Song Of The Day 3/22/2013: Benjy Ferree - "Fear"

Benjy Ferree's 2009 album Come Back To The Five And Dime, Bobby Dee, Bobby Dee was a diverting record that I loved initially, then backed off from, and ultimately became something of a footnote in my big Year In Review. The concept's unique: Ferree envisioned it as a tribute album to Bobby Driscoll, a child actor who provided the voice and the real-life model for Disney's Peter Pan. That's what I call being set up for a life of disappointment at a very early age. After fading as an actor, Driscoll hit the skids in the '60s, settling into an era of drug abuse and finding himself part of Andy Warhol's Factory. He was found dead by a few boys in New York in 1968 at age 31.

Come Back isn't a straight biography nor a concept album, but contains a lot of poignant verses funneled through the Driscoll story. "There comes a time when we all must grow up, join the adults to get paid," Ferree sings in "Big Business," which weaves the stock market crash of 1929 into a pre-emptive cautionary tale with references to "bring(ing) out the pixie dust." Pecos Bill also makes an appearance on the album. But the best song, and one of my overall favorites of the past five years, was "Fear," an incessant list of childhood nightmare scenarios all grown up, listed out to a doo-wop arrangement. Back in 2009, "Fear" sort of set the tone for my internal life for the subsequent three years. Results, as you can imagine, were mixed. But the song's still great.


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