This post was to be a sort of continuation of the easy-breezy opiate sounds featured on the last MixTape, Easter Censer, but that will simply have to wait, as today I present to you my own take on “Fan-Fiction.” Having just recently finished binge-watching the first season of the HBO series True Detective, I was, to put it lightly, completely impressed.
Through and thru these eight episodes are a work of art: the subtle yet skillfully complicated performances by all the actors and the chemistry between them (particularly, it goes without mention, from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson); The sensitive exploration of certain facets of the human-condition through writer Nic Pizzolatto’s narrative structure and dialogue; and of course the exquisite revenants that are the visuals provided by director Cary Joji Fukunaga and cinematographer Adam Arkapaw–the scenes are phosphorescent in their putridity.
However, another element of the show that netted me immediately was the soundtrack; particularly in the first episode with the use of a long-loved-by-me Freewheelin’ outtake by Dylan called “Rocks and Gravel” in a scene where Cohle speaks with the gaming girls at a truck stop bar. I was not surprised to find out afterwards that the man responsible for the music selections is none other than T Bone Burnett.
Along with being a fantastic musician, producer, and songwriter himself, the man has made an award-winning career out of having exceptional taste in music, an intuition for adding depth, and tact when creating the appropriate atmosphere.
Throughout the whole series Burnett’s selections are perfection; none more so though than with his choice of closing episode seven with the haunted tone of Townes Van Zandt‘s austere “Lungs.” The song arrives like a sharp blade through brambles: full of purpose even as it drives on ahead into mystery and sorrow.
Well, won’t you lend your lungs to me?
Mine are collapsin’
Plant my feet and bitterly breathe
Up the time that’s passin’
Breath I’ll take and breath I’ll give
And pray the day is not poisoned
Stand among the ones that live
In lonely indecision
Well, fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you’ve found
You fool it’s only moonlight
If you stop to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another
Salvation sat and crossed herself
Called the devil partner
Wisdom burned upon a shelf
Who’ll kill the raging cancer
Seal the river at its mouth
Take the water prisoner
Fill the sky with screams and cries
Bathe in fiery answers
Well, Jesus was an only son
And love his only concept
The strangers cry in foreign tongues
And dirty up the doorstep
And I for one, and you for two
Ain’t got the time for outside
Keep your injured looks to you
We’ll tell the world that we tried
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So, as I said, here’s my version of Fan-Fiction, which owes its inspiration to the work of T Bone Burnett on True Detective as much as it does to anyone else. I invite you to imagine your own scenes and narratives to these tunes.
To my mind this MixTape, Poor Man’s Trinkets, is the soundtrack to a lost episode buried somewhere within the seventh of the actual series. This would be one where Detectives Rust Cohle and Marty Hart rework the murder of Dora Lange from scratch, and thus are forced to revisit once again their own personal histories as well. Admittedly, this recapitulation of the entire series thus far wouldn’t make for very exciting television but through the filter and tension of atmospherics (and car-ride conversations through Richard Misrach‘s “Petrochemical America“) it could further explore the show’s central yet elusive themes of patriarchy and its inheritance; the cyclical nature of existence; perceptions of manhood and responsibility; the art and guile involved in all forms of storytelling; companionship and male friendship; and the presence of Grace. This mix also corrects what I saw as the one flaw in Burnett’s work—not including anything by Mark Lanegan (because pretty much anything off of Bubblegum would’ve worked beautifully).
If nothing else, in my opinion, my mix makes for a pretty great soundtrack, no?
Well, as always –Enjoy Yourself—
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A MOUTHFUL OF PENNIES PRESENTS
POOR MAN’S TRINKETS (True Detective Fan-Fiction Episode 7.5)
- The Gulf Of Mexico [snippet] – Steve Earle
- The Lord Is in This Place…How Dreadful Is This Place – Fairport Convention
- This Wheel’s On Fire – Atlas Sound
- Mr. Mudd And Mr. Gold – Steve Earle (ft. Justin Townes Earle)
- Werewolf Heart – Dead Man’s Bones
- Cold Criminals – Pink Mountaintops
- Milk Cow’s Calf’s Blues – Bob Dylan
- Rake – Alela Diane (ft. Alina Hardin)
- On My Way To Heaven – Staple Singers
- Will The Circle Be Unbroken – U.S. Apple Corps.
- Wedding Dress – Mark Lanegan
- Get Back Satan – Rev. Roger L. Worthy & Bonnie Woodstock
- Raised Right Men – Tom Waits
- Golden Earrings – Peggy Lee
- Mean Old World  – The Heavenly Gospel Singers
- You’re Goin’ Miss Your Candyman – Terry Callier
- I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Steve Young (X-Mas Eve 1975 Ensemble version)
- I Would Love You – Father John Misty & Phosphorescent
- Waitin’ ‘Round To Die – Townes Van Zandt
- Angels Laid Him Away – Lucinda Williams
- Aphid Manure Heist – Beck
- All Along The Watchtower – The Brothers & Sisters
- Sleep With Me/Sleep With Me (Version) – Mark Lanegan
- Lucifer Rising Part IV – Bobby Beausoleil
- This Wheel’s On Fire – Bob Dylan & The Band