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Monday, February 25, 2013

thoughts on "Down By the River" anybody?

 What do you think of the classic...and disturbing Neil Young song, "Down By the River"?

Never sang it in church, huh? (:
It's a lighthearted little ditty whose lyrics go like this:

Be on my side,
I'll be on your side, baby
There is no reason
For you to hide
It's so hard for me
Staying here all alone
When you could be
Taking me for a ride.

Yeah, she could drag me
Over the rainbow,
Send me away
Down by the river
I shot my baby
Down by the river,
Dead, oh, shot her dead.

You take my hand,
I'll take your hand
Together we may get away
This much madness
Is too much sorrow
It's impossible
To make it today.



That doesn't fit the "happy-clappy" category that Bono talked about.
But what is it?

I always long  loved   Beth Maynard 's quote on  "the naive thought that any artist who
writes about sin must be in favor of it."
Knowing Neil Young, the song can't be an endorsement of, and encouragement toward, murder.
(See other posts of Neil Young and spirituality here)

So, sing it in church, maybe.
Is it psalmish?

Let art speak.
  Neil Young himself would not surely keep the song boxed in by his own interpretation.

I love that The Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews have covered it.
When will Chris Tomlin also offer a cover?
That will sell..

 Possible interpretations on the Song Meanings website  here, apparent in-concert comments by Young here.

But maybe before reading all that, take it in.  Not just the lyrics, but the music.


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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!