Trouble – “Tales of Brave Ulysses”

Most foundational elements of metal music can be found in the rock n’ roll music that preceded its birth in the early 1970’s. This also includes classical reception.

In 1967, Eric Clapton and his band Cream released “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” inspired by the epic wanderings of Odysseus (Ulysses to the Romans) as told in his eponymous poem by Homer. The song focuses specifically on the episode of the Sirens, the women who lure sailors to death by shipwreck with their irresistible song. Odysseus had all his men stuff their ears with wax, but not his own, and instead had himself tied to the mast of his ship so that he could listen to the Sirens’ song as they sailed past, without risk of succumbing to temptation. Mythology varies on what they looked like. Originally they were conceived as half woman, half bird, but later they were recast as mermaids (like the siren of the Starbucks logo). Cream liken the sirens to the perilous allure of a beautiful woman who offers an escape from the winter wasteland of mundane life.

Trouble, the American pioneers of doom metal, include a cover of this song on some versions of their debut album “Pslam 9.” It’s an album that begins with a track called “The Tempter” and thus ending with a song about a mythical temptress is quite fitting.

“You thought the leaden winter
Would bring you down forever
But you rode upon a steamer
To the violence of the sun
And the colors of the sea
Blind your eyes with trembling mermaids
And you touch the distant beaches
With tales of brave Ulysses
How his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing
For the sparkling waves are calling you
To touch their white laced lips
And you see a girl’s brown body
Dancing through the turquoise
And her footprints make you follow
Where the sky loves the sea
And when your fingers find her
She drowns you in her body
Carving deep blue ripples
In the tissues of your mind
The tiny purple fishes
Run laughing through your fingers
And you want to take her with you
To the hard land of the winter
Her name is Aphrodite
And she rides a crimson shell
You know you cannot leave her
For you touched the distant sands
With tales of brave Ulysses
How his naked ears were tortured
By the sirens sweetly singing
YeahThe tiny purple fishes
Run laughing through your fingers
You want to take her with you
To the hard land of the winter”

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