The History of a Song- From the Journal- Jan. 17, 1969
The writing of The Sad Song (see link) has a little bit of a history; I will relate it here. The night I wrote it followed the afternoon I went to see a Mr. Diamond, at Legal Aid, about a warrant I’d received for an unpaid bill dealing with my Hepatitis hospitalization. The meeting had been a particularly depressing encounter because Mr. Diamond was unable to help me with the problem. That evening, working late, and alone, I was experimenting with different vocal, musical sounds; one of my ways of dealing with stress has always been through singing aloud (when no one can hear me), arranging songs as I sing, to suit my own aesthetic sense. The song this evening was Frankie Laine’s recording of This Time You Sent Me A Mountain (written by Marty Robbins). The word mountain became the key word in my own word and vocal play around it.
I can’t write music, all I can say is that the sound accompanying the words was a kind of plaintive wail that ends as abruptly as it begins. For all intents and purposes, I suppose the result can be called a folk song, as its tonality arises more from waves of feeling than from a conscious effort to create.
Link to lyrics below: