And now for something completely different:
Last month, my dear friend and occasional songwriting collaborator, Anne Hills (www.annehills.com) came to town to do a few shows. As both a singer and songwriter, Anne is simply one of the very best.
At one point, Anne pulled out a banjo and sang “Run the Film Backwards”, by the late British folksinger Sydney Carter. Carter (1915-2004) wrote folk songs that were often Christian-themed, and sometimes controversial. His best-known song was “Lord of the Dance”, set to the tune of the Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts”.
As Anne sang “Run the Film Backwards”, I realized that this was the ultimate Changing Aging song! I don’t have a recording handy, but the lyrics go like this:
At the grand old age of eighty-seven they took me from my coffin
They gave me a flannel nightshirt that I could travel off in
Toothless, old and wrinkled I lay there on my bed
And slowly I forgot about the time when I’d been dead
The day when I was sixty-five ended my enjoyment
I had to put on working clothes and go to my employment
Then when I was sixty, I found I had a wife
That explained the children – I had wondered all my life
I kept on growing younger, growing healthier and stronger
Till at the age of twenty-one I had a wife no longer
Found myself with younger girls rolling in the clover
Till one sad day I woke to find those happy times were over
Playing football after school and sausages a-cooking
Puffing on a cigarette when the teacher wasn’t looking
The trees are getting taller now, the streets are getting wider
And Mother means the world to me, soon I’ll be inside her
Now in here it’s very dark, nothing can I see
I hear the first beats of my heart, I wonder who I’ll be?
And for a powerful sample of Anne’s own music, here’s an audio clip of her beautiful and heartbreaking song, “The Farm”, from her latest album, Points of View (Appleseed Recordings 1119, © 2009)