Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Fire Next Time

Just started listening to Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions album, and it is awesome. I know, I'm a little behind (an expression I can never use without thinking of a corny belated-birthday greeting card with a picture of a baby's butt). What I lack in punctuality I make up in enthusiasm. My favorite cut is "Mary Don't You Weep," not only because of its rousing vocals and outstanding fiddle work by Soozie Tyrell, but also because of its peculiar appropriateness to this season of the liturgical year, when the readings are full of eschatology in anticipation of Advent and the eventual Second Coming. I confess my ignorance freely: although I always loved James Baldwin's title The Fire Next Time, I never knew its source--

God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, but fire next time.
Pharaoh's army got drownded,
O Mary don't you weep.

And I consider myself something of an aficionado of spirituals. I'm also reminded of the vogue Take Six was enjoying when I was in college (at least in a capella circles), and their very different but similarly excellent version of the song.

O Mary don't you weep
Tell Martha not to moan (Martha, don't you moan)

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