“Lucille the Wall”

July 1st, 2015 | by admin

dorothyday_1x

Lucille the Wall

This song began to take form during a rehearsal when Colin, our drummer on All That Gold, and I were warming up. I started playing the main lick, D chord then to a G for just 4 beats. I was listening to the Joshua Tree that week and really loved the rhythm of the song Red Hill Mining Town. It felt like a dirge, digging into the soul and pulling out the dirt. Then once the rest of the guys heard the groove they must have felt some potential was there because they all started chippin in. The song needs to get past this point, if the band gets inspired then we are off to the races, but if not…goodbye, see-ya-later. Once Ethan started playing that D-G progression I was able to fiddle around and came up with the melody that happens on the instrumentals, it sounds like a synth pad on the recordings but that’s just the guitar with a heavy tremolo effect brought to you by Cusack Tap-A-Whirl.

So we had the basic framework of the song, two chords at least and a melody line. Kyle started vocally moving around the song, kind of mumbling words and ooh’s and aaah’s. He is a master of coming up with vocal melody lines and also brave enough to just start singing something, even if there’s no words. We recorded it on the phone and that was that.

A week later I started listening back to the phone recording of the song.  I heard the tones of what Kyle was singing and then would write words down that sort of matched the sounds (must have gotten lazy once I got to the chorus because there’s still no lyrics for that). I looked over what I had and asked myself what story do I want to tell here?

The first story… (This is embarrassing but here it goes). So the first idea I had was influenced by East of Eden, which is one of my favorite books and coincidentally my wife was reading it at the time. The story was about a teenage boy who sneaks out of his parent’s house one night, roams across town, and acquires the services of the local prostitute Lucille the Wall. That was it. A little too Maggie May perhaps.  The other guys in the band felt the same way, it didn’t really work for us.

So I took the song home and rewrote it a couple more times. Then I started thinking about a recent trip I had taken to upstate New York where I had stumbled across the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls. I began to imagine Lucille the Wall as some great suffragette in the early part of the century who fought hard for women’s rights and in the song we see her in her latter years, a matriarch, who finds strength serving the poor and in loving God and family. She became this great woman in my mind… and in a way redeemed the first image of her I had, one of a prostitute.

Probably my favorite line in the song and one that I think threads throughout the album All That Gold is “Gold will never know / rust from growing old / Heaven is my home / the only place I know.” It reminds me of the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus tells his listeners to not store up for themselves treasures on Earth where moths destroy and thieves steal, but in Heaven… “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also”. Lucille the Wall knows the best things in life are best enjoyed when given away. She teaches others that in losing your life you will find it, and I love her for that.

Lucille the Wall

Oh Lucille the Wall / golden six feet tall

Pretty little soul / built to bare the load

Crooked fingers strong / from work and love and lost

Eyes bright as the sun / heart as red as dawn

 

My Lucille the Wall / I feel you feel it all

Ragworn Fr. Brown, mother, daughter, child

Grace it grow like tree / limb and bark and leaf

A beating of the sea / a burning of the breeze

 

Gold will never know / rust from growing old

Heaven is my home / the only place I know

Oh Lucille the Wall / you give and give it all

Love until your grave / save and we’ll be saved

 

Oh Lucille the Wall / pure as evening song

A hymn called in a prayer / a whisper caught in air

Death won’t get ya down / seek while may be found

Love until your grave  / save and we’ll be saved

(Lyrics by Brent Chamberlin  /  Music by James & the Drifters)

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