Album: Royal Albert Hall October 10 1997
. . .
Welp. Remember how, a few days ago, I wrote how I could never find a way into Spacemen 3? I guess I was wrong, because not only does “Walkin’ With Jesus” date back their earliest recording sessions, they apparently recorded it more than once, as digging through YouTube to research this point I discovered slow dreamy versions and noisy electric versions.
And yet, I will swear on a thousand drug-smuggled bibles that until that research, this version from the Royal Albert Hall concert was the only one I ever heard. Because I’m utterly positive that had I heard any the Spacemen 3 versions back in the 1980s, I would have totally and utterly flipped for it. So I guess when I tried Spacemen 3, I didn’t try something with this song on it, but I’m clearly an unreliable narrator. Or maybe I’m just fucked up on the sound of confusion.
I walked with Jesus and he would say
“Oh you poor child, you ain’t coming to me, no way
You found heaven on Earth, gonna burn for your sin”
But I think I’ll be in good company down there with all my friends
This is over a rambling rhythm guitar, a Velvety organ drone. And while J Spaceman seems almost sanguine about the whole thing, it’s clear that a) walking with Jesus is no big thing to him and b) Jesus is kind of a dick. He clearly never buys any smokes. But Jesus’s taunts get him thinking, and after bassist Sean Cook chimes in with a mournful harmonica and somebody starts slapping a tambourine, Spaceman makes a decision.
Well I got around to thinking about what Jesus said to me
‘Cause if heaven’s like this then that’s the place to be
It’s a long long time between now and my death
And I’ve gotta have my fun so I’ve chosen what’s best
And at that point, the whole band kicks in, with a massive cacophony of sound: Spaceman’s guitar and Michael Mooney’s guitar battling against the harmonica and Raymond (Moonshake) Dickaty’s sax over which Spaceman screams:
Here it comes
Here comes the sound
Here comes the sound
And all of sudden, the proceedings crash to a halt, and thin lovely guitar riff comes snaking out as Spaceman voices his confusion, tossing a sly nod to hoary standard in the process.
So listen sweet lord forgive me of my sins
Cause I can’t stand this life without all of these things
I know I’ve done wrong but I’m in heaven on earth
I know I’ve done wrong but I could have done you worse
Jesus please meet me at the center of the earth
Because these wings are gonna fail me
And I could’ve done you worse.
And once again, all hell breaks loose, overcoming Spaceman, who is now confusing confusion with love, yelling “here comes the sound of love” over and over again, as if that’s going to fix anything, and as things get noisier and faster, it’s clear that it’s not going to and eventually the whole song is swallowed up in itself.
“Walking With Jesus” is the second of an absolutely killer three-song sequence that ends the first disc of Royal Albert Hall October 10 1997, which started with yesterday’s “Medication” and ends with tomorrow’s “Take Your Time,” a key reason why I love this record so much.
“Walkin’ With Jesus” (Royal Albert Hall Oct 10 1997)”
“Walkin’ With Jesus” Live in Brixton
“Walkin’ With Jesus” Live at the Hultsfred Festival, 2002
“Walking With Jesus” Acoustic Live in Reyjavik, 2010″
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