October 07, 2003

Non Sum Dignis

What have I ever done to be worthy of being in a world in which I can listen to Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell, and Dar Williams, sing Julie Miller's "By Way of Sorrow"? It is my nominee for the perfect folk song.

Cry, Cry, Cry

Posted by DeLong at October 7, 2003 03:44 PM | TrackBack


I'm partial to Cold Missouri Waters on that album, but lately I've been enjoying Emmylou Harris covering Julie Miller's All My Tears, so back to Cry Cry Cry I go...

Posted by: ogged on October 7, 2003 04:23 PM

I'm partial to "Cold Missouri Waters" as well. And the "Ballad of Mary Magdalene," and "Fall on Me," and...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on October 7, 2003 04:37 PM

Damn straight! I'd put "Cold Missiuri Waters" first as well, but the whole album is a joy. I saw them live here in Madison when when they were touring to promote that album. They seem to have quite a bit of chemistry.

You would probably also enjoy any of their solo albums. Richard Shindell's "Blue Divide" really speaks to me. (If memory serves, he has a solo version of "Mary Magdeline" on that album...)

Posted by: Bones on October 7, 2003 05:29 PM

It's dignus, second declension masculine, not dignis.

It's a dead language, to be sure, but you can still hurt its feelings....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on October 7, 2003 07:11 PM

I bought Cry Cry Cry because of the REM cover but
Cold Missouri Waters was my favorite song the year
the album was released. By the way, Julie Miller
sings beautifully with Kasey Chambers.

Posted by: malcolm on October 7, 2003 07:13 PM

Actually, my favorite Cry Cry Cry cut is their spinetingling cover of Greg Brown's "Oh Lord, I Have Made You a Place in My Heart." Which is a spooky enough song to start with, granted.

Posted by: Patrick Nielsen Hayden on October 7, 2003 07:22 PM

Or Robert Earl Keen's _Shades Of Grey_,
the perfect capture of ordinary (well,
subordinary) people caught up in great

I wonder how many $20 pledges for advance
copies of a hypothetical _Cry Cry Cry II_
they could sell over the internet?

By the way, you can hear 2/3 of them on
Shindell's live album _Courier_, on which
Kaplansky sings backup. Features a "trucking
triptych" of Shindell's _The Next Best Western_
and _Kenworth of My Dreams_ along with Lowell
George's _Willin'_.

Posted by: David Mix Barrington on October 7, 2003 07:42 PM

You need a Latin spell-checker: I'm not worthy = "non sum dignus."

Posted by: CGE on October 7, 2003 09:57 PM

You need a Latin spell-checker: I'm not worthy = "non sum dignus."

Posted by: CGE on October 7, 2003 10:02 PM

The song that first comes to my mind when I think 'classic folk song' is "No More Fish, No Fishermen", which was written in 1996 by I. Sheldon Posen and John Goss and performed by the group Finest Kind. Not a false note or bit of pretension to be found.

BTW, 'Cold Missouri Water' was written by singer-songwriter James Keelaghan, and if you like that song you really must check him out.

Posted by: David W. on October 8, 2003 07:32 AM

I opened the "comments" to complain that the song in question is, of course, not a folk song (we know who wrote it, for one), but note the comments on some other songs and singers I like, so will just say, "yeah, there are a lot of good songs/singers/writers that too damned few folk have heard of, not limited to Shelley and James and all."

If you want more discussion of good singers/writers, etc., from the folk world, go over to www.mudcat.org and see what's up. There's a searchable database of lyrics, and a discussion page that includes requests for songs/singers/advice/BS/chat/what-have-you. A real community, too.

Don't mention my name over there, though. They know me by some other name.


Posted by: Ed Drone on October 8, 2003 08:19 PM

A folk-like song?


So who would you recommend whom I probably have not heard of?

Posted by: Brad DeLong on October 8, 2003 09:46 PM

if you haven't heard Emmylou Harris singing Julie Miller songs with her, on "Spyboy", you should. It's not folk, no. but it's spine-tingling, and one of the things I use to remindmyself that modern Christian art doesn't have to be meretricious.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on October 10, 2003 02:07 AM
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