I always have to stop myself when I say I like “all kinds of music”. Because, honestly, that just isn’t true, there is really only one kind of music I like. No, not [just] Black Metal, I’m talking about music in a minor key. I mean, I’m a pretty happy guy, but there is something about sad, sad songs that just does it for me. I don’t dislike Vivaldi’s “Spring” and “Fall”, but I far prefer “Summer” and “Winter” (guess which seasons he writes in a minor key). “Satisfaction” is a fine song, but I’d rather listen to “Paint it Black” any day…you get the idea. Basically, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that sting [of soul crushing sorrow and sadness].
This month on Minor Key Monday I discuss my yearly minor key Christmas discovery:[audio: https://isleyunruh.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Barbara-Dickson-Down-in-yon-forest.mp3]
Ok, first, as is surprisingly common on this website, this song is ALL about our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, King of the Jews, First of his Name. However, the pure melancholic atmosphere with which lyrics are delivered make this feel like medieval neofolkesque exercise in half-irony. I mean, hell:
Under that bed there runs a flood,
The bells of Paradise I heard them ring,
The one half runs water, the other runs blood,
And I love my Lord Jesus above anything.
That’s basically only one or two words different than something that would make some totally badass black metal lyrics. The title has probably already been used as a black metal song title dozens of times already!
The singer, Barbara Dickson, was a reasonably popular Scottish folk singer that got started in the late 60s. Her voice might not be the most powerful ever, but she sings with with a nice understated delivery that is really quite tastefully done. The simple guitar backing also works very well in underscoring the nut-kicking sorrow of this excellent carol (which dates back to the 15th century). And, it really does sound like it should be on a Current 93 album, which, though I don’t generally like his vocals, David Tibet would probably actually sound pretty good singing this one!