01 November, 2009

Sweet Louise (Kokomo)

(Another old song, some of you have never seen.)



Breaking your neck
Shouldn't be hard
In Kokomo...
You do a somersault
From the barest breeze.


But there she is
Bewitching magic
And it ain't no show,


Sweet Louise,
Make me weak in the knees,
Sweet Louise.


Shut down bars
Still smell of beer,
But their out of gold.
Who used to go there,
Doesn't matter in the least.
But your memory
Serves me empty pints,
In that board up store.


Sweet Louise 
Make me weak in the knees,
Sweet Louise.



Stucco'd brick
Replaced the bar
On Main and Oak.
(And look..) couple rich dudes
Plant that sidewalk tree.
So there it is
Clean and tragic,
Like Romeo.


Sweet Louise
Make me weak in the knees,
Sweet Louise.


Will you take a check?
For less than an hour
Of rock and roll.
I tried to go slow,
But you still earned your fee.
There it is,
Naked magic,
And counterfeit soul.


Sweet Louise
Make me weak in the knees,
Sweet Louise.


Sweet Louise
Make me weak in the knees,
Sweet Louise.

One of these days I'm gonna get around to singing this song in a Kokomo bar.  I have a feeling even with the tiny little tenuous connection of that one word "Kokomo" there will be plenty else for this song to hit the heart on.  Granted, this is no flattering portrait.  But then again, who else is writing songs in which Kokomo is being gentrified?  Yeah... see what I mean?

Writing this song was enormous fun.  Many aspects of it just came out of nowhere, but struck me as worth leaving in anyway.  What breaking your neck exactly means is certainly a good question.  However, a short visit to the justice department of any county seat, or city ought to help you picture a few "broken necks."  I'll leave it to you to fill in the blanks.

There is a friend of mine who is fond of the phrase, "doesn't matter in the least."  I put that phrase in here just for him.  Even though we hardly speak to one another.  Masculine sentiment tends to be a kind of weepy, yet stubbornly distant kind of game.  So I honor the guy but refuse him my company.  It more than matters, but I fail this person.  There it is...

When I was traveling the country with some friends when I was twenty (long time ago), I walked past a bar in New Orleans on a rainy morning and smelled that rich aroma that a bar cultivates like an antique cultivates it's patina.  They say you shouldn't clean it off.  In the case of bars (real bars), you get the feeling there is a real respect for the past...

It has been noted as slightly odd by some that this entire song is about sex and drinking establishments.  It romanticizes sleazy working class places and makes fun of some entrepreneurs who attempt to bring a little arboreal atmosphere to a coke dust covered industrial alleyway.  It has little redeeming qualities other than an attempt at humor (that isn't funny) and a weak kneed desire for what once was.  Guilty, guilty, guilty.

Personally I like the youthful innocence of somersaults in the [     ]   breeze.  Don't you?


2 comments:

Midnight Whisperer said...

Yes, somersaults in the breeze are like dancing in the rain.

It's difficult to value what is more relevant; what an author is trying to convey with their words or what the reader hears in them.

I myself, like to understand the artist's meaning behind their works while at the same time, gathering my own interpretations as they apply to me...

Though your words are wistful and light, I personally did not sense humor. I felt more a melancholy tone (but that is probably because I have not heard the music to accompany the words). In my mind, I heard a disenchanted tone sung to a slow blues tune; romantically reminiscent of a time that shouldn't have been smiled upon, but was, none the less.

In short, I loved it.

Andy Coffey said...

Thanks M.W.,

It's probably not as slow as it looks, but it can be played slow to some effect. I'm certainly played it that way, depending on my mood. It's much blusier, slow.
It is a sad song, and yet, so many of my writings are a mixture of heartbreak and humor, that it's hard for me to tell really. It certainly isn't a story of a simple cobbler, and his love for his sweet pretty wife. This is a broken working class guy in an ugly town, who resents an attempt to spruce things up on the street, and has issues with intimacy in general. "Your memory serves me empty pints, in this broke down store," kinda says it all where guys who don't have the balls for typical relationships are concerned. Waitresses love the lucre, more than you, most of them.

So yeah, there are melancholy wistful elements amidst the somersaults.

And now there's your perspective, "which [should] be smiled upon." So I am.
Thanks.