Thursday, May 24, 2012

Elvis and his roses

Many blooms still linger there, lyrics Jerry Chesnut
It's been a good year for the roses. An Elvis Costello lyrical masterpiece if ever I heard one. I can hardly bear the sight of the cigarettes there in the ashtray, lyin' cold the way you left 'em, but at least your lips caressed them...Elvis' anguish is all too clear. Perhaps I should have realised it was a little lacking in aggression, too gentle, without those tendrils of bitterness that seem to lace Costello lyrics.

Not as pretty as roses but improved with age
Jerry Chesnut wrote the song and it was originally performed by George Jones in 1970. Elvis delivers it so tenderly though, it's easy to let the lyrics float by without digesting their significance. Listen to the man who allows his baby to go on crying, without doing anything himself; he sees the bed is unmade but doesn't make it and so on. I still love the song but can understand why she's leaving him. She probably had to tend the garden as well. After all, many blooms still linger there, the sign of someone who knows their roses.

Have a look at this early clip and hear a beautiful live rendition:

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