#436: 2008, The Raconteurs, Carolina Drama

by George_East on April 5, 2012

No sooner has Bobby woken up and posted a song, than Jackie calls a theme week.  I can imagine Bobby has a whole bunch of songs he has been dreaming for 17 months about posting and he now finds his hands tied.  Cruel, is the only word for it.

But there we have it. Rules is rules.  The tenth theme week has arrived: great closing album tracks.  I am happy to rise to the challenge.  Jack White, a bit like Paul Weller, before him is almost annoyingly talented.  Not content with being a member of one great band, he has been a member of two (and the Dead Weather are a pretty good third).  He even went one step further than Weller in being in the Raconteurs and the White Stripes simultaneously.

If the White Stripes were a garage blues band then the Raconteurs are in the mould of the great classic rock bands of the early 1970s.  Tight, musically accomplished and rock n roll to their very core.  This song, which ends their second album (which in my view is their best), Consolers of the Lonely is a song which lives up to their name. A song in which Jack White recounts a bloody tale of the American south so evocative it could have been a film made by one of the New Hollywood directors in the early 1970s, maybe starring Jeff Bridges, Warren Oates or Harry Dean Stanton.

It starts with the fantastic verse:

I’m not sure there’s a point to this story

But I’m going to tell it again

Like just about every other tale

Someone’s going to die in the end

We are then introduced to a ten year old boy, his older brother Billy, their mother, her boyfriend (a tripaloosa with a blue tattoo), and an old priest.

˜Billy looked up from the window to the truck

And threw up and struggled to stand

He saw the red necked bastard with a hammer

Turn the priest into a shell of a man

 

That priest was putting up the fight of his life

But he was old and he was bound to lose

The boyfriend hit the priest as hard as he could

Knocked the priest down to his shoes’

The priest is killed by the mother’s boyfriend after being found in his mother’s arms.  Billy adding two and two together, realising that the priest is his father, in turn kills his mother’s boyfriend by hitting him with a full bottle of milk.

But like all such stories, the truth of it hard to know. As Jack sings in the final verse:

Now you’ve heard another side to the story

But you want to know how it ends

If you must know the truth about the tale

Go and ask the milk man’

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