Saturday, January 26, 2008

Swamp Angel

This first one is from the summer of 1990 when I was living on LaFayette in central Austin with my brother. Man, those were different days. ("Lost Austin" would be a great thing to riff on in the world o' blogging.) I had just moved back to Austin and had formed a band with Pod, Big A, and Snackplate. At that time we were going by the name Sunrise Circus.

One warm morning, I called Snackplate to tell him I had come up with some chords for a new song that I wanted to show him. He lived just around the corner on Robinson with his girlfriend Seabeast, so I figured he'd say cool and I'd just pop over there to show him the song, but he was fairly insistent that it have lyrics and a melody first. So I hung up the phone and sat down with an acoustic and cranked out the first two verses and the chorus of "Swamp Angel". Sometimes it is easy to see why the Ancient Greeks and others came up with the concept of an external Muse. 3/4 of this song's lyrical content was done within minutes. The final verse, by contrast, took months to figure out.
Swamp Angel

Some forgetful afternoon
in the quiet of winter
I fumble with my sherry glass
and let my thoughts roll by.
There beside the fire
full of sleep and full of age
barely holding up my head
I look into the flames


it's late, late summertime again
and I can hear the Angel calling
underneath the August moon
like the rolling thunder
ooo, I'm shaken from my sleep
how can I believe in anything
when everything's on end

Rising up above the reeds
of the sunken island
four wings covering her eyes
and two her feet,
in rattling anger
belching flames from a long black throat
she turns her face against the town
sleeping Charleston


Molly went away that day.
I guess she crossed the Jordan.
Ten years spent by my side,
she made me feel like a man.
She was in the kitchen
late at night when the storm began.
The crystal shattered on the floor;
the iron pierced her side.

Information on the historical "Swamp Angel":

1 comment:

Bookhart said...


Welcome to the fold.