RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

RETURN OF THE GRIEVOUS ANGEL

 

“Return of the Grievous Angel” is a song written by Gram Parsons and poet Tom Brown. The song depicts the experiences of the character during a road travel across the United States.

The song was produced during the recording sessions of his second and last album, Grievous Angel. Parsons sang with the participation of Emmylou Harris backed with the main core of the TCB Band.

Parsons was inspired to write a song by Boston poet Tom S. Brown, who gave him his composition entitled “Return of the Grievous Angel”. Brown wrote the lyrics with Parsons on his mind to sing them. Parsons revised the poem and adapted it for the song.

Recurrent in Parsons compositions, the themes of the song include instances of wandering, homesickness and experiences with road life. The song depicts a truck travel through the United States, with the name of the unit being the “Grievous Angel”. The singer tells “sweet Annie Rich” of his experiences on the journey, and his ultimate decision return home based on his gained wisdom. It contains references to Presley as “the king” who wore “on his head an amphetamine crown” and his change of musical scene to Las Vegas. Parsons states that “(he) talked about unbuckling that old bible belt and lighted out for some desert town”.

The music style included a mixture of folk revival and traditional country music. During the musical breaks, the song is lead to a temporary harmony and melodic cadence, which progressively is restored to a four-measure phrase.

 

Won’t you scratch my itch sweet Annie Rich

And welcome me back to town

Come out on your porch or I’ll step into your parlour

And I’ll show you how it all went down

Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels

And a good saloon in every single town

 

Oh and I remember something you once told me

And I’ll be damned if it did not come true

Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down

And they all lead me straight back home to you

 

‘Cause I headed West to grow up with the country

Across those prairies with those waves of grain

And I saw my devil, and I saw my deep blue sea

And I thought about a calico bonnet from Cheyenne to Tennessee

 

We flew straight across that river bridge, last night half past two

The switch-man wave his lantern goodbye and good day as we went roling through

Billboards and truck stops pass by the grievous angel

And now I know just what I have to do (pick for me James)

 

And the man on the radio won’t leave me alone

He wants to take my money for something that I’ve never been shown

And I saw my devil, and I saw my deep blue see

And I thought about a calico bonnet from Cheyenne to Tennessee

 

The news I could bring I met up with the king

On his head an amphetamine crown

He talked about unbuckling that old bible belt

And lighted out for some desert town

Out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels

And a good saloon in every single town

 

Oh but I remember something you once told me

And I’ll be damned if it did not come true

Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down

And they all lead me straight back home to you

Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down

And they all lead me straight back home to you