Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Committed to Parkview

Ever have one of those days, where your projects follow you around? It's a nice day out, so I went for a walk, after a morning of writing disability history encyclopedia entries (on Blind Boone and Anna Klumpke, in case you're curious). But disability history followed me out the door anyway. On my iPod, a recent episode of the podcast Coverville noted Porter Wagoner's recent passing with his rendition of Johnny Cash's "Committed to Parkview"--a striking country song, originally released in 1976, about being institutionalized in Nashville (both Cash and Wagoner had spent time as patients at the Park View facility in the 1960s).

Kay at Gimp Parade sometimes posts videos and song lyrics with disability themes, but I don't think I've seen this one in that series. (It is, however, in this list.) After the video, I'll include the lyrics.



Video Description: Wagoner is singing almost a cappella, with brief, silent, sometimes slow-motion scenes of institutional life interspersed. Wagoner is in some of the scenes.
Committed to Parkview
Johnny Cash

There's a man across the hall who sits staring at the floor
He thinks he's Hank Williams hear him singing through the door
There's a girl in 203, who stops by to visit me
And she talks about her songs and the star that she should be
There's a lot of real fine talent staying in or passing through
And for one thing or another, committed to Parkview

There's a girl in 307, coming down on thorazine
And a superstar's ex-drummer trying to kick benzedrine
There's a real fine country singer who has tried and tried and tried
They just brought him in this morning an attempted suicide
There are those that never made it, those that did but now are through
Some came of their own good choosing, some committed to Parkview


There's a girl who cries above me, loud enough to wake the dead
They don't know what she has taken that has scrambled up her head
There's a boy just below me who's the son of some well-known
He was brought in by his mother 'cause his daddy's always gone
There's a bum from down on Broadway and a few quite well-to-dos
Who have withdrawn from the rat race and committed to Parkview


They wake us about 6:30,just before the morning meal
While they're taking blood pressure, they ask us how we feel
And I always say fantastic there ain't nothing wrong with me
And then they give me my injection and I go right back to sleep
The days are kind of foggy and the nights are dreamy too
But they're taking good care of me, committed to Parkview

10 comments:

Kay Olson said...

Ooh, no, I have never seen this before. Fantastic!

My music coverage is totally random, by the way. Sometimes a song comes to mind, sometimes I decide to try a Google search on "bipolar lyrics" or something. Glad you found this.

Heather Munro Prescott said...

Wow, this is yet another reason to love the man in black!

Mike Dorn said...

Awesome - thanks for giving me this food for thought on a dreary Sunday morning in Philly. Reminds me of the haunted facilities like Byberry, Pennhurst and the Vineland Industrial School that dot our suburbs. Some closed, some converted, yet all still with us. Mike

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