alone?”
As evening fell I scarpered and finally found my way back home
So I was cooking up some dinner for my mother and me
She’d cooked some loaves – I got some fishes from the sea of Galilee
And she said “Lord – there must be five thousand people outside!”
I did my best to feed them, then I jumped out of the window to hide
I snuck off to the garden thinking “boy what a week!”
When this man I barely knew came up and kissed me on my cheek
I said “Lord! Look I’m flattered but I’m not made that way! Oh no.”
Centurions sprang from nowhere and said that it’s a crime to be gay
I spent a week in a cell that was hotter than hell
And the less said the better about the terrible smell
And my Daddy came to visit but wouldn’t stand my bail
He said “have you never really wondered why your skin is so pale?
You’ll have to ask your mother, but I suspect another.”
You could have struck me with a feather, but I shrugged and thought “whatever” So when my mother came to see me as I hung around Golgotha
I tried my best to get an answer but I couldn’t get one off her
And if I’m being honest I was kind of sick of all the grief
So when the soldier pierced my side it was a kind of relief
And I said “Oh take me home!”
So I ascended to heaven on some magical stairs
And the guy who was up there had a beard and white hair
He said “Son… sit at my right hand on this chair.”
I cried for three days and he said “Christ – I’m sending you back down there!”
So that’s where I am now, stuck with you people
As you dangle me from walls and stick me on your steeples
I say “Lord! Don’t you people have any taste?
Besides you’ve got my eyes wrong – and really that ain’t the size of my waist”
The weirdest thing I’ve found over the years in my own writing is how little the influence of the music I love seems to be discernible in my songs. I have loved the Smiths for the last quarter of a century or more, and yet nothing I’ve ever written really sounds Smithsian.
My other musical mother lode (other than t’Beatles) are Stax Atlantic, Motown and Philadelphia soul: effectively all the great music of black America from the 60s and 70s. So often, when I sit down to pootle about with a bass, I find myself playing in that kind of groove.
Now, I should make clear that I’m not a bassist by any stretch of the imagination, but while fooling around I came up with this fairly standard 12 bar riff, and was sufficiently enamoured to lay it down as a track. Doubled up with a low piano, couple of guitars and a smattering of organ I found myself nodding my head and suddenly thinking: “hey – I actually think this is sort of fun!”
I’m also not much of a soul singer, but it was hard not to sing in that kind of vein… and before I knew it I had a melody…. and then my old nemesis: lyrics.
Well, as you might know I’ve been spending a lot of time in company of Jake Thackray recently and am smitten with his slyly satirical, wryly humourous, and very wordy lyrics, so it’s perhaps no surprise that this came out in the lyrics.
Perhaps too, it is reminiscent of something like Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream – a fun-poking rewrite of history. In it, Jesus is pestered by his followers, discovers Joseph isn’t his dad, gets to heaven and pisses God off so much that he’s sent back down after 3 days….
Nothing profound, but it’s amused me greatly during a spell of personal bleakness.
I suspect I’ll revisit the mix to even things out – I have a feeling the bass is a bit too overpowering – and tidy up some of the other parts, but for a couple of hours worth of work I’m well pleased.