“We Go Walking in the Dark”

howsadhowlonely
I discovered the singing and writing of Connie Converse via the Facebook page of Mary Lou Lord, a wonderful singer and writer herself, whom I was lucky enough to meet at the “Bottom of the Hill” club in San Francisco back in the mid 1990s.

I doubt I will have luck enough to meet Ms. Converse, though. As Cord Jefferson writes in this beautiful profile of her, “In the summer of 1974, just before her 50th birthday, Connie Converse composed some letters to her family and friends. In them, she applauded the downfall of Richard Nixon and said she was going to head west and take another shot at a new life. She then packed up her Volkswagen Beetle and drove out of Ann Arbor. It was the last time anyone in her family ever saw or heard from her.”

Connie Converse never signed a recording contract. With her friend Gene Deitch she made some rough and very beautiful recordings that he shopped around to labels, getting no bites. Such spooky, soulful work. I’m delighted Daniel Dzula & David Herman have remastered the old tapes to make “How Sad, How Lovely.”

Picture 1

Here is a lovely video made of her performance of “One by One.”

The last words of her recording of “We Lived Alone” give me goose-bumps. The change in key changes me.

We lived alone, my house and I

We had the earth, we had the sky

I had a lamp against the dark

And I was happy as a lark.

We lived alone, my house and I

We had the earth, we had the sky

I had a lamp against the dark

And I was happy as a lark.

I had a stove and a window-screen

I had a table painted green

I sat on a chair with a broken back

Wearing a pretty potato sack.

I had a rug upon the floor

And roses grew around my door

I had a job, my wants were few

They were until I wanted you.

And when I set my eyes on you

Nothing else would do, nothing else would do.

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