When I hear this song, I can’t help but think of Woody Guthrie going to see Stromboli at some theater in Manhattan, with his guitar strapped to his back, cowboy hat pushed back on his head, a dustbowl hick in dirty jeans and flannel shirt in a crowd of socialite rich folk all dressed up for an evening at the cinema. He’d sit in the second row back on the aisle, so the guitar wouldn’t inconvenience anyone, taking the hat off so as not to block the view of the person behind him. And he’d laugh and weep louder than anyone else in the theater, and fall in love the moment he saw Ms. Bergman’s face cross the screen, that vision of unhappy European beauty fifty feet tall. The critics would come out at the end grumbling, but Woody would know he’d just seen perfection.
This song is from the album Mermaid Avenue (Buy It), a collaboration between punk-troubadour Billy Bragg and indie-rockers Wilco (with some guest vocals by Natalie Merchant), writing music to newly discovered Woody Guthrie lyrics. The result is a solid collection of rustic and exultant songs that will make you laugh and cry and fall in love yourself (there’s also a Mermaid Avenue, Vol. II which is worth checking out too). And thanks Ashley.
Billy Bragg & Wilco – Ingrid Bergman
posted by Adam