Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cry the Beloved Country

Okay, I haven't been completely self-indulgent around here for a month or so, so I guess it's time again.

So -- from 1995, please enjoy the original mix of "A Drop of Rain," by Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams. A song which in slightly altered form appears on the album below, and which features Larry Durrell (who appears courtesy of his Alexandria Quartet) on bass and keyboards. (Me, in other words.)





The short version: The song is written (and sung) by my bandmate for many years, the aforementioned Gerry Devine. Gerry was moved to write it after watching Ken Burns The Civil War documentary; the song is about the fact that despite enormous progress towards racial equality, far too little has changed in this country since that awful historical moment. Fourteen years after we recorded it, it seems surprisingly pertinent, alas; something to do with certain people's reaction to the president being a N**-clang.

In any case, the album version has a slightly different lyric and a mix that's always struck me as a little less gorgeous than this first version. I should also add that one of the great thrills of my adult life came when the legendary Vin Scelsa played the album track on his Idiots Delight show on WXRK-FM (K-Rock) in New York City. I learned an interesting lesson that night -- apparently radio stations have some kind of gizmo that makes your music sound better than it actually is.

[h/t Steve Schwartz, who just sent me the superior restored version now in the clip]

10 comments:

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

"I lay awake last night & prayed for rain." Thanks for this beautiful, powerful song, Steve. (And one could not ask for a more spot-on bass or keyboard.)

Kid Charlemagne said...

Nice. Reminds me of the Bodeans a bit.

Kid Charlemagne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve simels said...

Note to self: Painfully earnest ersatz Springsteen anthems featuring a middle-aged balding Jew on backup less interesting to readers than expected.
:-)

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

What, you mean somehow now even a comment from Who Am Us Anyway aint enough for you? Jeez. :-)

Re middle-aged balding ... I was finally watching the HBO John Adams thing on DVD last week & thinking, man, look at those bald dudes. The dress code of the day gave them no choice but to cover their shiny domes with big honking long-haired wigs. Even pre-Kennedy we at least all got to wear hats everywhere. But now look at us. What a rip. I'm a 21st century bald man ... but i don't want to be here.

steve simels said...

Actually, my plan is to retire my current aging hepster look in a year or two and go right to late Groucho.

One of those ridiculous golf hats with the tassle...
:-)

Brooklyn Girl said...

One of those ridiculous golf hats with the tassle...
:-)


Oh dear ...

Anonymous said...

oh,I always wondered why we were singing about the dewpoint.Thanks for the clarification.Steve,you rock through the wrinkles !
Over-ripe,GB

Anonymous said...

Ken Burns documentary "an awful historical moment " ? Shame on you,Stevie-Ray !
Your pal,GB

minique said...

my fav Hi-beams tune, at least since i was in group when it was the Floormodels/Souveniers....love both versions....could use a singin bass player, tho...heheh....to old times and new crimes...minique