the marquis de tren & bonny billy – get on jolly

i was tired and sleeping on my idle bed and imagined all work had ceased

conceptually, this is the most beautiful album in the collection. in sound, it comes close as well. it is based on a small selection of the verses of gitanjali (translated as song offerings) by the bengali poet/philosopher rabindranath tagore. the stories of how the original verses were translated and gained/lost meaning makes this equally interesting as a project in reinterpretation.

it was about “god” in a generic way as translated into english, but embodied through nature in the original. however, i feel that these two perform them as love songs. i should say that “these two” are mick turner from dirty three and will oldham in a slightly different iteration of his bonnie ‘prince’ billy pseudonym. they had already worked together.

i have a vivid memory of bidding on ebay for the limited release live version of this album, get the fuck on jolly, which i lost at about $80 with seconds left because i was in the field researching in port adelaide and had to trust a colleague to bid at just the right time. they didn’t, but all was not lost. i will, at some point, happen upon it, of that i have no doubt.

the two most beautifully rendered songs as connections between words and sound here are 81 and 64. the first is lovingly reverential and everyday; the second is lamentation on the lost/never had love of a strange woman carrying a light. in giving sound to these interpreted words, they really have managed something unequalled in modern music (as far as i am aware).

hidden in the heart of things, you make seeds into sprouts
and hidden in the heart of things, you make buds into flowers
and hidden in the heart of things, you make flowers into edible things

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