Song of the Day #2,773: ‘House of Earth’ – Lucinda Williams

lucinda_ghosts_highway_20The second track on Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20, like the opener, features lyrics by somebody other than Williams.

In this case it’s Woody Guthrie supplying the words from beyond the grave. Williams met Guthrie’s daughter Nora at a German music festival and later received these lyrics from her with a note that read “I can’t think of anyone better to try and put music to these words – and no better person to sing them. But I understand if it’s too dark”.

Nora must not have known much of Williams’ work if she thought darkness would be a problem.

Lucinda wrote the music and performed the song live at a Woody Guthrie tribute before deciding to cut a studio version for this album. Let’s give it a whirl.

Another good one. Dark, just like Nora promised. I didn’t expect a song about a prostitute from Woody Guthrie. It has a very elegant, ethereal sound, and again, great production.

Come to my House of Earth
If you would like for me
To give your old time feelings back
Come here to my house of good rich earth
If you would like me to teach your wife a thing or two
Come here to this illegal place for joys
And teach your wife this way to grow new boys
I’ll take you by your hand
And show you whirls
Of these same feelings that grow pretty girls
I’ll wash your feet a couple of times a day
Till all your old time sorrow melts away
You leave some drops of honey on my couch
I’ll leave a couple dollars in your pouch

My house of earth is the richest land in town
I pity those dead ones that at me frown
So come to my house of earth
And learn its worth
A few green folded bills to learn of birth

I kiss you in such odd and natural ways
Your wife will then find out that kissing pays
Two times a day I’ll wash you in my tub
Ten times a day I’ll pat your skin and rub
Call me a prostitute and a whore, too
I’ll do these tricks your wife refuses to
I swear by all my bibles you won’t regret
I’ve never seen a man who’s sorry yet
I love you once to teach you all your life
The things to do when you are with your wife
Your wife should be quite glad and proud of me
For waking both of you up
To these things you see

My house of earth
Runs down with wine and rum
Lots of different ways
That you can come
And if you do come
I will be glad to see you
And if you don’t come
I’m glad you don’t need me

I’ll furnish red hot kisses and the hole
That wakes a sleeping sickness in your soul

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One thought on “Song of the Day #2,773: ‘House of Earth’ – Lucinda Williams

  1. Dana says:

    I find the music to be a bit too amorphous. Perhaps the lyrics lend themselves to no other interpretation, but it would be interesting to hear what someone else might do with them, such as Elton John, who is a master of making great melodies from another’s poetry.

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