i had been happy, and i was happy still

Comme si cette grande colère m’avait purgé du mal, vidé d’espoir, devant cette nuit chargée de signes et d’étoiles, je m’ouvrais pour la première fois à la tendre indifférence du monde. De l’éprouver si pareil à moi, si fraternel enfin, j’ai senti que j’avais été heureux, et que je l’étais encore.   Pour que tout soit consommé, pour que je me sente moins seul, il me restait à souhaiter qu’il y ait beaucoup de spectateurs le jour de mon exécution et qu’ils m’accueillent avec des cris de haine.

“As if this great anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, before that night sky full of signs and stars, I opened myself for the first time to the tender indifference of the world.  To feel it so like myself, finally, so brotherly, I felt that I had been happy, and that I was happy still. For everything to be consumed, for me to feel less alone, all that remained to wish was that there would be many spectators on the day of my execution and that they would greet me with cries of hatred.”

-Albert Camus, L’Étranger

a Dave Van Ronk song

i’ll fly away

“I eventually came to the conclusion you should never say anything in poetry that you would not say in prose.  Poetry has the same obligation to make sense as any other statement made by the human mouth. […] As for songwriting, if something has a pretty enough melody or a strong enough sense of arrangement, people will listen to it even if the lyrics make no sense — but that does not make it a well-written song. […] When songs get pretentious, overflowery and obscure, that person is proclaiming he or she is an artist. […] I think it was a good thing that, back in the Renaissance, people like Michelangelo were treated like interior decorators.  A well-written song is a craft item.  Take care of the craft and the art will take care of itself.”

-Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of Macdougal Street

The Reverend Gary Davis was one hell of an interior decorator.


come back, baby

Inspiration for Inside Llewellyn Davis, mentor to Robert Zimmerman, sage of 1960s Lower East Side Manhattan, The Mayor of Macdougal Street himself:  Dave Van Ronk.  

As with a lot of his arrangements, I thought, hey that sounds easy enough, let’s pull up a tab and give it a go.  Nope.  Hard as shit.

I’m so tired of trying.

You do it, Dave.

“Climb this mountain, call my baby back…”

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