21 June, 2010

The Duchess Contemplates . . .

The Male Songwriter

Today is the summer solstice and yet the Duchess has the blues. (Not the Deacon Blues (too nihilistic); something more like the Moody Blues, but far less British.) The Duchess's blues are attributable in parts to June gloom, lazy movers, sneaky feelings and the prehensile Internal Revenue Service. Though causes are known, cures are unavailable.

When down and bluesy, the Duchess often takes comfort in the songs of the South, that fetid cradle of misery and despair. This very morn she supped on the lonely love songs of those kingpins of heartbreak:


Willie Nelson, "I'm a Memory"


Ronnie Milsap, "Any Day Now" (a first-rate tearjerker)


Johnny Lee, "Lookin' for Love" (canonized in Urban Cowboy)


Alabama, "There's No Way" (so difficult to choose just one)


and last but certainly not least, the late great Keith Whitley, "I'm Over You"

These precise and achy modules of yearning, capturing as they do the literary essences of longing, loss and desire, led the Duchess to wonder: why are so many of the most historic love songs, the ones that get into our brains and work their way south to take over our hearts, written by men? It couldn't possibly be that they are better writers than women. It couldn't possibly be that they work harder, or are more talented (speaking generally of course). Could it be perhaps that they feel more deeply, and are even more possessed by that crazy little thing called love?

The verdict is still out, as the Baron would say. But the Duchess, in search of her cure, wonders on.

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