Tuesday, September 10, 2019

"Don't Interrupt The Sorrow"

I have been a lifelong fan of The Smiths and Morrissey, and despite the fact that some of Morrissey's recent controversial--and ill-conceived--statements and beliefs (including aligning himself with For Britain, England's far-right party) have made it very hard to continue to like him, I can't help but be excited about his most current release. "California Son" is an album of covers, something I never would have expected from Morrissey but now that it exists, it makes perfect sense, especially looking at the songs he has chosen to cover. You can't go wrong covering songs from one of the greatest living singer/songwriters, Joni Mitchell (of whom I have also been a lifelong fan). And here he is singing the exquisite "Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" from the phenomenal 1975 Joni Mitchell album "The Hissing of Summer Lawns."

Don't interrupt the sorrow
Darn right
In flames our prophet witches
Be polite
A room full of glasses
He says "Your notches liberation doll"
And he chains me with that serpent
To that Ethiopian wall

Anima rising
Queen of Queens
Wash my guilt of Eden
Wash and balance me
Anima rising
Uprising in me tonight
She's a vengeful little goddess
With an ancient crown to fight

Truth goes up in vapors
The steeples lean
Winds of change patriarchs
Snug in your bible belt dreams
God goes up the chimney
Like childhood Santa Claus
The good slaves love the good book
A rebel loves a cause

I'm leaving on the 1:15
You're darn right
Since I was seventeen
I've had no one over me
He says "Anima rising-
So what-
Petrified wood process
Tall timber down to rock!"

Don't interrupt the sorrow
Darn right
He says "We walked on the moon
You be polite."
Don't let up the sorrow
Death and birth and death and birth and death and birth
He says "Bring that bottle kindly
And I'll pad your purse-
I've got a head full of quandary
And a mighty, mighty, thirst."

Seventeen glasses
Rhine wine
Milk of the Madonna
He don't let up the sorrow
He lies and he cheats
It takes a heart like Mary's these days
When your man gets weak

For comparison, here is Joni's original version. Morrissey may have changed a few words here and there and amped up the texture but he kept the sense.

Morrissey actually interviewed Joni Mitchell in 1996. The fascinating, two-part conversation can be heard below.


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