Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cat Power's Willie Deadwilder

Cat Power 's DVD Speaking for Trees (directed by Mark Borthwick) includes an 18-minute out-take from the You Are Free sessions, Willie Deadwilder, with M Ward on guitar.

It's a strange rambling love song - "This is a four hour song/And it will go on and on... /I don't care/I love to share/I love to sing along" - apparently about a couple who quit their trailer and hit the road to be happy, with "God on his side/No matter what", and then about Chan and some imaginary boyfriend who she is pleading with not to let her go - "I'm on the same side as you/I'm just a little bit behind".

There are references in WD to Bob Dylan singing To Ramona, another long rambling love song on which this one is perhaps modelled, about another lover who is thinking of leaving - "I can tell you are torn/Between stayin' and returnin' ", but Dylan-being-Dylan is less than concerned, singing at the song's end "Everything passes, Everything changes, Just do what you think you should do / And someday maybe, Who knows, baby, I'll come and be cryin' to you.".

Chan Marshall is also philosophical about her relationship in WD but still has her eye on the prize:
My heart is a worried thing
Memories have planted seeds of a field I now want to reap and sow
Maybe when i'm sixty-two, maybe when i'm forty-six
Maybe when i'm thirty-two, maybe the next time I see you
As long as God is willing, I am too
And as long as you are here, I am too
There are similarities with Dylan's To Ramona, but Chan keeps her usual subtle intimacy where Dylan tries to make the relationship into a bigger statement - "there's no use in tryin' T' deal with the dyin' " being one of his most memorable couplets. Both songs have their own strengths. Listen for yourself...

Cat Power's Speaking with trees, You are free, The Greatest , 7 another side of Bob Dylan

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