The Hearse Song is one of the first songs I ever learned, albeit in a shortened version”
The worms crawl in,
The worms crawl out.
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
You spread it on a piece of bread,
And that’s what you eat when you are dead.
Now a keen eye will instantly recognize that there’s something missing. What the hell are you eating on a piece of bread? I learned The Hearse Song from my sister, but it was a popular song in Jefferson grade school, and we all sang it the same way. It turns out there are regional variations.
It was some decades later, during the recording of this piece that I noticed the omission. We were laying down the base tracks for The Conqueror Worm which at that point was three sections. But I ran out of lyrics on the second, and needed something to fill the space while we played. I opened my mouth and The Hearse Song fell out.
There wasn’t a lot of time to figure this out. Teelin’s time is valuable, and we only had a weekend to record three drum parts. Being a considerate neighbor we like to quit drum related activity somewhat early. We had the riff and no idea what Teelin would play, but when he did that, we knew we had to record it. And it was little more than an excuse to let him unleash everything he’d built up sowing restraint throughout recording The Raven.
This is maybe half of his performance, because I eventually ran out of alternate lines for the Hearse Song. Teelin can, and will fill every available space with drums given the opportunity. To be young and hyperactive again …