Song of the Day, November 11: Build Me A Coffin by John Wesley Harding

WesDynaCoffinToday’s song is John Wesley Harding’s Build Me A Coffin. After a live debut, four studio albums, and two EPs, Wes had left his original label, Sire, beginning a long run of one-disc-only contracts that gave him more flexibility and control. At the same time, he released a wonderful batch of outtakes and oddities through his fan club. Cleverly titled Dynablob (making the title and credit an anagram for the Dylan album from which he took his stage name), it’s a stronger set than many of its ilk. Most of the tracks are strong songs that just didn’t fit the album of the time rather than leftovers.

The standout is the wistful Build Me A Coffin. Opening in fine Wes style with “When there’s not enough rigor / but there’s too much rigor mortis,” it extends the metaphor of pulling the covers over one’s head to a rather permanent extreme. With an elegantly simple acoustic guitar behind his rapid-fire observations, he sings of failures and fears trivial and grand, personal and global.

You know that Hell just isn’t some kinda bottomless pit
It’s a chair in a long white corridor and you’re sitting in it
With clenched fists
The lifestyles of the rich and hopeless
I’m gonna build me a coffin and get right in
Sometimes it’s too much to see what’s happening around me

Enjoy this wonderful song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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