A Comparison of Melancholy

The radio has been playing a Lee Ritenour version with vocals by Kurt Elling, of Nick Drake’s song River Man. It is a haunting tune, recorded by Drake in 1969 and re-released in 2004, becoming a hit 30 years after Drake died. This version is from 2012.

Drake was seriously depressed, suffering a breakdown at one point, and possibly killed himself. Still, the song meanders on, affecting us still. Here is his version

ACE OF HEARTS
Mary Magdalene
“Let us praise his greatness, for he prepared us and made us into men.”

And today while viewing a lecture in my art history, we studied Georges de La Tour’s painting Penitent Magdalene which I have in my Da Vinci Code Playing Cards. He painted three versions of this but this is the one I like. Is she thinking about the River Man do you think?

AceHearts

RIVER MAN
by NICK DRAKE

Betty came by on her way
Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves.

Said she hadn’t heard the news
Hadn’t had the time to choose
A way to lose
But she believes.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the plan
For lilac time.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
In summertime.

Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay
She wasn’t sure.

For when she thought of summer rain
Calling for her mind again
She lost the pain
And stayed for more.

Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the ban
On feeling free.

If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
I don’t suppose
It’s meant for me.

Oh, how they come and go
Oh, how they come and go

 

 

 

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About JJ

Eccentric erminois dweller.
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