sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

favorite song -- grant-lee phillips : "susanna little"


still on a bit of a grant lee phillips/buffalo kick lately, and the one song that i can never get past is "susanna little", off grant's 2004 solo effort, virginia creeper. he's always had a knack for sprawling, cinematic, song-based storytelling, but in my mind it doesn't get any better than this. grant is about half american indian and this is essentially the story of his great-grandmother, who he never knew, as passed on to him through his mother. musically simple, with a lone piano, hushed fiddle, and the harmonizing vocals of cindy wasserman, the story very much occupies the spotlight. grant's voice is also in top form, with a tremble and quiver laying bare the emotion and honesty of this intensely personal narrative.

grant lee phillips : "susanna little"
from the lp virginia creeper (zoe records, 2004)

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
the odyssey of your life

a motherless child, you were torn from your home
by decree of the county affairs
good christians, they gave you a lily-white dress
and shorn back that indian hair

told you study your bible, be silent and still
and take to the ways of the whites
but nothin' they offered could break down your will
for you ran for the gates one night

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
stories that keep you alive

your daddy, joe little, had woes of his own
drink was much stronger than greed
but some in the city felt native red hands
were no place to let rest a deed

oklahoma was rich with the stench of black oil
and the men who came there to drill
in the sun baked clay of indian lands
there in the desolate fields

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
songs that'a keep you alive

mysterious crimes, oh they swept through the county
waving the finger of blame
eyes turned to joe little
a couple too many acres of land to his name

no one would have heard the lone shot in the night
they never posted his bail
big joey little, he never walked out
of sheriff stanton's jail

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
the odyssey of your life

for all of the lives you had lived this far
no part of you could have known
the evil hearts of the men who would fetch ya
one night by the side of the road

the moon, it grew dark and the frost would form
before you finally were found
chained to a log in a torn white dress
shakin' wild eyed on the ground

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
such were the trials of your life...

yet in the years to come, you took a man
raised five of your own
and for a spell it was as almost as though
the light of justice had shown

the hand that had written this part but for you
and made it all plenty hard
gave you a gusher, a well spring of oil
there in your own back yard

so pile them kids in the plush back seat
ridin' shotgun in the packard to town
with your man, tom fisher, one hand on the wheel
the other on your knee now

susanna little
susanna little
gone 'fore i ever arrived
questions that stream through my own creek blood
the odyssey of your life

susanna little
susanna little
susanna little
susanna little

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

tad my dear, you may be alone on this buffalo kick, but I agree he does have a knack for song-based storytelling. :)

Get some sleep.

December 5, 2006 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger tad said...

it's an unfair world when a guy like glp doesn't get the recognition he deserves. i will have to work on you, rachel :-)

yes, sleep--i'm gonna get me some of that

December 5, 2006 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this song, too!

June 16, 2011 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Red0rDed said...

You are definately not alone in this buffalo kick. I have been in love with the music of GLB and GLP ever since I heard 'Grace' back in about '94 at Glastonbury. His solo albums are not quite as immediate as the GLB albums but get under your skin every bit as deep. I still can't decide which is my fave, but came to this page after googling 'Susannah Little'. Great tune

May 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM  

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all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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