Wainwright wrote very good song Black Sheep

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by admin on December 2, 2009

The Editor,

Yikes! So unlike the Black Sheep in Wakefield, Quebec to be the catalyst of such interesting… discussion (“Wainwright’s Black Sheep song about drunk driving on a nasty night”, Nov. 25 edition and online discussion at www.lowdownonline.com).

Personally, I have to agree with ace impresario, Paul Symes – given Ms. Wainwright’s hectic schedule – it was quite amazing that in that limited amount of time she came up with the song that she did.

Coupled with that, was the fact that apparently she only performed at the Black Sheep the one time and you can better appreciate why the Black Sheep was used as a, er… destination/departure point for the song she wrote.

Which is, in my humble musical opinion, regardless of the size of the Sheep’s and the village’s role in the song, a very good song. No such thing as a small part in a song – there’s just the limitation of the imagination

And as far as a Black Sheep connect, the lines/refrain, “We will never be/feel that free again” – has certainly caught the occasional transcendent moment that many a Sheep patron has experienced on the dance floor, in the audience, or during an impromptu summertime intermission dip in the river across the road… Yeah, bit of the essence of the room there.

And as far as the “spinnin’ out on the road” and “red on black on white in the night” – blood on the four black sheep travellers in the snow goes – according to Martha, when speaking with Rich Terfry on his CBC Radio 2 show, “Drive” – never happened. Simply her taking artistic licence for dramatic purposes. And a powerful image to remind listeners that drinking and driving is a bad and irresponsible idea, if not a potentially fatal one.

As far as a song being about the many charms of the Black Sheep as a daytime tavern and night time juke joint cabaret – not really. Even less about Wakefield. Hey, I was kinda’ hopin’ for some kind of ‘river runs by it’, ‘heartbeat of an artist/audience alchemical musical community connect runs through it’… ‘our’ Black Sheep/Wakefield, as opposed to ‘four’ black sheep.

But Martha Wainwright, like any good artist, took what she had to work with – a snowy one-stand at one of our favourite places and parlayed it into a very good song. Like any creative work worthy of being called art – it’s made people think, talk, discuss.

Nice work, Martha.

Thanks to CBC Radio 2 for playing midwife to some great new songs about some not to be missed places in our fine coast-to-coast-to-coast country. And of course, thanks to the Black Sheep and Wakefield for always making this lovely, small part of it interesting.

Grant Boyd, Jr.

Val-Des-Monts, Quebec.