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Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'

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Manders 05 Mar 09 - 05:06 PM
Joe Offer 05 Mar 09 - 05:38 PM
frogprince 05 Mar 09 - 05:45 PM
Hamish 06 Mar 09 - 02:44 AM
robomatic 06 Mar 09 - 08:54 PM
frogprince 06 Mar 09 - 09:03 PM
Joybell 06 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM
wysiwyg 06 Mar 09 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,Jancakes 14 Mar 09 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 03 Mar 11 - 02:42 PM
GUEST 29 Sep 11 - 03:59 AM
theleveller 29 Sep 11 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,arrivisto 17 Dec 12 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,henryp 17 Dec 12 - 09:12 PM
GUEST 25 Mar 13 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Doug Goodhill 15 May 14 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,Steve D (Nottingham U K) 06 Nov 15 - 09:48 PM
GUEST,GUEST Peoni McGuire 30 Aug 17 - 01:29 PM
GUEST,Crowhugger sans cookie. 30 Aug 17 - 03:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Aug 17 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Sep 17 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Morris-ey 01 Sep 17 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Mike Anderson 10 Dec 17 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 10 Dec 17 - 05:14 PM
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Subject: Meaning of Lyle Lovett Song .....
From: Manders
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:06 PM

Hello - does anybody out there know the meaning of the Lyle Lovett song "Walk Through the Bottomland"? My daughters may sing it at a cowboy music festival, but, would really like more understanding of the chorus. We know that 'the Brazos' is a river, and that bottomland is a stretch of land along a watercourse (basically), but what does the whole chorus collectively mean?

"Sing me a melody
sing me a blues
walk through the bottomland without no shoes
the Brazos she's runnin' scared
she heard the news
walk through the bottomland without no shoes"

We get the rest of the song, but this one has had us stumped for quite a while.

Thanks to anyone who may be able to help!


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:38 PM

for the record, here are the lyrics:

Walk Through the Bottomland
(Lyle Lovett)

A new jersey lady i knew long ago
And she was a lady i say
But she met a cowboy who rode on the rodeo
And he stole her heart straight away

The new jersey lady she loved him so true
Another love she never had
But cowboys are lonesome and cowboys are blue
And they make the ladies so sad

Sing me a melody
Sing me a blues
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes
The brazos she's running scared
She heard the news
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes

The new jersey lady knew he loved her too
And you know she tried to hold on
But the rodeo life was the life that he knew
He had to keep drifting along

She never married and she never would
And all of the people they'd say
The new jersey lady she just ain't no good
To follow a cowboy that way

Sing me a melody
Sing me a blues
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes
The brazos she's running scared
She heard the news
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes

The lady she'd sing him to sleep in the night
And then in the morning he'd go
She loved the darkness and hated the light
Along with that damn rodeo

The new jersey lady the day that he died
She covered him over with clay
And feeling the wind in the night as she cried
She heard the old cowboy say

Sing me a melody
Sing me a blues
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes
The brazos she's running scared
She heard the news
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes


Source: http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/lovett-lyle/walk-through-the-bottomland-869.html


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: frogprince
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 05:45 PM

Remember, this is the guy who wrote:

"If I had a boat, I would sail it on the ocean,
and if I had a pony, I would ride him on my boat."

Which is to say, don't worry too much about a literal sense. An old blues singer down around the Brazos might very well be hard put to afford shoes. Rivers "run", whether or not they're scared.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: Hamish
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 02:44 AM

I always thought the song was about the conflict between city sophistication and country simplicity. Walking without no shoes = simplicity. The Brazos running scared; she's heard the news = the tension between the New Jersey Lady and the cowboy is all too apparent. The cowboy is driven to follow the rodeo. Like many of Lyle's songs the cowboy's life a metaphor for the (country) singer's life.

But that's only my theory. I have no basis other than listening to his songs.

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: robomatic
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 08:54 PM

I think "walk through the bottomland" also means to face dark times or depression.

but to second frogprince, here's some more of his lyrics:

"And the dove flew down beside him
And a fork appeared right in his hand
And with everybody watching
The preacher ate that bird right there and then

And now everyone got really nervous
And the preacher he did start to glow
And as we watched in disbelief
These were the words he spoke

He said now Mama's in the kitchen
And she's been there all day
And I know she's cooking something good
So let's bow our heads and pray
And he sang

To the Lord let praises be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
We've got some beans and some good cornbread
Now listen to what the preacher said
He said to the Lord let praised be
It's time for dinner now let's go eat
"


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: frogprince
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 09:03 PM

I've suspected for some time that Lovette and Randy Newman have been into the same "stash"...(love 'em both)


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: Joybell
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 09:38 PM

Maybe along with Guy Clark? Such images. Me too frogprince.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 11:53 PM

Is the bottomland the valley of the shadow of death, and is "go-barefoot" a reminder that one is walking on holy ground? Is it a meant as a way to hallow the bottomland?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Jancakes
Date: 14 Mar 09 - 03:56 PM

(((((MEANING walk through the ground of her land while she sings him songs? ))))))))

Sing me a melody
Sing me a blues
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes


The brazos she's running scared
She heard the news
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes

(((((((MEANING another word for a lady/woman, she is scared of loosing him which she did in the end, didnt she.
This song always makes my heart thud , i end up crying.
lovely song


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Mar 11 - 02:42 PM

I think "walking barefoot" also has to do with the class differences; it's sort of an equalizer. We can all walk barefoot.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 03:59 AM

The Brazos is runnin' scared; she heard the news. This line connects directly w the previous; Sing me a melody sing me a blues, walk through the bottomland W/O no shoes...Why(?), so as not to make any noise to frighten the cowboys HORSE, who is runnin scared at the loss of her rider. The Brazos is the cowboys horse, named after a wandering river. He is pleaing for the Lady to take care of her ...
any rebubtles better approach this with logic

LYLE IS THE SHIT


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: theleveller
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 10:05 AM

Obviously, the song works becuase you can put on it whatever connotation you choose. Mine is that it should read:

Sing me a melody,
Sing me a blues...
"...walk through the bottom land etc."

ie that's the song he wants singing.

Like I said, yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,arrivisto
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 08:13 PM

Frog Prince said:
Remember, this is the guy who wrote:
"If I had a boat, I would sail it on the ocean,
and if I had a pony, I would ride him on my boat."
Which is to say, don't worry too much about a literal sense.

The point is that this is a great non-sequitur! One thinks at first he is talking about having either a boat or a pony, only to learn that he has both, and then, surreally, takes the four-legged friend aboard!


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 17 Dec 12 - 09:12 PM

Jackson Browne talking about The Barricades of Heaven;

"This song sort of marks the beginning of my infatuation with ambiguity," Browne said. "I used to really be so fastidious about saying exactly what I meant, and in a way that it could not be misinterpreted. What I realized, of course, is that that doesn't prevent people from interpreting every which way, anyway. So this is a song - I love the ambiguity of it - it raises more questions than it answers. But that's what I want to do. And that's what songs are supposed to do, I think. Songs are supposed to engage the listening and the listener of a song provides their own imagery and their own context and their own meaning for a song."

It could apply to other writers too.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 13 - 07:08 PM

" better approach this with logic"

Tool box


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Doug Goodhill
Date: 15 May 14 - 11:53 PM

Springsteen said that the verse is the material part of the song, and that the chorus is the spiritual part. So here we have 2 people that love each other but live different lives. The part where their life comes together is in Nature(Love), the chorus. Look at even a simple old ballad like Jesse James, the verses tell the story, but in the Chorus you hear about his wife and children, and his betrayal.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Steve D (Nottingham U K)
Date: 06 Nov 15 - 09:48 PM

Gillian Welch references "walk through the bottom land" in her song - April 14th (Part 1). One of her greatest tracks.

Dave Rawlings' guitar play8ng on the track is magical.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,GUEST Peoni McGuire
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 01:29 PM

Sing me a melody
Sing me a blues
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes
The brazos she's running scared
She heard the news
Walk through the bottomland without no shoes

It must hurt to walk bare-footed in the muddy bottomlands. Sharp sticks, rattlesnakes, tree roots, mud. Alligators maybe. Dangerous. You're going to be hurt.

The lady was going to be hurt by the relationship, but she couldn't stop loving him.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Crowhugger sans cookie.
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 03:41 PM

Bottomlands are fickle... sometimes saline, sometimes sweet, sometimes mud and sometimes a flood. (No I didn't plan for that to scan!). With current news of Hurricane Harvey and the Brazos River being in that conversation, variability seems one plausible meaning of brazos as metaphor.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 07:55 AM

It depends on what part of the Brazos the song is about. Down by Houston, yes, sometimes brackish, sometimes flooded. Far upstream into Central Texas it would be more of a pleasant sandy or rocky beach along the river.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 05:54 AM

The bottomland lines remind me of The Runaway Scrape, the rodeo and New Jersey bits not so much though.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 01:23 PM

Censorship on Mudcat? The bile that is allowed here but anal sex is not?


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Mike Anderson
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 10:52 AM

Someone here actually suggested the song is a metaphor for anal sex? Maybe it was sheer jaw-droppingly embarrassing stupidity being censored, nothing to do with sex itself.


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Subject: RE: Meaning: Lyle Lovett's 'Walk Thru the Bottomland'
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 10 Dec 17 - 05:14 PM

Thought of this thread/song again during the most recent deluge down yonder way but forgot to post.

A friend reminded me, both Tejas First Ladies were Jersey girls; Hannah Estey Burnet (1800-1858) for the Republic and Frances Cox Henderson (1820-1897) for the State.

"Here a Nation was born." - Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas


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