Messrs Stuart and Clyde
Listen/Download – Chad and Jeremy – Rest In Peace
I have to begin by telling you that, a very (very) serious and wholly unexpected health crisis has descended upon our family, and it behooves me to devote what time I have to helping my wife and sons in any way I can. Until such time as things are back to normal (or at least some semblance thereof) all blogging will be suspended.
Some things (a lot of things, actually) are more important than blogging, and so I must (temporarily) take your leave.
However, as the witching hour is upon us once again (and this post was already in the can), that means it’s time for the (semi)yearly Iron Leg Halloween post. There wasn’t a Halloween post last year due to the fact that the blog went on hiatus right before the holiday, but I did re-activate the files on the 2009 posts (there were three of them!) so you can dig them if you weren’t checking in back then.
This is the part of the post (Iron Leg or Funky16Corners) in which I insert the boilerplate language where I tell you that I am not a serious collector of holiday records – Halloween or Christmas – so whatever I have that generally fits the bill is something that arrived in the crates by virtue of its quality, holiday appropriateness being secondary (if considered at all).
That said, I was scrolling back through the vinyl recorded since last Halloween, looking for something in the spirit of the holiday, and happened upon a record that I’d been wanting to post for a long time but never got around to it for a variety of reasons.
Today was the first time I looked at Chad and Jeremy’s ‘Rest In Peace’ from the legendary ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ album, and realized that it would be a perfect All Hallows selection.
Whereas many other candidates for this particular slot would be some ghoulish novelty concerning itself with one of the Mount Rushmore of spooky stuff, i.e. your Draculas, Frankensteins, werewolves (see Funky16Corners), Mummys (see years past) or ghosts (five heads on this mountain), today’s selection takes us right into the graveyard.
Many before me have spoken of the wonders of ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’.
The album sees Messrs Stuart and Clyde going in heretofore unseen progressive, psychedelic and perhaps more ‘serious’ directions than one might have expected from the duo that brought you ‘Summer Song’. It is a wonderful amalgam of light psychedelia, orchestrated pop and deeper (yet not pretentious, at least not for the time) sounds.
The track I bring you today opens the record, and is at least in my opinion its finest, most accessible cut.
It is also a wry, first person tale of a crafter of headstones (thus placing it in a Halloween bag).
The stonecutter is named Matthews, and he relates the tales of some of his customers (Fred and John in particular) and ends each verse with a darkly funny, but earnestly delivered line that caps off the slightly melancholic lead up.
I don’t solicit business; there’s no point in trying
What I like about my customers – they just keep on dying
The song is a melodic delight with just enough sitar to place it on the timeline, and also fits nicely inside the mid-to-late 60s tradition of pop groups commenting on the traditions of the English middle class.
The last two verses are particularly well written:
They come to me and spend all they’ve got
‘Cause it costs quite a lot to be remembered
They think it is the only way
What would the neighbors say anyway?
It’s so prestigious, even though you’re not religious
Maybe one day I will carve a stone
Big enough for everyone
And written there for those who care
In letters ten feet high:
“Here they lie who were born to die”
Not exactly spooky, but a great remembrance of the real meaning of Halloween, which is where you insert Linus reading a bible verse about someone rising from the dead (there are a few), followed by the whole gang gathered around a headstone singing ‘The Monster Mash’.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll see you all as soon as life allows.