Sister Soldier

April 15, 2011 12:38 PM

Semi-acoustic demo of a song that, sadly, tells part of a story still unfolding.

This really needs a big Dan Lanois-style spatial production with thundering drums, herds of wildebeest roaming majestically across the savannah etc. As it stands it's got a paunchy middle-aged Scot with cloth ears and an old Yamaha recorder. Shrugs.


You stand up
Turn around
You say something
I’m shot
Dropping like a stone
The devil lurks in cellular detail
He left a business card
When we thought he’d blown

Five years since the first time have flown away
Five years when hope began to wind its way
Round our hearts
In crossing fingers
That you’d come through this
And nothing lingered

So long, sister
So long, soldier

It finally caught you unawares
Like a sneak thief
Shadow in the night
Time’s running out, it’s so unfair
Rage against the dying of the light
And I just sit here

So long, sister
So long, soldier

It’s so hard to say anything
That’s not banal or dumb
Trite or clumsy
But I’ll be with you when you go
That much you can rely on
Depend on me

So long, sister
My sister
So long,
You’re a soldier
A soldier.

posted by MajorDundee (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for posting this, man. I don't know why these days it's so tough to write about this subject. (I've been trying, but it's been tough to find an angle without sounding preachy or douchey.) It's just not like it was during Vietnam when everyone and their pet goat wrote protest songs.

So anyway, good show. I really enjoy this.
posted by snsranch at 6:51 PM on April 15, 2011

Is this a song about illness (cancer?) as opposed to soldiering?

That's the way I read it.

Major, the thing I admire most about your stuff is, and you're going to HATE me for saying this, the lyrics. I think you write incredibly well, and I wish I could do it to half the standard.
posted by unSane at 6:17 PM on April 16, 2011

Thanks both. Yes unS it is about cancer, but I can understand why sns interpreted it the way he did (so no blushes there sns - it's cool). Unfortunately my sister has breast cancer metastases and, well, it's terminal. It's a large part of the reason for my virtual absence from MeFiMu lately and also the no-show of new material. This track is a pretty clumsy reflection of how things have been. It's unfinished really - needs full-blown production etc that I just haven't the energy to try to deal with.

I'm very flattered at your kind comments about my lyrics unS and not at all angry! It may be an example of how not trying too hard or agonising over things is the best approach - there's a lesson there for me with the rest of the songriting I think.. I really don't spend hours on lyrics but, equally, I wanted this one to be half-decent (out of respect for the subject matter and the person involved) so I took a little more care than usual. Once I'd got the theme clear in my head, I wrote it in about half an hour. The best line "Rage against the dying of the light" is, of course, a steal from Dylan Thomas. The soldier metaphor is quite crude really and is simply about putting up a fight - which my sister is very bravely doing every day.
posted by MajorDundee at 9:57 AM on April 17, 2011

Jeez, I'm sorry MD. My heart goes out to you and your sister.
posted by snsranch at 1:26 PM on April 17, 2011

No sweat sns and no need to apologise - the lyric is ambiguous. And many thanks for your kindness.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2011

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