Sunday, June 24, 2012

It's a Sin to Say No

One of my favorite songs even if its message is a tad simplistic. But maybe only half as simplistic as the message it's trying to subvert.

The doodle is one that Knees did during his Army stint in Alabama at Redstone Arsenal in 1968. He had just discovered Rapid-o-graph pens.

Written: Melendres Street, Las Cruces NM, 1977

According to Knees’ memory, he was inspired to write this as a rebuttal of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” garbage, but was that phrase used in 1977? Nancy didn’t get elected until 1980. Yet Knees distinctly remembers hating the idea of saying no, and wanting to contradict it in a song. Maybe he didn’t write this until the early 80s? In any case the plot and the guitar work is some of Knees’ best.

When I was seventeen
The world was at war
I delivered groceries
To women and old men
And though it happened long ago,
It’s never left my mind
What an old grey-haired mailman
Had to say to me then.

One day I rang the bell
At a house way downtown
The old mailman was resting
On the steps down below
The woman at the door
Had heartbreak in her eyes
When she asked me,
“Please stay a while.”
I said I had to go.

She smiled and said, “Some other time,”
As I backed down the stairs
She closed the door and time stood still
For the mailman and me
We stood there without speaking
Till he looked me in the eyes
He said “You’re young
And now you own the world
But someday you will see,

That it’s a sin to say no
To a woman who’s so lonely
She sees the man she loves so much
In a boy of seventeen
It’s a sin to say no
When a man like me’s so lonely
One day you’re gonna wake up
And you’ll be old as me."

Army Doodle