Song of the Day #894: ‘Holy Rollers For Love’ – Jakob Dylan

Best Songs of 2010 – Honorable Mentions

Jakob Dylan, who has lived up to his songwriting lineage over several Wallflowers and two solo albums, released a low-key collection of ballads titled Women and Country earlier this year.

I haven’t revisited the album much since I first got to know it because it’s a decidedly somber affair. But song for song it is an assured and meaningful record.

Dylan has settled into a sort of retro folk style that seems influenced more by his father’s influences than by his father’s own music.

While most of the songs on Women and Country are growers, ‘Holy Rollers For Love’ scored for me pretty much from the start. That’s mostly due to the lovely melody, though the blending of religious and military imagery makes for a provocative lyric.

T-Bone Burnett’s production and the gentle backing vocals of Neko Case and Kelly Hogan give this song, and the whole album, an ethereal vibe not unlike Burnett’s celebrated work on the film O Brother Where Art Thou?.

Down from the mountain out walking the flood
I see the future in this setting sun
Unfolded gardens uncover the earth as it was
Filled with canteens and tear gas
From this last voyage of us

Ain’t no gentlemen here hiding wings
The devil himself would be puzzled to give
Any reasons to sink his fingers in
All this voodoo and black magic
Doing the work that was his

With battle songs filling their lungs
Move them out down under the sun
Give them tears for cherry red blood
Stack them old, we cradle them young
World is crazy or maybe just
Holy rollers for love

Split this ocean and set these sails
It’s down to the seabed we dazzle and fail
Hereafter’s bringing more funerals than fairs
And it’s a book of blank maps
That we’re using to get us there

To the hilltops my daughter, my son
The rescue’s too little to cover the slums
Cross this river deeper than it ever was
There’s a pause in the evening
When prayers are supposed to be done

With battle songs filling their lungs
Move them out down under the sun
Give them tears for cherry red blood
Stack them old, we cradle them young
World is crazy or maybe just
Holy rollers for love

Glory glory hallelujah be warned
God is still marching, still raising his sword
Board these windows and guard your stretch of floor
Something sinister’s got you the minute you open the door

With battle songs filling their lungs
Move them out down under the sun
Give them tears for cherry red blood
Stack them old, we cradle them young
This world is crazy or maybe just holy rollers for love
This world is crazy or maybe she’s holy rollers for love
This world is crazy and making us holy rollers for love

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One thought on “Song of the Day #894: ‘Holy Rollers For Love’ – Jakob Dylan

  1. Dana says:

    Hard to say that he has “lived up” to his songwriting lineage, but he has certainly done quite well considering the absurdly long shadow cast by his father.

    Nice song, and I do love the way Burnett produces!

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