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She Was Dead When I Put Her In The Ground

Andrew Russe

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Here it is in all of its glory…

THIS is the song that Mrs R and I had decided was a suitable response to a request to “Upload something HAPPY, stat!!!!!!!!!”

I tried to record it back in 2013 when I wrote it. My muse of many years, who died herself in 2016, absolutely LOVED the idea… but… when I sent her a demo she fell about laughing with “They’ll all slit their wrists!!! As it is, even I’m tempted…”

Anyway, when I was asked to do “happy” a few weeks back, this was so OBVIOUSLY what was required in a mischievous “Wot? I don’t really do happy, dontcha know” kind of way…

I was rehearsing it in the living room. Mrs R was egging me on… we even considered changing the title to “Lala’s Song”. But then I wrote Hey Hey La La instead. Now that’s done, we’re back to this one…

I’ve always told a story about how this song was inspired by a Charlie’s Angels episode. But I’m wrong! It wasn’t… I must have been drunk…

It was actually a Moonlighting episode. What a program that was. Cybill and Bruce, yay! When she was the big star and he was the whacky unknown… When John McClaine was but a twinkle in his mommy’s eye.

Moonlighting, Season 3, Episode 2. Check it out…

The first verse here was written as joke, while we were watching this back in 2013 (the boxset was one of Mrs R’s birthday or chrimbo pressies - not sure we’ve got through it all yet! West Wing was another… haha… has anyone ever got to the end of that?)

Anyways…that there first verse pretty much describes the start of that episode.

But then, as with many of my songs, it took on a life of its own and went where the happy fairy of inspiration doth lead (the one guiding me likes it rough and real, you should hear what she’s got me doing at the moment - “Edith Finally Gets It” a joyful barrel of laughs requiring much guitaring, shouting, and big drums).

I was calling this current offering “We Wait” for a long time, until we figured out that’s what was making it feel even sadder.

This was recorded live, vocals and acoustic guitar, in the Broom Cupboard the other day. Then later geetar and bass overdubs were done without the add of a safety net or, indeed, a click track (I only did the overdubs because of a flubbed note on the best of twenty takes!!)

I have to say that this is not really the performance I had in mind, though it is very close to it. However, Mrs R, who is most definitely still with us - but claims it won’t be long now - rates it highly.

So, ere tis, my lovelies…


She Was Dead When I Put Her In The Ground - A A J Russe

She was dead when I put her in the ground
Dead when I put her in the ground
I fear if I go back
I’ll find her body has gone
She was dead when I put her in the ground

Her shoes are under the bed
Her shoes are still under the bed
I still cannot face
The act of clearing her out
Her shoes are under our bed

We wait
So long
We wait
Too long

I still have the letter that she wrote
I still read the last letter that she wrote
It’s maybe ten years or more
And I’m still watching that door
And I carry the letter that she wrote

I recall all the friends around the grave
So many friends and well-wishers by the grave
Why did they hold me back
From following her down
I was dead when we put her in the ground

Copyright (C) 2013 A A J Russe. All Rights Reserved.

vaisvil's avatar
vaisvil said

Wow... this is such touching melancholy. It has touch of gospel but so, so sad.

Breaking Light's avatar
Breaking Light said

Correct on the ebow, thanks sir. And I love this song, great delivery. Chilling.

jimgoodinmusic's avatar
jimgoodinmusic said

Wow! Lovely mix of Leon Redbone, Joe Cocker and Tom Waits ringing through your voice particularly Cocker. Lovely peaceful and dark. Thanks as well for the kind words on my piece earlier Andrew, good to discover you!

Wrinkled Shirt's avatar
Wrinkled Shirt said

This is giving me all kinds of emotions. I'm a big Tom Waits fan and you managed to capture him (Maybe not intentionally) perfectly. Lyrics and production is Ace.

Sister Savage's avatar
Sister Savage said

Beautifully done.

Colleen Dillon's avatar
Colleen Dillon said

Wow! This one is sadness perfection. Your voice with its gravelly undertones - the perfect accompaniment to these lyrics. Mesmerizing. And on a side note.... Moonlighting!!!! Ahhhhhh I loved that show. So. Much. Sexual. Tension..... and funny too. Loved it!

A Beautiful Scene's avatar
A Beautiful Scene said

Hauntingly beautiful. Well done!

slkrell's avatar
slkrell said

Yup the same around here the haint remains when the body is gone. Its a bit hard to explain unless you are A Cherokee I liked your explanation for all of us to peek into your process. good on this

Andrew Russe's avatar
Andrew Russe said

Don't usually comment on my own songs, but in case there's any confusion... YES Greg - there is no humour in the song at all, none intended, I feel it the same way as you... and I actually love it for that myself... it's what the song evolved into from a joke verse I wrote (In Tom Waits voice, Roger! hehe) ... But when I was first recording it, in my own voice, x years ago it was SO sad (and not in a "Bobby Goldsboro - Honey" good kind of way) that we decided to put it in the filing cabinet for a while!

Greg Connor's avatar
Greg Connor said

Well done! The title is very inviting. I couldn’t help but listen. I never found the humor, but rather a poignant feeling of loss, eloquently described.

oldfolks2's avatar
oldfolks2 said

Love it Andrew, reminds me of a Young Tom Waites. And yes loved Moonlighting, and yes done the whole West Wing, was pondering should we watch it again .... yet ?

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