Saturday Single No. 26

Originally posted August 18, 2007

We probably watch too much television, the Texas Gal and I. It’s the path of least resistance, I guess, to plop down on the couch in the evenings – her with a craft project in hand, me with a book or a magazine – and keep an eye on the tube.

We are fans of reality TV. We like Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother, American Idol, and So You Think You Can Dance. She also watches The Bachelor, a show I at best keep devote half an eye to. There are, of course, some dramatic shows that we also watch: Numbers, Friday Night Lights and Cold Case chief among them.

Now, that may not seem like a lot of television, but the hours do add up. Add to that the time spent on my part following the fortunes of the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and Wild as well as a couple of University of Minnesota athletic teams, and sometimes I wonder about the amount of time devoted to watching. As I said, however, I’m frequently reading something during many of those shows, and the Texas Gal is almost always working on one craft project or another, so it’s not entirely lost time.

In some cases, I’m not sure it would be entirely lost time anyway. For one, Friday Night Lights is an extraordinarily well-written drama, with strong characters, a good cast and well developed secondary story lines. The primary story line, that of the high school football team seeking a state title, was pretty pro forma during the show’s first season; I will be interested to see what wrinkles the show’s writers and producers can find for the second season. To say it might be the best dramatic show on television is to damn it with faint praise; it’s more fair to the show to say that it’s got a chance to rank among the best television dramas ever.

The other show that crosses my mind as one that has some value might be a surprise. It’s So You Think You Can Dance. Along with the entertainment value inherent in the drama of seeing thousands of dancers winnowed down to one champion, I see some positives in the show. The judges – including producer Nigel Lithgow – truly seem interested in providing at least some education about dance to the audience. We’ve watched the show all three seasons, and every once in a while, we realize we’ve learned something. We might be watching a quickstep, for instance, and one of us will say to the other, “His frame isn’t very good” and the other will nod.

Three years ago, I couldn’t have told you what a quickstep was, much less know the importance of a dancer’s upper body frame while performing one.

Okay, so what I’ve learned is likely less than a textbook’s worth, and it’s not nuclear physics. But I truly get the sense that – along with making a buck, which I realize is the primary purpose of the show – Lithgow and the other producers and judges are interested in leading viewers to know more about dance. From the frequent focus on the various choreographers to the sometimes very specific critiques of the performances, viewers come away, I think, with a better appreciation of dance as an art form. And I can see viewers using the show as a starting point, either as dancers or as fans of serious dance, and that would not be a bad thing.

So what does all this have to do with a Saturday Single? Well, during Wednesday evening’s final competition, one of the dancers took the stage dancing to what was billed as “I Gotcha” from the soundtrack to Fosse, the musical. The Texas Gal said, “That may be where they found that song, but it’s not where it came from. I remember the original.”

I did, too, but only vaguely at best. During a commercial, I ran “I Gotcha” through All-Music Guide. No composer credit was given for the musical’s song by that title. The fact that the credits for Fosse didn’t list a composer didn’t mean anything. Incomplete information abounds on the ’Net, of course. There were a few others songs titled “I Gotcha,” but the one that kept nagging at me was the one by Joe Tex, the funky single (Dial 1010) that went to No. 2 in 1972. I was pretty sure that wasn’t the same song, at least at first.

I pondered the song at odd moments for a couple of days. Maybe it was the Joe Tex song. So I dug around and found a copy of Tex’s version. Same song. I guess it had been so long since I’d heard Tex’s version that I’d forgotten about it. And if I hadn’t heard it in a while, then not many people have. So Joe Tex’s “I Gotcha” is today’s Saturday Single.

Joe Tex – “I Gotcha” [1972]

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