Sunday, January 23, 1972

Midnight Carousel

She hears the beckoning call of night,
Neon fingers touching her with light,
And she runs to join the movers
On the minight carousel,
Calling 'faster' to a barker
She knows all too well.

     Hey girl, you best slow down,
     You'll lose your good name in town.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And you're out lookin' for a man in red.

She feels the wind of summer dark,
Rolling down the alleys of her heart.
As she turns to join the dancers
He is waiting in the line,
Staring at her soul and claiming
'You are mine'.

     Hey girl, you best go way,
     Leave the dark, leave today.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And you're out running with a man in red.

Yes, I know, I know it's true:
You are wise but I'm not you.
I am flame, and lightning, and the stars.
Let me burn up in the night-time,
In the spring time of my years:
I will not bear your pain of guilt
Or wear your tears.'

She feels his hands upon her face.
He leads her dancing from this place.
To a field of nightly revels
Where the caller plants the seed,
She burns her world behind her,
He is all she needs.

     Hey girl, you can't go home,
     Leave your good folks alone.
     All of God's children home in bed
     And your out sinnin' with a men in red.

When they knew all their fields were sown,
He left her by the road alone.
But that road was going somewhere
Worth the price there was to pay.
Now, she waits for morning
To be on her way.

     Hey girl, we told you so:
     Strangers come and strangers go.
     While good girls were home in bed,
     You were taken by a men in red.

Yes, I know, I know it's true:
You are wise but I'm not you.
I am flame, and lightning, and the stars.

Music

Thanks to Bernard Gates!

Intro indeterminate in metre and key! (C)


Verse 1 indeterminate, C descending to Bb twice, then at ‘And she runs . . .’:

F7 l D/e l G/eb l D

Chorus

D l D l C/d G/d D l A7/d D l D

Verse 2 indeterminate, Dd descending to Cb twicw, then at ‘As she turns . . .’:

Gb7 l Eb/f l Bb/fb l Eb

Chorus

Eb l Eb l Db/eb Ab/eb Db l Bb7/eb Eb l Eb

Bridge (‘Yes I know . . .’)

D l Dm7 (modal) l D

Cm7 Bb aug (whole-tone) l Eb l Eb/d l Eb/c

Bb l Ab l Eb/g l Ebm/gb

(link) Fm7 for 4 bars (modal)

Verse 3/chorus and Verse 4/chorus follow the same pattern as Verses 1 and 2

Coda (bridge)

D l Dm7 l D

Cm7 l Bb aug l Eb l Eb/d l Eb/c l Bb (Eb to Bb like an ‘amen’ plagal cadence in Bb!)

Notes

Haven't got round to the music for this, which is quite complex, but what a song it is. Always reminds me of Kerouac writing that

'the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"'

On a side-note, it also brings to mind the immortal ending of the Diamond Sutra, though I guess the similar imagery (star, lightning, flame) is probably coincidental:

'Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud;
A flickering candle, a phantom, and a dream.'

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