Don’t Drink The Water ~ A troubadour of the first order.

Matthews is a hell of a showman. I have a number of live versions of this song done fully-kitted out with a full complement of musicians. He and his band let it all hang out on stage and, as they say, the crowd goes wild.

Which makes the essential power of this live rendition, featuring just two acoustic guitars and Dave’s evocative voice, all the more astounding. How can just two men, Matthews and the hugely talented Tim Reynolds, in a large venue create so much energy? It’s a quality of the performers, especially Matthews, a troubadour of the first order, a true minstrel, and something of a force of nature. In the song’s quieter moments — there are just a couple — listen for the un-mic’d audience’s roar.

Come out come out
No use in hiding
Come now come now
Can you not see?
There’s no place here
What were you expecting
Not room for both
Just room for me
So you will lay your arms down
Yes I will call this home

Away away
You have been banished
Your land is gone
And given me
And here I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home
What’s this you say
You feel a right to remain
Then stay and I will bury you
What’s that you say
Your father’s spirit still lives in this place
I will silence you

Here’s the hitch
Your horse is leaving
Don’t miss your boat
It’s leaving now
And as you go I will spread my wings
Yes I will call this home
I have no time to justify to you
Fool you’re blind, move aside for me
All I can say to you my new neighbor
Is you must move on or I will bury you

Now as I rest my feet by this fire
Those hands once warmed here
I have retired them
I can breathe my own air
I can sleep more soundly
Upon these poor souls
I’ll build heaven and call it home
‘Cause you’re all dead now
I live with my justice
I live with my greedy need
I live with no mercy
I live with my frenzied feeding
I live with my hatred
I live with my jealousy
I live with the notion
That I don’t need anyone but me
Don’t drink the water
There’s blood in the water

 
I love this song all the more for the passion Matthews brings to the lyrics, lyrics which ignite a righteous rage. This song is about a wrong that can never be righted, and a story that keeps repeating, over and over and over again. Do you hear the growl in these lines?

“I will bury you”
“Don’t drink the water.
There’s blood in the water.”



 
 

Leave a Reply