The Raven Is A Writing Desk
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Willie Nelson - "Always on My Mind"

The studio version of this song, a saccharine piano ballad, is unlistenable in the extreme.

Willie (wearing white tux and sitting at piano in middle of emptied out ballroom, sings with reverb drenched voice): If I made you feel second best...

Female Backup vocalist 1 (in black sequinned gown, lying on top of piano): You did, you did.

Willie: Girl, I?m sorry, I was blind.


This live version, however, from a concert with Johnny Cash, is an entirely different ballgame (let?s say the studio version is game three of the 1919 World Series, whereas this version is game six of the 1993 World Series (apologies to those readers in Philly)).

Willie sings sensitive material in ?Always on My Mind?. The idea is that though he wasn?t always the best partner, though he didn?t love her ?quite as often as [he] should have,? maybe he didn?t treat her ?quite as good as [he] could have,? though he committed a series of other (quite serious) offenses, she was still ?always on [his] mind.?

That she was always on his mind seems to me dubious grounds for forgiveness, and any woman worth Willie?s attention would assuredly be astute enough to realize that. It?s an implausible make up song.

But here, in this live version, he?s not trying to make up, he?s accepted his defeat, he?s admonishing himself. When he sings ?I guess I never told you, that I?m so happy that you?re mine,? he means I?ve been so unhappy since you?ve no longer been mine.

This version, the chords played in aimless, ambling arpeggios, works as a lonely, introspective lament.

At the end, as the crowd cheers, hear Johnny Cash?s rumbling laugh of approval.


Jennifer O'Connor - "Saved"

This is a clean and damp (rained on and quiet) guitar/cello ballad. Jennifer O?Connor sings a little bit like Edie Brickell (as does Mirah on her latest album). I think, therefore, that we?d be crazy not to conclude that Edie Brickell not only saw it all coming, but aside from being clairvoyant and omniscient, she?s probably a fast runner and extremely generous with charities. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at March 15, 2005 12:32 AM

Joe Carter wore a dress.

Posted by Dan Rubin at March 15, 2005 6:52 AM

willie nil-he

Posted by Anonymous at March 15, 2005 9:44 PM

I -love- the Jennifer O'Connor song. Thanks, Jordan!

Posted by a at March 15, 2005 11:02 PM

Wonderful Willie Nelson track! He isn't really singing it to "You," whomever that might might be...he is singing it to himself - he, himself, is the primary audience.

Posted by Arizona_Jaguar at March 17, 2005 7:16 PM

Stupid Mitch Williams

Posted by Ryan at March 19, 2005 9:07 AM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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