This is a review from Jim Gardner, a farmer and High School teacher in Southern Illinois. He makes some great connections with this song and has a touch of reality that strikes a different chord than a critic’s review.
“My great uncle, from whom I am blessed with my middle name, was struck by lightening while on a tractor. It was sometime in the 20’s I believe. My grandfather and mother relayed that story to me. The story is important obviously. A man lost his life. What stayed with me however was the matter of fact nature in which my grandfather discussed it, my mother as well. Those generations understood that death was not something to be made palatable through botox injections and cards with sunsets. Farming is safer today, our ability to predict weather has become almost magic. We can see a storm’s approach and predict its eta from a phone no longer tethered to a wall.
This song: Next Year People by Colin Hay It captures that time and the contrasting resignation and hope of those who lived through it. Concise, amazing lyrics and story telling. He provides a window through which we can see not only the events but the human cost on those that were uprooted like the topsoil.”
“Henry got hit by lightning twice in the head
He stood and walked away, we thought he was dead
Now he talks funny says he’s wired to the sky
He walks for miles and miles and no one knows why
The bank men they came and wrote things down on paper
We all went outside and just stood around
We were glad when they left they brought nothing but heartache
And the seed we had planted it stayed in the ground”