Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.
I was flipping through the paper yesterday and I came across an Associated Press article about the latest casualty of the BP oil spill: Lake Pontchartrain. Now Lake Pontchartrain doesn’t have it worse than anywhere else – in fact, so far it seems to be making out better than some. That could change soon. After all these weeks of being immune, oil has finally begun seeping into the waters.
It’s the second largest salt-water lake in America, but folk fans are more likely to know it by way of the traditional ballad “Lakes of Pontchartrain.” The title has been corrupted like a bad game of telephone – there’s only one lake – but the song’s message remains pure. The message, of course, being: If you don’t want to get eaten by an alligator, mooch off a Creole family. Also some walls are too high for love to conquer and all that.
So in hopes that Lake Pontchartrain makes it out okay (along with, you know, the rest of damn Gulf), we present Warren Zevon’s take on the ballad. He performed it to open his 1993 Bridge School Benefit appearance, a moving six-song performance you can download here. Neil Young joined Zevon later in the set, but for this opening number Warren’s guitar provides all the accompaniment he needs.