"The Cuckoo" as written by and Taj Mahal....
Oh the cuckoo she's a pretty bird
She wobbles when she flies
She don't ever hire a cuckoo
Till the fourth day of July
Jack of diamonds
Jack of diamonds
I know you of old
You rob my poor pockets of silver and gold

Oh the cuckoo she's a pretty bird
I wish that she was mine
She don't ever drink water
She only drinks wine

Gonna build me a log cabin
On a mountain so high
So I can see Willy
When he goes on by

Oh the cuckoo she's a pretty bird
She wobbles when she flies
She don't ever hire a cuckoo
Till the fourth day of July


Lyrics submitted by Neon_Like

"The Cuckoo" as written by Taj Mahal

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Cuckoo song meanings
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    General CommentThis is a traditional folk song that Kristin learned from her father. But it comes across very differently from the traditional version (or the versions popular in her father's day, like the Taj Mahal or Peter Paul & Mary recordings).

    Normally, the cuckoo represents the idealized woman that the singer has lost, and will gamble everything to get back: she sings or warbles when she flies, she brings glad tidings and don't never tell no lies, and so on.

    In this version, the cuckoo is damaged—she wobbles when she flies, and there's nothing about glad tidings or never telling lies. And, while most versions have a yearning line about how you never get to see a cuckoo until the Fourth of July, or how the cuckoo herself gets lonely after the Fourth of July, this one has what sounds like a warning about never hiring one until then.

    Also, leaving out the whole section of the song that's about gambling to get the cuckoo back, and jumping right into the Jack of Diamonds bit, makes it sound like the cuckoo is part of the problem the narrator is trying to escape, rather than a source of inspiration.

    I have no idea if the changes are Kristin's or her father's, or what exactly they mean, but they must mean something...
    falcotronon January 02, 2016   Link

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