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Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD Kid story—Turkeys & (153b) ARTSY Hard Rain screed 2 of 3

JEAN SHEPHERD Kid story—Turkeys & (153b) ARTSY Hard Rain screed 2 of 3

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A turkey just sitting on the hood is looking in the window at me.  He’s looking right in.  This big, fat, forty-seven pound turkey.  You can see he’s lost ten years off his life—his feathers are turning white.

And we sit there.  The turkeys won’t move.  They just sit.  Once in a while one looks up and goes gwaglewaglewagle.  If you think Chicken Little was afraid of the sky falling—you don’t know what a turkey’s like!

We sit there for around fifteen minutes.  This farmer’s walking around chewing Mail Pouch and spittin.’  He’s bugged.  He’s got his lantern going, and finally, one by one the turkeys start walking off my hood, they’re looking around.  On the road they start falling in to company formation once again.  Slowly we go down that road, me, my Ford, the scared turkeys, the farmer spittin’ in the ditch, and we go two or three-hundred yards.  The farmer comes to a farmhouse and the turkeys all turn left.  Off they go.  I put the car very carefully in first and I move down the road.

The car smells bad.  (The car smelled with a smell that, to the day I got rid of it, never fully was expunged.  It was a very ripe Ford that I sold.)  It’s got a –I don’t know how to say this—fear acts on a turkey the way that marvelous product that tastes just like Swiss chocolate, acts on a nine-year-old kid after  he’s eaten two packages of it.

I’ve got my electric blue sports coat on, the car’s covered with a thick coating.  It’s just been a bad night all the way down the line.  I finally get to the next town.  The girl’s name is Patty and she works in a drugstore, and she got off her job about seven o’clock and I’m showing up about ten.

I drive up in front of the drugstore.  It’s open till midnight, so she’s sitting inside at the counter.  Waiting.  I walk in.  I say, “Patty, you will not believe this!”

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Part 2 of 3 of Ferry’s “Hard Rain.”

CONUNDRUM

Dylan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXn9ZKPx6CY&list=RDMMhXn9ZKPx6CY [

Ferry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwBHd4kll0&index=1&list=RD7zwBHd4kll0

Comparing a Bob Dylan rendition of “Hard Rain” with the Bryan Ferry staged performance, first one should note that Ferry’s short version (his “official” rendition = more financially acceptable) runs three minutes, eleven seconds, while Dylan’s complete playings in varied performances, run from six to over ten minutes. (It’s also a fact that Dylan, early in his career, performed shortened versions.)

I present here Ferry’s cut version, with my annotations, including his added words of embellishment in red, besides cutting two whole stanzas of Dylan’s lyrics that apparently didn’t fit his up-tempo extravaganza. I experience Ferry’s “Hard Rain” as bombastically ironic. The black stage set with bright spotlight features Ferry at a pure white grand piano, with three attractive back-up singers who, in their jazzy costumes and flashy/ironic expressions and voices, bounce along to the up-tempo rhythm. Ferry and the back-ups are frequently videoed in over-the-top, extreme close ups—faces and mouths. Ferry’s opening, with ironic smugness, introduces the whole rendition.

          Ferry’s Dylan

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
Walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways,
Stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
Been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard.

It’s a hard, and it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, and it’s a hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

                   [Entire stanza missing—“What did you see…”—etc.]

Oh what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
What did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin’,
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,

One hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazing, heh,

[Here the video begins inserting war scenes—Considering Ferry’s context, I don’t buy the phony emotional play.]

Ten thousand whispering and nobody listening, heh,
One person starve, I heard many people laughin’,

       [The three girl backups do a pronounced, ironic laugh.]
I heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,

 [The back-up singers give an ironic-sounding “awwww!”]
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, hard, hard, hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

    [Entire stanza missing—“And who did you meet,….”etc.]

And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
What’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
Walk through the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, and none is the number.
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I’ll stand in the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

[Ferry “sings” in a vocal tone and facial expression which I see as ironic comment, including in the following line, the apparently ironic, “ha-ha-ha-ha”]

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a ha ha ha ha hard,

[As though laughing at the thought.]

And it’s a hard rain’s a gonna fall.
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, and it’s so hard so so hard,
And it’s a hard rain’s a gonna fall.


             [Throughout, Ferry and the three singers express in actions and sound a disparaging irony–especially, see his expression lower left. Video ends with camera pulling back, revealing singers and Ferry at his white piano.]

In a 1977 interview, there was this approximate exchange:

INTERVIEWER: …a song like “Hard Rain,” which is a Bob Dylan song, it was actually totally different. Being such a major fan of Bob Dylan’s were you a little bit worried that there was one version….

FERRY: There were plenty of other people as well….I thought that he’d underplayed it kind of. He did it during his kind of protest period, and it was just a kind of beautiful poem to me, you know, done to a guitar-strumming accompaniment.

Other comments by Ferry:

“To me a cover is just changing the vocal performance. I like to change a song.”

“Virtually anything you did would have to be different because all [Dylan] did was guitar and voice and mouth organ,…“

Ferry in an interview. “So I did it over the top, real kind of pounding piano and everything, sound effects and so on.

End Part 2 of 3.

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