Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

This weekend — shadowy due to the solar eclipse perhaps? — has been morbid and over-wrought and thus Devo’s Fresh really wasn’t gonna hit the spot.

 

Due to the ache of the last couple days — Nightmares, Roadside Tragedy and other Ick — I really don’t have my usual Goof-given gratitude and all-around zest for life. And yet I do. You bet I do. It’s just that I’m all too aware of how easily that life can end in a split-second convergence of circumstance, timing and (bad) luck. 

Okay, fine, I’ve got gratitude and zest, sure, but no words. My eyes are red and my sockets are dry from too many tears. Every tear I shed took one word with it and now there’s no words left.

Rather than “Fresh” by Devo, I’ve chosen the blues classic “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” Actually, I was too spent even for the making of choices, but after I read my last post aloud to RB, he suggested I do “Death…” as it’s one of my all-time heart-wrenching favorites and unfortunately apt. Of course! “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” indeed.

“Death Don’t have No Mercy,” originally done by Reverend Gary Davis, has been covered many times by everyone from The Grateful Dead to, more recently, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot. I’m especially partial to the version by the late great, John Martyn. Martyn did the song in the late 90’s, covering a Portishead song on the same album. (The song was Glorybox, the album was The Church With One Bell.)

I first fell in love with “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” when Martyn did it and so I was hoping to share his version with you but no luck. Nevermind.  The song is amazing, period, and both of the following versions are great. That said, I urge you to check out Martyn’s version, should you take to these. 

I often promise a less-wordy week than usual and then pull words like handkerchiefs from a magician’s pocket but not this week. I mean it. Seriously. I’m shutting up now. (If you crave the usual Sunday A.M. chatter, check out that last sad post.)

And now, the genius Reverend Gary Davis.

And now, my beloved Ramblin’ Jack Elliot.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Y’ know death don’t have no mercy in this land
Death don’t have no mercy in this land, in this land
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long
Look in bed this morning, children find your mother gone.

I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land,
Death will leave you standing and crying in this land, in this land, yeah!

Whoa! come to your house, y’ know he don’t stay long,
Y’ look in bed this morning,
Children you find that your brothers and sisters are gone.
I said death don’t have no mercy in this land.

Death will go in any family in this land.
Death will go in any family in this land.
Come to your house, you know he don’t take long.
Look in the bed on the morning, children find that your family’s gone.

****************************

Death don’t have no mercy, but sometimes Death’ll take a raincheck, as was the case with the man who fell nearly 500 feet off a cliff and lived to respect the hell outta Senor Death. So keep hoping and keep loving, my mutant mystics, until that day when Death comes calling.

See you next week for another Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel.

Goof willing.

8 Responses to “Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)”

  1. […] lipstick shamaness circus freak sees things her way « Happy Birthday, Frida! Death Don’t Have No Mercy (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel) […]

  2. I have had in my life glimpses of death, a near miss on the highway, a brick falling from a building in front of me, etc…These moments,wake me from a sleep of complacency, make me want to let everyone close to me, how much “I love them”–even if they were not ready to hear my deep emotion for them, and curiously saying “I am sorry” to anyone I have inadvertently hurt, just a small whisper to the universe that hopefully will resonate –as a “feeling” , a healing of sorts for them, and my soul too.
    So, I am grateful that I woke up today, able to poke my head out my rabbit-hole, feel the warmth of the sun on my face once again, and read your “Gospel”. BTW- I don’t really believe, your creative soul will “shut-up” this week, at least I hope not. Peace.

  3. alphabetfiend Says:

    That’s interesting, Alice, given our Frida conversations of late. I put near-death experiences into a similar category as illness, severe injury or disability…. there’s shamanic implications. They often go hand in hand and serve as shamanic signifiers & spiritual sign-posts.

    My brother says I’m an inherently “unlucky” because of my illness and all my close calls but I whole-heartedly disagree. I’m grateful to have survived all that and who knows, for instance, how my near-fatal bout with scarlet fever as a child affected the magical evolution of my mind or soul?

    It’s true what you say about the near-miss serving to cement you in life. Contrast can be so revealing. Like the Plath line “If I’m alive now then I was dead, though like a stone unbothered by it, staying put according to habit.” (from memory so it may not be precisely right.)

    Oh, don’t worry, I only meant I was shutting up for this week’s punk rock gospel. There’ll be words this week. I hope so anyway! I have several posts in draft that need to be finished up so I’d like to get some of that done, finally. One of them is a little gifty for you — “Interior Design Tips for Mermaids” — but I’ve been racking my mind for the perfect mermaid record albums. Any ideas? Got any watery tunes sloshing around in your brain?

    I love this line, btw: “just a small whisper to the universe that hopefully will resonate –as a “feeling” , a healing of sorts.”
    You know you’re way around the alphabet, Alice! I enjoy your writing — and you, your energy — very much. Love love! Fiendy

  4. All morning, I have been exercising, my little gray cells, to no avail for a mermaid album for you. I did, however, do a google search; Mermaid Interior Design-no shells barred. I know, ridiculous right? Curiously, something came up, a luxurious, decadent, and totally out of reach beach rental in Florida, especially for Mermaids, I kid you not, link to follow separately.

    Oh, if I had some spare time, and an excess of cash, what a tea party I would throw. Of course, I would invite the Mad Hatter, Foxy Trickster, and the illusive brown rabbit with the black spots. Maybe, I will scrape together some cash, and buy a Powerball Ticket today.

    Hey, universe, how a’bout it….

    I am not shallow really, I’m not. I would give away most of it to causes that would make a difference in peoples lives, but a bit of fun would be okay, right?

    Thank you for the compliment about my writing, btw, made me feel that you just pushed out a chair ,and invited me to sit down at the best table at the Algonquin, right smack next to Dorothy Parker, herself. In other words, you made my day.

    So, in tribute to Dorothy,and you, and reflecting the dreamy mood I am in at the moment, here is a quote for a sunny Monday.

    “Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.” Dorothy Parker

    Oh, if it were true! Yes, it would be a good day.
    Peace & Love
    Alice
    PS so glad you like Frida Tribute.
    …. Hooray.

    • alphabetfiend Says:

      “Thank you for the compliment about my writing, btw, made me feel that you just pushed out a chair ,and invited me to sit down at the best table at the Algonquin, right smack next to Dorothy Parker, herself. In other words, you made my day.”

      Well, shucks…now whose day is made?

      Besides that sweetness, the best part of telling you how I love your writing (love! love!) is that you have unloosed the language of Alice. HOORAY! Hip hip!

      mucho mucho, The Alphabetfiend

  5. For some odd reason, will not accept the link. So to view the Mermaid Beach House go to vacation rentals .com the number is 42154 Mermaid Beach House Crescent Beach Florida.
    Hope you can see it, totally scrumptious.

    • alphabetfiend Says:

      It’s not just called a mermaid house it’s called “The Mermaid’s Castle”… haha.. my coz and I imagined ourselves living in a mermaid castle when we played Mer-Princesses, the King of the Sea’s spoiled daughters. fun fun!

  6. alphabetfiend Says:

    Well, here’s my official “reply”… hope you approve!

    https://alphabetfiend.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/sexy-mermaid-vay-cay-get-a-way-for-alice/

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