Green Man Said: Skeleton Crew

Henk reappears on this song of the sea, this time as The Cursed Mate, facing off with much tormented shrieking against Bobby O'Donovan's Ahab-like Captain. Henk didn't actually get the Cursed Mate's final despairing scream exactly how he wanted it right away. By the time he did, there was neither a dry eye nor an unpierced eardrum in the house.
Skeleton Crew was written as a gift for my now-deceased friend Larry Holler, whose yacht the Little Wing I once piloted to Key Largo with him. The song obliquely recalls Larry's spectacular showdown with a drug-fuelled maniac fiddler one night in the middle of Biscayne Bay to which I had been witness, and it was written entirely as a squib to be copied in copperplate gothic and left to moulder in the galley of The Little Wing. However, it's much more requested than anything I've ever written to be taken seriously, and so here it is, in cinemascope and glorious technicolor, The Captain played with slit-eyed menace by Bobby O'Donovan, and with some literally thunderous drumming by Diane Ward, who, asked to approximate "a storm at sea" produced the immense and radically panned floor toms which punctuate the Captain's reply and which conclude the piece. I was delighted that Mark Hornsby was able to find me a mellotron choir. The Soldiers' Chorus of Henk, Bobby and Mark had proven so effective on Brother Judas that they were here briefly reanimated as The Dead Men's Chorus, to chilling effect. Mark Kane, with whom I play live regularly, contributes significantly to this song with fiddle and bouzouki (pictured here played by Mark in session), an instrument which flavours a number of the tracks on the album.


next >