Gerry Rafferty : Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway

I believe in Ghosts.

No, not the ghouls and spectres of Halloween or graveyard apparitions.

The Ghosts I believe in lie dormant in the labyrinthine halls of the mind and the secret chambers of the heart.

And, these Ghosts, lingering traces of people and places no longer with us, can come to visit, unbidden, in afternoon reveries or in the quiet watches of the night.

A few bars of a tune from decades ago.

A once familiar fragrance floating by.

An overheard accent in an unexpected place.

And, suddenly, a Ghost appears and asks, ‘How is it with you these days?’

Do you still remember me?

Of course, sometimes, we summon up these Ghosts ourselves as we try to come to terms with the longing for and the loss of our past loves.

‘The coat she wore still lies upon the bed’.

Embed from Getty Images

With , ‘Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway’ Gerry Rafferty wrote the most exquisite song I know examining the bittersweet persistence of the Ghosts of a former romantic relationship.

Now that’s a song that, once heard, will always linger in your heart.

Gerry Rafferty was a songwriter to his fingertips.

There was nothing accidental in a Gerry Rafferty record.

Consider the artistic intelligence and emotional acuity in opening a song about romantic reverie with a 40 second introduction of wispy woodwinds and muted brass accompanied by humming revealing what spoken words are not yet ready to say – mama you’ve been on my mind.

And, now the Ghost appears.

Now the memories cascade.

Cascade.

No point in pretending that these are not in many respects memories that warm as well as chill.

Memories that offer more insights when uttered than the bearer of those memories may care to consciously realise.

‘The book I gave her that she never read’.

Perhaps, that was one of those books men are so prone to giving as romantic presents – a book meant to signal the special intelligence and sophistication of the giver rather than one chosen to delight the recipient.

Gerry sings the song in a tone of melodic regretful intimacy.

Trying to make sense of it all.

Where did it go wrong?

Where did I go wrong?

What else could I have done?

Maybe it wasn’t just my fault.

These things just happen.

Her father didn’t like me anyway.

Her father didn’t like me anyway.

‘She left without a single word to say’.

Yes, at the end, there really is not a single word to say.

How many times can you say Goodbye?

Just the echoing sound of the closing door.

The closing door.

‘She always wanted more than I could give.’

Now, that’s a young man’s phrase.

You give how much you choose to give.

You can give so much more than you ever think you can give.

Time will teach you that lesson.

‘She wasn’t happy with the way we lived’

Living and loving every day is hard work.

You really have to want to do it from the depth of your being.

‘I didn’t feel like asking her to stay’.

If you don’t maintain that commitment things must fall apart.

‘To tell the truth I didn’t have the nerve’.

It’s so easy to let things drift and drift and drift until there’s no way back to harbour.

No way back.

‘So now she’s taken leave of me today’.

So, one of you comes to realise the spark has been extinguished and it’s past time.

It’s always past time when you finally decide to go.

And, there’s release in decision and action.

Even for the one left behind.

‘I know I only got what I deserved’.

How well the masochistic coat can fit!

Dim lights, strong drink, remember again.

Remember again and again and again.

Narrators can be very unreliable.

You know, we all know, it wasn’t really Daddy’s fault.

Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway.

Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway.

What a rich and resonant song!

‘Her Father Didn’t Like Me Anyway’ takes its honoured place as A25 on The Immortal Jukebox.

Notes:

Her Father was written and recorded by Gerry Rafferty when he was a member of The Humblebums with Billy Connolly who, of course, went on to be a major star as a comedian.

Long before the world wide success of ‘Baker Street’ Gerry Rafferty had recorded a series of superb songs distinguished by their melodic grace, their sardonic lyrical deftness and the care and attention with which they were sung.

Songs like, ‘Mary Skeffington’ (after his Mother), ‘Patrick’, ‘Steamboat Row’ and ‘Shoeshine Boy’ match Paul McCartney all the way for melodic flow and memorability.

There will be much more to say about Gerry Rafferty on The Jukebox later.

For now I urge you to purchase a Humblebums compilation and the solo records, ‘Can I Have My Money Back?’, ‘City to City’ and, ‘Night Owl’.

These records, the work of a major songwriter, will endure.

Jukebox Jive :

Recently several loyal Jukebox afficianados have written in to ask what music I’m listening to apart from that featured in the weekly Post.

Your wish is my command!

Top of the Music mountain this week:

Van Morrison ‘The Lions Share Shows’ – astounding live performances from 1971 (available on YouTube)

Tom Russell ‘Play One More – The Songs of Ian & Sylvia’ – characterful takes on folk standards.

Curtis Mayfield – ‘No Place Like America Today’ – A mature masterwork by one of the greatest figures in modern music.

From The Archive

Another faithful Jukebox fan wrote in to say he had just discovered the Post on Maura O’Connell and said, ‘How did I miss this one!’

Well, there’s over 200 Posts here now so there’s treasure aplenty to be mined!

So, each week I’ll provide links to 3 previous Posts so you can make a discovery or reminisce.

Here’s that Post on the tenderly wonderful Maura

http://wp.me/p4pE0N-mT

Now here’s a rarity! One of my poems ‘Static’ – something of a meditation on exile and Father’s and Sons

http://wp.me/p4pE0N-2U

Finally the death of Chuck Berry reminded me of how world changing the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Forefathers were.

Here’s a tribute to the inimitable Little Richard.

http://wp.me/p4pE0N-3J

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