Showing posts with label " "El Paso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label " "El Paso. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

What the Dead Men Say

In Philip K. Dick’s short story, “What the Dead Men Say” (1964), businessman Louis Sarapis dies unexpectedly. According to the terms of his will, his corpse is to be deposited in a mortuary where his consciousness can be immediately (but only temporarily) restored, a post-mortem state similar to suspended animation. Dick termed this post-mortem state “half-life.” He later used the idea of “half-life” in one of his greatest novels, Ubik (1969).

Eventually, the consciousness of those in half-life begins to deteriorate, becoming garbled and incoherent—rather like the dying words of gangster Dutch Schultz, whose delirious non-sequiturs and novel collocations such as "French-Canadian bean soup" inspired William Burroughs to write a screenplay about Schultz's dying moments.

Consider the following songs as occurring during the singer’s half-life, or alternatively, concluding at the moment of death; "D.O.A." is the classic example. There is, of course, a certain degree of self-consciousness in these songs, unlike the last words of Dutch Schultz.

What the Dead Men Say:

Lefty Frizzell – Long Black Veil (1959)

Marty Robbins – El Paso (1959)

Porter Wagoner – Green, Green Grass of Home (1965)

Fleetwood Mac – Blood on The Floor (1970)

R. Dean Taylor – Indiana Wants Me (1970)

Bloodrock – D.O.A. (1971)

Al Kooper – Nightmare #5 (1971)