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Zharth's Music Log

Week 10: Love In Vain

Preface: I'm gonna step aside, and let Son House describe this week's theme, in the simple yet profound manner that is his way:

"you know, it's hard to love someone that don't love you
ain't no satisfaction, don't care what in the world you do"
- Son House (Death Letter Blues)

Monday (9/24/07): The Rolling Stones - Love In Vain [Gimme Shelter, recorded 1969]
Comments: From the haunting live concert/documentary Gimme Shelter, via the Altamont Speedway 1969, which ended with a fan being beaten to death by the Hell's Angels, the Rolling Stones play a beautiful live version of Robert Johnson's heartfelt Love In Vain. A perfectly somber open to the week. "It's hard to tell, it's hard to tell, when all your love's in vain."

Tuesday (9/25/07): America - Sister Golden Hair [Hearts, 1975]
Comments: I've read that this song is supposed to be about a guy who's afraid to commit to marriage, but I never thought of it that way. I think it could just as easily be taken to be about a guy who's afraid to confess his feelings to a certain girl with long, beautiful golden hair. The line about "the altar" doesn't have to be taken literally - it could be a metaphor for just "a serious relationship". "I may not be ready for a serious relationship, but I could still use a female companion." I've always related to the line that goes, "I've been one poor correspondent, and I've been too, too hard to find, but it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind." Sometimes it's just so much that you have to get away from the one thing (or person) you really want to be close to. In the end, it all comes down to the line, "will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?" But in the end, being kind can hurt someone sometimes...

Wednesday (9/26/07): Supertramp - Give A Little Bit [Even In The Quietest Moments..., 1977]
Comments: I guess I could see this as being a more generic song, but there are some good, simple lyrics, like "give a little bit of your love to me; I'll give a little bit of my life for you", "there's so much we need to share, so send a smile to show you care", and one that's always resonated with me - "see the man with the lonely eyes; take his hand, you'll be surprised." Something like, "I've got a lot to offer, and I've been saving it just for you, so will you please take a chance on me?"

Thursday (9/27/07): Buffalo Springfield - Pretty Girl, Why [Last Time Around, 1968]
Comments: I very nearly went with Sit Down, I Think I Love You from Buffalo Springfield's first album, but ultimately I chose this song because it was more depressed and less "I think I'm in love!" The titular lyrics says it all - "pretty girl, why, why not love me?", but another line I like is, "there she leaves me twice as lonely as I was but yesterday; keeping such a hold upon my thoughts, so near yet far away." Buffalo Springfield recorded more than a few great songs about love.

Friday (9/28/07): Quicksilver Messenger Service - All I Ever Wanted To Do (Was Love You) [Quicksilver Messenger Service, 1968]
Comments: A simple song, but pure of intention. "All I ever wanted to do was love you, and maybe hope that you would love me too." Also called Dino's Song, as it was written by Dino Valente (who penned the iconic 60's classic, Let's Get Together) for his band Quicksilver Messenger Service, shortly before Dino was sent to prison on drug charges. But the song's simple, heartfelt plea remains; "all I ever wanted to do was know you, and maybe hope you could know me too..." And, because I couldn't decide, here's a live version, too...

Saturday (9/29/07): Derek and the Dominos - Have You Ever Loved A Woman? [Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, 1970]
Comments: I was surprised to learn that this is a Freddie King song, since it's hard to believe it wasn't written by Clapton specifically for the Layla sessions. Clapton's unrequited love for his best friend (who just happened to be George Harrison)'s wife fueled the passion behind the Layla album, considered by myself and others to be the peak of his recording career. The quality of the material on the album is fantastic, and it's really a shame that you don't hear more of it on the radio, in addition to the popular Layla and the occasional Bell Bottom Blues. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, Key To The Highway, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Little Wing, and Have You Ever Loved A Woman are all just as good as those two tracks previously mentioned. I'll end my Layla rant with a quote from the song, a line that's stuck with me over the years: "have you ever loved a woman so much, you tremble in pain?" Have you?

Sunday (9/30/07): Robin Trower - Hannah [Twice Removed From Yesterday, 1973]
Comments: Robin Trower's guitar pyrotechnics are equalled, perhaps even surpassed on this track, by James Dewar's impassioned vocals, which really bring the pain of the song out clearly. Few songs move me the way this one does. The lyrics are poignant: "nothing I do brings me to you"; "living in memories I can't share"; "wishes for you, never came true"; and the desperately repeated request, "Hannah, ooh-ooh, let me love you..."