Tuesday, May 24, 2016

with your mind on my soul

Last-post, I was typing the "Reuben James" lyrics here, after listening to that song for the first time in quite a few years -- (I never heard it when it came out in 1969 [I missed so much, in those years...was busy being a child...], I heard it in the '80s, then again this year.)  1969 ~~ 1980s ~~ 2016...the song "leap-frogs" through time and space, and simply is good all the time, every time, wherever in-time...

I was contemplating how well-written the song is:  lines, phrases densely-packed with meaning, image, and nuance.

"In my song you'll live again"

"Just the footsteps out of time"

"One dark cloudy day they brought you from the field"

In the 1980s I heard that song so many times on the radio, I think I still remembered every line -- none seemed unfamiliar -- and one of my favorites seemed powerful, somehow --

"With your mind on my soul and a Bible in your right hand..."

What is it about that line, I asked myself last week...Because it's so full of images and meaning, and it's set up in such an organized, balanced pattern that makes sense to the unconscious, just as the words made sense to the conscious mind.

With your MIND

on my SOUL,

and a BIBLE

in your right HAND





You've got these four nouns, well-known and resonant to most people.

The mind and the soul are nouns for things we know of but cannot see:  they're immaterial.  (I guess the brain is a solid thing that you could touch or pick up and put down, but the mind is more like the soul -- not touch-able in the physical world.  Like -- we couldn't pick up, or move around, the thoughts or ideas or ethical standards.

The BIBLE in Reuben James's RIGHT HAND is physical, and touchable -- provable? -- in the physical world.  The Bible is physical, tangible, and so is the HAND.

So when he sings,

"with your mind on my soul and the Bible in your right hand"

the singer is telling us about two intangible nouns -- (mind and soul) and two tangible, physical-world nouns (Bible, hand) and how they relate to each other, as the character in the song is applying each...

"with your MIND on my SOUL and the BIBLE in your right HAND."

------------------------- It's a good line.

I think it would be interesting to go back, look up information, and study as much as you could find about Kenny Rogers & The First Edition. 

Kenny Rogers before his Very Big Success in Country Music.  It would be like -- Kenny Rogers, The Prelude. 

"Just Dropped In -- to See what Condition my Condition was in" ... and one of their albums contains a funky, funky rendition of "Elvira," a song which did not find its Big-Hit-Single expression until the 1980s, with the Oak Ridge Boys' version.

In the listing of the First Edition's band personnel, Mickey Jones on drums sounded familiar -- finally I put it together...

in Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary, No Direction Home, this guy shows up -- kind of looking like a serial escapee from ZZ Top -- who played drums on part of the 1966 tour when Dylan had gone electric, and it was controversial with some of the fans.

This drummer was the same guy who played with the First Edition!  It's the same Mickey Jones, (who followed his Sixties music career with a career as a character actor, with many TV shows and movies to his credit).

In the documentary, he says, "By the time we got to England, it was out of control.  And I don't know if word of mouth preceded our concert tour...

it was pretty revolutionary in that, here was someone who -- everyone loved -- and yet they didn't like what he was doing."

He describes the show's acoustic first half, and then adds, "When we kicked off the second half -- we did kick ass and take names."



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