03/11/2018: “This Bitter Earth” by Dinah Washington

There’s something about these old songs which is sorely missing in today’s world.

Written by Clyde Otis, and performed by Dinah Washington, the song has a haunting quality to it, amplified by the truly poetic nature of the lyrics.

The song is about a yearning for love and how the world can seem cold and lonely without it. It’s quite short, but into that time it squeezes a lot of contemplative thoughts.

The original backing track is a sultry, strings laden R’n’B number, with a host of backing vocals, and some tasteful piano to embellish the song. The rhythm sections plods along, seemingly lost in thought. There’s a note of melancholy, but to me it doesn’t seem like a sad song.

There’s a version used in Scorsese’s Shutter Island which uses Max Richter’s “On The Nature Of Daylight” as a backing track. It’s very majestic, possibly being more emotional than the original!

The track was released as a single in 1960, and on the LPĀ UnforgettableĀ in 1961.


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