“The Weight”/”In My Hour of Darkness”

The thing that surprises me upon actually listening to “In My Hour of Darkness” is that Parsons says “In my hour of darkness/ in my time of need/ Oh lord, grant me vision/ Oh lord, grant me speed.”  My whole life I’ve been singing it “Oh lord, grant me wisdom/ Oh lord, grant me peace.”

I guess it just goes to show you that folks need different things, even when they’re in the same place.

Anyway, there’s nothing about Gram Parsons I could tell you that you don’t already know.  I think of him and The Band together, though, being folks who seemed to get that there’s something powerful in that old vernacular American sound and who hoped that, by reenacting it, they could call it forth and maybe name it.

I am convinced that you can’t.  You can feel it around you in the air, move with it through your body, but that old American power isn’t something that can be named.

I think that’s why I like to listen to Parsons coupled with Aretha Franklin’s version of “The Weight.”  One song sounds like an attempt (a pretty successful attempt) to hitchhike into the past.  The other sounds like it’s sung by a woman who picked up those hitchhikers, learned one of their songs, and set it free in Detroit.

Both sound like hymns to me.  But one is reverent and the other jubilant.

Who knows?  Some days I feel like I’m great at tugging the things that connect us.  Today’s just not that day.  Instead, I want to loop one end of this here rope to one song and the other end to the other and just walk back and forth between them.

Sadly, my balance is not that great.

I’m tired, soul tired.  And I don’t know how you rest your soul.  But mine needs a nap and some ice cream and something artsy to soothe it.

3 thoughts on ““The Weight”/”In My Hour of Darkness”

  1. I’m none too good at the balance thing either.

    My whole family is always running, always busy… and that tends to be how I schedule my life. Only it’s hard to maintain, with everything pulling from all different sides. My parents want me near, my grandparents want me near, Breviloquence wants to do things with me that don’t involve my family all the time, all of them want me to get to work on getting into Long Shot University… friends I haven’t seen in ages pop up to ask for a day, an hour, a week of my time… for a project, a get together, a bit of work. Church people keep calling and wanting things, and even when I don’t want to do them I feel like I ought.

    And I’ve got all these hours of nothingness stuck in the middle of my day just so. Except for the phones, I could do all I need to do every day in an hour or two of intense work, and then go run errands. But I can’t, ’cause the way people understand work is that it’s something you do at your desk, or in the office, and support is just being here all the time in case someone needs something.

    Ah well.

    I don’t know how to rest my soul either. I prop it up with medication and poking around online, and make sure to take my lunch break all by my lonesome in my car, so I can be somewhere without people or demands or having to be on guard. It doesn’t always help, but it’s something.

  2. I think Parsons just wanted to die quickly.

    I never saw him as a musical visionary, though — more as a failed healer. He really did try to bridge a chasm that was starting to open between the fans of different American vernacular musics. Franklin, now, she’s a successful healer.

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