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Caution: File Sharing May Be Hazardous To Your Childhood Innocence

A while ago, I exploited certain illicit file-sharing techniques to obtain copies of songs I remembered fondly from my childhood. One of them was a particularly pretty song, as I recalled. It was a guy singing about the end of the day, and how unhappy he was that it was ending. I played it over and over on our 8-track when I was about 7 or 8, and eventually wore out the tape. But I only could remember the title, artist, and a couple key lyrics. That was enough, though, and I soon had a copy of the song.

I immediately started playing it, and all the lyrics flowed back into me, pouring out along with my speakers. I was lost in the moment, flashing back to those carefree, innocent, delightful days of tender youth.

Then I actually listened the lyrics.

I was cheerfully singing an obsessive, threatening song to a prostitute. (I'm sorry. We must be politically correct here. "Person of negotiable virtue.")

Now I finally understood why my mother didn't like Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" anywhere near as much as I did.


(Full lyrics in the extended section)

By Gordon Lightfoot

I can see her lyiní back in her satin dress
In a room where ya do what ya donít confess
Sundown ya better take care
If I find you been creepiní íround my back stairs
Sundown ya better take care
If I find you been creepiní íround my back stairs
Sheís been lookiní like a queen in a sailorís dream
And she donít always say what she really means
Sometimes I think itís a shame
When I get feeliní better when Iím feeliní no pain
Sometimes I think itís a shame
When I get feeliní better when Iím feeliní no pain

I can picture every move that a man could make
Getting lost in her loviní is your first mistake
Sundown ya better take care
If I find you been creepiní íround my back stairs
Sometimes I think itís a sin
When I feel like Iím winniní when Iím losin again

I can see her lookiní fast in her faded jeans
Sheís a hard loviní woman, got me feeliní mean
Sometimes I think itís a shame
When I get feeliní better when Iím feeliní no pain
Sundown ya better take care
If I find you been creepiní íround my back stairs
Sundown ya better take care
If I find you been creepiní íround my back stairs
Sometimes I think itís a sin
When I feel like Iím winniní when Iím losiní again

Comments (14)

Its strange you posted this... (Below threshold)

Its strange you posted this today. I was in a linens and things and the same song came on today. Lightfoot was my hero back in school when I was learning how to play guitar and write songs. I still think he is a great song writer. However, I had not heard that song in a long long time, and today it bought back great memories of dorm life at Western Washington circa 1973 or 74.

Good lord... I just listene... (Below threshold)

Good lord... I just listened to it myself. I think you may be right....

Well, it sounds to me more like the lady is the obsessive one, creepin' 'round his back stairs like that. A stalker.

But, damn.

Nevertheles, the beauty of "Carefree Highway" makes up for any potential deficiencies in the rest of Lightfoot's body of work.

I didn't get prostit... (Below threshold)

I didn't get prostitute, I only got untrue woman. But yes, it's a bit obsessive and depressive.

Which is why I love the song.

I assume you haven't heard the remake that came out about four years ago by some alternative band?

That song might be about an... (Below threshold)

That song might be about an untrue woman, but Jay Tea, that is one f'n great song. I don't know if there is a better song to listen to on a lake with a beer in your hand and the sun setting.

That would have never happe... (Below threshold)

That would have never happened with me, because my mother didn't let me watch PG-13 movies until I was actually 13.

My fiance's first favorite ... (Below threshold)

My fiance's first favorite song - when he was 7 or so - was "Afternoon Delight" by the Starlight Vocal Band. The music is pure 70's pop mush, but the lyrics are about as dirty as it gets. Went over the head of a little kid, of course.

My fiance is still mad about the fact that his mom let him sing it in public.

Gosh, and I thought I was e... (Below threshold)

Gosh, and I thought I was embarrassed about singing Moody Blues tunes from In Search Of The Lost Chord and humming along to Blodwyn Pig albums.

My My.

Kidding aside, its not much different from what old nursery songs/rhymes like London Bridge and Georgie Porgie were really about and yet how kids loved 'em.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.

Hey, epador, singing Moody ... (Below threshold)

Hey, epador, singing Moody Blues tunes is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Except maybe for... well, no, there is no exception.

I'd always thought that the... (Below threshold)

I'd always thought that the song was the narrator warning off a younger rival for his lady's affections. (Sorry in advance for the possible double post. My first try seems to have vanished...)

Isn't this the only ... (Below threshold)

Isn't this the only Gordon Lightfoot song ever written that doesn't mention at least one of:

a) a train
b) a road, or
c) a ship?

(I guess the sailor reference comes close...)

Anyway, I have the same sentiments - my mom was big into GL when I was 7-ish, and I still enjoy popping in the Greatest Hits and taking a trip down memory lane now and then.

Dig out old Dan's records
Bring out old Dan's records
We're all here, we've all got dates
We'll dance all night to the seventy-eights
If old Dan could see us now
I know he'd be so proud
If old Dan was with us still
I know he'd come around...

Ahh, memories! "Afternoon... (Below threshold)

Ahh, memories! "Afternoon Delight"... played (often) when I was a newlywed.

What a gentle interlude from all the seriousness. Thanks, Jay Tea.

When I was 16 I really neve... (Below threshold)

When I was 16 I really never heard all the words in songs. In the 80's I took my kids to Huntington beach and heard a DOOR's song. I heard words that I never heard before, and never wanted my kids to hear them. When your a Parent, you heard the real bad words in songs.

Oh, I love this song. I agr... (Below threshold)

Oh, I love this song. I agree with Cybrludite, though; this is a tough ol' hombre warning other men off his woman. It's got a certain humility, though; he's a little embarrassed by drinking his cares away, and he bemoans the fact that he just can't get ahead.

I've imagined a new video to this several times with a hard-faced man, a lusciouslly beautiful woman, and a sun-drenched dusty street in a desert town. But it'll never happen, because there are no hard-faced men in country music anymore.

Slarrow, ain't that the tru... (Below threshold)

Slarrow, ain't that the truth! Give me the real men whose faces you see on "Highwayman"* any day over this new trend of baby-faced men in Country and in movies.

*Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson.

And loved your idea for that music video - you described the visuals and atmosphere so well, it's as if you've already created it for all of us to see!






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