Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Come And Go Blues"

Friday, January 17, 2014
Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Come And Go Blues"

I read Warren Haynes played "Come and Go Blues" at the Gregg Allman tribute.

It's hard to convey how big "Brothers and Sisters" was.

Duane died in '71, after Bill Graham had them close the Fillmore and their double album tour-de-force was released.

But still, most people didn't know who the Allmans were. No, that's not true, all the hipsters, everybody who was paying attention to album radio, did. But unlike today, the media was not hip, the Allmans were not anointed, despite the quality of their music and the deaths of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.

But then came "Brothers and Sisters" in the fall of '73, with its ubiquitous hit, "Ramblin' Man."

Never underestimate the power of Top Forty, its ability to jet you into the stratosphere. Suddenly, the Allmans were the biggest band in America. You were subjected to "Ramblin' Man" everywhere, to the point you abhorred it. And people started to name their dogs and their daughters "Jessica."

But my favorite cut on "Brothers and Sisters" was "Come and Go Blues."

"People say that you're no good
But I wouldn't cut you loose baby if I could"

You want your friends to like your significant other. Even worse is when you venture to the dark side and start to date, never mind get involved with, someone they disapprove of, who they believe is no good.

"I seem to stay down on the ground
Baby I'm too far gone to turn around"

And this was Gregg Allman! You fall and you cannot pick yourself back up.

"Oh, if only you would make up your mind
Take me where you go, leave me layin' behind"

Definitive answers... We hate the lack of clarity. Are we in or are we out?

"Woman, you got those come and go blues
Yes you do
Lord, you got those come and go blues"

The curse of my life. I wish someone had told me... If they're indecisive, move on. It means they just don't love you enough, even if they love you for a while.

There was this girl in high school... Like "Godfather III," just when I thought it was done, she'd call. Not apologetic, but as if nothing had happened, as if we'd spoken just the day before. And you know how it is...when they're present, they want to get together, they want to be your significant other, until...

"'Round and round, 'round we go
Don't ask me why I stay here, I don't know"

You lose perspective, you're neither here nor there. It tastes so good, and then you go hungry.

"Well maybe I'm a fool to care"

That's the worst know your predicament, you know you're in limbo, you know you're being toyed with, your friends no longer want to hear about it.

"Here I'll stay locked in your web
Till that day I might find someone else"

But you can't. Especially when they're gone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. No one else looks as good.

"Sail on, my darlin', sail on
You just go your way and I'll go mine
But it seems to me that I once heard
That everything is finally cured by time"

But it's not! You never lose the attraction. It's just that you learn not to participate, not to play. And it is a game. It's even worse when they don't even know they're playing it, because if you call them on it they don't know what you're talking about.

But it wasn't only that girl in high school... My life has been riddled by this curse. My ex moved out, but didn't want to get a divorce. So, do you have hope or file papers?

The latter. I'm telling you now.

So fifteen years after the original an alternate take was released on the Allmans' boxed set "Dreams," it became my go-to version.

But looking on YouTube for the Hot Lanta performance earlier this month I came across this, Gregg Allman with Warren Haynes doing "Come and Go Blues" acoustically:

It's even better this way. Because it's more world-weary. Without extraneous instruments, you hear the heart. Then again, all these years later, Gregg Allman is wiser, he's not as pained, you don't hear the wistfulness, his vocal borders on anger, he's resigned, he's learned.

And now you have too.

But you really haven't. Because that's the nature of love, there is no school, you're destined, sentenced, to figure it all out by yourself. Only you live in your body, only you have your hormones, and you find it impossible to deny them.

And that's what it takes to extricate yourself from the syndrome...willpower.

Maybe they don't love you enough, maybe this is their style, but it never works out, even when you have them it's only for a short while, don't fall prey, you can lose your money, your house, your life. Yes, come and go blues people can drive you to suicide, just do a bit of research on Sarah Miles. Just because they're great when they're there...

So listen to the original.

Listen to the "Dreams" take.

Listen to Gregg's live version.

Even listen to Hank Williams, Jr.'s rendition.

They're all good, the more you listen the more you can't stop. Because there's a human truth encapsulated in the lyrics and sound.

But unlike people, the songs are there, readily available to soothe us when we've got more questions than answers.