Monday, 7 February 2011

Dean Martin - Gentle On My Mind (1969/ No. 2/ 24 weeks/ Reprise)

Insouciant, that's the word... In some ways, I think that this is a fascinating mismatch between singer and song. The song itself appears to be a tremendously earnest and allusive thing, like 'Elusive Butterfly' or 'Both Sides Now', whilst Dean Martin - as always - does not sound like a troubled man in this recording.

But then again, the narrator is supposed to be a visionary tramp, a Doestoevskian holy fool, whose insights and pantheism are inspired by the thought of the woman who lies gentle on his mind. Martin certainly sounds like a cheery lush, but years of drink appear to have marinated the sentiment into something both truly felt and a drunk's seductive rhetoric.

So here I imagine the singer turning up at the woman's door, a charming freeloading drunk, staying to drink the house dry, eat the larder empty and warm her bed yet again. This is an entirely good thing for him, but perhaps less so for her.

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