Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Come timelessly dancing (Jackson Browne)

My eldest son (Keegan) has had Jackson Browne's Late For The Sky album on high rotate (he's a vinyl man like me so I can picture him flipping it over each time). I wrote about JB last year where I listed my top 5 albums (June 30 post if you want a recap) and Late For The Sky was certainly in there.

I checked my 49 song series of posts and was surprised that I hadn't thought to add my favourite JB song - the haunting For Everyman. So I'll correct that now. First of all here it is to refresh your memories.

I can still remember where I was (and who I was) when I fell in love with this song. The time that is immediately evoked is my stint as a varsity student at Auckland University and working at Marbecks Records during my holiday breaks. I'd store up records to take as my pay and worked through the JB back catalogue during this time. I remember playing this song (and the albums) in the basement of Ramelton Road in Mt Roskill (Auckland) where we lived. 'We' being my mum and dad and brother Ross. I'd taken over part of the basement room to use as a silk screening area where I produced screened shirts for myself and Noel Forth, an Australian friend. Ross had carved out an area for constructing his models. During this time I'd play this song a lot.

For Everyman (for me) actually always begins at the start of the previous song on the album - Sing My Songs to Me. The segue into For Everyman is seemless, like Slipstream into Locomotive breath (Jethro Tull on the Aqualung album)) or Taunta (Sammy's song) into Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin) (Mountain on the Nantucket Sleighride album). Each has a symbiotic relationship in that they feed off each other. Much like those other two examples and The Beatles Sgt Pepper album - it is now impossible not to immediately feel the next song coming.

Here are the lyrics to both songs (see if you can pick where one ends and the other begins):

Sing my songs to me
Sing them to me softly
Sing me sunlight and shadows
Orange groves and meadows
Let your voice ring back my memories
Sing my songs to me

Bring my dreams to me
Bring them from the darkness
Let the minutes and hours
Show my mind strange new flowers
But I'd like to know where they go when the morning comes
Bring my dreams to me

Because it seems to me that there may never be
A better chance to see who I am
Come timelessly dancing
Through my dreams to me

Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
With the light of the morning
They've seen the end coming down long enough to believe
That they've heard their last warning
Standing alone
Each has his own ticket in his hand
And as the evening descends
I sit thinking 'bout Everyman

Seems like I've always been looking for some other place
To get it together
Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
And maybe find something better
But all my fine dreams
Well thought out schemes to gain the motherland
Have all eventually come down to waiting for

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand
Waiting here for
Don't ask me if he'll show -- baby I don't know

Make it on your own if you think you can
Somewhere later on you'll have to take a stand
Then you're going to need a hand

Everybody's just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances
Who'll come along
And hold out that strong and gentle father's hand?
Long ago I heard someone say something 'bout Everyman

Waiting here for Everyman--
Make it on your own if you think you can
If you see somewhere to go I understand

I'm not trying to tell you that I've seen the plan
Turn and walk away if you think I am--
But don't think too badly of one who's left holding sand
He's just another dreamer, dreaming 'bout Everyman

There are many resonances in these lyrics but I'll focus on one that has haunted me recently. Clearly the line - Seems like I've always been looking for some other place/ to get it together - is in my mind of late. I had a dream a few nights ago - I was in a taxi in Auckland (being driven by Dennis Hopper of all people) and I had no idea where I lived. I couldn't give him the right location so I went from areas in Auckland I'd lived (Royal Oak, Glenfield, Mt Albert, Three Kings etc) hoping that it would come back to me and it didn't. We just kept driving and I become more and more flustered.

Now I'm in Doha, driving around in Taxis and thinking about my place in the world and why I still can't seem to get it together. I'm guessing I never will - I'll be waiting here for everyman.

Love and peace - Wozza

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