The Curse

from by The Tingles



The Curse:
We did several takes on this one at Robinsons, well mostly me recording the mandolin over the guitars, and the bass line. Larson did a good job on the Accordian. And we got the drums right of the bat.
Be Seeing You!

Nick's Liner Notes:

The curse is based on a true story.

Way back when I was a kid in shorts, at a time when only kids wore shorts and, as a kid, you looked forward to the day you got long pants, in Ora, South Carolina (circa 1950), my uncle, a teenager, who lived across the field from us would call out, "Come here, Nicky. I got something to show you," and I would round the corner and there he would be chopping the head off a chicken. I don't know how many times he pulled that one or how many times I fell for it, but the phrase "running around like a chicken with its head cut off" has for me a specific graphic meaning having seen, as I have, that chicken running around the yard with its head still over there on the tree stump and there was something just awful about that.

But one time, he calls out and I round the corner and there's no chicken. Instead, a snake is hanging down the side of the chicken coop and uncle is laughing up a storm, like it's a real thigh slapper or something, seeing the fix this egg thieving snake has got itself into. For it had crawled into the coop, and swallowed a wooden egg, which, as I understand, was used to induce the hens to "brood," and having swallowed that egg could not get back out the same knot hole it came in through. So "The Curse" is a true story up to this point, for, while, in the song, I let him wither on the vine as it were, in fact uncle picked up an ax and cut the snake in half and squeezed the wooden egg right out of the tail section, plop! onto the ground.

So what's this little story? What is it about? Well, not much of anything except that it happened. The snake of course is a mighty symbolic creature, what with Adam and Eve and all, and the idea that the snake was cursed (by not being able to go in reverse; and us too cursed by our irreversibility (can't go out the way we come in)) has theological implications. But lest the meanings get too thick, I tried to thin it all out with: "Never bite off more than you can chew/And never swallow anything that's bigger than you."

Speaking of snakes that got stuck, my wife spoke with a woman in Columbia, SC, who was going into the bathroom to take care of nature's needs, when a huge gopher jumped out of her toilet followed in hot pursuit by a large snake. She rushed out of the bathroom to call the animal protection people, as the snake rushed the gopher, and when they got back in the bathroom, no gopher was present. Rather the tale of the snake was sticking up out of the toilet. Guess what? It got stuck trying to go out the way that it come in.


The Curse

Big old garden snake bout as thick as a peg
Crawled into the chicken coop, swallowed a wooden egg
And when he tried to get back out the way that he come in
He found out that old egg was twice as thick as him

Oh, oh. The Curse
Oh, oh. The Curse
Ain't no snake ever born could go in reverse
Oh. Oh. The Curse

All that snake could do was to crawl straight ahead
He found his-self a dangling down the side of that shed
And since that egg weren't coming out his nether end
He found his-self staring down at the end of him

Oh, oh. The Curse
Oh, oh. The Curse
Ain't no snake ever born could go in reverse
Oh. Oh. The Curse

Now what's this story? What is it about
Well the way you come in ain't the way that you go out
And be careful not to bite off more than you can chew
And never swallow anything that's bigger than you

Oh, oh. The Curse
Oh, oh. The Curse
Ain't no snake ever born could go in reverse
Oh. Oh. The Curse
(one more time)
Oh. Oh. The Curse


from The Tingles, released March 23, 2011
Nick Tingle: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Dan Tingle: Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Bass, Banjo, Mandolin, Percussion
Brett Larsen: Accordion



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