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Thread: Just An Observation

  1. #1

    Default Just An Observation

    I was listening to the radio yesterday when Bobby Osborne came on singing "I Just Got To Get A Message To You". I know that in bluegrass serious and sad themes are played to upbeat music, but that song is about a guy on death row who is gonna be executed in about an hour. I'd never really listened to the lyrics before when the Bee Jees sang it. It was my wife who brought it to my attention. Just kinda weird.

  2. #2
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Not too uncommon to have deathrow songs have upbeat or faster paced music. Johnny Cash's 25 Minutes To Go comes to mind. They Might Be Giants always seemed to have happy music and sad lyrics. Tom Dooly is another. Murder ballads are 50-50 with music that seems different than the lyrical context.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Melancholy lyrics, sung to a happy tune. Sometimes it really works. Snowbird comes to mind.

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    Registered User AKA Frosty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Stock and trade of the Carter Family.

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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Melancholy lyrics, sung to a happy tune. Sometimes it really works. Snowbird comes to mind.
    I'm thinking that the Bee Gees song is FAR LESS of a downer than the thousands of murder ballads accumulated over the past few hundred years that that many of us happily sing, some of us along the Banks of the Ohio. Ya know: If I can't have her, nobody else will either? Yikes!
    - Ed

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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    I Found Her Little Footprints In the Snow

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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    You Are My Sunshine always gives me a chuckle when I hear folks using it for a happy state of mind song. Most of the murder and death songs I can think of in BG are upbeat musically.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    The Louvin Brothers did the song Knoxville Girl, a gruesome murder ballad, completely without affect. The result is chilling, serial killer chilling.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Visentin View Post
    I Found Her Little Footprints In the Snow
    Exemplifying what? A happy song in medium up tempo (in Monroe's version).

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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Yep,
    "Just because your dog died, doesn't mean you can't have a good time singing about it!"
    Mitch Jayne
    (I think)
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Yep,
    "Just because your dog died, doesn't mean you can't have a good time singing about it!"
    Mitch Jayne
    (I think)
    To be more precise, Footprints in the Snow is not about death at all.

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    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    My comment had nothing to do with "Footprints in the snow" BTW
    Lighten up Ralph, geez.
    See posts 1-4!
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    Exemplifying what? A happy song in medium up tempo (in Monroe's version).
    I dropped in to see her there was a big round moon
    Her mother said she just stepped out but would be returning soon
    I found her little footprints and I traced them in the snow
    I found her when the snow was on the ground
    Now she's up in heaven she's with the angel band
    I know I'm going to meet her in that promised land
    But every time the snow falls it brings back memories
    For I found her when the snow was on the ground

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  16. #14

    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    Yep,
    "Just because your dog died, doesn't mean you can't have a good time singing about it!"
    Mitch Jayne
    (I think)
    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    To be more precise, Footprints in the Snow is not about death at all.
    Really? Even the part about where the old old man traces the fox hound's footprints on up the hill only to find it bitten to death by the awful dreadful snake?

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  18. #15
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    Default Re: Just An Observation

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Visentin View Post
    I dropped in to see her there was a big round moon
    Her mother said she just stepped out but would be returning soon
    I found her little footprints and I traced them in the snow
    I found her when the snow was on the ground
    Now she's up in heaven she's with the angel band
    I know I'm going to meet her in that promised land
    But every time the snow falls it brings back memories
    For I found her when the snow was on the ground
    No need to quote these verses. I've known this song for 58 or 59 years, including the first verse and the refrain that you leave out. Clearly, the singer is reminiscing about his departed sweetheart/wife or whatever. She's dead, to be sure, but the song is not about her death. It's about "that happy day when Nellie lost her way", tracing her footsteps and finding her.

    The original(?) from around 1880 is more detailed: he finds he in a state of "blank dismay", they walk back home and she promises to never stray from his side. Eventually they marry. The version that Monroe adopted leaves all that to our imgination, and takes a forward leap in time: "Now she's up in Heaven etc." - which makes it a much better song.

    Perhaps the song would have profited from a more reflective type of melody (but then it wouldn't fit Monroe's band style), but it's certainly not a sad or somber song.

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