Friday, June 15, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part V: Special The Abyss Stares Back Edition

From 1969, please enjoy Moby Grape and their astonishing version of "Seeing." Or as we call it around Casa Simels, Skip Spence's masterpiece.

If you seen the naked dream I had of you
Would you care and, and come through?

Take me far away, my wiser mind gave me the dream of death today
How to get by when what greets my eye takes my breath away

In my dream you were all in your stalls I watched your walls all fade away
You were bare of thoughts, we were to part and we stayed that way

Some tried to hide because they lied, they were not true and they were afraid
They refuse to see or be free, be one with me and to gods, they prayed

Cryin', "Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me
I'll save you, can I spend you?

And now this naked dream I had of you
Will you care and come through?

Take me far away, my wiser mind gave me the dream of death today
Hard to get by when what greets my eye takes my breath away

Cryin', "Save me, save me, save me"

Apart from the fact that said track is brilliant on every level (from Spence's hauntingly mumbled opening vocal to the haunted church organ that closes it) I saved it for the end of the week because the Grape bio that I've been telling you about -- What's Big and Purple and Lives in the Ocean: The Moby Grape Story by Cam Cobb....

...while otherwise estimable advances the thesis that the Grape's 2nd and 3rd albums, including '69, from whence said track derives, are inferior to the failed Grape comeback album from the early '70s.

A thesis that I believe to be completely -- and demonstrably, if you listen to "Seeing" -- wrong.

Absurdly wrong, actually.

In any case, I should add that Robert Plant recorded a pretty good cover of "Seeing," which you can find on YouTube. Plant's probably the highest profile Grape fan around, now that I think of it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

UPDATE: Through a mutual friend, Grape drummer Don Stevenson has graciously forwarded me a corrected version of the "Seeing" lyrics. I have made the appropriate changes, and I'm even more impressed with Skippy as a wordsmith. Thanks, Don, from the bottom of my rapidly ageing rock-and-roll heart.

[h/t The Swede]


FD13NYC said...

Good album by The Grape, I also love I Am Not Willing.

steve simels said...

And “If You Cant Learn From My Mistakes.”

pete said...

Was this after Skip's trip to Nashville for the "Oar" sessions?

Allan Rosenberg said...

Reading the lyrics so I can truly understand them for the first time (49 years of not having a clue as to what was sung) makes this song even more brilliant and much scarier!

By the way I have always suspected that that is Don Stevenson channeling Skip Spence on the vocals.I know that is crazy but I thought Skip was not around for any of these sessions. What does the book say?

Moby Grape's 1st and 3rd albums are masterpieces.

Captain Al

steve simels said...

It's Skippy on this. The original band did some rough takes of it during the WOW sessions, which were released on the Grape box set as "Skip's Song" -- which you can find on YouTube, and is the title of Robert Plant's cover -- and then they overdubbed it after he was gone.