Song-of-the-Week #7: “far too witchy”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “far too witchy”:

other than some years spent in New York City (where i enjoyed its well-known invisibility factor), i’ve lived in small towns where it doesn’t take much to stand out.  in making “far too witchy” i spent time recounting the kinds of regular activity others take notice of.

the song was a real pleasure to write, but i found that underneath i was harboring some hurt about being perceived as (as well as my perception of myself as) an outsider in various places. as i dug in, i found some reactive material around my time in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a little village i moved to for the possibility of being closer to nature (the green kind).

there was both suspicion and interest in my presence there, a woman in a house alone. my habits were unusual enough (though they mostly involved being visible, and walking around) that the police took notice…did the old slow-roll by my house, or past me on the street.  i remember walking into the bank as a man rolled down the window of a black car to let me know “we’re watching you”…

November moons. photos by Ken's Last Ever (left) & Diane (right).

there’s interesting perspective in being an outsider, though, too.  the process of writing the song coaxed me to find the humor in it, and was a way of engaging with the plot of an old human drama in which people see other people (perhaps initially) as ‘other’.

song written / performed / recorded by me, and mastered by Ken

people say she’s far too witchy–
growin’ a bean vine, stringin’ a clothesline
wonder who’s she ? go have a look-see
sunnin’ her behind out in the sunshine

she grows mad hair, no man goes there
well, i saw one go–he din’t come back, tho !
oh ! she don’t need them ? maybe she eat them !
what’s with these folks’ gossip & mean jokes ?

she gonna getcha, better run right by
her kind are no good and at night they fly
i seen her dancin’ under big dark sky
when there’s ripe moon
she wails her tune
i seen her sweepin’ with her riding broom

people say she’s far too witchy–
knobby knees & hanky-sneezes
‘wonder who’s she ? go have a look-see
talkin’ to trees and sniffin’ at breezes

she got no phone, she lives alone
rich & crazy or poor & lazy ?
she’s kickin’ a stone, she’s pickin’ a bone
what’s with her, y’all ?  ‘sticks in my craw !
she got no car, that witch fly far !
she takes the bus, don’t make a fuss
she’s a renter–’wonder who sent her ?
‘wasn’t me, no, she’s doin’ no harm, tho…

people say she’s far too witchy–
‘wonder who’s she ?  go have a look-see
people say she’s far too witchy–
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…
‘wonder who’s she ?…

Impressions welcome !→

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19 comments on “Song-of-the-Week #7: “far too witchy”: Preview & Discussion

  1. Well this is fun! What a treat to wake up to, and the melody has been in my head all morning.

    Keep up the good work- it’s a joy to hear what you’ve created.

  2. I love the lyrics. It reminds me of a time I spent alone in an old schoolhouse surrounded by fields. A month or so alone writing. Folks were curious, and luckily, they were gentle about it. I feel a chill when you describe the man rolling down his window. Was it pure sadism that he was feeling? or jealousy? Altho I was lucky no one menaced me, I nevertheless felt the presence of powerful transgressions, mostly against my own fears. A woman alone is a dual symbol, both vulnerable and powerful, and therefore extra-potent. I felt witchy a lot of the time and I wish I had this song to listen to. There were a lot of spirits about at night, if I wanted to say hi. Some of my neighbours – strong farming women – asked me if I felt afraid of “lurkers” at night. The idea of a lurker had not occurred to me. But now it had entered my space. I felt a loss – even in this peaceful quiet place, strong women were still afraid. Maybe we women are more comfortable with night spirits because they menace us less often than human men? I assured them I was used to self-defense, living in a big city. But they knew and I knew, that being in a big city, surrounded by people, and being in the country, where you are in your own space until someone joins you – these are very different ways of being. In a way, the amorphous idea of “lurker” made me feel even stronger, prouder of myself, imagining that in the farmer’s eyes, I was very brave. I wondered about lonesome pioneer schoolteachers and felt a great kinship with them. It was very transformative time, and this song brings me right back, reminds me of how courageous and frisky and yet humble I felt. Thank you so much!!

    • ah, Zoe, thank you for sharing your response to this song !

      i felt many of the ways you describe in ‘pioneering’ my own little homestead. within the first coupla weeks i’d made curtains for the windows so i could close them at night. i’d added extra latches to the flimsy doors. after awhile, i became more animal-comfortable in my senses, knowing what to look and listen for in the dark country night.

      i had the feeling the man in the black car was an undercover cop. otherwise he didn’t look or feel like anyone i’d seen in the town. there were also curious, as in interested, men who took notice of me. and there were the neighbors–one a retired railroad man who was strong and true as a tree, and then Larry–old and feeble yet still protective…that really touched me…he gave me his number to call in case anything went wrong at the house. he passed away during the time i lived there.

      it was the first time i’d taken care of a house and property and all the chores that go along with it on my own. i felt like Cinderella without the mean stepfolks. it was beautiful.

  3. I moved to a small community in the country a few years ago. My immediate neighbours are all lovely but in general I am labeled an ‘incomer’. The locals seem to believe this to be perfectly rational, yet they speak the word like an incantation.

    This song sounds like an incantation, too. Pattacake handclaps, feet stomping round a fire, animal bones cast on the ground.

    I guess it is a very human thing to do: to externalise doubts and fears, cast them out and wish them away.

  4. Gads. I had no idea that Stone Mountain did that. Georgia can be funny, even with the so-called “progressive” students that are in my grad classes where I receive a somewhat similar impression. I think both of us have embraced our gifts and unique contributions to the world. On a parallell note, I have a similar description of propaganda as being perpetrated by the “other” rival group but not by your own group.

    I continue to remain enthralled by your gifts to the world, Diane.

    • hello, Mike ! do you mean that propoganda can be viewed as such by the ‘opposing group’, tho not necessarily intended as such by the folks making / distributing it ?

  5. I have always been in love with your rhythms. That said I honestly relate to this song and alot of people probably do, just trying to live our lives as we see fit and are looked at with suspicions and even fear or hatred. The first time I went to San Francisco and asked a woman for directions she hissed at me and made the cross, one of the weirdest reactions I’ve experienced I asked myself am I really that frightening? Just some reminiscing on strange times, anyways I really like the music youve been making I only wish I could afford a subscription these excerpts are driving me nuts

    • hey Mazze,
      i’m glad y’re enjoying the songs and if you’d like a subscription i’m open to forms of exchange other than money. for example, one person sent me a screen-printed poster design in return for a subscription. we could work something out. hit me up @ ( hello at dianecluck.info )

  6. and I just read Zoe’s comment, pioneer schoolteachers, I had never given the thought time until now. Thank you :)

  7. this song is so magical ♥♥♥ i can’t stop listening to it! it really transports you to another place, one of your best songs diane! this and ‘maybe a bird’ is the best music i have heard in forever!

    any plans to record a new album soon? i hope so!! all these new songs are wonderful
    i also love the hand claps?? the coolest!

    • hi Jaspin, yes, i do plan on recording an album. ‘working on how to do that. i’m glad you like the new songs. i’m enjoying making them !

  8. Hi Diane,

    Cool song. I’ll think of you when I’m out in the sticks looking for inspiration as I often am. If only the loners could bump into each other more often. Did you listen to Lal and Mike Waterson’s ‘Bright Pheobus’ yet? I really think it will be impossible for you not to like it given your naturalistic leanings. You also might like Shirley Collins’ ‘True love knot’.

    Rob

    • hi Rob. it seems that each time i’ve toured in the U.K. someone mentions Lal Waterson to me. i’ve heard some of her music. i’d like to investigate “Bright Phoebus”. thanks for the recommend.