Song of the Day #949: ‘Cathy’s New Clown’ – John Wesley Harding

It’s appropriate that I’m featuring a John Wesley Harding song in the midst of my Elvis Costello weekends. The poor man has been compared to Costello so often for so many years… why should he escape that here?

Of course being compared to Elvis Costello is quite a compliment, so I doubt he’s complaining. And he did hire most of The Attractions to back him on his best album, Here Comes the Groom, so it’s not like he doesn’t invite the comparison.

I don’t know much about Harding, apart from the Costello connection that led me to him in the first place and the fact that he borrowed his stage name from a Bob Dylan album. I own that one album, Here Comes the Groom, and it’s a good one. But his 14 other albums (and two novels) are a mystery to me.

Here Comes the Groom, though, is a worthy record. I can’t say I play it much (ok, I admit, it’s been at least five years since I’ve heard it in its entirety) but I enjoy it every time I do.

The song I return to the most is ‘Cathy’s New Clown,’ an update of the Everly Brothers hit ‘Cathy’s Clown.’

I present it here for your listening pleasure, after which I will ignore John Wesley Harding for another five years.

Sometimes when you get mystic
I have to leave the room
Another accident statistic
While the big bass drum goes boom
There’s an apocalypse now on Station Road
If there’s a nuclear winter, at least it’ll snow
Your talk turns all of me upside down
You turned up my ticket at the lost and found
And all I got was the current crown worn by
Cathy’s New Clown

Our enemies are at the border
We couldn’t go back too soon
Be a nice girl and don’t take orders
That’s what they’re saying in the back room
You got a big black box that I can’t get a look in
And I wanna look at you but I don’t get a look in
I’m like a talking head with the sound turned down
Or Pavlov’s dog when he wasn’t around
I’m just a little bit lost so I’m heading downtown to be
Cathy’s New Clown

One upon a time
I didn’t know you
That’s the way the story goes
But how I wish, how I wish you’d let me show you
That I love the lines but hate the clothes
That’s the way it goes

Turn the speakers up to ten now
Listen to what he has to say
Watch out there’s a body talking body-talk
A big mouth just gets in the way, hey
When I’m with you, there’s something to it
You know the old lie and you can see through it
But now I’m alone and I’m homeward bound
Cover my tracks up and cover new ground
Put down the purse cos I’m buying this round
I’m putting pepper down for the pack of bloodhounds
And all I need is a single sound, I’ll be
Cathy’s New Clown
Here he comes…..

One thought on “Song of the Day #949: ‘Cathy’s New Clown’ – John Wesley Harding

  1. Dana says:

    he sounds a bit like Elvis-lite, but not bad.

    I look forward to your featuring him again on the SOTD in 2016.

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