A Gift
Lloyd Cole Lyrics


Waldo Jeffers had reached his limit.
It was now Mid-August which meant he had
Been separated from Marsha for more than two months.
Two months, and all he had to show was three dog-eared letters
And two very expensive long-distance phone calls.
True, when school had ended and she'd returned to Wisconsin,
And he to Locust, Pennsylvania, she had sworn to maintain a certain fidelity.
She would date occasionally, but merely as amusement.
She would remain faithful.
But lately Waldo had begun to worry.
He had trouble sleeping at night and when
He did, he had horrible dreams.
He lay awake at night, tossing and turning
Underneath his pleated quilt protector, tears welling in his eyes as he
Pictured Marsha, her sworn vows overcome by liquor and the smooth soothing of
Some neanderthal, finally submitting to the final caresses of sexual oblivion.
It was more than the human mind could bear.

Visions of Marsha's faithlessness haunted him.
Daytime fantasies of sexual
Abandon permeated his thoughts.
And the thing was, they wouldn't understand how she really was.
He, Waldo, alone understood this.
He had intuitively grasped every nook and cranny of her psyche.
He had made her smile. She needed him, and he wasn't there (Aw)

The idea came to him on the Thursday
Before the Mummers' Parade was scheduled to appear.
He'd just finished mowing and etching the Edelsons lawn for a dollar
Fifty and had checked the mailbox to see if there was at least a word from Marsha.
There was nothing but a circular from the Amalgamated Aluminum Company
Of America inquiring into his awing needs.
At least they cared enough to write.

It was a New York company.
You could go anywhere in the mails.
Then it struck him.
He didn't have enough money to go to Wisconsin in the accepted fashion,
True, but why not mail himself?
It was absurdly simple.
He would ship himself parcel post, special delivery.
The next day Waldo went to the supermarket to
Purchase the necessary equipment.
He bought masking tape, a staple gun and a medium sized cardboard box
Just right for a person of his build.
He judged that with a minimum of jostling
He could ride quite comfortably. A few airholes,
Some water, perhaps some midnight snacks,
And it would probably be as good as going tourist.

By Friday afternoon, Waldo was set.
He was thoroughly packed and the post
Office had agreed to pick him up at three o'clock.
He'd marked the package
"Fragile", and as he sat curled up inside, resting on the foam rubber
Cushioning he'd thoughtfully included,
He tried to picture the look of awe
And happiness on Marshas face as she opened her door,
Saw the package, tipped the deliverer,
And then opened it to see her Waldo finally there in person.
She would kiss him, and then maybe they could see a movie.
If he'd only thought of this before.
Suddenly rough hands gripped his package and he felt himself borne up.
He landed with a thud in a truck and was off.

Marsha Bronson had just finished setting her hair.
It had been a very rough weekend.
She had to remember not to drink like that.
Bill had been nice about it though.
After it was over he'd said he still respected her and, after all,
It was certainly the way of nature,
And even though, no he didn't love her,
He did feel an affection for her.
And after all, they were grown adults.
Oh, what Bill could teach Waldo, but that seemed many years ago.

Sheila Klein, her very, very best friend, walked in through the porch screen
Door and into the kitchen. "Oh gawd, it's absolutely maudlin outside." "Ach, I
Know what you mean, I feel all icky!" Marsha tightened the belt on her cotton
Robe with the silk outer edge. Sheila ran her finger over some salt grains on
The kitchen table, licked her finger and made a face. "I'm supposed to be
Taking these salt pills, but," she wrinkled her nose, "they make me feel like
Throwing up." Marsha started to pat herself under the chin, an exercise she'd
Seen on television. "God, don't even talk about that." She got up from the
Table and went to the sink where she picked up a bottle of pink and blue
Vitamins. "Want one? Supposed to be better than steak," and then attempted to
Touch her knees. "I don't think I'll ever touch a daiquiri again."

She gave up and sat down, this time nearer the small table that supported the
Telephone. "Maybe Bill'll call," she said to Sheila's glance. Sheila nibbled on
A cuticle. "After last night, I thought maybe you'd be through with him." "I
Know what you mean. My God, he was like an octopus. Hands all over the place."
She gestured, raising her arms upwards in defense. "The thing is, after a
While, you get tired of fighting with him, you know, and after all I didn't
Really do anything Friday and Saturday so I kind of owed it to him. You know
What I mean." She started to scratch. Sheila was giggling with her hand over
Her mouth. "I'll tell you, I felt the same way, and even after a while," here
She bent forward in a whisper, "I wanted to!" Now she was laughing very loudly.

It was at this point that Mr. Jameson of the Clarence Darrow Post Office rang
The doorbell of the large stucco colored frame house. When Marsha Bronson
Opened the door, he helped her carry the package in. He had his yellow and his
Green slips of paper signed and left with a fifteen cent tip that Marsha had
Gotten out of her mother's small beige pocketbook in the den. "What do you
Think it is?" Sheila asked. Marsha stood with her arms folded behind her back.
She stared at the brown cardboard carton that sat in the middle of the living
Room. "I dunno."

Inside the package, Waldo quivered with excitement as he listened to the
Muffled voices. Sheila ran her fingernail over the masking tape that ran down
The center of the carton. "Why don't you look at the return address and see who
It's from?" Waldo felt his heart beating. He could feel the
Vibrating footsteps. It would be soon.

Marsha walked around the carton and read the ink-scratched label. "Ah, god,
It's from Waldo!" "That schmuck!" said Sheila. Waldo trembled with expectation.
"Well, you might as well open it," said Sheila. Both of them tried to lift the
Staple flap. "Ah sst," said Marsha, groaning, "he must have nailed it shut."
They tugged on the flap again. "My God, you need a power drill to get this
Thing open!" They pulled again. "You can't get a grip." They both stood still,
Breathing heavily.

"Why don't you get a scissor," said Sheila. Marsha ran into the kitchen, but
All she could find was a little sewing scissor. Then she remembered that her
Father kept a collection of tools in the basement. She ran downstairs, and when
She came back up, she had a large sheet metal cutter
In her hand. "This is the best I could find." She was very out of breath.
"Here, you do it. I-I'm gonna die." She sank into a large fluffy couch and
Exhaled noisily. Sheila tried to make a slit between the masking tape and the
End of the cardboard flap, but the blade was too big and there wasn't enough
Room. "God damn this thing!" she said feeling very exasperated. Then smiling,
"I got an idea." "What?" said Marsha. "Just watch," said Sheila, touching her
Finger to her head.

Inside the package, Waldo was so transfixed with excitement that he could
Barely breathe. His skin felt prickly from the heat, and he could feel his
Heart beating in his throat. It would be soon. Sheila stood quite upright and
Walked around to the other side of the package. Then she sank down to her
Knees, grasped the cutter by both handles, took a deep breath, and plunged the
Long blade through the middle of the package, through the masking tape, through
The cardboard, through the cushioning and (thud) right through the center of
Waldo Jeffers head, which split slightly and caused little rhythmic arcs of red
To pulsate gently in the morning sun.

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: JOHN DAVIES CALE, LOU A. REED, MAUREEN TUCKER, STERLING MORRISON

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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

Gregor X

But Ringo and Hal functioned totally differently and it's not fair or really even possible to compare them. Hal certainly tons more adaptable and capable of many different kinds of feels. He was also an educator, the first snare and set books I had were Hal's. But Ringo inspired a couple generations of rock drummers in both the sixties and seventies for a reason. Very solid, very MUSICAL, and 1/4 of what is inarguably the most successful band in the history of the world. That's got to count for quite a bit!

I mean it's hard to compare different styles because the drummer functions totally differently depending on the style. How would you compare Stewart Copeland to Al Jackson? Neil Peart to Charlie Watts? I mean Peart and Copeland are obviously worlds away from them in terms of chops, but do you want to hear Neil Peart play Start Me Up? Could he be a background compliment rather than a standout? That's not better or worse, just different. I believe that Neil Peart had about the same chance of playing Get off of My Cloud as Charlie Watts has of playing La Villa Strangiatto. You could do this all day- do you think Airto Morierra could have laid down Come Together with the same feel as Ringo and made a hit? I'm sure Ringo would totally suck attempting Birdland. I doubt he'd get the high hat correctly at that tempo it's not easy to do consistently for that amount of time. But Ringo on the medley at the end of Abbey Road is absolutely legendary. Who else but Ringo could provide that for that particular song? Insert another great drummer in there and it won't work even close to the same. Tony Williams is the greatest ever to me, when i was fifteen I went to the jazz showcase in Chicago three hours early to pick my seat, which was in arms length of him. Never saw anything like it before or since, it was a totally transformative. Tony Williams chops were just insanely, stupidly ridiculous and he played effortlessly, like he was born with sticks in his hand and drumming was the same as breathing for him. That being said, put Tony Williams on Abbey Road and see if you get a single hit. I say no way.

Do it with any instrument. Switch Glenn Campbell with Santana in their respective bands and think about what you'd get. They're both sound like crap that way.

Put Geddy Lee or Sting in the Allman Brothers. Could they play the notes? Quite obviously they could, and easily. Could they get that same feel on Whipping Post? Melissa? Ramblin' Man? Highly doubtful at best. Would they have the right note to drop, to accent the dueling guitars and double drummers at just the right time? Doubtfully, at best. And it's not a hard bass line at all.

I can play the bass line for Waking on the Moon easily, could do it at 13 now I'm 49, a pro drummer and bassist, but it still doesn't sound like Sting and I've been playing that tune for well over thirty years. Music is more than notes and chops.



Dr. Hannibal Lester

Brings back some wonderful memories, and informs on a big part of history that ought to be remembered.

I remember 1968-69, taking guitar lessons at a low-rent music store, trying to learn some of these hit songs from the simplified sheet music (chord progressions on standard notation that basically just mimicked the vocals). A year later, with a slightly better guitar, I decided I had enough and tried learning some of those songs by ear, off the record.

Dumb move. I was a 13 year old with a year's experience trying to copy Tedesco, Campbell, and Kaye--not to mention Hendrix, Page, and Santana.

Did okay, I guess.

But to everyone here who didn't grow up in the late 1950's and 60's, it takes rare, God-given talent to create the incredible music that came out of that era--and these people were apparently born with it.



All comments from YouTube:

Wrecking Crew

Just looking at some of the comments and want to thank everyone for their support of the documentary as well as these fantastic musicians. If anyone is interested in seeing more, they should grab the DVD which has 6 more hours of bonus material from interviews that never made it to the film. It took 19 years to make and we never stopped filming. Interviews from; Leon Russell, Jackie Deshannon, Marylyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr, Richard Carpenter, Petula Clark, many of the other musicians, engineers and producers. If you go to the wreckingcrewfilm.com website and use the code word; OUTTAKE you'll get a discount on the dvds, cds, books and other items.

James Richardson

@Paul Richardson This documentary was interesting and educational for me. I learned things about the music business, and the music making machines that made those great hits.

Paul Richardson

Thank you for this documentary. It was a very educational trip down memory lane. It's great to hear the music from my early youth again and hear some of the stories behind the sounds I'll never forget.

James Richardson

@JSR Roadrash This been happening since the music industry has used session musicians. They were payed very little and never got credit or glory. I think time they were all trying make living and food on the table and etc. Later Session Musicians got credit on albums, it nature the business. They couldn't piss off record companies or they wouldn't be able to work.

JSR Roadrash

I recently recovered a radio station that plays so many of these classes songs. It's great to see the musicians that made these songs so popular. It's a shame they were never given any credit on the songs.

James Richardson

@david rosen You should watch the documentary " Respect Yourself The Stax Records Story" and Stand in the Shadows of Motown. I own these films and Muscle Shoal The Incredible True Story of A small Town With A Big Sound.

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StraightJackets StraightJackets

1) How cool is this doc? (Cool as hell!)
2) How cool is it that a son honors his father like this? (See #1)
3) How cool is it that the movie maker communicates to the viewers in the comments on YouTube? (Even cooler!!!)

Thanks, Denny, for all of the above (from a mediocre guitar player that honors the greats like your Dad!)

Srikanth Karre

Try&r rt

Pendejo

I also never get enough of this documentary. I always recommend it to anybody who loves music history. It changed my life. It changed my understanding of music and pop culture. It shocked me how TWC was responsible for SO DAMN MUCH MUSIC! I am happy that they finally got their due recognition.

imasonof adeadbeat

@John Johnon Instead of breaking strings do you break wind?

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