Pink moon gonna’ get ye’ all

It has now been a year since certain litigious bullies in the neighborhood forced us to take a two-day “excursion” to the fifth floor (Land Court) of the Massachusetts Trial Courthouse in Boston. Technically the judgment was in our favor, if you can consider spending a couple semesters’ worth of college tuition to simply maintain the status quo as having anything to do with the word “favor.”

I first posted this song just prior to Day One, which we now remember for the risible performances displayed on the witness stand.  At the time, which certainly wasn’t a peak of magnanimity for me, I supposed that “Pink Moon” was based on some ancient notion about a harbinger of doom.  Good enough.

Some contend that the song refers to the first full moon in April, which the Iroquois called the “killing moon” while others retort that such usage was inconsistent with the songwriter’s frame of reference and that any symbolism Nick Drake employed would have been based on what he knew of Buddhism, Hinduism and the 17th Century metaphysical poets and …If you’re like me you’re thinking that there are those with too much time on their hands.

What we do know is that “Pink Moon” is the title song from Nick Drake’s third and final album of the same name.  Released in 1972, towards the end of his short, rather melancholic life, it was recorded in a pair of two-hour sessions that each began at midnight in October of ’71.  Except for the title song, on which Drake used overdubbing to include piano, the record features only his vocals and guitar.

Perhaps it’s progress but I no longer hold that “Pink Moon” has ominous overtones.  Instead I agree with one pundit who notes that Drake was a notorious insomniac.  And who among us hasn’t experienced those barren, withering hours where no matter how much you wish it, sleep is not an option?

You play your guitar. Perhaps you read.  Perhaps you read about the new day’s waning moon. Eventually the nocturnal darkness subsides. Daylight inexorably bleeds over the sky. The moon takes on a pinkish hue.

You’re exhausted and yet still awake.  No use arguing with the dawn, no one stands that tall. There goes the night.  Here comes the sun.  Pink moon is on its way.

Although it took only a few hours to record, “mastering the mix” would have taken some time longer.  Apparently Drake was there.  Later on he left the finished tape on the main lobby desk of his record label (Island Records) without a mention to anyone. After someone noticed it days later, “Pink Moon” would be pressed into an album that would garner little attention upon its release, or even upon the weary young man’s death from overdose in 1974.

Famously, it would be decades before Nick Drake would become roundly hailed as one of the most influential artists of the last half-century.  And it will take even longer, perhaps for some to realize that the dawning of a new day is infinitely more powerful than any harbinger of doom.

LISTEN TO THIS SONG – Thursday 31 January

Nick Drake

Saw it written and I saw it say

Pink moon is on its way

And none of you stand so tall

Pink moon gonna’ get ye’ all

And it’s a pink moon

Yes, a pink moon

Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon

Pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon

I saw it written and I saw it say

Pink moon is on its way

And none of you stand so tall

Pink moon gonna’ get ye’ all

And it’s a pink moon

Yes, a pink moon

 

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