• Kate Clarke

Jack and that Beanstalk

I don't know why I think a song is a sacred thing, to be elevated and adored above almost everything else. Particularly a profane song.

Three minutes of well-turned words and, if you’re lucky, a melody that gives you that strange, sad elation. Experience tells me there's usually no money in a song no matter how you turn it upside down and shake it.

I said once that I never asked Terry to go to the store for groceries because he'd be likely to come home with a handful of magic beans and be delighted with his good fortune: “Katie, you’ll never believe what I’ve got…”

That's an exaggeration, but it isn’t much of one.

It isn't just him, though, is it? I'm the kid from that fairytale, too.

I hear Ronny Elliott sing about his grandmother and I spend much of the morning thinking about a woman I've never met and a place I’ve never been.

I hear Terry sing Glasgow Girl and I think everything he was is in that

performance - and much of what we were, too. Yet there isn't much about that song that's biographical. (Except me and Charlie Rich, and Terry and that sweater from Jailhouse Rock. His mother knitted him one just like it, when Terry was in his twenties and he wore it until it fell to pieces.)

Thank god for songs and for the people who write them. I feel a nagging sense of unrest that I haven’t yet heard every good one out there and I probably won't.

I wish I could take them all with me when I go.

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