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LYRIC LOG 2: "LEFT A LETTER"

November 1, 2017

For blues lyrics that talk about relationships, sentiments usually fall into two loose categories — pleading someone not to leave, and threatening your other half that you will do exactly that, if they don’t start behaving. And then there are the stories told in past tense — “she/he did this, and now she/he is no longer here”, to paraphrase just about everyone. And if the person who has left takes everything including the dog, well…you might even have a country song.

 

 

What is worse, however, than taking everything of value in the blues is someone having the audacity to take the trivial stuff, like in Albert King’s ‘I Got the Blues’, from his 1978 ‘New Orleans Heat’ record. The woman in question takes Albert’s brand new car and his diamond ring, but what really tips Albert over the edge is the prospect of spending his days without seasoned food:

 

“She wrecked my brand new car, she pawned my diamond ring.

She poured the salt out of the shaker, she didn't leave me with a doggone thing.”

 

Now that shit is cold.

 

I tried my hand at this sort of thing with “Left a Letter”. The song is a warning to a partner who gives the protagonist no respect (in fact, in hindsight I think I was subconsciously channelling Aretha Franklin for this one, a la “Think”).

 

It’s a real ‘If you don’t shape up, I will ship out’ kind of tune.

 

There’s no sign, however, of the main protagonist doing anything spitefully trivial upon exit, like Albert’s ex-partner. Although there’s nothing like leaving a key with the note to confirm you ain’t ever coming back.

 

 

1.

 

It’s gonna break your heart,

the day that I’m gone

It’s gonna break your heart,

the day that I’m gone

I’ve been workin’ all day,

just to pay the rent

Now I’m asking for a dime,

and you won’t give me a cent

It’s gonna break your heart,

the day that I’m gone.

 

2.

 

I’m gonna leave my key,

when I say goodbye

I’m gonna leave my key,

when I say goodbye

I’ve been saying good things about you,

to all of my friends

I can’t stand it any longer,

this game just has to end

I’m gonna leave my key,

When I say goodbye.

 

3.

 

You’re gonna get lonely,

the day that I’m gone

You’re gonna get lonely,

the day that I’m gone

So get out of my kitchen,

if you can’t stand the heat

I don’t need your trouble,

I got my own two feet

I said you’re gonna get lonely,

the day that I’m gone.

 

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