I woke up with Tecumseh Valley in my head today

in #music8 months ago


Happy weekend!

Long gone are the days when I could sleep in late. I fell asleep sitting in my recliner last night, crawled into bed around 3:30 am, and then woke up with restless legs around 5:30 am with this song in my head. Stella T. Dog is up with me and she's resting her head on my leg as I type this, begging me to just pay attention to her instead of writing about some dumb song.

This is a song that is as beautiful as it is sad and it's written by a man that some people say is the best songwriter who ever lived. Personally, I say that's subjective and there's really no way to gauge who is the "best" at art. Experts can try, but experts usually know too much for their own good.

This song, much like the life of the songwriter who wrote it, starts off sort of hopeful and ends with a sad death. In the beginning of the song, Townes sings about a woman who goes by the name of Caroline, that's she's the daughter of a miner, and that it seemed like sunshine walked beside her. That sounds pretty hopeful and normal.

By the middle of the song, things weren't going well, and she'd turned the prostitution. By the end, she was dead beneath some stairs with a note in her hand.

In her hand when she died was a note that cried "fare thee well, Tecumseh Valley."

Early in Townes Van Zandt's career, he was an exceptionally good guitar player and his voice was pretty strong. Later in his career, his guitar playing was hit-or-miss, as he struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. It's a sad story, but I think everyone has their place in this world, and his may have been to live a short, sad life and turn it into beautiful music to be enjoyed by those of us stuck on this rock after he left it. He basically slowly drank himself to death and died on New Years Day in 1997. I do remember hearing the news on MTV, which was something I actually watched in 1997.

There are many recordings of this song and it was hard to pick which one to use for this post, but I went with this one because it's got more instrumentation and might be more interesting to someone who doesn't like this kind of music than just a performance of only guitar and vocals. Those are good as well, though.

Actually, fuck it. Here's another great one:

Let's just go nuts now. This is a performance I watched a while back that stuck with me. This guy is good:

Lately, I've been on a bit of a Townes Van Zandt kick, so it is not at all surprising that I woke up with this song in my head. It's kind of always hanging around back there. I'm always whistling his song "Pancho and Lefty" while I'm walking around at work.

This post is part of an ongoing series in which I document the songs which are in my head immediately upon waking. I've been making them for a long time now.

Do you wake up with songs in your head on a regular basis? What song was in your head this morning? Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

The list so far

1Auli'i CravalhoHow Far I'll Go
2Huey Lewis and the NewsThe Power of Love
3MetallicaSad But True
4MetallicaNothing Else Matters
5MetallicaWherever I May Roam
6the pAper chAseI Did a Terrible Thing
7MetallicaSad But True (Repeat)
8LimbeckHonk + Wave
9AC/DCBack in Black
10Patsy ClineBack in Baby's Arms
11The HeligoatsFlorida Panther
12Patsy ClineWalkin' After Midnight
13Lord HuronUntil the Night Turns
14Richard EdwardsGene
15Built to SpillYou Were Right
16Richard EdwardsOlive Oyl
17Frank OceanSierra Leon
18The ThermalsBack to Gray
19Pedro The LionWhen They Really Get to Know You, They Will Run
21All Them WitchesInternet
22Pedro The LionKeep Swinging
22Father John MistyPlease Don't Die
23Black SabbathFairies Wear Boots
24Father John MistyTotal Entertainment Forever
25Cardi BBest Life
26All Them WitchesCall Me Star
27Black SabbathSabbath Bloody Sabbath
28The DoorsLight My Fire
29Al GreenCan't Get Next To You
30Guns n' RosesCivil War
31Atlanta Rhythm SectionSpooky
32Against Me!Sink Florida Sink
33Paula AbdulStraight Up
34Seals and CroftGet Closer
35Black Mountain Mothers of the Sun
36HumThe Scientists
37The Black AngelsCurrency
38SpiritualizedHere It Comes (The Road) Let's Go
39Guns n' RosesNovember Rain
40Chris StaplesTimes Square
41The Get Up KidsTen Minutes
42Uncle Acid and the DeadbeatsDeath's Door
43The Roots featuring Erykah BaduYou Got Me
44Daryl Hall & John OatesRich Girl
45The LemonheadsIt's All True
46The Snake The Cross The CrownThe Great American Smokeout
47Every Time I DieMap Change
48Iron MaidenThe Number of the Beast
49Kevin DeVineHeaven Bound and Glory Be
50WilcoRandom Name Generator
51Kanye WestAll of the Lights
52Terrence and Phillip (South Park)Uncle Fucker
53Alice in ChainsAngry Chair
54Sturgill SimpsonKeep It Between The Lines
55The War on DrugsHolding On
56Nine Inch NailsHead Like a Hole
57JawboxEmpire of One
58Alice in ChainsRain When I Die
59The Snake The Cross The CrownCotton Teeth
61Chad VanGaalenMonster
62Pedro The LionClean up
63The Mars VoltaThe Widow
64Magnolia Electric CompanyMontgomery
65The NationalRunaway
66Mac MillerCircles
67Bright EyesMake War
68Mac MillerGood News
69Ryan AdamsChains of Love
70OasisDon't Look Back in Anger
71R. KellyIgnition (Remix)
72Ryan AdamsRocks
73Mount EerieReal Death
74Better Living Community CenterService Road
75Lucy DacusStrange Torpedo
76WilcoWishful Thinking
77LimbeckMaking the Rounds
78The Get Up KidsSecond Place
80ShinerGlass Jaw Test
81Bright EyesHot Knives
82Satan (South Park)I Want to Live Up There
83R.E.M.It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
84OwenI'm Not Going Anywhere Tonight
85The PosiesSolar Sister
86The Gloria RecordGood Morning, Providence
87PulpPencil Skirt
88Phoebe BridgersKyoto
90Okkervil RiverNo Key, No Plan
91Johnny CashGive My Love to Rose
92Sierra FerrellIn Dreams
93Clem SnideExercise
94Townes Van ZandtTecumseh Valley

That's a lot of sadness going on in this one. The sad life of the guy, and the sad life and ending of the girl in the song. This guy also sounds pretty sad in his voice and songs. Sad squared, so to speak.

This morning I was reading about the #SadSunday tag by MiPiano (post) requesting our community if we would like to revive the #SadSunday tag, but reading this we may need to #SadSaturday tag.

I'm no mathemagician, but I think that might even be sad cubed.

There's no reason to be sad on Saturdays! haha. It can still happen, sure, but I think the tag is definitely more fitting for Sunday or Monday. I like a lot of really, really sad songs, so I could probably have fun with that, bumming everyone out along the way.

#PartySaturday seems like a good idea to me as long as no one posts Andrew WK.