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John Hiatt — Take it Down
Album: Crossing Muddy Waters
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 673









Released: 2000
Length: 3:53
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Take everything that we have
Take it and burn it to the ground
Some things were never meant to last

Take it down, down, down
Take it down
Take it down, down, down
Take it down

I'm still married to it all
That ain't no place to hang around
My love is 50 feet tall

Take it down, down, down
Take it down
Take it down, down, down
Take it down

I've grown accustomed to the way
You hurled us into space
I'll never make that trip
Tears all rusted on my face
And I'm just an empty place
Where your love used to fit

South carolina where are you
We were once lost and now we're found
The war is over, the battle's through

Take it down, down, down
Take it down
Take it down, down, down
Take it down
Comments (77)add comment
 khardog145 wrote:
 ziggytrix wrote:
Damn, this guy is a good songwriter!
 

 

...and an even better performer.
 webstercommish wrote:
His voice may not be perfect but he writes and plays great music!  An American legend.
 
Hmmm...
Bob Dylan
Neil Young
Steve Earle
Townes Van Zandt
Blaze Foley
John Prine
Guy Clark
Billy Joe Shaver
Ray Wylie Hubbard

... I could do this all day.

But yes indeed, a legend.
Happy Listening!
c.
 ziggytrix wrote:
Damn, this guy is a good songwriter!
 

 randyblew wrote:
Is this a Hiatt original? If so, I had no idea. I LOVE the Wailin' Jennys version of it - haunting. But this is super. Both Hiatt and Jennys are unreal live.

From S. Victor. Aaron's review of Take It Down on somethingelsereviews.com:

"On Saturday (June 27, 2015), Bree Newsome scampered up a thirty foot
flagpole on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse and removed the
Confederate battle flag. The act of civil disobedience heeded the call that grew louder in the wake of the awful, racially-motivated slaughter at the Emanuel AME Church down the road from Columbia in Charleston, but the movement to do what Newsome had achieved — if only temporarily — started years before.

Civil rights leaders fought to remove the flag from the top of the Statehouse more than fifteen years earlier, which culminated in a compromise passed in April, 2000 by the South Carolina legislature whereby the Stars ‘n’ Bars would come down from the top of the building and fly next to the Confederate soldiers monument on the grounds. Also, the flag couldn’t come down from its new home without legislation passed ordering it. As of this writing, that still hadn’t happened but seems likely to in the coming weeks.

Around the same time the flag controversy had heated up at the turn of the millennium, John Hiatt was working on a new batch of songs that would form his drum-less, mostly unplugged album Crossing Muddy Waters.  Hiatt’s calling card is crafting homespun tunes of inner battles, broken relationships and domestic bliss; he didn’t gain his stellar reputation as a singer-songwriter from politically-charged anthems. But for one couplet in one song on Crossing, he did so in a pretty explicit way. In the last verse of “Take It Down,” John Hiatt sings:

South Carolina where are you
We were once lost and now we’re found
The war is over, the battle’s through


So, take it down, down, down
Take it down
Take it down, down, down
Take it down


When those words were first heard by most of the public in September of 2000 at the release of Crossing Muddy Waters, it appeared that John Hiatt was speaking out on an issue that was already settled. Hearing them today in light of what has happened, those words never sounded more poignant. Funny how that works. "

 



slide guitar by https://images.ecosia.org/JGOb...
 rocksaltandnails wrote:

First how old are you? I'm 70.
Although he writes and  is good; he is no Bob Dylan.



 
Just 66 since you ask, and I disagree.  I've seen them both and have quite a few records and CDs but where as I have everything by Hiatt I can't say the same of Dylan. In this I see I've voted with my feet... 
His voice may not be perfect but he writes and plays great music!  An American legend.
 WeAdmire wrote:
I expect the overwhelming majority of John Hiatt's audience believe he is under rated on something like an inverse square proportion.  I expect it is because rather than wanting to be he can't be arsed with the alternative.  I think he is almost certainly the equal of any US singer songwriter of the last 100years.  Many thanks to RP for giving the airing he deserves.  
 
First how old are you? I'm 70.
Although he writes and  is good; he is no Bob Dylan.


I expect the overwhelming majority of John Hiatt's audience believe he is under rated on something like an inverse square proportion.  I expect it is because rather than wanting to be he can't be arsed with the alternative.  I think he is almost certainly the equal of any US singer songwriter of the last 100years.  Many thanks to RP for giving the airing he deserves.  
Damn, this guy is a good songwriter!
Played today on the anniversary of the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, an act that began the War Between the States.
 AndyJ wrote:

No more politics.

It is neck-deep. Everything is politics. Even the election next year won't stop all the politics.
Politics is a conversation that never ends.

If it never ends-Why start-? Why participate-?   You Win.
Feel like a winner-?
Or just a bully in a mob-?

You believe what you want. You can think I'm just like you.
Feel Better-?

Enough...

 
Just because something is "politicized", does not mean that discussing it is politics.  Perhaps that is part of the problem.  That many people now believe (as above) that fighting for equality and an end to oppression is somehow a "political" conversation.   I'd think it would be more about morality or decency than politics. 


 Geecheeboy wrote:
Enough already. It's down. 

 
Is it?
 zenhead wrote:
More brilliant songwriting. I fear Hiatt is underappreciated for his writing, people get turned off by his voice. His music will find its place in the American songbook. Nice spare arrangement here, too.

 
spare or sparse?
More brilliant songwriting. I fear Hiatt is underappreciated for his writing, people get turned off by his voice. His music will find its place in the American songbook. Nice spare arrangement here, too.
 jhorton wrote:
Wow, his voice is like, Leonard Cohen bad.

Kudos to the Jennys for finding the beauty in this. 

 
well said!
Is this a Hiatt original? If so, I had no idea. I LOVE the Wailin' Jennys version of it - haunting. But this is super. Both Hiatt and Jennys are unreal live.
 buddy wrote:
The man is simply brilliant, a national treasure.

 
{#Hearteyes}

No more politics.

It is neck-deep. Everything is politics. Even the election next year won't stop all the politics.
Politics is a conversation that never ends.

If it never ends-Why start-? Why participate-?   You Win.
Feel like a winner-?
Or just a bully in a mob-?

You believe what you want. You can think I'm just like you.
Feel Better-?

Enough...
The man is simply brilliant, a national treasure.
Enough already. It's down. 
My wife and I were driving from Atlanta to DC in 2000 around the time this song came out.  During the drive you pass, briefly (although perhaps not briefly enough), through South Carolina.  As we crossed the GA/SC state line we passed under 2 overpasses.  Atop these bridges were groups of locals waving the Confederate battle flag over passing motorists.  A truly bizarre site and great reason for keeping the car moving and heading in a northward direction. 

Many thanks to John Hiatt for catching the feeling we felt that day in this wonderful song.
 jhorton wrote: 

Very kind, but I lost it with Google's YT rules and multiple Gmail accounts. I might re-do the cover.
 michaelgmitchell wrote:


Killer cover!

 


 Goat9 wrote:
Unless I'm mistaken, this song is actually in reference to the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina in 2000. SC had been flying the rebel flag on the statehouse on a 50' flapgpole ("My love is 50' tall.")  Hiatt was urging them to "Take it down, down." ("SC, where are you? The war is over, the battle through.")
 
Today I learned...  Thanks for this, 3 years late.

I agree that Hiatt is a great song writer, but boy it's hard to listen to his voice sometimes.
 rdo wrote:
This is wonderful.  Why only once a month, Bill?

 
"what he said"
This is wonderful.  Why only once a month, Bill?
Nice to hear a completely different version of this. Familiar mostly with the Wailin' Jenny's version. John Hiatt is the author, which is a surprise to me:
Album of JH Songs done by others 
https://www.amazon.com/Itll-Come-To-You-Songs/dp/B00008QXJO
 railroadwail wrote:

Hiatt is one of our more under-appreciated contemporary singer-songwriters with a body of work that is very impressive.



 
Under-appreciated?  He's a bloody national treasure!
 railroadwail wrote:

John is not one to skirt controversy.  Hiatt is one of our more under-appreciated contemporary singer-songwriters with a body of work that is very impressive.  And hearing him here today (my birthday) was a nice unintended present from Bill,  Best wishes to all for a peaceful and fulfilling new year!

 
Hey, I appreciate your comment and happy birthday exactly one month late.
seriously miss little village...............

John is not one to skirt controversy.  Hiatt is one of our more under-appreciated contemporary singer-songwriters with a body of work that is very impressive.  And hearing him here today (my birthday) was a nice unintended present from Bill,  Best wishes to all for a peaceful and fulfilling new year!


 Goat9 wrote:
Unless I'm mistaken, this song is actually in reference to the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina in 2000. SC had been flying the rebel flag on the statehouse on a 50' flapgpole ("My love is 50' tall.")  Hiatt was urging them to "Take it down, down." ("SC, where are you? The war is over, the battle through.")
  That makes sense. I never really thought about it, but now it means more to me. I grew up in Alabama, where the State flag is still very much reminiscent of the Stars and Bars. I witnessed all forms of racism, from Klan marches to 'the soft bigotry of low expectations', and everything in between.

Thank you.


 jhorton wrote:
Wow, his voice is like, Leonard Cohen bad.

Kudos to the Jennys for finding the beauty in this. 
 
My favorite version is by Patty Griffin...Jennys are a little too soft for me (but it's nice)...I love JH but his voice on this one does bug me some...still he gets points for 1. writing such great lyrics and 2. for the emotion he has singing it.
 I love both versions of the this song and you may see it different but I'll avoid any repeat of the bickering down below.
 rdo wrote:

{#Clap}    {#Nyah}     

Palin 2016
 
Now we're just getting silly......{#Cowboy}
 Papernapkin wrote:
You're some kind of anti-American socialist if you don't like this great song. John's songs are about what makes America great: freedom, a strong military, God and country, and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps.
 
{#Clap}    {#Nyah}     

Palin 2016
 Goat9 wrote:
Unless I'm mistaken, this song is actually in reference to the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina in 2000. SC had been flying the rebel flag on the statehouse on a 50' flapgpole ("My love is 50' tall.")  Hiatt was urging them to "Take it down, down." ("SC, where are you? The war is over, the battle through.")
 
well here are the lyrics:

Take everything that we have

Take it and burn it to the ground
Some things were never meant to last

CHORUS:
Take it down, down, down
Take it down
Take it down, down, down
Take it down

I'm still married to it all
That ain't no place to hang around
My love is 50 feet tall

CHORUS

I've grown accustomed to the way
You hurled us into space
I'll never make that trip

Tears all rusted on my face
And I'm just an empty place
Where your love used to fit

South Carolina where are you
We were once lost and now we're found
The war is over, the battle's through 
Unless I'm mistaken, this song is actually in reference to the Confederate flag controversy in South Carolina in 2000. SC had been flying the rebel flag on the statehouse on a 50' flapgpole ("My love is 50' tall.")  Hiatt was urging them to "Take it down, down." ("SC, where are you? The war is over, the battle through.")
 fredriley wrote:

Really? Well colour me red and call me commie, because this song hurts my ears. Thanks for telling us what John Hyatt stands for, so that I can auto-mute his reactionary rants as soon as they come on. And to think that I was almost liking one of his songs earlier in the day...

Of course there are Americans that are socialists, and indeed your country has a proud radical history (Emma Goldman, Studs Terkel, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and the Wobblies come immediately to mind) but I suppose you'd count them "anti-American" because they're not your reactionary vision of what "America" is. 

 
Fred - we see this differently, I guess.  Why does this song hurt your ears? Is it because you just don't like John Hiatt's voice? As for "reactionary rants," I've never really picked that up in most of his music (James McMurtry or Bruce Cockburn maybe, but Hiatt? To me, he's more a Mellencamp writer.)

Um, and I'd never attempt to color you red OR call you a Commie (although if I did, it would be with the utmost admiration, and I'd probably be just as red as you.)

I don't know how government got into the picture here, because all I heard was two versions of a really beautiful song - one by the author, and one by a wonderful band. Fire bad. Tree pretty.

Peace......

 Papernapkin wrote:
You're some kind of anti-American socialist if you don't like this great song. John's songs are about what makes America great: freedom, a strong military, God and country, and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps.
 
Really? Well colour me red and call me commie, because this song hurts my ears. Thanks for telling us what John Hyatt stands for, so that I can auto-mute his reactionary rants as soon as they come on. And to think that I was almost liking one of his songs earlier in the day...

Of course there are Americans that are socialists, and indeed your country has a proud radical history (Emma Goldman, Studs Terkel, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and the Wobblies come immediately to mind) but I suppose you'd count them "anti-American" because they're not your reactionary vision of what "America" is. 

 Papernapkin wrote:
You're some kind of anti-American socialist if you don't like this great song. John's songs are about what makes America great: freedom, a strong military, God and country, and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps.
 
Damn!  Even when you like something, you are annoying.  John Hiatt is great (just not in a douche-y red-state kinda way). 


good bit of hiatt lately.        'preciate that.

Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner - Little Sister, Live (1992)

"Ry Cooder, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner performing Little Sister Little Village style at the Philipshalle, Düsseldorf in 1992. Ry's going to sing you a song that was written by Doc Pomus, and we'd like to dedicate it to his memory... "


 Propayne wrote:
One of the greatest living song writers (IMHO).

 

Agreed.  Right up there with John Prine.
One of the greatest living song writers (IMHO).

John Hiatt is truly an underappreciated artist.  


 Papernapkin wrote:
You're some kind of anti-American socialist if you don't like this great song. John's songs are about what makes America great: freedom, a strong military, God and country, and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps.
 
Papernapkin, for all your blustering and cynicism, you are true. I'm not so sure about all the Amurrican patriotism thing, but you seem to love John Hiatt, which puts you positive in my book. (I believe in being a human first, and all that other stuff comes later.)

I heard the Wailin' Jennys' version of this, and I swear - if you put a gun to my head and made me choose, I'd have to take a bullet. Hiatt's is so stark and harsh and earnest... And the Jennys are stark, pure and dead-on, vocally.

I just love this song, no matter who does it. I think I'm in love with this song...


Wow, his voice is like, Leonard Cohen bad.

Kudos to the Jennys for finding the beauty in this. 
Horrible.  
Unbelievable album with a couple of home runs.  Ther emay not be a lyricist better than Hiatt.
You're some kind of anti-American socialist if you don't like this great song. John's songs are about what makes America great: freedom, a strong military, God and country, and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps.
I think the voice suits the song. Melancholy. Trying hard to hit that note and not quite making it. Kind of like life. Kudos.
 crockydile wrote:
This is bad singing, even for Hiatt's standards. Mute .{#Stop}
 
Props for writing this beautiful song, but so painful to hear him straining and failing for those high notes. The Jenny's version is SO lovely.


Check out Patty Griffin's version on the record called "It'll Come to You: The Songs of John Hiatt"  {#Cheers}

Did he sing this with his mouth full?
 gregler wrote:
Definitelly prefer the female version of the Jennys. Didnt even know it was a cover.

 

Yes, a great example of a wonderful cover.  A differnet take on a very good song.
 Randomax wrote:

Don't forget Patti's beautiful version

 
At least Patty and Jenny appreciate John Hiatt for the brilliant artist that he is.  A man writes a song and its his to perform.  Clearly John has many, MANY fans and the respect of an industry and his contemporaries.  Thank you RP for the steady diet of music from the GREAT John Hiatt!!


I'm not sure who is covering who, but my rule for covering songs is to 1) make it your own, and 2)pay tribute to the original. Either way, this works. The Jennys do a great job, and so does John Hiatt. Thanks RP!
 sirrus wrote:
I agree that vocally this had me irked for a bit, since Ive only heard the purity of the harmonies in the Jennys' version.

But once that guitar starts really weeping, everything pulls together and it makes sense.

A great song. Thanks RP, for introducing me to John!
 
Don't forget Patti's beautiful version

quite boring
Very Nice!  its real
This is bad singing, even for Hiatt's standards. Mute .{#Stop}
 gobits wrote:

The thing with these guys is that it's their odd (bad) song voices that add life to their music. Some singers with perfectly fine voices doing covers of this material often make the songs lose the depth of feeling that the originals produce. No one can perform Dylan's music like Dylan for instance, and it precisely because he can't sing (or play the harmonica) that it works.

 
Very true. Some songs sound better because they are NOT sung with a 'pretty' voice.

 mamerjamer wrote:
My first thought upon hearing the start of this song was "Oh no he di-in't!!!!".  But I guess that John Hiatt would be the logical choice to do a remake of a song that was song perfectly harmonized in the original version.  It you can't top it, then dumb it down.  I understand the appeal of this guy and the longevity of his musical career, but please!  I feel like someone should be standing behind him with a stick pin and poking him in the ass every time a high note comes to get him to hit it.
 
Ummm... John Hiatt wrote this song. It's the "perfectly harmonized" version that is the remake.

 bpkengor wrote:

I probably wouldn't put it so strongly but he is definitely a less than average singer. He is, in my opinion, an outstanding song writer.

For me, he fits the Bob Dylan/Neil Young mold of a great song writer and a marginal singer.
 
The thing with these guys is that it's their odd (bad) song voices that add life to their music. Some singers with perfectly fine voices doing covers of this material often make the songs lose the depth of feeling that the originals produce. No one can perform Dylan's music like Dylan for instance, and it precisely because he can't sing (or play the harmonica) that it works.

My first thought upon hearing the start of this song was "Oh no he di-in't!!!!" cover the Wailin' Jennys song.  But I guess from reading the other commentary that John Hiatt was the original writer of the song, so I'll give him credit where credit is due for that.  I understand the appeal of this guy and the longevity of his musical career, but please!  I feel like someone should be standing behind him with a stick pin and poking him in the ass every time a high note comes to get him to hit it.

 ty wrote:
I agree that the Wailin' Jennys recorded a good version of this John Hiatt song. Their voices are beautiful, the harmonies are lovely, and the spare arrangement complements the depth of the lyrics. But when I listen to Hiatt, I can almost feel the anguish coming through the voice, and I connect with the damaged soul singing. It's more believable, more real to me.

Plus, I'm seeing him with Joan Osborne tomorrow night - hope to hear this song.

 
That's how I feel exactly.  He's a soulful dude.  I didn't know this was his song.  Good to hear.

I agree that vocally this had me irked for a bit, since Ive only heard the purity of the harmonies in the Jennys' version.

But once that guitar starts really weeping, everything pulls together and it makes sense.

A great song. Thanks RP, for introducing me to John!
j7 wrote:
OH MY GOD . I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS GUY HAS THE AUDACITY TO STAND BEHIND A MIC.
JOHN HIATT SUCKS SO SO MUCH.
{#Puke}

I probably wouldn't put it so strongly but he is definitely a less than average singer. He is, in my opinion, an outstanding song writer.

For me, he fits the Bob Dylan/Neil Young mold of a great song writer and a marginal singer.


Absolutely love the Jenny's version. This one just makes me cringe.
Definitelly prefer the female version of the Jennys. Didnt even know it was a cover.

I agree that the Wailin' Jennys recorded a good version of this John Hiatt song. Their voices are beautiful, the harmonies are lovely, and the spare arrangement complements the depth of the lyrics. But when I listen to Hiatt, I can almost feel the anguish coming through the voice, and I connect with the damaged soul singing. It's more believable, more real to me.

Plus, I'm seeing him with Joan Osborne tomorrow night - hope to hear this song.

 thousandrobots wrote:
The Wailin' Jennys version often plays here. This one is good, too.
 
No.  This one is an absolute travesty.

The Wailin' Jennys version often plays here. This one is good, too.
Wow, I'm the first one to comment!
I wish I had something to say!  {#Mrgreen}

Seriously, love John Hiatt's stuff. 
He's starting to sound a bit weary, though.