Gut Rumbles

January 18, 2010

The Dutchman

Originally published June 5, 2004

I was sitting around a swimming pool in Costa Rica and some English-language music was playing on the hotel stereo. I wasn't paying a lot of attention to it, because I reading a good book called The Naked Detective by a writer named Laurence Shames. I traded a book I brought with me and finished the day before for that one. It's set in Key West and I know a lot of the places referenced in the story.

All at once, my ears homed in on these words from the stereo: "Sometimes I see my unborn children in her eyes."

I sat up and put down my book, thinking THAT THIEVING BASTARD! HE STOLE THAT LINE! It's right out of "The Dutchman."

That song is about a senile old coot whose daughter takes care of him, despite the fact that he's pretty far gone in the head. The words bring tears to my eyes and the melody is beautiful. With two guitars (finger-picking, or course) and some harmony, that song will make a crowd of drunks shut up and listen.

The Dutchman's not the kind of man
To keep his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in
But that's a secret that only Margaret knows.

Amsterdam in summertime is golden
Margaret brings him breakfast
She believes him
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow
He's mad as he can be, but Margaret only sees that sometimes
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes.

There's the evidence and I rest my case. Mike Smith wrote that song, Steve Goodman recorded it, and it's been around for AT LEAST 25 years. Did the bastard who clipped that line think some old fart ex-musician such as I am wouldn't RECOGNIZE his plagarism?

I don't remember the name of the song I heard or who sang it. But he damned sure stole that line.

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