Sunday, December 13, 2015

                  Joeseddit’s
‘Cipherin’ The Song
Many songwriters refuse to offer the meaning of their lyrics, instead preferring to allow the listener to come up with his/her own interpretation. And surprisingly, some songwriters admit that they don’t even know the meaning of their own song, citing some type of “stream of consciousness” thing going on at the time it was penned. I’ll admit I’m not very good at deciphering song lyrics. I’ll sometimes think I know, but usually find out either through the author’s explanation or someone else’s more logical interpretation that I was way off. But that’s not gonna stop me from occasionally takin’ a crack at it here. Let me know while you’re laughing at me how far off I am. Or, I may be so befuddered by a song that I’ll have to back off completely and hope someone in the comment section comes up with something that makes sense.



Rockin’ Chair – The Band
This song seemed pretty straightforward to me. A couple of old sailors who’ve aged to the point where it’s time to retire to home, “’ol Virginny”.  The singer/narrator is pointing out this realization to his longtime sailing friend, Willie. Aging is kind of a sad thing, - “We’ve used up all our time, this hill’s too steep to climb”- so I’m moved by the song and figure the two to eventually execute their plan: move back to Virginny and spend the few remaining years they have left hangin’ out on the front porch in their rockin’ chairs sippin’ Country Time lemonade. But there’re a couple of curveballs that could suggest that’s not how it’s goin’ down.  For one, he seems to be talking to his friend Willie, but towards the end of the song he says “I’d love to see my very best friend, they call him Rag-time Willie”. Is Willie actually with him at all? Or maybe "Rag-time" Willie is a younger version of himself, meaning he's talking to his youth, so to speak. And what’s the “sound” he keeps asking Willie about? He can hear “something calling on…” him. He sees the “Flying Dutchman” on the reef. According to Wiki, the sighting of The Flying Dutchman, a phantom ship, is considered in ocean lore to be a portent of doom. Is the old geezer dying at sea while he delusionally talks to his old friend Willie? “Woulda been nice just to see the folks” could imply that he ain’t gonna make it home. Which could leave the rockin chair itself open to metaphors when he closes the song with “I believe that old rockin chair’s got me (oh to be home again)”. 


Rockin’ Chair
The Band
Hang around, Willie Boy,
Don't you raise the sails anymore.
It's for sure, I've spent my whole life at sea
And I'm pushin' age seventy three;
Now there's only one place that was meant for me:
Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie.
We're gonna soothe away the rest of our years,
We're gonna put away all of our tears,
That big Rockin' Chair won't go nowhere.
Slow down, Willie Boy,
Your heart's gonna give right out on you
It's true, and I believe I know what we should do.
Turn the stern and point to shore,
The seven seas won't carry us no more.
Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie.
I can't wait to sniff that air,
Dip'n snuff, I won't have no care,
That big Rockin' Chair won't go nowhere.
Hear the sound, Willie Boy,
The Flyin' Dutchman's on the reef.
It's my belief
We've used up all our time,
This hill's to steep to climb,
And the days that remain ain't worth a dime.
Oh, to be home again,
Down in old Virginny,
With my very best friend,
They call him Ragtime Willie.
Would-a-been nice just t'see the folks,
Listen once again to the stale jokes,
That big Rockin' Chair won't go nowhere.
I can hear something calling on me
And you know where I want to be
Oh Willie don't you hear that sound
Oh to be home again down in old Virginny
I just want to get my feet back on the ground
Oh to be home again down in old Virginny
I'd love to see my very best friend
They call him Rag-time Willie
I believe old rockin chair's got me (oh to be home again)



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