Jesse Jarnow

hippie-country heartache, no. 2: george jones & leon payne’s “take me”

“Take Me” – Karen Dalton (download) (buy)
from In My Own Time (1971)

“Take Me” – Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (download) (buy)
from Been All Around This World (2004)

(files expire May 19th)

I’m a sucker for songs that send the singer to some specific utopia, like “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” or Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” or Patsy Cline’s “You Belong To Me,” or any of the Mountain Goats’ “Going to…” numbers. George Jones and Leon Payne’s “Take Me” is a neat variation, a catalogue of desolation — an impossibly dark room, Siberia in winter — twisted into sunshine. But it is mostly imagined sunshine, the singer in a state somewhere closer to the darkened room than the springtime California promised in the final verse.

The desolation is clearly present in Jones’ original with Tammy Wynette, but that’s probably more reflex than anything. Jerry Garcia and Karen Dalton amplify it to the song’s front. Garcia’s junk-decayed voice cracks as it needs to, his delivery all resignation, though David Grisman’s mandolin is perhaps a little too airy for the proceedings (at least until his solo). One-time Village folkie Dalton, meanwhile, is perfect, her own junk-cracked voice unbearably hopeful over a quietly lush combo, like a feminine Ray Charles.

1 Comment

  1. jameson says: - reply

    Jesse – thanks for this song, and the intro to Karen Dalton. Her voice KILLS me. keep it up man…i’m listening