A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. -Ecclesiastes 3:4
“Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down.”
I’m getting to that age, you know. That age where people I know are starting to leave. It seems like more each year. Or is it just that I’m listening more? That it’s more real?
“I don’t remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you’d always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you’re nowhere to be found.”
And contrary to the righteous Bobby Hatfield, time does not go by so slowly. No, it rushes by now, hurtling forward…no emergency brake here. And those that you think will be here forever, suddenly no longer are.
It’s so easy to lose touch. Even with the power of social media. And speaking of that, I’ve got three Facebook friends who are no longer with us. Yet their Facebook pages live on (and sometimes even make posts) to remind me. It’s strange, but also somewhat comforting.
“No matter how close to yours another’s steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you’ll do alone.”
Frank and Elvis said they would do it “my way” and they surely did. But when the time comes, we’re all on our own. Life begins with the closest personal relationship most of us will ever have, and ends (for most) without it.
“Into a dancer you have grown, from a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know…”
Jackson Browne was one of the founding fathers of the SoCal “country-rock” scene in the 70’s, and along with John David Souther, helped show Glenn Frey and Don Henley a little bit about songwriting. As much as I loved the Eagles, I never thought they were able to match the pure lyrical genius of either of those guys.
“For A Dancer” has long been my favorite cut off Jackson’s third album, Late For The Sky.It seems just a bit ironic that this song came out two years before the death by suicide of his first wife, Phyllis Major, in 1976. The following “landmark” album, The Pretender, solidified Jackson’s grip on the genre, and his next, Running On Empty, was his biggest commercial success, but I always thought LFTS was superior.
Fellow SoCal rocker, Linda Ronstadt, covered only two of Jackson’s songs; “For A Dancer” with Emmylou Harris and “Rock Me On The Water”, both from Jackson’s earlier, less popular, works. Her versions of both, with that voice as big as the house, actually trump Jackson’s originals. But, then again, I’m a little biased when it comes to Linda!
Life, as they say, is short. So, as JB urges here, go on and sow some seeds of your own; go on and make a joyful sound!
Linda and Emmylou: