Here’s a wonderful review which tries to explain the power of Hank Williams’ song ‘Alone and Forsaken’ in the context of the Haiti disaster. Hank’s song was one of the emotional highlights of Friday night’s ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ benefit concert. The review by John Kays is part of his longer article called ‘Seven Beautiful Songs from Hope for Haiti Now’ from the website NewsBlaze.
Alone and Forsaken is a solemn elegy of a broken love, written by Hank Williams, Sr. Hank’s version is untouchable, but Dave Matthews and Neil Young put hurt and heartache into it that would have made Hank proud.
The lyric turn is as dramatic as the sudden crack in the earth at Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, January 12th. “Our love was in flower as summer grew on, her love like the leaves now has withered and gone.”
This is a love lament done in Hank Williams’ inimitable, lyrical style, but Dave and Neil invested the pathos and necessary bite to properly express a shadow of metaphor, a metaphor for an event that has undone the Haitian people. Utter sincerity and purposeful force permeated their performance. I’m a convert now (to Hank, Dave and Neil).
Neil and Dave could little fumble the ball with Williams’ gut-wrenchin’ poetry that rips through the refrain: “Alone and forsaken by fate and by man, oh Lord, if you hear me please hold to my hand, oh please understand.” In this dirge the woman is a villainess, so I believe that, in turn, she can represent the misfortune of Haiti.
“She promised to honor, to love and obey, each vow was a plaything that she threw away.” Haiti’s long history has included one bad thing after another-Columbus, slavery, sugar plantation labor, Napoleon Bonaparte, Papa Doc and Baby Doc-Western curse, bad juju, never ending streak of bad luck! Neil and Dave eased the burden just a little.
For Hank Williams fans around the world his pivotal role in this world wide musical event with an audience of millions will stand as one of the highlights of the year 2010 no matter what triumphs there may be as the year progresses.