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 #26278  by CEaston140001
 Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:04 am
Does anybody know what Mason's Children is about? It is a great song and everyone I've talked to has no idea what the meaning is.

 #26321  by Rev_Roach
 Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:21 pm
Annotated dead lyrics didn't have too much to say except for an interesting note from Hunter's Box of Rain that it had something to do with Altamont.

http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/maso.html
 #26654  by nkarnes
 Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:13 pm
freemasons?
"We bricked him in the wall"
"They never knew so much before"
 #64105  by The Doctor
 Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:49 pm
I have it on good authority (friend of a friend who's cousins brother knew a guy who knew a roadie of a group that played the same venue as the dead on a different night back in '67) that the song is actually about peanut butter and baloney sandwiches.
 #64125  by astroman99
 Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:25 am
The Doctor wrote:I have it on good authority (friend of a friend who's cousins brother knew a guy who knew a roadie of a group that played the same venue as the dead on a different night back in '67) that the song is actually about peanut butter and baloney sandwiches.

I heard that too! So funny and so true :lol:
 #64132  by Pete B.
 Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:00 pm
'Not sure why... but songs that go directly from the I chord to the II chord are not pleasing to my ear.
I always cringe when someone suggests we work this one up, and have luckily dodged the bullet so far.
:smile:
 #64133  by mttourpro
 Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:28 pm
It is a weird one for sure...but, it's a pretty fun tune to play especially if you throw in an extended jam over the riff ala P and F.
I myself am not crazy about it but it has a time and place and can be a pretty big tune if done right.
Definitely some interesting vox and some unusual harmonies too on those lyrics...FWIW, I alsways envisioned it as being about the ways of life in a commune.
 #64164  by confusions_prince
 Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:49 pm
I don't doubt that it could be about Altamont metaphorically, but literally it is about cannibalism, maybe some weird wisdom tradition where you grow by eating your ancestors.
 #64174  by strumminsix
 Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:11 am
Pete B. wrote:'Not sure why... but songs that go directly from the I chord to the II chord are not pleasing to my ear.
Do you cringe the same with Ramble on Rose? I do the first go around of both tunes!
 #64179  by Pete B.
 Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:02 am
Do you cringe the same with Ramble on Rose? I do the first go around of both tunes!
Prepare to feel my pain!...
Here's the deal with the I to II change, for me... I play/played Pedal Steel with alot of "singer/songwriters" types of guys/gals over the last 30 years, and the I to II chord change, imho, is often "square pegged into a round hole" in place of, imho, actual songwriting mojo.
(I guess i do know why it bugs me?! 8) )

In RR, the I to II change makes perfect sense, musically and rhythmically (helping to provide a storytone cadence), and therefore does not sound dis-pleasing to my ear in any way... the listener does not even hear it because of the exquisite songwriting.

fwiw, If there is a Masons where everyone plays the right chords and sings the right harmonies, let me know and I will re-evaluate my take on the song in leu of the I>II thing.
To me the song immediately hits a nerve with the I to II chord change, and progresses from there with an overly rambunctious <sp?> and cacophonic delivery that makes me wonder... <scratching head and wincing>... what did happen to Rosemary's baby?
Interestingly "overly rambunctious and cacophonic"... I would have it no other way on Viola Lee... go figer.
 #64181  by WilliamC
 Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:43 am
Given that R. Hunter tells us it refers to Altamont, Mason's Children is pretty straightforward, at least on one level:

The "story" with the usual R. Hunter decorations:

Mason "dies" and is buried ritualisticly, his "children" grow tall - this may be a metaphor for learning what Mason has to teach in the next verse

Mason is resurected on the next day and teaches something(s) to a "we" whose antecedant is unclear, presumably the ones who buried him
Mason was a mighty man - This verse is combines a Biblical reference (the "mighty man" is Jehovah, going out among men for the purpose of smite-age - Isaiah 42:13) and an appropriate folk/blues cliche. If Mason here refers to Meredith Hunter, the "mighty" may refer to his condition on amphetamines or to his long-barreled revolver - he apparently wanted to smite Jagger for whom his girlfriend had the hots.

The wall collapsed - The wall is "obviously" the wall within which Mason was entombed but it may also refer to an emotional wall blocking out responsibility for the events. "We" called this event "fate" - the wording suggests "we" are wrong and there is some personal responsibility and shame about what happened. The band of course bailed out before the killing.

Thursday and Friday - the presumed ritualistic consumption of the victim's body. But... the stew may simply be the mess that was Altamont and the clean up simply a reference to the physical and emotional fallout of the events. I.e. "We" caused this and "we" have to deal with it.

Reaper Man/Reefer Man - I suspect the first is correct simply because it's more Hunter-esque. Clearly what is owed is a life, perhaps that of Meredith Hunter, the man killed at Altamont - at the time the song was written the band could not have known Alan Passaro would be aquitted of the killing in 1971 on the basis of self defense.

So what do we have?

I think the character Mason is mostly Meredith Hunter, the man killed at Altamont:

Mason was a mighty man... Introduces the character/events
Mason died on Monday... M. Hunter's killing
We dug him up on Tuesday... R. Hunter and the band learn of the events
The wall collapsed on Wednesday... Realization that "we" might be partly responsible
Thursday came and Friday.. Dealing with emotional fallout
Take me to the Reaper Man... A ritualistic response to and acceptance of the death.
M. Hunter was apparently loaded when he started his rampage
Mason was a mighty man... Traditional cyclical wrap up.

YMMV of course,

-bill
 #64183  by Tennessee Jedi
 Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:48 am
WilliamC wrote:Given that R. Hunter tells us it refers to Altamont, Mason's Children is pretty straightforward, at least on one level:

The "story" with the usual R. Hunter decorations:

Mason "dies" and is buried ritualisticly, his "children" grow tall - this may be a metaphor for learning what Mason has to teach in the next verse

Mason is resurected on the next day and teaches something(s) to a "we" whose antecedant is unclear, presumably the ones who buried him
Mason was a mighty man - This verse is combines a Biblical reference (the "mighty man" is Jehovah, going out among men for the purpose of smite-age - Isaiah 42:13) and an appropriate folk/blues cliche. If Mason here refers to Meredith Hunter, the "mighty" may refer to his condition on amphetamines or to his long-barreled revolver - he apparently wanted to smite Jagger for whom his girlfriend had the hots.

The wall collapsed - The wall is "obviously" the wall within which Mason was entombed but it may also refer to an emotional wall blocking out responsibility for the events. "We" called this event "fate" - the wording suggests "we" are wrong and there is some personal responsibility and shame about what happened. The band of course bailed out before the killing.

Thursday and Friday - the presumed ritualistic consumption of the victim's body. But... the stew may simply be the mess that was Altamont and the clean up simply a reference to the physical and emotional fallout of the events. I.e. "We" caused this and "we" have to deal with it.

Reaper Man/Reefer Man - I suspect the first is correct simply because it's more Hunter-esque. Clearly what is owed is a life, perhaps that of Meredith Hunter, the man killed at Altamont - at the time the song was written the band could not have known Alan Passaro would be aquitted of the killing in 1971 on the basis of self defense.

So what do we have?

I think the character Mason is mostly Meredith Hunter, the man killed at Altamont:

Mason was a mighty man... Introduces the character/events
Mason died on Monday... M. Hunter's killing
We dug him up on Tuesday... R. Hunter and the band learn of the events
The wall collapsed on Wednesday... Realization that "we" might be partly responsible
Thursday came and Friday.. Dealing with emotional fallout
Take me to the Reaper Man... A ritualistic response to and acceptance of the death.
M. Hunter was apparently loaded when he started his rampage
Mason was a mighty man... Traditional cyclical wrap up.

YMMV of course,

-bill
Heavy !
And here I thought it was just some 60's style pop tune .....
:cool:
 #64186  by strumminsix
 Thu Aug 06, 2009 9:30 am
Pete B. wrote:
Do you cringe the same with Ramble on Rose? I do the first go around of both tunes!
Prepare to feel my pain!...
Here's the deal with the I to II change, for me... I play/played Pedal Steel with alot of "singer/songwriters" types of guys/gals over the last 30 years, and the I to II chord change, imho, is often "square pegged into a round hole" in place of, imho, actual songwriting mojo.
(I guess i do know why it bugs me?! 8) )

In RR, the I to II change makes perfect sense, musically and rhythmically (helping to provide a storytone cadence), and therefore does not sound dis-pleasing to my ear in any way... the listener does not even hear it because of the exquisite songwriting.

fwiw, If there is a Masons where everyone plays the right chords and sings the right harmonies, let me know and I will re-evaluate my take on the song in leu of the I>II thing.
To me the song immediately hits a nerve with the I to II chord change, and progresses from there with an overly rambunctious <sp?> and cacophonic delivery that makes me wonder... <scratching head and wincing>... what did happen to Rosemary's baby?
Interestingly "overly rambunctious and cacophonic"... I would have it no other way on Viola Lee... go figer.
Your last paragraph summed it up perfectly and I do understand why it works for you at times and not others.