Thursday, 7 May 2009

Adlestrop - Edward Thomas






Yes, I remember Adlestrop –
The name because one afternoon
Of heat the express train drew up there
Unwontendly. It was late June.
.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name
.
And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
.
On 23 June 1914 Edward Thomas took his uneventful journey on the Oxford to Worcester express. In July 1915 he enlisted into the Artists Rifles. (Two of my great uncles did the same - one survived the war). At 7.30am on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917, the first day of the battle of Arras, Thomas was standing at the Beaurains Observation Post when he was killed by the blast of a shell exploding nearby.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Clearly he is no Voodoo Chile.

On BBC4 I'm watching Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood's gig recorded at Madison Square Gardens last year. SW is on fine form, but clearly EC has lost very nearly all the blues he ever had. This is not news - he's been losing them ever since late 1968 when Cream broke up and Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce were no longer there to drive him along, I reckon. Anyway, for this 2008 gig EC had managed to find somewhere (inside himself?), what he felt was necessary to cover Jimi Hendrix' Voodoo Chile. Damn, it is such a very sickly pale imitation of the very powerful and almost frightening style in which, with SW on organ, Jimi had recorded it forty years earlier.
Voodoo Chile.
Well, I'm a voodoo chile,
Lord, I'm a voodoo chile.

Well, the night I was born,
Lord, I swear the moon turned a fire red,
The night I was born,
I swear the moon turned a fire red,
Well, my poor mother cried out, "Lord, the gypsy was right!"
And I seen her, fell down right dead. (Have mercy).

Well, mountain lions found me there waitin'
And set me on an eagle's back,
Well, mountain lions found me there,
And set me on an eagle's wing,
(It's the eagle's wing, baby, what did I say?).
He took me past to the outskirts of infinity
And when he brought me back
He gave me a Venus witch's ring. Hey!
And he said "Fly on, fly on......"
Because I'm a voodoo chile, yeah, voodoo chile, hey!

Well, I make love to you
And lord knows you'll feel no pain,
Say, I make love to you in your sleep
And lord knows you felt no pain, (have mercy),
'Cause I'm a million miles away
And at the same time I'm right here in your picture frame,
(Yeah! What did I say now?),
'Cause I'm a voodoo chile,
Lord knows, I'm a voodoo chile, (yeah!).

Well, my arrows are made of desire
From's far away as Jupiter's sulphur mines,
Say, my arrows are made of desire, desire
From's far away as Jupiter's sulphur mines,
(Way down by the Methane Sea, yeah),
And I have a humming bird and it hum so loud,
Lord, you'd think you were losing your mind, hmmm...

Well, I float in liquid gardens
And Arizona new red sand,
(Yeah) I float in liquid gardens
Way down in Arizona red sand,
Well, I taste the honey from a flower named Blue,
Way down in California
And New York drowns as we hold hands,

'Cause I'm a voodoo chile,
Lord knows I'm a voodoo chile.