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Lyr Req: Don Quixote (Gordon Lightfoot)

DigiTrad:
BALLAD OF THE YARMOUTH CASTLE
BEST YEARS OF HER LIFE
BIG STEEL RAIL
DID SHE MENTION MY NAME
IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND
I'M NOT SAYING
IN THE EARLY MORNING RAIN
LOST CHILDREN
THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR LOVING ME
THE EDMUND FITZGERALD


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Bruce MacNeill 28 Oct 08 - 03:47 PM
Dan Calder 28 Oct 08 - 04:05 PM
Bruce MacNeill 28 Oct 08 - 04:19 PM
Dan Calder 28 Oct 08 - 05:34 PM
Bruce MacNeill 28 Oct 08 - 07:31 PM
Nigel Parsons 29 Oct 08 - 10:25 AM
Paul Burke 29 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 29 Oct 08 - 07:20 PM
breezy 30 Oct 08 - 02:24 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Oct 10 - 07:25 PM
kendall 18 Oct 10 - 07:01 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Oct 10 - 03:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Oct 10 - 04:04 PM
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Subject: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 03:47 PM

"See the drunkard in the tavern, spinning gold to make ends meet"

I guess there's a hole in my education, engineering, sorry, but I've never heard the phrase "spinning gold". A definition isn't easily googled. Can someone explain it to me please? I'm just learning the song, yeah I know I'm very late. The rest is selfexplanatory. I always loved the song, just never sat down to learn it before.

Thanks
Bruce


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Subject: RE: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Dan Calder
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 04:05 PM

Hi Bruce,
The line is actually, "See the drunkard in the tavern, stemming gold to make ends meet", and there has been much discussion on the meaning. I haven't heard a definitive answer on it yet.
Good luck.
For all things Lightfoot, go here: http://www.lightfoot.ca/main.htm
Dan

lyrics: http://www.lightfoot.ca/donquix.htm


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Subject: RE: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 04:19 PM

Thanks Dan. Now that I'm looking for the right word I see the discussions and no really good answers so at least I don't feel so dumb. Now I'll go back to getting the chords down without cramping my left hand.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Dan Calder
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 05:34 PM

Bruce,
I found this meaning on a site devoted to "Hobo Terminology".

Stemming - Panhandling or mooching along the streets.

Fits the context better than any other explanation I've heard.

The site I got that from is: THE ORIGINAL HOBO NICKEL SOCIETY and the URL is http://www.hobonickels.org/terms.htm

Enjoy the music.
Dan


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Subject: RE: Lightfoot: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Bruce MacNeill
Date: 28 Oct 08 - 07:31 PM

I'd accept that definition. Thanks for the effort.
Bruce


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Subject: RE: Lightfoot: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:25 AM

Of course, if it were "spinning gold" then it's a reference to trying to make something out of nothing, and quite apropos of someone trying to "make ends meet".
The reference would then be of the fairy tale "Rumpelstiltskin"

Like the poor pastry-cook who filled the middle of pasties with potato in an attempt to "make both ends meat"


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Subject: RE: Lightfoot: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 10:52 AM

I've not heard the song, but I couldn't help singing it to Clementine, which makes it quite funny. Tossing coins I think.


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Subject: RE: Lightfoot: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Oct 08 - 07:20 PM

"Stemming gold," according to a number of histories I've read, was the term given bartenders or others who managed to "glean" a little extra on their shift by nefarious means. It also applied to employee miners in the big mines who would try to hide dust in the folds of their pantlegs or boots, retreiving it at day's end. Mine owners began searching for this contraband when it became a large problem.

In the days when miners would often pay for their goods and booze with gold dust, kept in a pouch, it was not uncommon for the bartender to pinch a little "heavy," carefully letting some of the excess fall from his grip, through the portable floorboards he trod while on duty, and placing the appropriate amount in the scale to pay for the drink. At the end of the shift, he liften the floorboards, swept up the ill-gotten gains and departed with more than his pay.


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Subject: RE: Lightfoot: Don Quixote lyric meaning?
From: breezy
Date: 30 Oct 08 - 02:24 PM

Thanks for this info chaps, most enlightening.


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Subject: Lyr Add: DON QUIXOTE (Gordon Lightfoot)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 07:25 PM

DON QUIXOTE
Gordon Lightfoot

Through the woodland, through the valley, comes a horseman wild and free,
Tilting at the windmills passing. Who can the brave young horseman be?
He is wild but he is mellow. He is strong but he is weak.
He is cruel but he is gentle. He is wise but he is meek.

Reaching for his saddlebag, he takes a battered book into his hand.
Standing like a prophet bold, he shouts across the ocean to the shore
'Til he can shout no more.

I have come o'er moor and mountain, like the hawk upon the wing.
I was once a shining knight who was the guardian of a king.
I have searched the whole world over looking for a place to sleep.
I have seen the strong survive and I have seen the lean grow weak.
See the children of the earth who wake to find the table bare.
See the gentry in the country riding off to take the air.

Reaching for his saddlebag, he takes a rusty sword into his hand.
Then striking up a knightly pose, he shouts across the ocean to the shore
'Til he can shout no more.

See the jailer with his key who locks away all trace of sin.
See the judge upon the bench who tries the case as best he can.
See the wise and wicked ones who feed upon life's sacred fire.
See the soldier with his gun who must be dead to be admired.

See the man who tips the needle. See the man who buys and sells.
See the man who puts the collar on the ones who dare not tell.
See the drunkard in the tavern stemming gold to make ends meet.
See the youth in ghetto black, condemned to life upon the street.

Reaching for his saddlebag, he takes a tarnished cross into his hand.
Then standing like a preacher now, he shouts across the ocean to the shore.
Then in a blaze of tangled hooves, he gallops off across the dusty plain,
In vain to search again where no one will hear.

REPEAT FIRST VERSE


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don Quixote (Gordon Lightfoot)
From: kendall
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 07:01 AM

Stemming I believe is a railroad term. In one of Utah Phillips' songs he sings...all the dumpy little towns along the stem..and "Piping the stem"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don Quixote (Gordon Lightfoot)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 03:54 PM

'Stem' for a roadway or rail route has a fairly long history. 'Main stem' for the main street of a town was common, especially among those (like hoboes) looking for a handout, or those looking for some 'action'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Don Quixote (Gordon Lightfoot)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 04:04 PM

'Stem, stemming. From 1593, nautical term; to go against something, wind, current, etc.

"stemming gold" ? I think Guest TJ is correct.

Too bad Lighter's third volume has not come out.


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