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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Song Review : 'Farewell Angelina' (Written by Bob Dylan,Enliven by Joan Baez)

When it comes to country music,there is no chance that you will not like Joan Baez,Bob Dylan or Pete Seegar. This particular song  is an all time favourite of mine and I have listened to this countless number of times during my hard days.Now,I have a personal method of testing if the song is emotionally penetrating or appealing (the method of course I will not reveal) and as for this song,it obviously is.When I listened to the song for the first time,I was so flown away with it that I would put it on 'Repeat' and listen to it every evening.The voice flows like soft,blue waves on a moonlit night.I have never heard a sweeter voice in case of Western country music,at the least.
It is a wonder why Dylan never sang the song again after trying recording the song once for 'Bringing It All Back Home',even after he had written it so beautifully but Joan Baez did.(Dylan's one recording of the song was eventually issued in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.)That way,it makes the entire phenomenon even more touching. At times,it seems this perhaps is not a song at all but true,real words from the musician,the writer,the pacifist,the Bob Dylan. The song has it all - political criticism,or rather criticism of the idea of modern politics,a departure,a pain that reverberates itself in almost every line of the song and a wider,freer yet beautiful philosophy.

'Farewell Angelina' - An Album by Joan Baez

Farewell Angelina Lyrics
(Credit :

Farewell Angelina
The bells of the crown
Are being stolen by bandits
I must follow the sound
The triangle tingles
And the trumpet plays slow
Farewell Angelina
The sky is on fire
And I must go.

There's no need for anger
There's no need for blame
There's nothing to prove
Ev'rything's still the same
Just a table standing empty
By the edge of the sea
Means farewell, Angelina
The sky is trembling
And I must leave.

The jack and queen
Have forsaked the courtyard
Fifty-two gypsies
Now file past the guards
In the space where the deuce
And the ace once ran wild
Farewell Angelina
The sky is falling
I'll see you in a while.

See the cross-eyed pirates sitting
Perched in the sun
Shooting tin cans
With a sawed-off shotgun
And the neighbours they clap
And they cheer with each blast
But farewell Angelina
The sky's changing color
And I must leave fast.

King Kong, little elves
On the rooftops they dance
Valentino-type tangos
While the make-up man's hands
Shut the eyes of the dead
Not to embarrass anyone
Farewell Angelina
The sky is embarrassed
And I must be gone.

The machine guns are roaring
The puppets heave rocks
And fiends nail time bombs
To the hands of the clocks
Call me any name you like
I will never deny it
But farewell Angelina
The sky is erupting
I must go where it's quiet.

'Farewell Angelina' - Enliven by Joan Baez

About The Song
(Credit : Wikipedia)

Joan Baez included this song on her 1965 album Farewell Angelina. In the UK the song was issued at the same time as a single. Baez's version, though only about half as long as Dylan's recording, was very similar in structure and showed her moving away from pure folk music with the use of string bass accompaniment.
Although "Farewell Angelina" is basically a simple folk love song, some critics have questioned the meaning of some of the more obscure lyrics like "The Jack and the Queen have forsaked the courtyard / Fifty-two gypsies now file past the guards".

Song Review

I totally disagree with the idea of 'Farewell Angelina' being a 'simple folk love song'.Firstly,it is not a conventional love song and secondly,it covers more obscure lyrics than folk music ever does.
The tune is relatively simple,which is a feature of country music but the lyrics certainly cover deeper meaning and attributes.
There is not only presence of criticism of the evolution of the idea of modern politics closely leaning with individualism and popular culture."See the cross eyed pirate......And they cheer with each blast" clearly exhibits frustration against the popular culture.
"King Kong little elves......Not to embarrass anyone" are once again expressing feelings against popular culture that is aligning people with selfishness and individualism and giving birth to ignorance to the wrongs taking place everyday in the society.
My personal favourite are the last lines beginning from "The machine guns are roaring" to the end of the song.
As expressed earlier,the 'reverberating pain' is so well described and explained in these lines,the penetration reaches a point of causing a stinging feeling.
The instrumentals are the subtle part,the voice is the reason of attention and the point of attraction. Nevertheless,simple and repetitive acoustic guitar notes and a bass guitar have been used in the song.
The voice,I don't know how to describe such beauty but soft,blue waves in the sea on a moonlit night is an attempt to express it to the best I can.I think by now,everybody has been able to guess what the scores would be.

Lyrics - 5/5
Melody - 5/5
Instrumentals - 5/5
The Voice Behind - 5/5

As A Song - {(20/20 * 100)%} = 100%

Disclaimer - The photographs used do not belong to me.

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