This song, however, is anything but jaunty, although it does have kind of sombre sea-shanty thing going on. It’s based on a banjo riff I wrote when I was about nineteen. It’s worth remembering the things you wrote when you are nineteen because they are often more natural than things you write later.
Anyway, I had in mind for the lyrics the character of a priest in a remote location, who had brought his wife along, promising glory in the service of God, but delivering misery in the service of his alcoholism.
Yes, I know, what a cheery thing to write about. I’m such a ray of sunshine.
The final part was written over here in Melanesia. ‘Blacktop’ is what they call a ‘tar’ road, to distinguish between that and most of the roads, which are just dirt. It is dusty, hot and everyone drinks too much.
Anyway here it is.
So starch my collar up and bring my liquor down
And I’ll kill the memories that dog my days
Even if I’d lived across the other side of town
I’ll bet this would have happened anyway
I gave up a career in virtue
For the chance to hold you by my side
I promised that nothing could hurt you
You know I lied.