‘Your Loving Arms . . .’

Originally posted October 5, 2009

When I was in my early teens and was even more bewildered by girls and women than I am now – as much as I cherish the Texas Gal and think I understand her, there still are times when I prove myself close to being utterly clueless – all I knew about having a girlfriend was that you had to have a song.

(After looking over my shoulder for a moment, the Texas Gal just walked away, muttering “All boys are clueless. We like being a mystery.”)

I had no idea what a boyfriend and girlfriend talked about when they spent time together, no idea how it felt to have another person be that interested in you. I had a little bit of an idea about – but absolutely no experience with – what went on when the record player was on and the lights were a little bit low. But I did know, from comments and whispers around me and from the ebb and flow of pop culture, that you had to have a song to share.

Oh, as time wandered on, there were plenty of songs – even in the years before I really listened to pop music – that spoke to the state of my romantic life. I’ve mentioned some over the past few years: “Turn Around, Look At Me” by the Vogues and “Cherish” by the Association are the two with the strongest associations from those years. But those were songs for me, not songs for the “us” that I might make with some sweet hypothetical girl. And I figured that if and when I ever got to the point of selecting “our song” with that sweet hypothetical girl, life would be pretty damned good.

Oddly enough, there were no special songs with any of my early college girlfriends, all of whom were in my life for brief times anyway. But I found myself sharing “our song” with some of those who came later. Those pairings didn’t last, but the songs – when they pop up – remain sweet reminders of good times before.

Of course, those reminders likely wouldn’t be so sweet were if things were not so sweet for me these days. And my Texas Gal, being nearly as interested in music as I am (if not quite so obsessive), made sure from the start that we had songs to celebrate with. One of the best came from our mutual exploration of Darden Smith. I’d come across his Little Victories CD about three weeks before I met the Texas Gal in early 2000, and I’d absorbed enough of it to know I loved it, so I suggested she find a copy of it in suburban Dallas. A few days later, she did, and when she listened, one of the songs spoke loudly to her.

When we talked on the phone one of the next few evenings, she suggested I listen to it. I did:

Half of this morning and most of last night
I’ve been taking tally on the last years of my life
I’ve been pretty righteous but God only knows
A couple of calls were not even close
At least my indiscretions were sweeter than most

Oh, those loving arms
Those sweet, sweet loving arms

Count the bad, count the good
And all I wouldn’t change even if I could
I used to stumble back when I was young
And I’m still stumbling, but now it’s a lot more fun
And I’m falling, I’m falling, I flew too close to the sun
To get to your . . .

Loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms
To get to your loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms
To get to your . . .

Loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms
To get to your loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms

And the world could be perfect
Even if we are not
If everything is forgiven
Even if not forgot

And when the morning comes a-breaking
And I call out your name
My heart will be running, oh running to get to your
Loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms
To get to your loving arms, your loving arms, your loving arms
Your sweet, sweet loving arms . . .

(© 1993 Crooked Fingers Music/AGF Music Ltd.)

We don’t hear it often, given the massive amounts of music both of us listen to and given the busyness that life often brings. But when its strains come from my study, I’m likely to hear a voice come from the next room: “I know that song.” And when I hear “Loving Arms” coming from the loft, I tell her the same.

“Loving Arms” is one reason, then, why Little Victories is my favorite Darden Smith CD. Other reasons? I think it’s his best collection of songs, with “Place in the Sun,” “Love Left Town,” “Hole in the River” and “Precious Time” joining “Loving Arms” as gems of songcraft. (The Texas Gal loves “Levee Song,” which has its own rootsy charms.)

One of the attractions of Little Victories is the presence of Boo Hewerdine, with whom Smith recorded Evidence in 1989. Hewerdine co-wrote “Place in the Sun,” “Love Left Town” and “Precious Time” and contributes vocals on “Loving Arms,” “Little Victories,” “Love Left Town” and “Levee Song.” A couple of other names of note show up in the credits: Rosanne Cash adds vocals to “Precious Time” and Richard Gotttehrer – a member of the 1960s group the Strangeloves (“I Want Candy” and “Night-Time”) – produced the CD and joins in with percussion on “Loving Arms” and “Precious Time” and on vocals on “Little Victories.”

Here’s the tracklist:

Place in the Sun
Loving Arms
Little Victories
Love Left Town
Hole in the River
Dream Intro/Dream’s a Dream
Precious Time
Days on End
Levee Song
Only One Dream

Little Victories by Darden Smith [1993]

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: