Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Tune-Ups: My favorite tunes explained - "The Sky is Crying"

When I was a kid, bedtime was jam time. After Mom tucked me into bed and left the room, I would smuggle my headphones and cassette Walkman under the covers and rock out to the radio until I fell asleep. One song that I always turned up the volume for was "The Sky is Crying" by legendary blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. At the time, I had no idea what "the blues" was, but I knew that there was something deep, moving, and extraordinary about the way this man sang and strummed his guitar.

"The Sky is Crying" was originally written and recorded by Mississippi blues artist Elmore James in 1959. Said to have been inspired by a sudden downpour that occurred during a recording session, the slow-tempo song is accentuated with James's signature slide guitar chords and rousing vocals. Since its debut, it has become a quintessential standard of its genre and has been interpreted by many artists, including the brilliant Irish blues musician Gary Moore, who passed away a year ago this month, and three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Eric Clapton.

The sky is cryin.'
Can't you see the tears roll down the street?
The sky is cryin.'
Can't you see the tears roll down the street?
I've been looking for my baby
And I wonder where can she be.

Betrayal, heartbreak, and abandonment are three words which sum up this tune which seems to erupt from the depths of Vaughan's distraught soul. In his voice dwells a hurt that every human can relate to, one that speaks of love's sinister side. And as he mournfully laments what could've been, the only entity that appears to offer any semblance of comfort is the sky itself which weeps along with him.

If you haven't had a chance to listen to this powerful song, check it our here on YouTube.
Also, if you want to hear the incredible original recording by Elmore James, go here.

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