Sunday, June 21, 2015

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

You might not make it.
Don't worry, your sweetheart will.
She's got what it takes.

I see from my perfunctory reading on this song that "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" is a song sung with world-weariness, resignation and sexual frustration. I suppose. This song means something different to me each time I play it. It's a collection of disparate thoughts that I think reflects whatever you put into it:

Well, I ride on a mail-train, baby
Can’t buy a thrill
Well, I’ve been up all night, baby
Leanin’ on the windowsill

-- Sure. Sexual frustration. That's fine with me.

Well, if I die
On top of the hill
And if I don’t make it
You know my baby will

-- Sex? No, I think it's more about stamina, and maybe a little self pity. She'll keep going on in life, even if he doesn't.

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Flagging down the “Double E?”
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

-- Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Now the wintertime is coming
The windows are filled with frost
I went to tell everybody
But I could not get across

-- Frustration, but people can probably take the temperature for themselves.

Well, I wanna be your lover, baby
I don’t wanna be your boss
Don’t say I never warned you
When your train gets lost

-- Two thoughts, two shrugs of the shoulders. 

For all my talk of seeing what you want in this song and not having much to say about, I do love the feeling that it gives me when I play it, and I especially like the piano part. You can find this song on the 1965 album "Highway 61 Revisited."




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