Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ears of Stone

Sometimes I think I missed the 1960s.  No, not because I was tripped out on psychedelic chemicals (that came later for me), but because things happened that never reached my ears.  Either that or, at the time, I had ears of stone.

Well, once again, I thank God for YouTube, which so often helps me fill in what I missed of my favourite decade.  This present case is most pleasant to present to you.  It came to me in one of those automated "Your favourite YouTube channel has been updated" emails.  I didn't know if it would be any good, but I took a chance and clicked on the link.  It was a track called "Ears of Stone" from a compilation album called, "Fading Yellow Vol. 2:  21 Course Smorgasbord of U.S. Pop-Sike & Other Delights 1965-1969".  The band is listed as The Network.

From the opening guitar strums, knew I was going to like it.  A few seconds later, when the Electric Prunesian psychedelic organ crashed in, and later when a faux sitar could be heard, my first though was:  I must share this with my brother Charles!  But somewhere just after the first wash of organ and the sitaresque guitar line came an even greater shock.  For I heard the follow words:

We've played our pipes for you, but you haven't dance.
We've sung our dirges, but you haven't mourned.
We've sung our songs for you, but you might as well be deaf.
Ears of stone, won't you hear me?

I never expected to have a psychedelically musical Gospel lesson sung to me!  For here were almost  word-for-word our Lord's rebuke from St. Luke's Gospel, the 7th Chapter:
And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?

They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.

The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

But wisdom is justified of all her children.

The song continues:
We've written in big, black letters; you've merely glanced.
Written it in poems and songs; you've only scoffed.
We've written words for you, but you might as well be blind.
Eyes of stone, won't you see it?
This reminded me instantly of the quote from Flanner O'Connor:  "to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the blind you draw large and startling figures."

Now, in the spirit of "full disclosure", I have to say that the bridge for this song is pathetically weak.  But it is short enough that it doesn't rob the song of too much power.  I only wish they'd given that a bit more thought musically.  Still, I am very glad to have found this 45-year-old gem.