Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Video

There are any number of interpretations of this song, but I've always viewed it myself as anti-war, first and foremost. The time and place could possibly be during the Civil War, though there is no way to know for sure. I've posted here the acoustic version, which is a fragile and uncertain rendering, in great contrast to than the more familiar, punchier electric one. Regardless of the song's true meaning, several of the lines are absolutely brilliant.

Look out, Mama, there's a
white boat comin' up the river

With a big red beacon, and a flag,
and a man on the rail

I think you'd better call John,
'Cause it don't look like
they're here to deliver the mail

And it's less than a mile away
I hope they didn't come to stay
It's got numbers on the side and a gun
And it's makin' big waves.

Daddy's gone, my brother's out
hunting in the mountains
Big John's been drinking
since the river took Emmy-Lou

So the Powers That Be left me
here to do the thinkin'

And I just turned twenty-two
I was wonderin' what to do
And the closer they got,
The more those feelings grew.

Daddy's rifle in my
hand felt reassurin'
He told me,
"Red means run,
son, numbers add up to nothin'"

But when the first shot
hit the docks I saw it comin'

Raised my rifle to my eye
Never stopped to wonder why.
Then I saw black,
And my face splashed in the sky.

Shelter me from the powder
and the finger
Cover me with the thought
that pulled the trigger

Think of me as one you'd never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone

Remember me to my love,
I know I'll miss her.

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