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Frank Black & the Catholics — St Francis Dam Disaster
Album: Dog in the Sand
Avg rating:
7.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 515









Released: 2001
Length: 4:54
Plays (last 30 days): 1
There was a well known water master man
He was the king , he could do anything
The Saint Francis Dam disaster man
Thought she was all right until around midnight

Because that water seeks her own
She had a desire to flow
She was looking for somewhere to go

She was a slave to the great metropolis
She was feeling choked, she pushed the wall till it broke
When they heard the great apocalypse
At power house number two
Well, there was nothing they could do

Because that water seeks her own
Five and one half hours she would flow
She had fifty-three miles to go

A cascade down to Santa Clara way
Near sixty feet high now she's a mile wide
It was clear she was going far away
And whole towns were too a few got lucky in Peru

Because that water seeks her own
But four more hours she would flow
She had twenty-nine miles to go

She carried in her every kind of thing
House, trees, and telegraph pole some say a thousand souls
At three A.M. she gave Santa Paula a ring
She was still twenty-five feet high
Under a peaceful sky

Because that water seeks her own
But two more hours she would flow
She had nineteen miles more to go

It was a real bad night in little Saticoy
El Rio then Montalvo how many no one really knows
Ventura Beach was very scary boy humanity a pile
She went her final mile

Because that water seeks her own
Into the sea the water flowed
And now for forever she would go
Comments (61)add comment
 aaoaoo wrote:
The song's good, but the history lesson was even better.  I can't believe I didn't know anything about this disaster until the song made me poke around for some info. 

 
A really good read on this whole story... Floodpath by Jon Wilkman.
It gives the complete human side of the story with the interesting history of why the dam was built. Not to mention the interesting man behind the dam... William Mulholland.
{#Hug} Frank my friend
This disaster happened only a few miles from me you can still see the marks of the water in the canyons -- I  used to ride in San Francsquito canyon all the time. Awesome song
Frank ! You're a kind of best sensitive singer {#Whistle}

Me 2!...I even passed it along to my kids - one of whom is a hydrology major...he had heard of the disaster... 

 

aaoaoo wrote:

The song's good, but the history lesson was even better.  I can't believe I didn't know anything about this disaster until the song made me poke around for some info. 

 


I like this guy very much {#Bananajam}. He's so interisting
I checked:  Paradise is nowhere near the Oroville Dam floodway.
First of all: Bill and Rebecca,
{#Heartkiss}thanks a lot for this amazing music mix
By the way:More of Frank Black Please.
 AhhtheMusic wrote:
Nice segue from the Pixies cover by Storm Large!  I am digging it!

 
Again...
Nice segue from the Pixies cover by Storm Large!  I am digging it!
Frank is singing about a woman having trouble finding a bathroom...

(not really, but now you're thinking it, aren't you!) 
This is awesome. Why have I not heard this before?
 boileymon wrote:
I like this tune.

Speaking of Frank Black - I saw the Pixies 7 days ago in Denver on the "Doolittle" tour.  Small venue, the band was tight and the fans were loving the show.  All four band members seemed to be genuinely enjoying the moment.  They did the complete album, and B-sides, and then encores of other key tunes.  A night to remember.

 

I bet, lucky you!
Love ya St. Frank Black!{#Bananajam}
One of Frank's best albums.  As I recall, it was recorded live to 2 track.  You have to respect a band with the talent and guts to just plug in, play and record live in the age of 128-track Pro Tools mixes.
I like this tune.

Speaking of Frank Black - I saw the Pixies 7 days ago in Denver on the "Doolittle" tour.  Small venue, the band was tight and the fans were loving the show.  All four band members seemed to be genuinely enjoying the moment.  They did the complete album, and B-sides, and then encores of other key tunes.  A night to remember.

I got Frank's autograph last year. Super nice guy.
Extra point just for the line "A few got lucky in Piru."

The fact that Piru gets a mention in any song is enough, but add the fact that it fits nicely into the flow of the song and you've got a winner. 
7 > 8 {#Cowboy}
Ick,

If I am not mistaken, the largest peacetime disaster was the overtopping of the Vajont dam overlooking the town of Longarone in Northern Italy in October 1963.  Despite the warning signs, SADE (Societa' Adriatica di Elettricita') chose to continue the construction of one of the worlds highest dams in the narrow Vajont valley.  When the lake was filling, small earthquakes and land-slips gave a warning of what was to come.  (In fact, the adjacent mountain was known an "Monte Toc", which in the local dialect loosely translates as "Crumbly Mountain".  That should have been a hint to the geologists and engineers on the project!

In short, on 9 Oct. 1963 at 1035pm , Monte Toc slipped into the reservoir lake sending 60 million cubic meters of water over the top of the dam in the space of 45 seconds (!!!!!) into the Piave river valley below.  The towns of Longarone, Fae' and others were erased from the landscape by a 250m high tsunami. The dam is still there...and is in fact a tourist destination for those so inclined.  (This disaster is still a sore spot for many Italians..)

UNESCO named this as one of the five worst peacetime man-made disasters of all time. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajont_Dam.

Yeah!!!  Great song!
The song's good, but the history lesson was even better.  I can't believe I didn't know anything about this disaster until the song made me poke around for some info. 
I didn't know he used to be the lead of the Pixies...  this song had me swaying in my desk chair.
 tm wrote:
Every time I see Frank Black he's just amazingly good natured, smiling, laughing and in general just having a good time telling interesting stories!  So nice!
 
Good weed?

Every time I see Frank Black he's just amazingly good natured, smiling, laughing and in general just having a good time telling interesting stories!  So nice!
birchiew wrote:
ah... what a tease. this song starts out just like "light my fire." thought it was going to be a doors couplet. oh well.


Yeah, that was pretty crazy!

Nice to have a song about the worst disaster the county I grew up in ever had (Ventura County, CA).  It was regarded as the worst civil engineering failure of the 20th century. (I'd be willing to bet that that has changed now though.) Thanks Mulholland you did a fine job.


 birchiew wrote:
ah... what a tease. this song starts out just like "light my fire." thought it was going to be a doors couplet. oh well.

 
I thought the same thing, but this song was a DOWNRIGHT SWEET surprise!
ah... what a tease. this song starts out just like "light my fire." thought it was going to be a doors couplet. oh well.
Alifreckles50 wrote:
great band name. first time I'm hearing this....sounds real good. :guitarist: :drummer:
its the name of the singer from the Pixies...who is also the singer of the band named Frank Black. I know, total mindf@ck, right?
damien wrote:
Or Charles Thompson? Yes, the CD 'Honeycomb' was released in 2005
Theres a new 'Best of',title '93-03' with live recordings as well as a NEW Frank Black song. Worth checking out!
...i want to live in los angeles down in south patagonia...
zipper wrote:
Why, you wanna publish somethin'? :eh: :lol: :wink:
Is Frank Yellow being used as a psuedonym?
princeofpeoria wrote:
okay just heard "Maggie M'Gill" ... that little :drummer: intro at the beginning of this song had me thinking a Doors twofer ... sounded like "Light My Fire" :think:
+1
great band name. first time I'm hearing this....sounds real good. :guitarist: :drummer:
every time i hear Frank Black on RP i ask myself "why the heck don't i own a few of this guy's albums? he rocks big time." cyber-slap me upside my head until i drizzle some royality money his way.
princeofpeoria wrote:
okay just heard "Maggie M'Gill" ... that little :drummer: intro at the beginning of this song had me thinking a Doors twofer ... sounded like "Light My Fire" :think:
Break on through to the other side!
trekhead wrote:
Ain't dat Frank Black young'un the little feller from SLING BLADE? Or,as I called it, a Kaiser Blade, umm-hmm. Better call a hearst!
Why, you wanna publish somethin'? :eh: :lol: :wink:
hujoppi wrote:
Frank Black's singing is just velvet to my ears. And an extra smooth kind of.
Sounds Knopflerish to me (that means it's good) :cool:
okay just heard "Maggie M'Gill" ... that little :drummer: intro at the beginning of this song had me thinking a Doors twofer ... sounded like "Light My Fire" :think:
bluedot wrote:
the pixies have reformed. so is he frank black or...BLACK FRANCIS??? and is there new material?
Or Charles Thompson? Yes, the CD 'Honeycomb' was released in 2005
Frank Black's singing is just velvet to my ears. And an extra smooth kind of.
drH wrote:
No, that was the famous Colonel Bruce Hampton.
Whoah, I haven't thought of Frank Black or Col. Bruce in quite a while - anyone got some CB & the Aquarium Rescue Unit for us?
Huh. Nice, but the Pixies were WAY more original/fun.
:bounce:
I thought the same as well... nice song, despite the intro.
radiojunkie wrote:
I know this is a really stupid observation, but: I just noticed that the opening drumstick/cymbal riff on this is IDENTICAL to the opening of the Doors' "Break On Through." Just look at the possible connections. Of course, the Doors were from LA...this is a song about a dam break, and the other song is about breaking through to the other side...and if they'd opened the "door" on the dam to release the water, it might not have broken...and...and... Okay, I'm in over my head. :beat:
Don't feel bad. I heard the same thing when it started, and probably would've started to go there too if you hadn't beat me to it.
I know this is a really stupid observation, but: I just noticed that the opening drumstick/cymbal riff on this is IDENTICAL to the opening of the Doors' "Break On Through." Just look at the possible connections. Of course, the Doors were from LA...this is a song about a dam break, and the other song is about breaking through to the other side...and if they'd opened the "door" on the dam to release the water, it might not have broken...and...and... Okay, I'm in over my head. :beat:
their band name makes every song sound somehow better
There are a couple of books about William Mulholland that are good reads, especially for us history buffs in LA. One is "William Mulholland and the Rise of Los Angeles" by his granddaughter, Catherine Mulholland. As you might expect, this glosses over the controversial parts of the construction of the LA Aqueduct. The better book is "Rivers in the Desert" by Margaret Leslie Davis. This goes more in depth over the land speculation that Mulholland and his friends (including the Chandler family of LA Times fame) engaged in, the violence when constructing the aqueduct, and the causes and repercussions of the St. Francis Dam collapse.
Some info on the St. Francis dam collapse: https://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/la/scandals/st_francis_dam.html https://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/stfrancis.htm https://web.umr.edu/~rogersda/st_francis_dam/ https://www.ejge.com/iGEM/Articles/5-kelita.htm https://www.rain.org/~stapaula/StFrancisOther.html
trekhead wrote:
Ain't dat Frank Black young'un the little feller from SLING BLADE? Or,as I called it, a Kaiser Blade, umm-hmm. Better call a hearst!
No, that was the famous Colonel Bruce Hampton.
bluedot wrote:
the pixies have reformed.
Sounds like it...still miss some of the old Pixie sound though :nodhead:
the pixies have reformed. so is he frank black or...BLACK FRANCIS??? and is there new material? p.s. i used to live in ventura, so this song has personal interest for me. :iamwith:
Plank wrote:
Good stuff, is the cd as good?
It's good, but unfortunately this song stands way out above the rest.
Good stuff, is the cd as good?
Ain't dat Frank Black young'un the little feller from SLING BLADE? Or,as I called it, a Kaiser Blade, umm-hmm. Better call a hearst!
Great song from a great artist! Long Live FB and the Pixies!
amazin' song!
Cool acoustic g'tar! I mean, I'm Jewish and I DIG this song!