Friday, February 3, 2012

Lilac Wine.

Lilac Wine is one of the most haunting gems of a song.  Reading the lyrics, you can see how innovative the structure is, the way it unfolds this mysterious narrative through strong imagery.    Lost in love-lost misery, she walks alone a midnight, tapping a lilac tree for this strange potion, intoxicated by the brew she hallucinates to see the image of her estranged lover.

Written in 1950, it made a theatrical debut and later reached a wider audience through the first cover by Eartha Kitt, a subsequent cover by Elkie Brooks (who was the only artist to have a hit with the song), and gained the most iconic cover of all by Nina Simone who gave it a powerful mystique.  My favorite version of all is by Jeff Buckley... He added to it, like everything he touches, the soft ghostliness the other versions miss.  

I lost myself on a cool damp night
I gave myself in that misty light 
Was hypnotized by a strange delight
Under a lilac tree
I made wine from the lilac tree
Put my heart in its recipe
It makes me see what I want to see (may be better to say "What I wanted to see"
and be what I want to be
When I think more than I want to think
I do things I never should do
I drink much more than I ought to drink
Because it brings me back you...

Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love
Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love
Listen to me... I cannot see clearly
Isn't that she coming to me nearly here?
Lilac wine is sweet and heady, where's my love?
Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, where's my love? 
Listen to me, why is everything so hazy?
Isn't that she, or am I just going crazy, dear? 
Lilac Wine, I feel unready for my love, 
feel unready for my love.


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