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Saturday, May 19, 2007

O Canada

I'm sure I would have liked this record if I'd just come across it on CD, but I love it for its record-ness. Jesse Winchester came from Louisiana and escaped to Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war. The cover of his first record, which came out in 1970, made him look as if he were escaping conscription into the army of Robert E. Lee. Bizarrely, it's on the Ampex label. Robbie Robertson produced it. It's one of the best half dozen things he ever did. On the face of it this song is a straightforward bucolic fantasy. However he leaves her in the end because he can't help doing the wrong thing. Until this week I hadn't played the vinyl for thirty years. I can't tell you how good it sounds.