Buckskin Stallion Blues - Townes Van Zandt


In a futile attempt to be topical, here's another track by the immortal Townes (see Dec 5th post).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuegzuOElL4

The world should be ever grateful to Martin McDonagh for featuring Townes Van Zandt's "Buckskin Stallion Blues" in his wonderful film "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" even if the world has listened more to Amy Annelle's slighter and more ponderous version since the film came out (see Youtube numbers). The two songs effectively bookend the film: Van Zandt's original is played as protagonist Mildred Hayes drives into town, musically tracing for us the mental shape of her sadness, her loss and the sense of her refusal to accept that life must go on after the murder of her daughter. The track perfectly sets the pervading bittersweet tone of the movie;

"I heard her sing in tongues of silver

I heard her cry on a summer storm

I loved her, but she did not know it

so I don't think about her anymore

now she's gone, and I can't believe it

so I don't think about her anymore"

Annelle's version is a soundtrack to the unresolved sadness of life, fitting the final scene of the film as Hayes and disgraced police officer Jason Dixon drive off on their mission of revenge, uncertain of how they will enact it. All the questions the story in the film raises remain unanswered, the sense that true justice is something that remains beyond the reach of ordinary people when confronted by shadowy organisations such as "the military" that may be covering Hayes' suspect.

Justice, as reflected by the award of 2017's best Picture oscar to the shallower "Shape of Water" ahead of the far superior "Three Billboards" which may or may not be due to Hollywood's communal sense of guilt over Trump's repatriation of Guillermo del Toro's immigrant compatriots to Mexico.

But, in the redemption of Jason Dixon, we see, as in the song, that there is hope in each other as we journey on.

"If I had a buckskin stallion I'd tame him down and ride away if I had a golden galleon I'd sail into the light of day if I had your love forever sail into the light of day"