12 December 2005

the band - "whispering pines" (from the band lp, available for purchase here.)

in brief : a way into the band for those who may be on the way out.

the band is aptly named for my purposes tonight, since they are exemplars of the band i needed a rosetta stone to get into. i thought finally digging dylan would really open the lock, but no. not really, even though their playing at the albert hall and on planet waves show what a dynamic pairing the two make.

so, for me, the first song to work was "it makes no difference," followed by "up on cripple creek" and "the night they drove old dixie down" (i can't even bring myself to count "the weight" since it's almost public domain at this point. oh, and "whispering pines." i think, for me, the quality of a the band song is directly proportional to how sad it is, w/ the major exception being "tears of rage."

so, "whispering pines"--another one of the songs i'd like played at my funeral. what it seems to deal w/ is how one can possibly exist when the one they love no longer loves them back; but more than that : how can one exist when they are no longer an object of thought for the one they love. it really is enough to make a guy want to die, but the church organ and the bolstering harmonies get our man back on his feet. i'm trying to think of a song exactly like it and the nearest analogue i can come up w/ is a hymn; it even cribs from "amazing grace," w/ the beautiful line, "with you in sight, the lost are found." if the first things you think of when you think of the band are daguerrotypes and sepia tones, this should change that.


Alexander said...

i didn't know the band made that kind of soulful music. always thought they were more a folkrock group. concerning songs/other bands which come to mind as this sounds very familiar: the organ to me has got a similar vibe as the the one in procol harum's a whiter shade of pale. the vocal harmonies esp. when they both sing are very beach boys like ca. pet sounds. altogether a heart-warming song perfect for winter.

Anonymous said...

"Whispering Pines" is on my list of songs to play at my funeral, too (along with "Loving Arms" by Etta James). Kelly Hogan did a faithful cover of "Whispering Pines" a few years ago, with Levon Helm reprising his vocal from the original recording.

My intro to the Band was through the Basement Tapes, and then the self-titled album. What cemented my love for the Band was the Rock of Ages live album, with horns arranged by Allan Toussaint. "Baby Don't Do It" is unbeatable.
-- jonhope

Anonymous said...

This actually reminds me of Lonesome Suzie, which I love...I've never heard this before, thanks.