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Appropriate songs for the Maying

One of the best albums of the last 5 years is XTC's "Apple Venus Volume 1". I've been known to describe it as a recording that's fallen out of a parallel universe, where instead of San Francisco, the hub of psychedelia was the West Country. It's Glastonbury psychedelia, informed by the British rural tradition, and lifted by a 1000 years of folk songs and a couple of hundred years of local brass bands - and the work done by folk-rock bands like Fairport Convention.

Two songs on the album are songs that need to be listened to today, songs driven by the spring festivals that were at the heart of the seasons turnings, and the rituals that bound villages together - under eyes of both the old and new gods.:


Greenman

Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman
He wants to make you his bride
Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman
Forever to him you’re tied

And you know for a million years he has been your lover
He’ll be a million more
And you know for a million years he has been your lover
Down through the skin to the core

Heed the Greenman
Heed the Greenman

Please to dance round for the one called the Greenman
He wants to make you his child
Please to dance round for the one called the Greenman
Dressed in the fruits of the wild

And you know for a million years he has been your father
He’ll be a million more
And you know for a million years he has been your father
Run to his arms at the door

Lay your head, lay your head, lay your head, lay your head on the Greenman
Lay your head, lay your head with mine
Lay your head, lay your head, lay your head
Lay your head on the Greenman
Build a bed out of oak and pine

See the Greenman blow his kiss from high church wall
An unknowing church will amplify his call

Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman
He wants to make you his bride
Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman
Forever to him you’re tied

And you know for a million years he has been your lover
He’ll be a million more
And you know for a million years he has been your lover
Down to the skin to the core

Lay your head, lay your head, lay your head
Lay your head on the Greenman
Lay your head, lay your head with mine
Lay your head, lay your head, lay your head
Lay your head on the Greenman
Build a bed out of oak and pine

Please to bend down for the one called the Greenman


Easter Theatre

Gold sun rolls around
Chocolate nipple brown
Tumble from your arms
Like the ground your breasts swell
Land awake from sleep
Hares will kick and leap
Flowers climb erect
Smiling from the moist kiss of her rainbow mouth

CHORUS

Stage left
Enter Easter and she's dressed in yellow yolk
Stage right
Now the son has died, the father can be born
Stand up
If we'd all breathe in and blow away the smoke
New life
We'd applaud a new life

Odin mounts the tree
Bleeds for you and me
Splashing on the lamb
Gamboling with spring's step
Buds will laugh and burst
Racing to be first
Turning all the soil
As the promptress fingers through her spinning script

CHORUS

Easter ... in her bonnet
Easter ... in her hair
Easter ... are the ribbons
She tied everywhere

(thanks to shadesong for inspiring this post with hers about "Padstow", and to rowanf for her tale of today's Maying in Minehead...)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
zotz
May. 1st, 2003 07:47 am (UTC)
That's actually one of a bunch of records I got a couple of weeks ago. I've been away a bit, so I haven't listened to it yet.

I guess I'll just have to stick it on the turntable when I get home, won't I?
zotz
May. 1st, 2003 02:41 pm (UTC)
This is rather excellent, isn't it?

Cheers! I wouldn't necessarily have got round to this for a while otherwise.
sbisson
May. 1st, 2003 08:18 am (UTC)
A damni fine record. Seven years in the wilderness, and Andy Partridge returns with something uniquely beautiful.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )