Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Black Freighter

So my buddy Danny Thompson* posts a Marianne Faithful video on Facebook of her singing "Pirate Jenny".

I've never really dug Kurt Weill (I almost spelled it "Kurt Veille"). I mean, Mack the Knife is fun and so forth. But I'm listening to this song and I'm thinking okay, I really know this song. But... different. Which shouldn't surprise me 'cause it's a famous song and maybe I just don't remember it exactly. But it's kind of strange as I felt I knew it very well from a long time ago.
And looking it up on Wikipedia I discover that it was covered by Steeleye Span under the name "The Black Freighter".
Ah. My sister took it upon herself to put music in my head wee head at the time (meaning the 1970's). So there are some funny albums that ring around in my brain. There's Donovan's "Mellow Yellow" which, quite rightly, I listened to as an elementary-school child. There's some non-canonical Cat Stevens which she bought for me at some point. And there's this Steeleye Span record.

Strangely, my elementary and middle-school years were devoid of The Beatles. And certainly absent was anything which even remotely resembled hard rock. And that was mostly due to my sister's taste. My older brothers were old enough to be mostly out of the house by the time I came along so other than some classical music their influence on me as a youngin' wasn't nearly so great.
So anyway, yes. I used to listen to the song a lot. But it was called something different.
I do think the chorus melody is squandered. There should have been at least one double-chorus. So say I.

*Not, incidentally, Danny Thompson. Why had I never noticed that before?

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