Friday, March 22, 2013

Darkness Darkness

From 1965 to 1970 The Youngbloods floated along with the times, never quite hitting it big but with their devoted aficionados (including me).  Featuring Jesse Colin Young on vocals and bass, Lowell Levinger ("Banana") on electric piano and guitar, Joe Bauer on drums and, for the first half of the band's existence, Jerry Corbitt on guitar, they blended good-time jug band music (Euphoria) with ballads (All My Dreams Blue) and becoming one of the pioneers in the new genre of folk-rock.  Their only hit song was Get Together (c'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now), a quintessential hippie anthem and, unfortunately, one of their weakest tunes.

Their most outstanding song was very atypical of the band's musical style - the first time I heard it my reaction was "wow, where did that come from cause it sure doesn't sound like anything else they've done".  It is Darkness Darkness from their 1969 album, Elephant Mountain.  The lyrics (see below) are much more somber and potent than the band's normal fare and Colin Young's gorgeous voice conveys their pain and anguish.  The presence of strings was unusual for the band and the searing guitar solo is a one of a kind in Youngbloods music.  This is a stunning song that is as powerful now as it was 40 years ago, and one still too little known.Darkness, Darkness
Be my pillow
Take my head
And let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, Darkness
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see

Darkness, darkness,
Long and lonesome,
Is the day that brings night's pain.
I have felt the edge of sadness,
I have known the depth of fear.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing,
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now, now, now
Emptiness of right now.

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow,
Take my head, and let me sleep.
In the coolness of your shadow,
In the silence, the silence of your deep.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now


Many artists have covered Darkness Darkness.  This is Robert Plants's version from 2003.

No comments:

Post a Comment