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Emmylou Harris — Goin Back To Harlan
Album: Wrecking Ball
Avg rating:
6.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1861









Released: 1995
Length: 4:49
Plays (last 30 days): 2
There where no cuckoos, no sycamores
We played about the forest floor
Underneath the silver maples, the balsams and the sky
We popped the heads off dandelions
Assuming roles from nursery rhymes
Rested on the riverbank
And grew up by and by, and grew up by and by

Frail my heart apart
And play me a little shady grove
Ring the bells of rhymney
Till they ring inside my head forever
Bounce the bow, rock the gallows
For the hangman's reel
And wake the devil from his dream
I'm going back to Harlan
I'm going back to Harlan
I'm going back to Harlan

And if you were Willie Moore
And I was Barbara Allen
Or Fair Ellen all sad at the cabin door
A-weepin' and a-pinin', for love
A-weepin' and a-pinin', for love
Comments (136)add comment
This has to be one of the most repetitive songs ever.  Yikes. 
Written by someone else!
 Roguewarer wrote:

Funny, she doesn’t sound like she’s from Harlem. 



What about Harlan?
I never liked country until I first listened to RP many years ago. Am still here and even have bought a few albums on the strength of a track I've heard on here.

And I'm not going anywhere soon :-)
Funny, she doesn’t sound like she’s from Harlem. 
I lived in Harlan.

I'm not going back, but will be traveling to Carroll to have Christmas lunch and cocktails with an old neighbor who is driving up from Harlan to Carroll.
 idiot_wind wrote:

i lived in a town called harlan

you had to watch you Ps and Qs, otherwise there could be consequence



Sounds like the opening lines to "Hold On" by Tom Waits: 

They hung a sign up in our town
If you live it up you won't live it down
Anything from this album would be welcome. Thx
i lived in a town called harlan

you had to watch you Ps and Qs, otherwise there could be consequence
 tm wrote:

Back to Harlan? and it’s Goin’


that was my first guess since that's the song title. i think you missed that my question was tongue-in-cheek, but that's ok!
i love the bubbly synths underneath everything else
 lily34 wrote:

i wonder where she's going.


Back to Harlan? and it’s Goin’
i wonder where she's goin'.
I once lived in a rural town called Harlan.

Best year and a half, of my life.  
 mardison wrote:

 

What a great album this was!  I can't believe that it's over 20 years old!  One of my "desert island discs." 




yeah, one of the top albums of the 90s
Somewhere between Calgary and Red Deer a man once told me eventually I would love country music. He was right.
 MassivRuss wrote:
‪I am here to declare before all of you that, despite a long, passionate disdain for country music, my recently found love for Emmylou Harris is true and real and makes my life more worth living. Whatever God gave her her gift may rest for eternity.‬ Thank you Bill



same here. her collaboration with Knopfler was fantastic and I absolutely love this song and many of her others. mind and ears open....
I had this CD until I forgot to remove it from my car's CD changer after it got totaled (I've done that twice now). I guess I never looked at the title as I always thought she was singing "I'm going back to Harlem" which never made much sense to me in the context of the rest of the lyrics.
 Peter_Bradshaw wrote:

Stunning, truly stunning.


And her music is pretty darn good as well...
Mr. Lanois working his magic once again.
Good. But not her best.
 MassivRuss wrote:

‪I am here to declare before all of you that, despite a long, passionate disdain for country music, my recently found love for Emmylou Harris is true and real and makes my life more worth living. Whatever God gave her her gift may rest for eternity.‬ Thank you Bill




Then i have another name for you : Lucinda Williams
she was an RP discovery for me
 kcar wrote:
rulebritannia wrote:
God help me.  RP is making me like Country!
   

Cynaera wrote:

Naw, you don't want help. Just relax and go with it. I've never been a huge country-western fan, either, but there are so many good artists out there, I'd be crazy to fight against opening my mind and ears to new things. Kudos to you, rulebritannia - your world just expanded. (Cool, innit?) {#Mrgreen}

 
Was just thinking the same thing, rulebritannia. Wouldn't have listened to this much when I was younger. 

Cynaera, your posts have such a positive and open approach that we miss you—not just Lazarus. Keep shining down on us. {#Sunny} Still holds true, Some lights just go on shining.  Miss you, Cynaera! And thanks for leaving parts of you to keep us company. 
 

 RabbitEars wrote:

Harlan. Probably Harlan, SK Canada since it was written by Anna Mcgarrigle, a Canadian. Could be Harlan KY though, as it has an Appalachian streak.
 
Since Emmylou is singing about silver maples and balsam (firs) and no sycamores, it is undoubtedly Saskatchewan.  That's why every party needs a botanist.  
Emmylou can do no wrong. I'll be her Graham and her Johnny too. Enjoy this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi5A9OCAyIk
 
Lovely track from a superb album. 8/10
ugh
 Stefen wrote:
I always found it odd that a pale skinned woman such as Emmylou Harris would be pining to return to Harlem.  
 
Harlan. Probably Harlan, SK Canada since it was written by Anna Mcgarrigle, a Canadian. Could be Harlan KY though, as it has an Appalachian streak.
‪I am here to declare before all of you that, despite a long, passionate disdain for country music, my recently found love for Emmylou Harris is true and real and makes my life more worth living. Whatever God gave her her gift may rest for eternity.‬ Thank you Bill
I always found it odd that a pale skinned woman such as Emmylou Harris would be pining to return to Harlem.  

 

What a great album this was!  I can't believe that it's over 20 years old!  One of my "desert island discs." 


Stunning, truly stunning.
                                                Day Is Brave
                               
                                 I'd walk on water on a short notice
                                 She said something I never forget.
                                   I'm just wondering to myself.
                               Will I always need someone to tell me?
Well then, for God's sake, get on with your bad self and go!

rulebritannia wrote:
God help me.  RP is making me like Country!
   

Cynaera wrote:

Naw, you don't want help. Just relax and go with it. I've never been a huge country-western fan, either, but there are so many good artists out there, I'd be crazy to fight against opening my mind and ears to new things. Kudos to you, rulebritannia - your world just expanded. (Cool, innit?) {#Mrgreen}

 
Was just thinking the same thing, rulebritannia. Wouldn't have listened to this much when I was younger. 

Cynaera, your posts have such a positive and open approach that we miss you—not just Lazarus. Keep shining down on us. {#Sunny} 
For a far better interpretation (and better voices)  - The McGarrigle Sisters on their "Matapedia" CD
THAT VOICE, AND ALL THAT! {#Fire}
Crystalline shards of nasal perfection.
All right...I quit. Emmylou is a goddess, but I need rock n roll.

I'm going to Radioio.

See ya.
Emmylou—our national treasure!
I've been in love w/ this woman for more than 40 years.  Just wasn't as cool as Gram Parsons (who was?).
I've owned this album since it came out...this song makes me misty-eyed everytime...
This is the only country album I own........and it all started out with this piece. That's good, I suppose?

Harlan is a city in Harlan County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 1745 at the 2010 census and was estimated at 1880 in 2007. It is the county seat ...

Well, get along then and stop delaying
Normally really like Emmylou, but I really don't care for this song at all. Oh well.{#Grumpy}
I'm going back to Harlan, to Harlan, to Harlan, I'm going back to Harlan, I don't think so.

Let LL Cool J do this next. 
 rulebritannia wrote:
God help me.  RP is making me like Country!
 
Naw, you don't want help. Just relax and go with it. I've never been a huge country-western fan, either, but there are so many good artists out there, I'd be crazy to fight against opening my mind and ears to new things. Kudos to you, rulebritannia - your world just expanded. (Cool, innit?) {#Mrgreen}
 handyrae wrote:
I thought she was signing "I'm going back to Harlem." It seemed a bit odd, but I was hoping she'd get there soon.
 
Yeah! Harlem, the country capital of the world.
She's such a talent...seeing her this weekend in Santa Barbara, CA!
Is that Harlan County Kentucky?  Is Marshall Raylan Givens gonna come and gun you down Emmylou?
God help me.  RP is making me like Country!
Ah, I love this song!  This whole album is one of all-tim favourites.  Daniel Lanois's soundscapes match remarkably well with Emmylou's wonderful voice.

I thought she was signing "I'm going back to Harlem." It seemed a bit odd, but I was hoping she'd get there soon.
A most excellent song but the Lillith Fair version live was/is incredible.
Great song from a great album ... no, better than great.....  best in last 15 years ... and at the top for me all time.
TheKing2 wrote:
I'm just slightly tired of everything Daniel Lanois touches...He needs to move on.
Yoosa be BIG funny!


Are we sure? Need to lay off those pills luv.
I am so sorry and a bit off-topic, but I am a huge Govt. Mule fan ... but a few or many years ago after Woody, I went to see Mule and somebody in my path had a shirt on that said " Warren  is a Whore".... I want to enjoy Emmy ... there is just so much and it seems so dilute... I am confused about "is it all" quality or is she just good?
Too mopey and nasal.

The dogs are howling... 

Thanks for introducing me to this album, Bill. It was in my player for 2 weeks straight when I bought it.


 TheKing2 wrote:
I'm just slightly tired of everything Daniel Lanois touches.
It just gets a sickening high "shopping-mall-music" feel to it.
He needs to move on.
 
Completely disagree.

Great song from a career-redefining album for Emmylou. Besides Neil Young, it features guest performances from Steve Earle, Larry Mullen and Lucinda Williams. {#Music}
She sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks, and that ain't good.
I loved her back in the day but her voice seems to have gone through the ringer.  I cringe the last few years listening to her.  Sorry, but that's how I feel.  I do however enjoy some of the harmony vocals she's done in recent years (ie w/Marc knopfler, etc) but NOT as the lead vocal any longer....I'll just go cringe in my corner now....
 joyjoy09 wrote:
I love Emmylou's music but everytime I hear the original version I realize that she picks great material but doesn't do it justice. Folks like Patty Griffin & or in this case the McGarrigles, do their own stuff exponentially better. Emmylou mainstreams it, takes out the heartbreak, that gorgeous cracking open that I love. Emmylou just doesn't go far enough emotionally.
 
Wow. To me, ELH brings out a level of feeling in songs that few of the original artists can touch. I hear much more depth and musicality in her performances that few others of her genre have. 

I'm just slightly tired of everything Daniel Lanois touches.
It just gets a sickening high "shopping-mall-music" feel to it.

He needs to move on.
 joyjoy09 wrote:
I love Emmylou's music but everytime I hear the original version I realize that she picks great material but doesn't do it justice. Folks like Patty Griffin & or in this case the McGarrigles, do their own stuff exponentially better. Emmylou mainstreams it, takes out the heartbreak, that gorgeous cracking open that I love. Emmylou just doesn't go far enough emotionally.
 

Maybe that's what's always kept me from Emmylou. I hear it, and love her songs, but great songs like these ought to make you CRY! Sob and weep.  Emmylou has never made me get choked up.
I love Emmylou's music but everytime I hear the original version I realize that she picks great material but doesn't do it justice. Folks like Patty Griffin & or in this case the McGarrigles, do their own stuff exponentially better. Emmylou mainstreams it, takes out the heartbreak, that gorgeous cracking open that I love. Emmylou just doesn't go far enough emotionally.
I have this recording - A great cd; as noted ealier, that atmospheric sound is courtesy of the fantastic Daniel Lanois. He has also produced U2, Bob Dylan, and the Neville Brothers to name a few.
Lovely track... pity about her voice, I can think of many female vocalists who could have complimented the instrumentals so much better.
 BluEyes wrote:
I love this cd.
 
Absolutely...very interesting and creative departure for Emmylou Harris.  Take a look at the producer too...Daniel Lanois...not your typical Emmlou release.  The first 5 tunes are is fantastic.  Neil Young cameos on this release on "Wrecking Ball".  Many other well-known (& respected) artists also appear here.  Buy it!!! {#Sunny}

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrecking_Ball_(Emmylou_Harris_album)


 More_Cowbell wrote:
Well, get go-in then, quickly...
 
WHy hasn't she left yet?

Monster wrote:
I'm from Harlan...and I'm not going back..but it is a decent place..just no jobs..no recreation...lots of drug addictions and senseless killins...go to the video store and rent Harlan County..its a documentary
Is Shittown, KY nicer?
Hauntingly brilliant.
kindermanltd wrote:
Did she do that "Can't rain all the time" song from The Crow movie soundtrack? Anyone?
Nope, that was Jane Siberry. Great singer too, btw.
Had to check the song title...didn't think she was from Harlem.
I love this cd.
I swear I could listen to Ms. Harris sing a phone book. Damn what a voice.
Well, get go-in then, quickly...
I'm from Harlan...and I'm not going back..but it is a decent place..just no jobs..no recreation...lots of drug addictions and senseless killins...go to the video store and rent Harlan County..its a documentary
Mari wrote:
Kate and Anna McGarrigle are just not represented on Radio Paradise at all! I've tried and failed over in LRC, they don't like 'em! damn shame too!
The original version from the Sisters is still on LRC: Status reviewing (71%) Perhaps one day...
allisonscola wrote:
The McGarrigles have a chilling version of it on a CD from the mid-nineties... it's great! (Rufus and Martha got it from somewhere besides their father...)
The McGarrigle sisters, from my hometown, Montréal, are responsible for writing this and bringing it into the music world.
krich58 wrote:
What an album this is...
One everyone should own.
Did she do that "Can't rain all the time" song from The Crow movie soundtrack? Anyone?
Sweet, favorite song from Emmylou, absolutely beautiful!
her voice is as beautiful as she is.
crisssi wrote:
Nice , but I'm surprised that the wonderful McGarrigle version isn't in the playlist. LRC here I come ...
Kate and Anna McGarrigle are just not represented on Radio Paradise at all! I've tried and failed over in LRC, they don't like 'em! damn shame too!
What an album this is...
"...rested on the riverbank, and grew up by and by." Brings tears to my eyes. What a wonderful picture this paints.
Great song
horseplayer wrote:
It's a place. In Kentucky. Appalachia, coal-mining country, dirt poor, and hard living. My wife and I drove through there once on one of our blue-highways jaunts, without realizing where we were heading into. There we are on vacation, enjoying ourselves, breezing our way past all these people suffering through the lot life dealt them. That was sobering.
My father's family is from Harlan. I have visited it myself. It's had some rough times in the past and still is not a boomtown, but I would not describe the people living there as ones that are necessarily suffering and I venture to say that the folks living there would not either.
as someone from the county next to harlan... love emmylou.
Darrooon wrote:
This is the cut, that I listend to on RP, that made me go look at our Emmylou collection, to discover we didn't own it, and in turn I proceeded to buy the CD. No regrets.
What!!!?? You bought something because you heard it on an Internet Radio station? That can't be. Internet Radio stations don't lead to people purchasing music. That's why they need heavy fees in place to make sure the money goes back to the poor record companies that scrape to make ends meet. Sarcasm off I worship at the temple of Emmylou. Like many others her voice conveys so many different things to me all at once. I see her every time she steps close to Chicago. Got my tickets for September at Ravinia already.">
Nice , but I'm surprised that the wonderful McGarrigle version isn't in the playlist. LRC here I come ...
Emmylou just keeps getting better. Gorgeous.
Still looks damn hot for someone turning 60 next week..IMHO
Xeric wrote:
Read radiojunkie's post again, dude. . . .
whoops...sorry junkie!
This is one of my Fav CD's Beautiful production work from Daniel Lanois. Red Dirt girl is nice also.
Johng wrote:
So go already! Wow that is one repetitive song.
While I'm not a huge fan of Emmylou's early work, I've come to really love her newer stuff...Wrecking Ball and especially Red Dirt Girl. That probably says something about me, but I have no idea what...that exercise is left for the reader...
From wikipedia : Harlan is a city located in Harlan County, Kentucky. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 2,081. It is the county seat of Harlan CountyGR6. The popular Old-time song Shady Grove refers to the city in the chorus: Shady Grove, my little love Shady Grove, my darling Shady Grove, my little love I'm going back to Harlan.
Pyro wrote:
did you also note how many people LOVE her unique and lovely voice? One vote FOR Emmylou (and Daniel Lanois) from here.... Junkie, go back to Clearchannel...
Read radiojunkie's post again, dude. . . .
This is the cut, that I listend to on RP, that made me go look at our Emmylou collection, to discover we didn't own it, and in turn I proceeded to buy the CD. No regrets.
Please, go , just go to where ever you're going. Just stop singing this song
HMS_Beagle wrote:
According to my WB liner notes this song was written by Anna McGarrigle...and EH is covering it.
The McGarrigles have a chilling version of it on a CD from the mid-nineties... it's great! (Rufus and Martha got it from somewhere besides their father...)
According to my WB liner notes this song was written by Anna McGarrigle...and EH is covering it. Mari wrote:
...Goin' Back To Harlan song lyrics by Emmylou Harris."...what a truly wonderful woman and lyricist... ...(Kate and Anna McGarrigle did a most striking tribute to this gem of a song! in Matapedia )
There's a really awesome live version of this on one of the Lilith Fair compilation CDs, if anyone would care to upload it.
Why do some songs annoy? I have no idea why this one is annoying, but it is. Normally, I love Harris's music, but not today, not this one.
" Ring the Bells of Rhymney " in the lyrics is a reference to the beautiful poem (click here)
radiojunkie wrote:
Not liking Emmylou should be sufficient reason for deportation -- although I don't know where we'd send these people, since they clearly won't go to France. Maybe Antarctica, to match the coldness of their hearts?
Personally, I would deport them to the US of A, seeing there are so many onther idi.... ohh err, never mind. Just my tiny Euro-weenie view... :P :) (btw, France is a very nice country... get used to it. It'll be around for a very loooong time still...)
Harlan Man by Steve Earle... Check it out...
mrselfdestruct wrote:
Is Harlan a place or a dude?
It's a place. In Kentucky. Appalachia, coal-mining country, dirt poor, and hard living. My wife and I drove through there once on one of our blue-highways jaunts, without realizing where we were heading into. There we are on vacation, enjoying ourselves, breezing our way past all these people suffering through the lot life dealt them. That was sobering.
radiojunkie wrote:
I checked in to see how many people complained they couldn't stand Emmylou's voice, and wasn't disappointed. These guys are SO predictable. Not liking Emmylou should be sufficient reason for deportation -- although I don't know where we'd send these people, since they clearly won't go to France. Maybe Antarctica, to match the coldness of their hearts?
did you also note how many people LOVE her unique and lovely voice? One vote FOR Emmylou (and Daniel Lanois) from here.... Junkie, go back to Clearchannel...
love this song, love this artist. She's a mighty classy lady too. I saw her on the first Lillith Faire and she put most of the other musicians to shame (particularly Jewel).....but I'm a bit snarky ;)
I checked in to see how many people complained they couldn't stand Emmylou's voice, and wasn't disappointed. These guys are SO predictable. Not liking Emmylou should be sufficient reason for deportation -- although I don't know where we'd send these people, since they clearly won't go to France. Maybe Antarctica, to match the coldness of their hearts?
DownHomeGirl wrote:
I'd love to hear Darrell Scott's You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive after this one.
Patty Loveless' version of that song wouldn't be bad either.
Is Harlan a place or a dude?