Thursday, 19 November 2015

Hello Walls ! hello, hello

 "Hello Walls, how'd things go for you today? " and the walls reply! "woooo woooo hello, hello"   A Country and Western hit from 1961 which deserves to be up there with the great treasures of surrealist dissociation.  "I'll bet you dread to have to spend another lonely night with me, but lonely walls, I'll keep you company"  What makes it so bizarre is that the walls sing back with a kind of manic cheerfulness   Projecting feelings onto inanimate objects is nothing new. There's even a name for it: "pathetic faillacy". Where would the poetry of the Romantic era be without it?

"Hello Window. Well, I see that you're still here, Aren't you lonely since our darling disappeared? Well, look here, is that a teardop in  the corner of your pane? Now don't you try to tell me it's just rain!"

 Listen closely to the way Faron Young (1932-1995)  shapes his words "darlinnn" "urrr teardrop" and that nasal "pane".  Strange grimaces, nasal whines, contorted tics, but that's exactly what lifts this song and makes it so fascinating.

 "Hello ceiling !  I'm gonna stare at you awhile.... we must all stick together or else i'll lose my mind" (Notice the way he sings the word "to ge -THURRR ", his voice like the twang of a slide guitar)

Many singers have covered it in the last 50 years, with more polish, but Faron Young gives the song a pungent sting that "proper" singing cannot breach. I think it's his sincerity and awkwardness - definitely not a "trained voice" but moving.  In real life, Young was a troubled man, like so  many Country and Western singers seem to have been. Even his physical mannerisms are gauche. Don't those straitlaced folks in the background (singing hello, hello)  realize how bizarre the song really is ?  Look at their stiff body language and their creepy hands.  But that's why I love this song, and this clip, so much. it has no front.

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