Going For A Song: ‘Blue Moon Revisited (A Song For Elvis)’

Cowboy Junkies – Blue Moon Revisited (A Song For Elvis)

Those already familiar with ‘Blue Moon’, written by Rodgers and Hart in the 1930s, most likely came to know it, as I did, through Elvis’s version. But if I’m being honest all I could remember of ‘Blue Moon’ was its chorus. Now a chorus can get you to forgive a lot in a song, but it can also prove to be so effective it overrides the rest in the memory. I thought this was what had happened to me. But on listening back to Elvis’s version I was struck, not by just how very odd it sounds, but to find that apart from some falsetto the chorus is all there is. And if it is all there is, is it right to call it a chorus?

The Cowboy Junkies interpretation of ‘Blue Moon’ uses the listener’s expectation of this chorus (for want of a better word). The guitar initially hides behind a descending bass line, as Margo Timmins hopes “pehaps…my baby walks back into my arms”, until it finally emerges to pick out a familiar melody. This is followed by Timmins’s voice as a crystal clear cold lake in which the chorus descends. And you realise this is what you’ve been waiting for. Then it’s gone; the song’s images slowly enveloping in on themselves, leaving you where you were in the beginning, listening to Timmins’s quiet unresolved hope.