Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Accrington images

Pretty self-explanatory

Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Accrington images

Postby johnfoyle » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:34 pm

I've had a go at transcribing Jimmie standing in the rain.

Listen here-

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/02/06/

Some words don't seem right so corrections/alternate suggestions are welcome.

It doesn't seem to be a 'suicide' song, as previously judged. True the central character has thoughts of 'If he could choose the time to die' but it could be assumed that he's thinking that the situation he's in is best it's going to be so he's going to make do.

Elvis introduced it as having a English setting in the 1930's but the word 'luncheon' doesn't strike me as being of that time and place , suggesting that something of Elvis' early 21st century North American circumstance is becoming evident in his lyrics.

I quote the chorus in full each time since it changes a few times , 'waiting/standing' ,' The sky is falling /It’s finally dawning ' etc.

The lines -

'Fine vaudevillians that once were pioneers
No place for a half cut Californian in polite society '


are approximations at best.

Image

Jimmie standing in the rain

3rd Class ticket in his pocket
Punching out the holes underneath the sockets
Tweed coat turned up against the fog
Slow coaches rolling o’er the moor
Between the very memory and reproaches of war
Stale bread curling on a luncheon counter
Loose change doling out the right amount

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
The sky is falling
Jimmies standing in the rain

Nobody wants to buy
The counterfeited prairie lullaby in a colliery town
The hip flask and fumbled scein of some stage door Josephine
Is all you’ll get now
Eyes going in and out of focus
Wild and bitter from tuberculosis

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Standing on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain

Her soft breath falls gentle on his neck
If he could choose the time to die
Then he would come and go like this
Underneath the painted sky
She woke up and called him Charlie by mistake
Then in shame began to cry
Tarnished silver bambuls of her friends
And then warm their hands around the brassier

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Standing on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain

Brilliantine glistening
Your soft blended whistling
And your one wondering smile
Died down in the Hippodrome
Now walking of to jeers
The lonely sound of jingling spurs
The toodle-loos and oh my dears
Down at the Argyl
Fine vaudevillians that once were pioneers
No place for a half cut cowboy in polite society

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Waiting at a platform of a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain
Last edited by johnfoyle on Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby Ypsilanti » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:41 pm

I'm sure you've got it mostly right, John. When I heard it for a 2nd and 3rd time I could see I was wrong about the suicide part. One thing...about the luncheon counter...I think he says, "loose change only, not the right amount". Did train stations in England not have lunch counters in the 1930's? I'm sure they did here. At least the larger ones. Is Lancashire a tiny or remote town?

So it's about a down-on-his-luck American performer who does a cowboy act, marooned at an English train station with a cheap ticket and no money? Very cinematic! I'm picturing somebody like John Carradine as the cowboy. The verses seem to alternate between his current circumstances and his own memories of a less unhappy past.

It's a fascinating song--very mysterious--seems it might contain a true story, the way Stella Hurt does. If it's about a broken down cowboy vaudevillian maybe it's sort of a companion song to "Ghost Train". Or the opposite of "American Without Tears".

If Elvis is working on things such as this in preparation for the Sugarcanes going to Europe next summer--finding a way to place the Sugarcane's "Americana" sound in an English or European context--perhaps he will even write more about his ocean-crossing grandfather.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby alexv » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:07 pm

Nice job transcribing, John. Listened to the song and it seems right. As we all know, EC's songs are never about "one" thing in particular, but this one seems to me, on first listening, to be about an american vaudevillian, maybe he's sick (tuberculosis?) trying to do his thing in England back in the 30s. In the first section he gets introduced: he's got little money, he's at the train station, fog, moors (very cinematic), eating stale bread at a cheap diner carefully counting his change. He's forgotten by an indifferent nation (the US, England?), his world is falling apart around him but he's doing the only thing he knows how, entertain. But in the second section we see that his American act (prairie act) doesn't go down well in the english coal towns. All he has is drink, his illness and some backstage fans. But this being after all Costelloland, the third section brings him some "sexual healing" albeit with a Costelloish twist: he's finally found a dolly to shack up with, and he figures he's in heaven (that's the I could die happy now line) but of course Costello heroes never get the "right" girl, he's in a chepa motel room (that painted sky) and she, damn these costello floozies, at the climactic moment calls him Charlie when he's Jimmie. Downer. In the last section, again typical Costello, we see him doing his thing at the Hippodrome and Argyl (I assume these are vaudeville type joints from the 30s) and not going over too well. His california act doesn't translate. Jimie's got issues.

But that could be just one literal reading. If you want to get psychological on it, you could go to town with the costello/jimmie comparisons: costello brings his vaudeville act from UK to US; Jimie goes the other way. Jimie gets no love; EC might have felt less than fully appreciated over here over the last couple of years.

Anyway, for me the good stuff in EC songs are the lines, not the songs, most of which are inscrutable. In this one, I like the tweed coat/moors coupling, the tuberculosis rhyme, and the colliery town line. As performed it also had a nice noirish feel to it. Reminded me of God's Comic for some reason.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:19 pm

Alexv- I think you hit it spot on. I like your also drawing attention to a possible psychological reading, as well, though, like Nabokov, loathe to go that way. Thought of "God's Comic" as well while listening. A twin song, thematically? I really enjoy this EC lyric, uncluttered, specific images, dramatically placed. A good effort by EC.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby ahawkman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:07 pm

Nice job guys, you pulled a lot more out of it than I could have. I only listened to it once, but liked it very much, the imagery reminds me of his earlier style of writing. Good stuff, I will listen to it again with your thoughts in mind. I love it when Elvis remembers he's British :)!!!!
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:52 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. I would never have got that 'painted sky' reference meaning a 'motel room' but it makes perfect sense. It's not something I can believe would have been a feature of cheap lodgings in 1930's England but it can be allowed to add to the atmosphere of the piece.

This song can be seen a companion to You Hung The Moon -

http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... g_The_Moon

Besides the very similar historical setting , it was composed on a train in England , the same route that Elvis wrote 'Waiting For The End Of The World', if I remember correctly a comment Elvis made during one of the Brodsky shows last April.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:07 pm

Good call- I too see it as something in line with "You Hung the Moon". Alexv, I was thinking a little longer about the song today and am willing to extend a psychological reading as well. It would seem quite frequently that a song like this one and others, like "Suit of Lights", etc, are veiled attempts to deal with a parent's lesser career. Perhaps an attempt to protect the loved one or perhaps to preserve a better memory of a loved one. I would even go so far as to draw connections cinematographically with that great Olivier vehicle "The Entertainer" by John Osborne. It is interesting to listen in this light given the reported locking away of replay rights by EC in the "Whites" thread. I have also been laughing all day at your intelligent calling attention to the sexual aspects of the lyric. I can think of no contemporary songwriter who has so notably documented in his songs the misadventures of male/female relations. An EC protagonist never comes out well in these encounters; leastwise here where he is referred to as 'Charlie' at the climax-oh! what a blow to the ego.
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:47 pm

This 2004 Elvis/Diana co-composition would appear to be also a companion piece to 'Jimmie -



http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/inde ... e_Tin_Star


Fake Tin Star



Things these days are better by far
A horse can out run a motor car
If the wheels are rubber and the rails are steel
That beast can outrun any automobile

Here's the story of progress and all the bullets they spent
On a sheet hung up in a circus tent
There's a lantern shining - it's pointing the way
This kind man has probably had his day
But they keep him around with his last vain hope
For selling tickets while spinning a rope

They brought him down off the vanishing trail
But nobody these days wants to hear his tale
So he spends his nights leaning up at the bar
The real gone cowboy with the fake tin star

Up on the screen there's a boy half his age
They pay him 20 times his weekly wage
For dodging phony bullets and catching blunt blades
For blowing up horses and kissing young maids

Children cheer
Women throw flowers
Men just glower
Up at the screen
But they don't know
Just what it means
Vengeance and dreams

Girls just swoon at the mention of him
With his face all powdered and his immaculate brim
And his hair pomaded and his fingernails clean
While old men whisper "Just look at him preen"
And outside muttering through a cheap cigar
There's a real gone cowboy with a fake tin star
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby Top balcony » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:57 pm

Ypsilanti wrote: Is Lancashire a tiny or remote town?


The answer is neither - Lancashire is a county, ie a region which contains many towns and cities (you will probably recognize "Blackburn, Lancashire" from the Beatles "A Day in the Life") prior to boundary changes in the last century it was considered to include major cities (eg Liverpool and Manchester). So the little Declan spent some of his childhood in Lancashire.

In the unlikely event that you want more of a geography/history lesson - more info can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancashire

I really like this song too - perhaps the real title for "American Ransom" is"King of England"?

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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby Jeremy Dylan » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:31 pm

I think 'Five Small Words' and 'Condemned Man' would both be promising titles, as would 'The Race Is On' (but I doubt they actually cut that one).
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Re: Jimmie standing in the rain - guess at lyric

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:50 am

Elvis has been saying, in show intros. for this song, that the 'cowboy' has a book of John Keats poems in his bag. 'Wild and bitter from tuberculosis' seems to be the most direct reference to the tragic poet ; he died from TB. Can anyone spot any allusions in Elvis' lyric to any of Keats' work?
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Mikeh » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:10 am

I have noticed a couple of Paul Simon references in Jimmy Standing in the Rain. "Tweed collar turned against the fog" echoes "I turned my collar to the cold and damp" from Sounds of Silence.

And "I'm sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination" from Homeward Bound, was supposedly written in Wigan station, which is in Lancashire. So "on the platform in a Lancashire station."
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:06 pm

John- every posted version of this song on various threads that I have listened to has EC only mentioning a 'single' poem by Keats in the 'battered suitcase' along with a 'coil of rope'. Could be wrong but that is all I hear in his introductions to the song.

Mikea points out very valid comparisons with Simon-the suggestion that the train station might be located in Wigan lets my mind fly to another famous consumptive, George Orwell, and his wonderful book titled On the Road to Wigan Pier but that would not be a Keat's reference unless you join the consumption but then many writers have had that disease.

In thinking about this all day there is little direct connection in either this lyric or most of EC's lyrics to Keats. The one obvious connection that comes to mind stems from the poem " La Belle Dame sans Merci" with its line "And no bird sings" which is echoed to some extent in the song by EC "The Birds Will Still Be Singing". If I see any influence of Keats, in the EC song "Jimmy" it may be the usage of particular tactile and other sensory images; this is something that characterizes a Keats poem. There is often a distinctive, specific image or images that fill his stanzas, take "The Eve of St Agnes" or "Isabella or a Pot of Basil" or "Lamia" for examples.

One aspect of the Jimmy lyric that can bring to mind Keats is the impending sense of demise that fills the lyric, both for a career, a life and perhaps for a way of life. Keats is a supreme poet of demise or death and he catches just such a sense of imminent demise in poems like the famous sonnet "When I have fears that I may cease to be" or in the Nightingale ode as the narrator states his pain and begins his "Lethe-ward' descent into the shadows and ultimate darkness of death and not unlike Jimmy wishing to "Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget, What thou among the leaves has never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret here, where men sit and hear each other groan. Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow and leaden-eyed despairs; Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow." One need only think of Jimmy, alone on the platform, standing in the rain[water being a dissolving agent, as well] and not help but conjure these lines- in fact they may be from that solitary poem that is stashed within the suitcase. Just a thought.

One final aspect of Keats writing that may be mirrored in this EC lyric is the way love is portrayed. Keats lovers are forever watchful; gazing and keeping vigil over one another in a parody of erotic action. That is what also happens in this lyric. It is a scene of mortality and of the need for interaction, the human presence, that EC wants to be completely satisfying for Jimmy, but somehow is lacking in real human contact. This is a condition that often occurs in a Keats poem. I suppose I could go on but I fear I would risk being boring so will just end it here.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:16 pm

Thanks Christopher - you could never bore me! Your response is ,as always, fascinating in it's scope and hugely informative.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:08 pm

Thank you. You have made an old Leo happy!
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Man out of Time » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:58 am

There is a tidy link to the Prairie Home Companion performance here:

http://www.directcurrentmusic.com/dc-music-news-feed/2010/5/23/elvis-costello-new-american-ransom-due-october-5-new-song-pr.html

When introducing this song on the UK dates of the European tour, Elvis made reference several times to the protagonist having a lariat with him.

I wonder if this item from The Prairie Home Companion in 2007 could have been an inspiration for Jimmie Standing in The Rain?

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2007/05/12/scripts/cowboys.shtml

An earlier juxtaposition of cowboys and John Keats... This is one verse from the "lonesome cowboy song".

"I would love to sit and look at the books
By Shakespeare and John Keats
But I must drive this herd of cattle
Cause people want red meat".


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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:13 pm

I'm cutting up her pure white dress
That I dyed red
That I dyed red
I'm putting scraps in cheap tin lockets
What time erases and memory mocks
I'll send them over the ocean foam
Right into those gentle European homes

The slave ship "Blessing" slipped from Liverpool
Over the waves the Royal Navy rules
To go and plunder the Kingdom of Benin
Where certain history ends and shame begins
Dahomey traders paid in powder and shot
Line up their prisoners and they sell them in lots
They packed them tight inside those coffin ships
And took them to the brand new world of
auction blocks and whips

I'm cutting up her pure white dress
That I dyed red
That I dyed red
I'm putting scraps in cheap tin lockets
What time erases and memory mocks
I'll send them over the ocean foam
Right into those gentle European homes

White is the sheet on your fine linen bed
The blood stained red on each cotton thread
Merchants will gather at St. George's Hall
To unveil the kneeling slave who is carved upon the wall
So picture the scene on the Old Salt House docks
Where they loaded the iron shackles and locks
Between a sandstone crocodile, a barrel and a bale
You will see the nameless faces they were offering for sale

So, I sing the praises of God's glory
As a blue cetacean floats in the basement
An elephant on the second storey
They queue all day to see him
In my American Museum

But the Lord will judge us with fire and thunder
As man continues in all his blunders
It's only money
It's only numbers
Maybe it is time to put aside these fictitious wonders

But man is feeble
Man is puny
And if it should divide the Union
There is no man that should own another
When he can't even recognise his sister and his brother

"Red Cotton" Elvis Costello





Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
'Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell
It's a time I remember, oh so well

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "La, la, la"

Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
"Virgil, quick, come see, there go the Robert E.Lee"
Now I don't mind choppin' wood, and I don't care if the money's no good
Ya take what ya need and ya leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, "La, la, la"

Like my father before me, I will work the land
And like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can't raise a Caine back up when he's in defeat

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, na"

The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, na"

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" The Band


© CANAAN MUSIC INC; WB MUSIC CORP.;



3rd Class ticket in his pocket
Punching out the holes underneath the sockets
Tweed coat turned up against the fog
Slow coaches rolling o’er the moor
Between the very memory and reproaches of
war
Stale bread curling on a luncheon counter
Loose change doling out the right amount

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Waiting on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
The sky is falling
Jimmies standing in the rain

Nobody wants to buy
The counterfeited prairie lullaby in a colliery town
The hip flask and fumbled scein of some stage door Josephine
Is all you’ll get now
Eyes going in and out of focus
Wild and bitter from tuberculosis

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Standing on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain

Her soft breath falls gentle on his neck
If he could choose the time to die
Then he would come and go like this
Underneath the painted sky
She woke up and called him Charlie by mistake
Then in shame began to cry
Tarnished silver bambuls of her friends
And then warm their hands around the brassier

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Standing on a platform at a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain

Brilliantine glistening
Your soft blended whistling
And your one wondering smile
Died down in the Hippodrome
Now walking of to jeers
The lonely sound of jingling spurs
The toodle-loos and oh my dears
Down at the Argyl
Fine vaudevillians that once were pioneers
No place for a half cut cowboy in polite society

Forgotten man of an indifferent nation
Waiting at a platform of a Lancashire station
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain
Somebody’s calling you again
It’s finally dawning
Jimmies standing in the rain

"Jimmie Standing in the Rain" Elvis Costello

Poor Deportee, as usual, has given me much to contemplate and his recent thread on the song “She Was no Good” has been integral in having me revisit the current album SP&S. I have repeatedly tried to enter the ‘baroque’ historical world that has excited PD but I cannot get past the cerebral artificiality I find in the same songs that have engaged other ears.

I have revisited the life of Barnum and know he was no abolitionist; just a businessman always looking to make a buck. That is why it is hard to take a song like “Red Cotton” seriously. Its detailed listing of English involvement in the slave trade, which like PD I find suspect as history, is bothersome; it tries to juxtapose Barnum's bitterness over his failed business realtionship with Jenny Lind with a pending civil conflagration and is instead full of emotional impoverishment for me. It is ultimately stale and heartless when compared with the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”. The failure to directly mention slavery or state’s rights in the Band's song gives the song an emotional power that still resonates through the years. It makes a human drama out of the history and not a political drama as in EC’s song. That direct human element in the Band’s song in the form of Virgil Caine and his struggles gives the listener a chance to bond with the common tragedy in the story, however we feel about the war, its causes and its aftermath which still reverberates with us long after the history was recorded. The Band took a mythic past added specific human details and made a public struggle take on the dimensions of a private loss; a loss that I and many listeners can consistently relate to on a human level. EC has only given me a partial and very dry history lesson which he has couched clumsily in the voice of a Promoter bitter over the loss of a monetary opportunity.The Band’s song has for me a real feel for history; an ability to find an honest drama in a ‘real’ America that is cursed. This is also being done with exceptional musicianship, as well. There is a wonderful blend of instruments, interesting rhythms and delicious shared and yet individual vocals led by Levon Helm. There is no feeling of being taken back into the past for a history lesson. Virgil’s story could be my story, that of a poor white farmer; a survivor for whom the war has cost nearly everything.

As PD says I find “Red Cotton” and other songs in this project too cerebral; there is a ‘falseness’ in the lyric and the others that I find very off putting. This is why I offer a current effort,“Jimmy Standing In The Rain”, as a stronger effort by EC in what PD calls his historical baroque approach to writing. It succeeds where “Red Cotton” fails because it cleaves to the human dimension and gives you sharply drawn details relating to a character who I can readily identify with as a fellow human. I am not being taught a history lesson but am instead being shown a man who is hurting, emotionally, financially and psychically. I feel for this individual and can very much identify with his plight. In fact in some ways I see it as a metaphor for the state many Americans now find themselves in- a sense of uprootedness as homes, careers, lives, a reason to live are passing them by. It is for me an emotionally telling song and one that I think will resonate with many listeners.

I like it when EC can write like this anchoring a song in concrete detail. It is an example of him working, for me at least, in that template created by the Band, so many years ago. It along with “A Slow Drag with Josephine” and “You Hung the Moon” are why I have so much expectation for the new album. Like PD, this is the historical writing that I think will survive from EC ‘s catalog in the decades to come.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Top balcony » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:45 pm

johnfoyle wrote:I

Brilliantine glistening
Your soft blended whistling
And your one wondering smile
Died down in the Hippodrome
Now walking of to jeers
The lonely sound of jingling spurs
The toodle-loos and oh my dears
Down at the Argyl
Fine vaudevillians that once were pioneers
No place for a half cut cowboy in polite society



it appears that Birkenhead ( a Cheshire rather than a Lancashire town) in the time this song was set had both a Hippodrome :

http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Birkenhead ... hippodrome

and an Argyle :

http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/BirkenheadTheatres.htm

the song also features a "stage door Josephine" - I assume this is a play on "stage door Johnney" but made me wonder if this was the same Josephine as was the target of the song " Slow Drag With..."?

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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby The Deliveryman » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:18 pm

I'm just jumping into this fascinating thread, and haven't seen any tangential threads, so forgive me if I'm missing anything relevant and/or getting off-topic, but I just had to reply to Christopher calling out "Red Cotton" -- I know that Barnum is a rather unsympathetic character, but I find "Red Cotton" to be one of Costello's finest songs BECAUSE of the "human dimension" that he allows his narrator. Barnum's booking of Lind for the All-American Tour -- unseen and unheard by Barnum before her arrival -- was, from what I've read, ultimately a financial success, bringing him a net income far exceeding his considerable investment. So, "Red Cotton" doesn't seem to me to be born of Barnum's "bitterness over the loss of a monetary opportunity" -- and yes, I realize the tour unraveled as it moved away from the Northeastern states (per "She Was No Good") , but rather the very human reaction of a scorned suitor (at least if I'm reading "She Handed Me A Mirror" correctly). The cutting up of the pure white dress into salable shreds seems more tragic than opportunistic -- more a purging than a money-making scheme. And why did he he dye them red? The entire "history lesson" of the song seems to be Barnum's battle of conscience, a misguided attempt to tie or equate the whole Lind affair to some concurrent horror that he was aware of and troubled by -- dying the scraps the red of the blood of the slaves being traded throughout the southern states Lind's tour took him to -- as a symbolic way of replacing his desire with disgust, washing his hands of Lind and lessening the blow of her rejection. The way the song is structured -- the very intimate first-person account of cutting up the dress that opens the song coming back to interrupt the "history lesson" at its midpoint seems to illustrate Barnum's inner conflict as he tries to justify his actions. The last three stanzas are especially fascinating -- they are so desperate and unconvincing, but they're the thesis that Barnum is trying to sell himself on and he's running with it. And yet within this bigger picture he's trying to focus himself upon, the little details still nag -- "it's only money / it's only numbers / maybe it is time to put aside these fictitious wonders" seems to be more personal than his suddenly universal stance.

Anyway, I could be totally off-base, but that's how I've always heard the song. I think the "Secret Songs" are some of Costello's best writing in ages, particularly "Red Cotton" and "She Was No Good". Haven't heard any of the new songs yet (trying to hold out until National Ransom...), but from what I've read of the lyrics, I really like the direction he's been going these past couple of albums.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Ypsilanti » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:37 am

Just popping in to say...The Secret Songs...obviously, they are hated by many, loved by a few. For those who find them unsatisfying or difficult to connect with, it might be important to remember their original context. They are, after all, outtakes from an opera--an opera that very few people have heard intact. Not being one of those people, I don't really know, but I would guess Elvis approached the task of storytelling a little differently--each song is only meant to tell part of a larger story. And each song bears the responsibility of advancing the action--creating or releasing dramatic tension, etc--they are scenes to be acted, more than they are songs to be sung. And some of the songs were originally intended for more than one voice--so they contain more than one point of view. I also notice from looking at the wiki, a couple of the songs contain a bunch of lyrics that are missing from the SP&S versions.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:33 am

Deliveryman, I am most appreciative of your take on the song "Red Cotton"- you have the willingness to back up your words with thought and do not just make a bald statement like too many. The song, and its compatriots, does not connect for me, as they do for you. But that is just my, and only my, take. I continue to find that 'human element' lacking and the lyric too artificial, stilted and 'precious' as noted by others, as well. Virgil will always resonate for me over PT. One stress I would offer is I think merited-that tour was a financial success not only for Barnum but also for the astute Ms. Lind. Barnum's bitterness for me is that he failed to have a chance to continue to capitalize on the money making opportunity.

As to tangential threads would encourage you to take in anything by Poor Deportee[or for that matter Alexv]- he always manages to make my mind come alive with an interesting observation or line of thought. Just check out any thread by him. Most recently his discussion "She Was No Good" or previous comments on the Spike Demo thread. You will not be wasting your time.
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Keats influence?

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:33 pm

http://www.elviscostello.com/words-deta ... d/729/8913

Accrington - 1937 was at the end of the official lyric to this. It's not anymore which is curious.


It seems Elvis had merely plucked the location and date out of the air so, in the same spirit, lets have a look the locations 'mentioned'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accrington_railway_station

Image
Approach to Accrington railway station

Image
Accrington Station - Platform 1

There does not appear to have ever been a Argyle theatre in Accrington but there was a Hippodrome


Image

Image


http://menmedia.co.uk/accringtonobserve ... accrington

(extract)

Many of the area's cinemas were in buildings that had housed, or went on to house, theatres. One example is the Hippodrome Theatre at the bottom of Ellison Street, which operated in the late 1920s and 1930s before reverting to a theatre.

The first full-length talking picture to be screened in Accrington, The Donovan Affair, was shown at the Hippodrome on 29 August 1929.

The original Hippodrome was a wooden building and was built in 1903 on the site of Ohmy's circus. It burned down on 6 June 1908 and was rebuilt and re- opened in December 1908.
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Re: Jimmie Standing In The Rain - Accrington images

Postby Jeremy Dylan » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:54 pm

I started working out the chords for this. It's in the saddest of all keys, Dminor.

The chorus stars

Dm
Forgotten man
Gm
Indifferent nation


And that's all I got so far.
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