Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Early Morning Rain

Woman hops a plane.
Her lover can't come with her.
He pines on the ground.

Bob Dylan recorded Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain" for his 1970 hodgepodge of a double album, "Self Portrait." (I love the album, but it's a hodgepodge). It's full of that melancholy that singer-songwriters slathered into their songs in the countrified interim between the oldies of the '60s and the, well, oldies of the '70s. (You know what I mean -- the time when music broke through the mono barrier and started being recorded as it ought to sound on FM radio) Dylan doesn't deviate from Lightfoot's lyrics, which I could swear I've been through in real life so often that it feels like putting on my favorite pair of shoes. Except for the drunk part. I don't go to the airport fence on cold days in drunken states. But everything else, the 707 plane and the majesty of the phrase "silver bird on high," and the weird techno-sentimentality of "Out on runway number nine," not to mention that unique feeling of an early morning rain in the United States, gray and cold and final -- all that works for me.

In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand
And an aching in my heart and my pockets full of sand
I'm a long way from home and I miss my loved one so
In the early morning rain with nowhere to go.

Out on runway number nine, big 707 set to go
I'm stuck here on the ground, where the cold winds blow
The liquor tasted good and the women all were fast
There she goes, my friend, she's rolling down at last.

Hear the mighty engines roar, see the silver bird on high
She's away and westward bound, far above the clouds she'll fly
Where the morning rain don't fall and the sun always shines
She'll be flying over my home in about three hours time.

This old airport's got me down, it's no earthly good to me
Because I'm stuck here on the ground, cold and drunks as I might be
You can't hop a jet plane like you can a freight train
So I'd best be on my way in the early morning rain.




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