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Lyr Req: St Gabriel (Marcia Ball)

GUEST,Sieffe 21 Nov 03 - 04:05 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Oct 09 - 12:01 PM
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Subject: St Gabriel Blues/Rory/Marcia Ball
From: GUEST,Sieffe
Date: 21 Nov 03 - 04:05 AM

Hi netties . ... I am entranced by the Rory Block song as above and the powerful rendering by Marcia Ball . . . . I have failed to find the words so far however . . . anyone come across them? ("Mouth full of much obliged and a hand full of gimme"- adapted from Tom Rush . . . )


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: St Gabriel (Marcia Ball)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 12:01 PM

Marcia Ball wrote ST GABRIEL. Her recording is on her album "Blue House" (1994) and on the various-artists album "Texans Live from Mountain Stage" (1995).

Janiva Magness also recorded ST GABRIEL on her album "Blues Ain't Pretty" (2001).

Carnes & The Heaters, a blues band, also recorded ST GABRIEL, and I'm guessing it's the same song, but my information has no attribution.

I transcribed this much from a couple of sound samples:


All the sad songs are 'bout leavin', none about comin' home.
I been down in St. Gabriel, nowhere to go....

They say I killed a man that threatened my life,
But I went to prison because I was his wife....


Here's an excerpt from a review in the Los Angeles Times:

Two of the tracks on "Blue House"--"St. Gabriel" and "One of a Kind"--are examples of just how much can be conveyed in a song.

The first is a stark ballad, based on a true story, about a woman imprisoned for killing her abusive husband.

"A reporter friend of mine in Wichita, Kan., who knows this woman had us play at the prison up there, near Leavenworth," she said. "When my friend met her, she had been in jail for 10 years and had been denied parole. So he wrote about her, and apparently the ensuing publicity and hearing the other side of the story made the difference, and she was paroled.

"We met her right before she got out of jail when we played the gig there. The song is her story, but I set it in St. Gabriel Prison in south Louisiana because it sounded so musical," she said.

Ball's song is far from being a rote anthem about injustice, instead centering on the vacuum the woman felt she was entering upon leaving prison after so many years:

Now they say I'm right and I'm free to go,
So I'm standing out here by the side of the road,
All the sad songs about leaving, none about coming home,
Oh, I been down in St. Gabriel, nowhere to go.


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