EPISODE 165

In traditional New Testament studies, the student is trying to get as close as possible to the original text. The idea is that the closer you are to the original, the closer you are to the Inspiration that created the text in the first place.

The same principle applies to almost any branch of study, and also to art and literature. You want Kerouac’s actual scroll, Pollack’s actual canvas, Wordsworth’s actual pad, Mike Francis’ actual demo.

I think that Burton Cummings, Canada’s piano man, comes close to Inspiration in several of his songs, including songs he performed with The Guess Who. A touching and piercing one of these is entitled “Got to Find Another Way”. It is usually credited to Cummings and Randy Bachman.

There’s something interesting in the history of the song: The first version that was released, in 1970, differs, in its climactic verse, from the second version, which was released in l977. The difference is important, as the second version is more hopeful, while the first is more profound. In fact, the first version of “Got to Find Another Way” is quite formidable. (Where did these young men get their wisdom? They almost single-handedly, in a few lines of lyric, solved the problem of lost love, romantic catastrophe, and late-life healing. I’m flattened by the pastoral illumination conveyed through the first recording of this hidden gem.)

Wonder what you will think? Will it “change everything you’re thinkin'”, as the song enjoins; or “change everything you’re doin’ “? Doubt it. But it might could.