Actually what this song makes me think of literature-wise more than anything is Ford's The Good Soldier - the unreliable narrator, the layers of deception, the odd moments of humor, the declarations of great sadness, etc.
― JoeStork, Saturday, 28 April 2012 08:56 (1 year ago) Permalink
JON WHITE IS CORRECT: THE BRIDE DIES ON HER WEDDING DAY. (I'll cite my source at the bottom of this note.) I think it's probably a drug overdose or a suicide. The groom doesn't know what happened & shows up. The bride's family isn't at the wedding because they are dealing with the tragedy at home. The word gradually reaches the people in the crowd -- but not the groom. When the groom sees everybody looking so grim, he makes a joke about it looking like a funeral. Finally, his buddies (who clearly know a lot more about his fiancee's past than he does) tell him what happened. He goes out drinking with them, & as they all get soused, the buddies tell the groom a lot of bad stuff about his intended that he never knew. He can still see the lies on their faces from all the times they could have told him about this stuff but they chose to cover for her instead. The last verse is not a non sequiter: Meanwhile, back at the wedding, it has morphed into an ad hoc funeral. (Hey, they paid their $1,000, right?) It's been a bad, bad day.My source: I think there are now several official recordings of $1,000 Wedding out. ONLY THE ONE on the Gram Parsons studio album that most of you know doesn't make it clear what's going on.I recommend the album called: Gram Parsons Archives Vol. 1: The Flying Burrito Brothers Live At The Avalon Ballroom April 4th, 1969. The Burritos were opening for hometown heroes the Grateful Dead, & the recording is from Owsley Stanley's archives. Stanley designed the Dead's sound system (when he wasn't designing perfect LSD, as explained in Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne," which is about Owsley). It's a board tape, so you can't hear the audience. The vocals are mixed very loud, so you can the lyrics very clearly. Parsons sings:A thousand dollar wedding was supposed to be held the other day.And with all the invitations sent, the young bride passed away.The groom saw people passing notes..."There are other tiny differences in the lyrics. I think that by the time Parsons recorded the version on his solo album, he wanted to blur the story just a little bit -- possibly so that all of us would be discussing the song for seven years decades after he wrote it!One thing that makes the song even sadder when you do understand it is that it foreshadows Parsons' own death (as does Long Black Limousine, which he also performed). Like the bride in the song, he died suddenly & too young. (Interestingly, Elvis Presley also recorded Long Black Limousine. If I were a country rock star & I identified with that song, I wouldn't dare record it! I'd check into Narcotics Anonymous instead!)
― Slade Barker, Friday, 28 September 2012 16:21 (8 months ago) Permalink