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Origins: 'Mary, Queen of Arkansas'

Bobert 28 Apr 16 - 03:34 PM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 16 - 01:32 AM
Bobert 01 May 16 - 10:27 PM
Joe Offer 02 May 16 - 12:46 AM
cnd 02 May 16 - 09:13 PM
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Subject: Origins: 'Mary, Queen of Arkansas'
From: Bobert
Date: 28 Apr 16 - 03:34 PM

Hate to only stop in when I need something but...

Seems there is no way to actually contact Bruce Springsteen to ask him but what the hel0l is this some all about???

Don't get me wrong, I love the song and loved it when it came out on Bruce's "Welcome to Asbury Park" LP... I actually have been playing it but don't plan on performing it because it doesn't fit in with my blues programs...

The song seems to have conflict and contradictions in it... One minuet Bruce is telling Mary that she's "not woman enough for kissing" and then telling her that he's going to go to Mexico with her and make a new life???

I'm confused...

Bobert


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Subject: ADDPOP: Mary, Queen of Arkansas (Springsteen)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 16 - 01:32 AM

Gee, Bobert, I thought this was going to be some sort of Ozarks ballad, and it turns out that it comes from the King of Asbury Park, New Jersey. It's certainly an interesting song - but I have no idea what it means, either. Google Play says these are the lyrics:

MARY, QUEEN OF ARKANSAS
(Bruce Springsteen)

Mary queen of Arkansas, it's not too early for dreamin'
The sky is grown with cloud seed sown and a bastard's love can be redeeming
Mary, my queen, your soft hulk is reviving
No, you're not too late to desecrate, the servants are just rising

Well, I'm just a lonely acrobat, the live wire is my trade
I've been a shine boy for your acid brat and a wharf rat of your state
Mary, my queen, your blows for freedom are missing
You're not man enough for me to hate or woman enough for kissing

The big top is for dreamers, we can take the circus all the way to the border
And the gallows wait for martyrs whose papers are in order
But I was not born to live to die, and you were not born for queenin'
It's not to late to infiltrate, the servants are just leavin'

Mary queen of Arkansas, your white skin is deceivin'
You wake and wait to lie in bait (?) and you almost got me believin'
But on your bed, Mary, I can see the shadow of a noose
I don't understand how you can hold me so tight and love me so damn loose

But I know a place where we can go, Mary
Where I can get a good job and start out all over again clean
I got contacts deep in Mexico where the servants have been seen


recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEkHvTcAEoo


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Mary, Queen of Arkansas'
From: Bobert
Date: 01 May 16 - 10:27 PM

Yeah, I have the words, Joe...

I have done the song pretty much the way Bruce does it...

Just thought that maybe someone might have heard a story somewhere along the way about it...

B~


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Mary, Queen of Arkansas'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 May 16 - 12:46 AM

I figured you'd have the words, Bobert - but I thought it would be good to have them here in the thread to look at and discuss. But I still don't have a clue what Springsteen meant.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: 'Mary, Queen of Arkansas'
From: cnd
Date: 02 May 16 - 09:13 PM

Joe, I thought the same thing as you at first. According to Wikipedia:

The song is one of the slower tracks on Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., played on acoustic guitar, and the lyrics of the song may be about a drag queen. Bruce confirmed this at a concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Soldiers and Sailors Hall on 5-22-14 while speaking to the audience.[1][4] The lyrics are dense and reminiscent of Bob Dylan.[1][4][5] "Mary Queen Of Arkansas" is a slow, quiet acoustic song with a faint country feel to it. The lyrics contain repeated references to the circus (a theme explored further on his The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle) as in "Well I'm just a lonely acrobat, the live wire is my trade" and "The big top is for dreamers, we can take the circus all the way to the border." It comes across as a love song dedicated to "Mary."


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