Friday, January 04, 2008

Mexican Blue

My favorite song in the universe is...... (drum roll please, Jo Jones....)

Mexican Blue, as written and performed by Jolie Holland on Springtime Can Kill You.
The song is dedicated to Samantha Parton of the Be Good Tanyas. Jolie started out with the Tanyas in Vancouver but left to due to creative "differences" and moved to San Francisco where she started her solo career and resides to this day.

I don't profess to know the exact relationship of Jolie to Sam but doubtlessly this about the most affecting love song I've ever heard. Perhaps, a plea for her friend to simply take care of herself and not let hard times to press her down.
The song begins simply, stepping lightly, with Jolie's voice and a simple 4 chord sequence that continues to cycle through to the end. As it moves along, the underplayed coloring of the drums and bass fill it out and the magnificent tonal colors of Brian Miller's guitar bring just the right touch to the mood. Jolie's verses shift from poetic allusions to direct plea and back again and she rearranges the melody to fit the pictures her words paint; reaching high and plaintive or warm and settled.
If nothing else the song offers the listener an opportunity to relish, intimately, the beautiful glowing tones of Jolie's voice and the way she takes a word and ever so slightly draws it out and spins and flutters it, and let its melt off her tongue. Just the way she says, in her lovely drawl, "hydrangeas" is enough for me to hop the nearest train to SF and lay bouquets at her door. Ahh, but one must let go of what can never be and appreciate what's been given!

The song is the last on the album; number 12, and i wouldn't doubt that those flicking about, perusing the cuts, might never make it that far. Here is the Jolie recording of Mexican Blue as posted on myspace - thanks to the poster and long may it stay!

You're like a saint's song to me
I'll try to sing it pure and easily
You're like a Mexican blue
So bright and clear and pale in the afternoon
I saw you riding on your bike
In a corduroy jacket in the night
Past the hydrangeas that were blooming in the alley
With a galloping dog by your side
When I was hungry you fed me
I don't mean to suggest that I'm like Jesus Christ
Your light overwhelmed me
When I lay beside you sleepless in the night
And when you dreamed my guardian spirits appeared
And the moon stretched out across your little bed
They said they'd started to get worried about me
They were happy we had finally met
We had finally met

A mysterious bird flies away
Seemed to be calling your name
And bounced off the top of a towering pine
And vanished in the drizzling rain
There's a mockingbird behind my house
Who is a magician of the highest degree
And I swear I heard him rip the world apart
And sew it back again with his fiery melody, melody

When you were mad at me I didn't care
And I just loved you all the same
And I waited for the wind to push the hurricane
Out to sea, and the sun could shine again
Oh I don't mean to give you advice
Its just like Delia said, "oh, Jesus Christ"
Just don't get so high you leave the ground
Everything is so much better when you're around
Just don't float so high you drift away
Stand tall, with your feet on the ground
I love your songs, I love your sound
Everything is so much better when you're around

When the moon is as clear as an opal
And the amethyst river sings a song
I'll remember all your dreams and the mysteries
You have borne in your crystalline soul
That you sing from your golden throat
That you shine from your sparkling eyes
That you feel from the goddess in your thighs

You're like a saint's song to me
I'll try to sing it pure and easily
You're like a Mexican blue
So bright and clear and pale in the afternoon
In the afternoon


Trombonology said...

It surely must have taken courage to write this song. A highly compelling blend of (what we must accept as) fact and imagery. Very raw. I couldn't sing a no-clothes-on-song such as this for an audience comprising more than the person for whom the words and melody were intended. And then, addressing that person alone in this manner would be tough! ... though I believe that one must say what is in one's heart.

The Amazon sample is very tiny, but I was grooving to G-D-Am-C as I read here.

If we are to believe The National Enquirer (and why should we not?), "your favorite color reveals your personality." So, too, must your favorite song. I'm fascinated.

Anonymous said...

She is very brave about putting everything out there, even when it's a cover like Wonderful World or Pure Imagination. It feels like it's her secret dreams.

Tom the Piper's Son said...

Ms E.E. Dorsey - You hit it from another angle. I hadn't thought about the courage involved but I guess if it came to it, Jolie would just close her eyes and dive in.
Not to be a fairweather color friend but depending on the setting i tend to choose deep greens, blues, oranges slightly burnt and withered crackled golds.

Tom the Piper's Son said...

Anonymous -
nice to hear from you...
I must confessed to never having cared much for What A Wonderful World; In the Wonderful category Sam Cooke's Wonderful World would have won out over just about anything, with Gershwin's S'Wonderful a close second ...that being said, Louis could make just about anything sound great and Karen Peris from Innocence mission the same. After hearing just a slice from Booker T and Jolie's version i'm intrigued.
Even more smitten by Pure Imagination...

- thanks!

Tom the Piper's Son said...

I forgot the worn sepia of old photographs and other accidental colors....

persephone2u said...

Those are such beautiful song lyrics. I'm inspired now to search for this so I can hear the song. I'm always excited to learn about new artists and expand my musical horizons. Brilliant blog entry (as usual)!

Anonymous said...

Halloo Tom The Piper's Son....very nice piece "Mexican Blue." I tried to You Tube it but you were absolutely correct in telling us to fuhgeddaboddit. I did fall in love with the little ditty called Jolie Holland performs Jan Bell's "Right To Love"
from You Tube. Stripped down...just her voice and an inexpensive electric organ (i think). I especially loved the crap on the table behind her.

I was happy to see another posting from you....
What a wonderful world is okay, It's a Beautiful World by Devo is better. I can see you shrugging your shoulders at this very moment. You Tube it if you get the chance. It's the best!

I'm recovering ever so slowly but found a wonderful protocol on-line from a
professor of biomolecular science that specifically treats multiple chemical sensitivity.

Take care, keep up the wonderful posts and give Kevin a hard time for me.


Tom the Piper's Son said...

L.S. -
We miss you around here! I will definitely give Kevin a hard time!
Since you've been gone he gets away with such shenanigans as you wouldn't believe.

Odelia said...

Well said.

sexy said...


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