“Land of Nod” is the third song on Bachelors Anonymous’ unreleased second album, In the Land of Nod, remastered and released digitally. An alternate version of the song also is included as a bonus track. Bachelor David Hughes tells the story behind the song.
I remember nothing of how “Land of Nod” came to be. Rob must have brought me the tune and chorus. Except that I was quite fond of the notion of being “alone together.” I used it in the lyrics to “Ritual Life,”1 written to our very first tune, “Inscription,” included in our first album, Bachelors Anonymous.
Speaking of “Ritual Life,” which contains biblical imagery: so does “Land of Nod.” The “wound whence flows the water” is an obvious reference to what passed from Jesus’s side when it was pierced to determine his death. Blood and water flowed (John 19:34). (Writing this now I’m reminded of the chapel crucifix by José Benito Ortega at Saint Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, which depicts an angel conserving Jesus’s blood in a chalice.) Blood sacrifice in the Jewish tradition; water sustenance universally.
And when we were remastering the two versions of the song, Rob found out that the Land of Nod “exists.” It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden” (Gen. 4:16). In Hebrew this would mean “the land of wandering.”2
Otherwise, the song reflects the ambivalence of gay life in the mid ’80s.
Rob realized we had two versions of “Land of Nod” that were distinctive enough to warrant release of both. The first version benefits from drums by Del Mar Richardson, who is an actual drummer. (He recalled working with our electronic drums setup here.) On the Men’s Dept version, Carrah (Macy) Wright allows the backing vocals even more ethereality.
Draw a bath and draw the curtain
Draw the line, but draw me to you
Let me hear you let it out
But let me in and let me near you
Feel the dread…
See some red… (nothing said, nothing said)
Lose your head… (lose your head, lose your head)
Tears are shed, and when they’re shed
Close your eyes and let me take you to the Land of Nod
Close your eyes, let me protect you in the Land of Nod
We will be alone together in the Land of Nod
You will be my love forever in the Land of Nod
Out of breath and out of time
And out of patience out in public
Just hold still and hold it in
And hold it in and hold it in!
Someone nods and someone smiles
And someone knows and someone chuckles
No more lies…
Someone’s wise… (someone’s eyes, someone’s eyes)
Come inside… (realize you can’t hide)
Turn the tide / Close your eyes and close your eyes and
I will never dream without you…
Draw a breath and draw the curtain
Draw the blood, draw slow and certain
Seal the cut and seal the letter
Seal the wound whence flows the water
Lay me down and lie sweet nothings
Lay me down and lie me something
Lose your head…
Arms are spread… (the groom is wed on the bed)
Sleep instead… (lose your head, lose your head)
Limbs like lead / Close your eyes and close your eyes and
Lyrics Reprinted by Permission
See album credits
- The line from “Ritual Life”: “We spend all our time alone together.”
- Actual place names as well as the reference to sleep are discussed in the Wikipedia entry.