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Blood Red the Stain

Lui Collins

Images from the movie The Red Violin haunted me for weeks, inspiring the writing of this song,
a re-telling of the making of the violin. With thanks to Fran├žois Girard, director of
this compelling film, and to Bob Franke for the writing assignment. We were on tour together
the weekend I sat in on his workshop; I fear I was poor company on the drive back from NYC
to New Haven, immersed as I was in the writing.

Lui: vocal, banjo; Anand: bass, resophonic guitar, mandolin;
Rani: fiddle;
Rose: accordion;
Scott: tambourine, triangle, cajon, tom tom, brushes

The wood must yield to the sharpest blade
Blood red, blood red the stain
To tap the music in the grain
Carry the burden gently

"Why do you come, my dearest dear?"
"I knew that I would find you here

"The crone has read my future, dear
The cards foretell of death, I fear"

"Oh no, my love, this cannot be
For our healthy son, safe delivery

"Come see what I have made for him
My crowning glory, this violin

"See the back, how true the grain
The scroll that bears the jewel inlaid

"One day our son will touch the strings
The bow will cause its soul to sing"

But her hand has drawn the card of fate
The husband summoned comes too late

He lifts her body tenderly
Bears her over wet dark streets

On the bench he lays her lifeless form
His solemn work is not yet done

He lifts the knife to one last task
Some few dark drops be all he'll ask

One ounce of blood stripped from a vein
Stirred in a flask, the lacquer made

One lock of tresses black he clips
Brush into blood red lacquer dips

With deliberate stroke he wields the brush
That makes the wood with color blush

So must flesh yield to sharpest blade
To tap the music in the vein

January 24, 2000 Lui Collins
©2000 Molly Gamblin Music/BMI

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Banjo tuning: gDACD