Saturday Singles Nos. 58 & 59

Originally posted February 23, 2008

Once again, odd stuff pops up in the record store.

On our way home from dinner last evening, the Texas Gal and I stopped in at the Electric Fetus to check the most recent used CDs and vinyl. And a few minutes later, we had three nice finds: She filled a gap in her Melissa Etheridge collection. I found Sting’s Songs From The Labyrinth, performances of fifteen songs written by John Dowland (1563-1626) and one by Robert Johnson (1583-1633), with the accompaniment on instruments faithful to the period. I’d seen a piece on the project on a television show a while back and, although I hadn’t looked too hard for the CD, I was pleased to run into it by accident.

And then the Texas Gal went poking into the budget vinyl bin. A few seconds later, she held up a record jacket for me to glance at, while I was still checking out the CDs. The jacket showed Glenn Yarbrough, wearing a nifty little captain’s hat and grinning into the sun. The album is called My Sweet Lady. The Texas Gal looked a bit closer at it as I came over. “It’s still sealed!” she said.

It was. A 1974 album still sealed! And for ninety-nine cents, at that.

Well, that went into our small pile of things that were going to go home with us. And I looked at bit closer at the record jacket as we wandered around the store. And I noticed something even more odd yet.

The record was released on the Stax label. The home of Sam & Dave, of Isaac Hayes, of Booker T & the MGs . . . and Glenn Yarbrough?

Now, I like Yarbrough’s stuff. A while back, I wrote about two of his records that remain among my favorite albums, The Lonely Things and For Emily Whenever I May Find Her. I expect I’ll enjoy My Sweet Lady when I open it, though I also expect that in the context of 1974, Yarbrough’s sound would have been even more dated than it had been in 1966 and 1967. But finding Glenn Yarbrough recording on Stax, well, that’s like . . .

Actually, I can’t think of a pairing of things odd enough to use as a simile. The best thing to do might be to look at the Stax discography. According to the Stax discography at Both Sides Now Publications (a website that’s a marvelous tool for research), the Stax release that immediately preceded the Glenn Yarbrough album was I Wanna Get Funky by blues genius Albert King. And the Stax release that followed My Sweet Lady was Friction by the Soul Children, which had the single “I’ll Be The Other Woman.”

An odd juxtaposition, to be sure.

I suppose I really should post something here from the Yarbrough. But, as I noted above, I haven’t opened it yet, and I’m going to wait to do so. Instead, I’m going to post Glenn Yarbrough’s only Top 40 hit, followed by the only Top 40 hit for the Soul Children, just as the Soul Children follow Yarbrough in the Stax catalog. (Unfortunately, I can’t put my hands right now on any usable mp3s from I Wanna Get Funky.)

So here is an odd pair of Saturday Singles.

Glenn Yarbrough – “Baby The Rain Must Fall” [1966]

Soul Children – “I’ll Be The Other Woman” [1974]

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