“Shepherds Purse” by Cotton Mather
In the days when rock-n-roll was a contact sport and people played without helmets, no one worth a damn made it into their thirties intact. Nowadays, it’s middle age that does bands in. When the new wears off the good life, people start missing their buddies and the inevitable reunion ensues. Cotton Mather never reunited because we never “broke up”. I was the only constant from day uno. People like to write that we’ve “been around for twenty-five years” but let’s get this straight now – Cotton Mather has had a 12-year career interrupted by a 13-year hiatus. I’m not so big on reunions because they only tend to remind me why the “union” ended in the first place. My last high school reunion got shanghaied by our narcissistic bad boy rocker who’d traded in Iggy Pop and biker speed for Jesus Christ and an “I Walk With Him” t-shirt (finger pointing skyward). This self-ordained “man of God” bullied his way to the podium to ostensibly bless our food, and then turned the whole thing into a goddamned altar call (and I use the words God-Damned respectfully) because he took it upon himself to ask said male white God-fearing God to forgive all of our gay classmates and “please lead them to heterosexuality.” Yahweh, couldn’t you have spared just one lightning bolt for that moment?
A more endearing memory from that weekend came when our homecoming queen (still perfectly gorgeous) and her still chiseled handsome football hero husband came popping up alongside me to declare how they’d “give their eye teeth” to do what I do. This took me by surprise since they own a successful chain of nurseries, which affords them that shiny new BMW. They could always keep their incisors, but cut me in on their dental plan and a percentage of the rhododendron sales. Somehow I feel the first time they had to scour the countertops for loose change or schlep a Vox AC 30 down a fire escape in the rain they’d
start wanting their eye teeth back. But I understand. What they see is that I get paid for doing what I love and to that end – I am indeed lucky. A life with plants doesn’t sound bad though. A ficus would never ask you to wrap up your sound check so they could have their “quiet time” and then proceed to blast Ted Nugent all over the P.A.
47. Oppression or Exhaustion examines conditions of depletion. Changing line 5 however offers a glimmer of hope, suggesting that if one can endure these times, stick to the plan and persevere – a better outcome can be achieved. “I feel like a comeback kid.”
Shepherds Purse by Cotton Mather recorded by Robert Harrison and Lars Goransson, mixed and mastered by Lars
Performed by Robert Harrison, Whit Williams, George Reiff and Dana Myzer