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We're not going to play the blues anymore. Let the white folks play the blues. They got 'em, so they can keep 'em - Miles Davis

Author Topic: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life  (Read 570 times)

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Offline Pan

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Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« on: August 04, 2017, 01:50:55 PM »
Hi all.

Time to turn to your collective knowledge again!

I'm asked to perform on an event with the theme of "Elysium" (or Paradise or Fiddler's Green or Valhalla etc., if you like), or a longing for a better life/place. They needn't to be necessarily religious songs (but can be).
 
I should come up with a set of about 30 minutes of such songs, I would hope them to be country blues, or related.

The first thing that instantly came to mind, is the old traditional "Going Down The Road Feelin' Bad".

Do you have other suggestions that might fit the bill? I'm sure that there are many, but I can't seem to remember them offhand.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Cheers

Pan

Offline banjochris

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2017, 01:55:51 PM »
Not quite country blues, but "Little Stream of Whiskey" and "Big Rock Candy Mountain" spring instantly to mind. Would Big Bill's "Just a Dream" be too far off the subject?
Chris

Offline Pan

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 02:31:04 PM »
Not quite country blues, but "Little Stream of Whiskey" and "Big Rock Candy Mountain" spring instantly to mind. Would Big Bill's "Just a Dream" be too far off the subject?
Chris

Not at all, those are excellent suggestions, so thank you very much, Chris!

Cheers,

Pan

Offline Slack

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 02:41:44 PM »
Washington Phillips: What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?

Maybe it's too obvious, but such a pretty song.

Offline Pan

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 05:34:46 PM »
Washington Phillips: What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?

Maybe it's too obvious, but such a pretty song.

A great one for sure!

Cheers,

Pan

Offline waxwing

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 06:42:47 PM »
"Whitewash Station Blues" by the MJB?

I guess you'd have to grapple with the ethical question of whether you can sing the viewpoint that you have to be white to get to heaven with the sarcastic attitude of a black person? It's actually a rare example of a blues song from the era that is openly referring to racism.

Wax
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Offline Rivers

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2017, 07:53:08 PM »
Across The Borderline, Ry Cooder. May be too sad for what you want, but what a beautiful, haunting song.

There's a place where I've been told
Every street is paved with gold
And it's just across the borderline
And when it's time to take your turn
Here's one lesson that you must learn
You could lose more than you'll ever hope to find

When you reach the broken promised land
And every dream slips through your hands
Then you'll know that it's too late to change your mind
'Cause you've paid the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you're still just across the borderline

Up and down the Rio Grande
A thousand footprints in the sand
Reveal a secret no one can define
The river flows on like a breath
In between our life and death
Tell me who's the next to cross the borderline

En la triste oscuridad (In the sad darkness)
hoy tenemos que cruzar (today we have to cross)
este r?o que nos llama m?s all? (this river which calls us further away)

But hope remains when pride is gone
And it keeps you moving on
Calling you across the borderline

When you reach the broken promised land
Every dream slips through your hands
And you'll know it's too late to change your mind
'Cause you pay the price to come so far
Just to wind up where you are
And you're still just across the borderline
« Last Edit: August 04, 2017, 08:46:18 PM by Rivers »

Offline Rivers

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 09:01:33 PM »
In a similar vein, people's fond hopes of finding a better life, Woody Guthrie has more than a few songs, including Doh Re Me, I Ain't Got No Home, Deportees.

Offline outfidel

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2017, 06:14:47 AM »
Since I've Laid My Burden Down -- many people

Oh Glory How Happy I Am - Rev Gary Davis

Trouble Will Soon Be Over - Blind Willie Johnson
Support musicians in need - join the Music Maker Relief Foundation

Offline chickenlegs

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2017, 07:49:13 AM »
What first came to mind was ? - I wish I was in heaven sittin' down - Fred McDowell
Thinking about it ? a couple of Patton's spirituals - some happy day - I'm going home -   I've always thought of - down the dirt road blues - in this way too. Seems there are lots of spirituals that express this longing sentiment, while in blues there are few whole songs devoted to it. Though there are many verses within that do. Good luck with your project.

Offline Pan

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2017, 05:06:52 PM »
Some excellent suggestions in this thread again, so thank you folks.

I personally, must consider them, not from only for ethical, but also musical (or in the scope of my abilities) points of views. I like the idea of bringing up the reoccurring thought, that "Paradise" is somehow reserved to some privileged group of people, a very timely subject indeed.

But that's no reason to restrict your imagination, so keep your suggestions coming in!

Cheers,

Pan
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 05:59:50 PM by Pan »

Online Johnm

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2017, 04:46:41 AM »
Hi Pan,
I think Blind Joe Taggart's "In that Pearly White City Above" and Blind Alfred Reed's "There'll Be No Distinction There" both fit in the type of song you're seeking.
All best,
Johnm

Offline jostber

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2017, 09:00:07 AM »
Mississippi John Hurt - Beulah Land
Bozie Sturdivant - Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

Offline Pan

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2017, 06:18:01 PM »
Thanks for the great suggestions, Johnm & jostber.

Blind Joe Taggart's "In that Pearly White City Above" sure is a pretty song, with an eerie rubato arrangement, and the falsetto singing on Bozie Sturdivant - "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down" makes the hair on my arms stand up.

Cheers,

Pan


Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Songs about "Paradise" or a better life
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2017, 05:12:29 AM »
I suppose tons of old gospel songs could fit the bill, but the one that's been in my head lately is the mysterious Nugrape Twins' "There's a City Built of Mansions."

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