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Spirit of the West — And If Venice is Sinking
Album: Faithlift
Avg rating:
6.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2033









Released: 1993
Length: 3:45
Plays (last 30 days): 2
Jesus hangs behind the glass
Above venitian doors
His window box boasts crimson flowers
Fresh cut the day before

And you couldn't find a smile
If you nailed it to his face
But Jesus Christ hangs his head with grace

And if Venice is sinking
I'm going under
'Cause beauty's religion
And its Christened me with wonder

They come in bent-backed
Creeping 'cross the floor all dressed in black
Candles, thick as pillars
You can buy one off the floor
And the ceiling's painted gold
Mary's hair is red
The old come here to kiss their dead

And if Venice is sinking
I'm going under
'Cause beauty's religion
And its Christened me with wonder

We made love upon a bed
That sagged down to the floor
In a room that had a postcard on the door
Of Marini's Little Man
With an erection on a horse
It always leaves me laughing
Leaves me feeling that of course if

Venice is sinking
I'm going under
'Cause beauty's religion
And its Christened me with wonder

(repeat chorus)
Comments (233)add comment
 tinypriest wrote:

Sorry, the Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" came out 4 years earlier.
 


Correct me if I'm wrong but I think SECA_Alan meant followed in the playlist, not in writing or releasing.  It would be a fun seque.  
From both a SOTW and Hip fan (and in Canada no less!)
 SECA_Alan wrote:
Yet another cracker from Canadia... adore the country's culture and humour more and more.

Very reminiscent of later Waterboys material too, which is no bad thing.

I'm sure this could have led into New Orleans is sinking, by the Hip though!
 
Sorry, the Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" came out 4 years earlier.
So glad this is still in the playlist. I get chills every time that final chorus comes in. Weirdly, wonderfully evocative song of trips through Italy.
Still fresh all these years later. Great imagery!
I like the live version better.
Yet another cracker from Canadia... adore the country's culture and humour more and more.

Very reminiscent of later Waterboys material too, which is no bad thing.

I'm sure this could have led into New Orleans is sinking, by the Hip though!
R.I.P.
Nice tuba...
Keep playing this one Love it big time
...call MOSE https://www.mosevenezia.eu/
Venice is really sinking, in fact, day after day.
Is this not the identical tune to Shane MacGowan and the Popes Lonesome Highway?
Godspeed, John. You enriched and agitated and inspired and raged. You made our lives brighter, more colourful, richer. Yours are essential melodies and relevant, beautiful poetry. Your courage in face of your diagnosis is now legend. Thank you. Merci.
Thank you eyeball, for your comments about John Mann.
Gone too soon.
I'd like to dedicate this one to John Mann, who I just learned, passed away today. He was 57.

So sad.
 
I last saw the Spirit of the West at The Lyric in Winnipeg, when they shared the stage with Blue Rodeo. It had rained something heavy, and I was worried the gig was going to be played during a downpour. But half an hour before the band was set to come on, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was glorious. And what a great show! Though I noticed John was reading his lyrics from an iPad, clipped to his mic stand. I wondered why. Then a few days later the news broke that he had early onset Alzheimer's.
 
When I watched the documentary Spirit Unforgettable, I was really impressed with the story they told. So much COURAGE. I love you John. And the band. Spirit of The West provided the soundtrack for much of my adult life. So many defining moments.... and music.
 
I met John once after a show at The Spectrum (now The Pyramid) also in Winnipeg. He was sitting on a stool between the doors, signing autographs. I pointed to the can of Guinness he was drinking, and asked him how he liked it (compared to having it on tap). He said it was great, because they invented this thing called a widget (inside the can). I looked at him and said that the widget had always been around (economics reference), but they just never knew before what it was for. He blinked and smiled and said, "Brilliant!".
 
Thank you for everything, John Mann.
 
You're brilliant.
 
 
Spirit Unforgettable Trailer
it is sinking!
TUBA
baby
TUBA 
gets better everytime i hear it 7->8
Great band. Sad about Mann. Very sad.
Love to hear the tuba on this ... and the song is very fun, too.
love the tuba . . . . more tuba
 Zoonhollis wrote:
Does this song lift the riff from Dirty Old Town?
 
No
It just gets better and better. Bumped to a 9. The backstory is so unspeakably tragic that one day I'll move it up to a 10, and write about why I'm doing so. But not at the beginning of a weekend. Let's just enjoy enjoy enjoy RP & appreciate one another here while we, at least, surely can. We have everything in blissful common... if we stay here.
What a wonderful song. It can spring-clean out even an old cynic-crone's cobwebs. 
Does this song lift the riff from Dirty Old Town?
Not the best Spirit song ever, I'd highly suggest that you dig into their catalogue...its pretty amazing if don't mind a progessive liberal song writing mind set.  And prayers for John Mann, who's battle with alzheimers has him fading away day by day....so sad to lose a voice, not through death, but through wasting way...
And Paradise is smouldering today.
Please dont torture me with this ****
Thanks folks! You're the best!
RED GREEN SHOW IS ON!
6.4?
For Spirit of the West fans ...

Caught an interview with Jill Daum - John Mann's wife - on CBC recently. Her play Forget About Tomorrow is opening in Vancouver soon. She started writing it early in his diagnosis, before anyone else knew about it. It features the last two songs he wrote.

She said up until recently he was able to run with her and had much of his own agency still. Unfortunately he has taken a downturn and is now living in care. Terry David Mulligan blogged about recently visiting John with Jim Byrnes. He wrote "If he recognized us I didn’t see it."


For some reason it always seems weird to me that "And if" is part of the title.
can't get higher!
Und jetzt alle schunkeln! {#Dance}
 BCarn wrote:
Dammit people! Rate this higher!!!!!

 
Howdy friendly friend to the north!  I helped the cause...rated it an 8...this one is pretty funny to read comments on....thanks for playing this tune, BillG!
love this song  : )

also love kcar's history profile from years ago - most excellent
 BCarn wrote:
Dammit people! Rate this higher!!!!!

 
Yessir.
Probably one of Canada's most beloved bands. Come on Bill and Rebecca play 'Home For A Rest'!
 BCarn wrote:
Dammit people! Rate this higher!!!!!

 
I did my part. This is an excellent if quirky song that absolutely deserves more appreciation. Why others are bothered, I cannot guess.
Dammit people! Rate this higher!!!!!
Still loving this song and its jolly downer tone.
Saturday morning on BC's south coast. Spirit of the West is as welcome as coffee and poached eggs. Thank you, John Mann!
ciarataylor wrote:
Yes.  Canadian. They are Canadian.

 

 {#Laughing} OMJ
Yes.  Canadian. They are Canadian.
Always will love this whole album, even better live...this song kind of reminds me of the Pogues Christmas in New York
Having seen Spirit of the West several times, I learned John Mann supported a town in Swaziland, I took a truck through Bulembu and saw nothing, more's the pity. I do still remember it though and hope John does, too.
Too sad. 
Good to hear this after a long absence. Love it!
I kind of overdid it on these guys in the 80's, but now this is one of my favourite songs. Thanks for acknowledging them on RP.
A shame our neighbours to the south never had a chance to "get into" this band.  This song should be at least a 7.8 !!!!!!!
Man, pretty sad... but makes me want to see the documentary Spirit Unforgettable
Last chance to dance! Spirit of the West are giving their final three shows next month at Vancouver's famous Commodore Ballroom. https://sotw.ca/shows
Love this!
Bravo kcar!

Thank you  ; ) 
 jules44 wrote:

It is not referring to equine genitalia........Look up Marini's Little Man....{#Hearteyes}

 
DeemerDave, you might want to read the lyrics carefully before we start calling you "Equus." 

But hey, history can be a hoot. It's kelcher time, kids! Maybe Peggy Guggenheim inspired King Missile's "Detachable Penis"...which RP will never play. 

(I think the gent in the pic below is trying not to drool...)


https://blogs.artinfo.com/lacmonfire/2013/01/07/an-angel-whos-glad-to-see-you/ 

Mario Marini's statue "Angel of the Citadel"

There are many representations of male genitals at the Getty Museum, most on the baby Jesus or displaying shrinkage, to paraphrase the Guerilla Girls and Seinfeld. Only one is erect, that on Marino Marini’s 1948-9 Angel of the Citadel.

Peggy Guggenheim wearing funky sunglasses while riding gondola with two small dogs

Peggy Guggenheim (above) described Angel of the Citadel in her memoir, Confessions of an Art Addict: “It was a statue of a horse and rider, the latter with his arms spread out in ecstasy, and to emphasize this, Marino added a phallus in full erection. But when he had it cast in bronze for me he had the phallus made separately, so that it could be screwed in and out at leisure.

Erections were rarely a subject for Western art prior to Lynda Benglis. In that regard Marini, not known as an innovator, would have been daring. But art historian Angelica Zander Rudenstine supplied a few details that Guggenheim downplayed. Marini’s plaster models had only a Ken-doll bump in the genital region. It was Guggenheim who requested a penis. Marini complied, casting it separately.

The Guggenheim sculpture is displayed at her Venice (Italy) home, below, now a branch of New York’s Guggenheim Museum. “When the nuns came to be blessed by the Patriarch, who on special holy days, went by my house in a motor boat, I detached the phallus of the horseman and hid it in a drawer,” Guggenheim wrote. “I also did this on certain days when I had to receive stuffy visitors, but occasionally I forgot, and when confronted with the phallus found myself in great embarrassment.”

 
Yup, definitely NOT the horse...
I looked him up and definitely NOT talking about the horse.  
 DeemerDave wrote:
I prefer songs that don't reference equine genitalia. {#Rolleyes}

 
It is not referring to equine genitalia........Look up Marini's Little Man....{#Hearteyes}
 DeemerDave wrote:
I prefer songs that don't reference equine genitalia. {#Rolleyes}
  The pretentious lyrics failed before that....


I prefer songs that don't reference equine genitalia. {#Rolleyes}
Combination of 'Dirty Old Town' by The Pogues...mix in a bit of Guster and a dash of Old 97s.
Bill is on a roll! 3 Vancouver origin groups tonight.


John Mann has been around forever, singing and acting...80's?  Married to Jill Daum.  heh, the kids go by the surname of Daumann, IIRC. 
Love this; a bit of The Waterboys, a bit of The Pogues, a bit of lilting melody, some tongue-in-cheek digs at The Way of the World, and lots of good old-fashioned SINGING...
 TerryS wrote:

the airport is now one of the best in the world, mind you, you'll pay for priviledge, but compared to Charles De Gaulle, heh, it's the schitz.
still lots of good music to be heard, check out Rogue Folk for details.
Having said that, this be the station to listen to.
TS

 
Ha! Rogue Folk! I was a member back when. I saw some amazing shows at the W.I.S.E and other spots....damn that was fun stuff. From Karen Matheson to Dougie McLean, Don Ross.....Peter Finger was a highlight...just amazing club that brought in some amazingly talented artists that never would have had a place to play without them.
pumping it up from 8 -> 9... just because this song is helping me to cope with my headache this morning!!!

{#Dance}
I did wonder if I misheard the lyrics, but found i only partially misheard the lyrics. by googling the little man, I learnt something
 Cantilope wrote:
 
 
I agree.
If only my Denon CHR-F103 had a PSD button. Bummer. I hope they come up with hi-fi hardware internet radio receivers featuring PSD buttons.
 kingart wrote:
Would that be Venice, Italy, Venice, California, or Venice, Florida? 

 
 



..Venus..
Great song.  The live version is fantastic.
 smackiepipe wrote:
Hate i missed it. Dang. Loved SOTW back in the early 90s, but haven't heard anything by them in a multitude of years.
 
SOTW is still around, doing a few concerts here and there in Canada.  Occasionally they work with other musicians, such as Ashley McIsaac, the Paperboys, and Great Big Sea.  
 willrobinson wrote:
Love SOTW but this song ... not-so-much.
Saw them at Bogart's in Cincinnati about a hundred years ago.
How about anything from "Save This House"?
 
Agree!  Love "Save This House".  Their best, I think.  
 kingart wrote:
Would that be Venice, Italy, Venice, California, or Venice, Florida? 

 
 
No mystery here given the lyrics: "Marini's little man with an erection on a horse" is a sculpture in the garden of the Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy.
Oh, and of course, that whole thing about it sinking just makes more sense in Venice, Italy, as opposed to the other Venices.
 kingart wrote:
Would that be Venice, Italy, Venice, California, or Venice, Florida? 

 
 
yes.
 kingart wrote:
Would that be Venice, Italy, Venice, California, or Venice, Florida? 

 
 
If you're serious, you should read a little bit about Venice.
Would that be Venice, Italy, Venice, California, or Venice, Florida? 

 
 jagdriver wrote:

Roger that!
 
You guys are a tough audience, I think this is a pretty good song.
 socalhol wrote:
Oh how I LOVE the PSD button!!!  great addition —-thanks!
 
Roger that!
 socalhol wrote:
Oh how I LOVE the PSD button!!!  great addition —-thanks!
 
Couldn't agree more!
Oh how I LOVE the PSD button!!!  great addition —-thanks!
PLAY "DIRTY OLD TOWN" NEXT!!!
Love SOTW but this song ... not-so-much.
Saw them at Bogart's in Cincinnati about a hundred years ago.
How about anything from "Save This House"?
Hate i missed it. Dang. Loved SOTW back in the early 90s, but haven't heard anything by them in a multitude of years.
SOTW will always make my day better. Thanks for playing this one (and right after Dan Mangan, too!) Bill!!!
 Cynaera wrote:

Well, I love Vancouver BC, too - except for the airport (long story...) I'm still partial to Victoria BC and Montréal, as far as Canadian cities go.  I miss the days of record stores, live performances, and beverages. The last small-venue performance I saw was at a Borders book store in Salem, Oregon. I don't even remember who was performing - it was a trio with acoustic guitars and an upright bass. I ended up buying a couple of very funky CD-storage containers that changed colors when I squished them (plastic, with colored gel. And I still have them.)  Good times, long gone these days...

 
the airport is now one of the best in the world, mind you, you'll pay for priviledge, but compared to Charles De Gaulle, heh, it's the schitz.
still lots of good music to be heard, check out Rogue Folk for details.
Having said that, this be the station to listen to.
TS

Beavith, he thaid "faithlift"!!!


Wish i could get this song on Amazon mp3

 On_The_Beach wrote:
 Cynaera wrote:
Vancouver WA?  Or Vancouver Canada?  If it's Washington, what year was that?  I was up there, working on a microwave site in 1985 (my name is immortalized in concrete on one of the footings) and ninety feet up, looking down at the city lights at dusk - total magic. I love Vancouver.   Cool that you got to see this band playing live there...
 
 Vancouver, Great White North.  ; )

 
Well, I love Vancouver BC, too - except for the airport (long story...) I'm still partial to Victoria BC and Montréal, as far as Canadian cities go.  I miss the days of record stores, live performances, and beverages. The last small-venue performance I saw was at a Borders book store in Salem, Oregon. I don't even remember who was performing - it was a trio with acoustic guitars and an upright bass. I ended up buying a couple of very funky CD-storage containers that changed colors when I squished them (plastic, with colored gel. And I still have them.)  Good times, long gone these days...

Great song.  They were huge in my hometown of Vancouver.  Takes me back to the early nineties...  Ah, those were the days.
 ufamsm wrote:
this totally turned into one of those "turn up to max and dance around my house half naked" kinda songs for me over the last few times i've heard it.
 
I totally agree! I was going to say it sounds "fun" but your description is better.

this totally turned into one of those "turn up to max and dance around my house half naked" kinda songs for me over the last few times i've heard it.
 Canlistener wrote:
Crap.... there are so many better groups from Canada than this tripe.
 
probably... but this is still nice

 Axelito wrote:

We can't see many upload suggestions from your account...
 
Nope, but it's still crap.   
 Canlistener wrote:
Crap.... there are so many better groups from Canada than this tripe.
 
We can't see many upload suggestions from your account...

Crap.... there are so many better groups from Canada than this tripe.
 Jazbo wrote:
7 to 8...........
 
Exact same!

Cheesy. Big fat sweaty Roquefort cheesy.
meh
Other than the vocals of course, this is an absolute musical dead ringer for the Pogues. 
Isn't this just "About a Boy" with different lyrics?
 Cynaera wrote:
Vancouver WA?  Or Vancouver Canada?  If it's Washington, what year was that?  I was up there, working on a microwave site in 1985 (my name is immortalized in concrete on one of the footings) and ninety feet up, looking down at the city lights at dusk - total magic. I love Vancouver.   Cool that you got to see this band playing live there...
 
 Vancouver, Great White North.  ; )

7 to 8...........
 cosmiclint wrote:


Yes, Marini's little man has an erection, and he is on a horse. I don't know how SOTW could have made it more clear to you. 
 

Oh, all these years, I thought Marini's little man was on a whore.......oops.

Saw these guys last year, still as good as ever.

 kootzy wrote:
Remember when you used to go to the store to buy cd's?...
  I still do.  I buy most of my music at a local independent music store that has both used and new CDs and vinyl, and frequent in-store performances, sometimes with free beer.  :)  I find things there I can't find on iTunes, sometimes even cheaper.  Those stores are still out there, and are worth patronizing.  They may not be as convenient as buying music online, but they sure are more fun.


 kootzy wrote:
Remember when you used to go to the store to buy cd's? I was in Vancouver many years ago and walked into 'Sam the Record Man' on Seymour St. and there was Spirit of The West doing a jam session- playing this song! I liked them before, but became a fan that day and bought the cd (their scheme worked).{#Dancingbanana_2}
 
Vancouver WA?  Or Vancouver Canada?  If it's Washington, what year was that?  I was up there, working on a microwave site in 1985 (my name is immortalized in concrete on one of the footings) and ninety feet up, looking down at the city lights at dusk - total magic. I love Vancouver.   Cool that you got to see this band playing live there...

 kootzy wrote:
Remember when you used to go to the store to buy cd's? I was in Vancouver many years ago and walked into 'Sam the Record Man' on Seymour St. and there was Spirit of The West doing a jam session- playing this song! I liked them before, but became a fan that day and bought the cd (their scheme worked).{#Dancingbanana_2}
 
There used to be 3 record/cd stores there on Seymour St and they're all gone now. Would have been cool to see them in the store though.

Remember when you used to go to the store to buy cd's? I was in Vancouver many years ago and walked into 'Sam the Record Man' on Seymour St. and there was Spirit of The West doing a jam session- playing this song! I liked them before, but became a fan that day and bought the cd (their scheme worked).{#Dancingbanana_2}
My wife and I were fortunate to travel to Venice, Italy this spring and the 2+ days we were there, this song was constantly playing in my head, couldn't get it out if I tried. 
 Grammarcop wrote:
Lyrics:

In a room that had a postcard on the door
Of Marini's Little Man
With an erection on a horse

I've always wondered about this: Does Marini's Little Man have an erection while he is on a horse? Or is Marini's Little Man with an erection on a horse?

Either way, it's sloppy writing. 
 

 
Perhaps it's deliberately ambiguous word-play.  Literal explanation would also throw off the meter of the song.  Anyhow, the logical interpretation seems rather obvious.


 Grammarcop wrote:
I've always wondered about this: Does Marini's Little Man have an erection while he is on a horse? Or is Marini's Little Man with an erection on a horse?

Either way, it's sloppy writing. 
 

 

Yes, Marini's little man has an erection, and he is on a horse. I don't know how SOTW could have made it more clear to you. 


This is a great tune, goes on lots of my mix CDs. The best of Spirit of the West IMO (they're from Vancouver right?)
 wrangler wrote:
"an erection on a horse"??  WTF?  {#Cowboy}
 
And you thought only young girls on horses had fun.  

Bill, your selections this morning are really making "hump" day go by quickly.  Keep up the great work!
 sarahbean26 wrote:
{#Puke}God this is horrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Its not so much horrible as unnecessary. 
He was writing about this sculpture.

The man on the horse
Lyrics:

In a room that had a postcard on the door
Of Marini's Little Man
With an erection on a horse

I've always wondered about this: Does Marini's Little Man have an erection while he is on a horse? Or is Marini's Little Man with an erection on a horse?

Either way, it's sloppy writing. 
 

 yofitofu wrote:
Could "Cathedrals" by Jump Little Children be far behind?
 

Sounds good to me. Any chance to hear Jump is fine in my book.
 yofitofu wrote:
Could "Cathedrals" by Jump Little Children be far behind?
 
I'm for it!

 nevar23 wrote:
I like the mood of this one. It would be fun to have a tavern singalong to it. {#Mrgreen}
 

I suggest you check out Home For a Rest by these guys.  A great piece of hard rock played on Celtic instruments, and a Canadian dancehall standard.

This song just always seems to evoke good memories.

Love hearing it.