…I pulled into Nazareth

Israel has a way of hauling out your inner-romantic.  Once, about 30 years ago, I found myself on the outskirts of Nazareth with some friends.  I was at the wheel of yet another beat-up, rented Peugeot and it didn’t take long to realize that what we had here was a magnificent opportunity. So I dug through my cardboard tape-cassette box and cued up this song. Of course I did…wouldn’t you?

It was an especially stifling, sticky day.  All the windows were rolled down and before the end of the first stanza we were teetering on the abyss of an epic traffic jam.  The grand moment was quickly being lost in the haze of red tail lights and you can imagine our annoyance when the Arab taxi driver in front of us began to lean on his horn with one vexatious BEEEEEEEP!

But then he became my hero. Still leaning on his horn, he pulled out of the jam and proceeded to drive up the wrong side of the street for an entire city block, making his escape at the next intersection.

By now we were at the bit in the song where “Crazy Chester followed me…” and despite the loud protestations of my friends I went with the impulse, located my horn and did – the – same – thing.  It remains one of the few times in my life that I’ve actually gotten away with such a stunt and before the song had even ended we had discovered a more leisurely route out of town.

Written by Robbie Robertson (and named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”) The Weight was first released on The Band’s 1968 debut album, Music From Big Pink. And it wasn’t until much later that I learned that the song actually references Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where C.F. Martin & Company has manufactured guitars since 1833.

I guess if I’d known that then, you wouldn’t have this rather fond memory to accompany today’s selection now.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Wednesday 16 May

The Weight

 I pulled into Nazareth

Was feelin’ about half past dead

I just need some place where I can lay my head

“Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?”

He just grinned and shook my hand

“No”, was all he said

 Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free

Take a load off Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

I picked up my bag

I went lookin’ for a place to hide

When I saw Carmen and the Devil walkin’ side by side

I said, “Hey, Carmen, come on, let’s go downtown.”

She said, “I gotta go, but my friend can stick around”

Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free

Take a load off Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

 Go down, Miss Moses

There’s nothin’ you can say

It’s just ol’ Luke

And Luke’s waitin’ on the Judgement Day

Well, Luke, my friend, what about young Anna Lee?”

He said, “Do me a favor, son

Won’t stay an’ keep Anna Lee company?”

Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free

Take a load off Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

Crazy Chester followed me

And he caught me in the fog

He said, “I will fix your rack, if you’ll take Jack, my dog”

I said, “Wait a minute, Chester, you know I’m a peaceful man”

He said, “That’s okay, boy

Won’t you feed him when you can”

Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free

Take a load off Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

Catch a cannon ball now

To take me down the line

My bag is sinkin’ low and I do believe it’s time

To get back to Miss Fanny

You know she’s the only one

Who sent me here with her regards for everyone

Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free

Take a load off Fanny

And (and) (and) you put the load right on me

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