banks of the marianne

from by sandy mackay

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about

written by the brilliant robbie fulks (used with permission)

a man heads into the water just before nightfall to redeem his marriage by swimming across a wide river, and he names the river after his wife, to show the world how much he loves her. Is it love or is it drunkenness?

once upon a time, the recording artist took a long swim in the kennebecasis river in a similar manner. the artist no longer attempts late night river crossings under the influence, in part thanks to the healing powers of this song

robbie fulks played in the city of saint john a few years back, at the loyalist city festival. i saw both his brilliant performances. later I learned that robbie did not get paid for his gigs here. do you suppose he would ever come back to new brunswick?

robbie fulks is one of my favourite musicians- a gifted guitarist and writer of authentic and sometimes biting lyrics; his song "barely human" helps keep me dry.
please visit robbie's website at www.robbiefulks.com to buy some of robbie's work.

the theory around here is that the song is based on a short story called 'the swimmer' by john cheever, about a man who swims home through his neighbours swimming pools, a remarkable story that has a camera lens clicking, shifting ten degrees with each paragraph.
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lyrics

The Banks of the Marianne © Robbie Fulks

On the banks of the Marianne, he climbed aground
Looked out at the water and traced a line down
Just an hour ‘til darkness and four miles to swim
He closed his eyes and let her wash over him
And all the power that she could command
Swept l away at the touch of his hand

By the depths of his love, he was helplessly stirred
So he tamed a wild river, named it for her.
Now the world would remember the way they were then
When she was his harbor and her strength pulled him in
And the distance he’d gone from her light
He would win back, the hard way, tonight

To the ends of the earth, ‘til the rivers run dry
To the last breath of life in the man
Til he gives up the fight, ‘til the sun falls tonight
On the Banks of the Marianne

On the banks of the Marianne the relics of Kings
Lie strangely abandoned like children’s playthings
Drums of white plastic and cheap naugahyde
Stacked under a tarpaulin, safe from the tide
An ashtray, a bottle half-full,
Anything the undertow couldn’t pull

The horizon ahead of him, frozen in time
It’s a balm to his soul, but it’s a trick of his mind
In the wind he hears phrases gentle and low
From a song on the radio, ten years ago
And it hangs overhead like a prayer
To the One Waiting For Him Somewhere...

To the ends of the earth, ‘til the rivers run dry
To the last breath of life in the man
Til he gives up the fight, ‘til the sun falls tonight
On the Banks of the Marianne!

Now the water is heavy; his arms are like lead.
The whiskey has drenched every nerve in his head.
The fist in his stomach springs upward in rage
Knocks the light from his eyes and it pounds at the cage
And his prayers come falling like rain,
On the water that carries her name...

To the ends of the earth, ‘til the rivers run dry
To the last breath of life in the man
Til he gives up the fight, ‘til the sun falls tonight
On the Banks of the Marianne

credits

from call of the wheel, track released September 15, 2012
accordion: cynthia cudmore
electric slide guitar: billy preeper
background vox: steven sellors and jude vadala
bass, guitar, mandolin, vox: sandy mackay

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about

sandy mackay St John, New Brunswick

sandy
sometimes lives on a little island in a big river in New Brunswick.
Plays strings keyboards and bagpipes.
We're writing new songs these days, it's fall coming into winter and enjoyable snow!
Looks forward to seeing you soon, somewhere... send
messages to easandymackay@gmail.com
... more

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