Hey gang, it’s the Davidson Co. Don Corleone checking in from a sweltering day in the southeast with a little lost musical idea to help you not beat, but tolerate the heat.
Today we’re going to go digging in the crates (or skipping through the playlist) all the way back to 2008. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with this song already, but if not you should be.
I’m not sure if there’s a point to the story but I’m going to tell it again…
Thus begins Carolina Drama from The Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely. The last song on the album, this one could easily get lost among the other great songs on the album (Salute Your Solution, Old Enough, Many Shades of Black), but once heard, it makes quite the impression. I don’t know if White is making a statement on the futility of life and the stories there within or simply looking for a nice rhyme foundation on which to build his tale, maybe both, but this opening line sets the stage for a jangling, disjointed, rockfest, Dirty South opera the likes of which I’ve never seen.
In the tradition of great story songs, (Looking Glass, anyone?) Carolina Drama is a tale of murder, redemption, priests, gin and cold, white milk. I had been a fan of the Consolers of the Lonely album for quite a while before I happened upon this song due either to sheer dumb luck or a smile from the shuffle gods, but either way I’m glad that it happened.
Jack White’s blistering guitar, screeching vocals and vivid lyrics are all over this entire album, but they come together in a particularly haunting way on Carolina Drama. There’s something about a mom’s boyfriend with “some blue tattoos” and a rage problem, and kindly old priest, but I won’t give away too much. Just know that ole step dad get’s his comeuppance, and the song ends triumphantly and a little mysteriously with a la la la sing along.
Check it out for yourself here, along with some improvised lyrics from Mr. White.