Archive for the ‘1995’ Category

‘Float Upstream . . .’

March 28, 2018

I woke up yesterday with the strains of the Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping” running through my head. They stayed there most of the day, and this morning – no doubt because I’ve been thinking of the tune – those strains are still there.

As is the case with most of the Beatles’ catalog, there is no video of the tune available, but I think that – like me – most fans of the band can pretty much play the tune in their heads, kind of a cranial on-demand. We’re going to go look for covers in a minute, but first, I thought I’d see what one of the books on my shelf – Beatlesongs by William J. Dowlding – has to say about the song and its recording.

Before that, though, I should note that American Beatle fans of similar vintage as I will remember the track as coming from the album Yesterday . . . and Today, an album made up of material previously unreleased in the states and several tracks from the upcoming Revolver. The three tracks thus displaced from Revolver in the American market – at least until the advent of CDs and the concurrent reissues – were “Doctor Robert,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and “I’m Only Sleeping.”

Thus, notes Dowlding, the U.S. version of Revolver had more of a Paul McCartney flavor than did the longer British version, as the three tunes shifted to Yesterday . . . and Today came mostly from the pen of John Lennon. “I’m Only Sleeping” and “And Your Bird Can Sing,” Dowlding notes, were entirely Lennon’s creation. As for “Doctor Robert,” Dowlding offers a quote from Lennon: “I think Paul helped in the middle.”

Dowlding says that “I’m Still Sleeping,” was recorded in late April and early May 1966. Perhaps the most notable thing about the record – beyond its utterly drowsy atmosphere – is the backward guitar section. Dowlding offers a lengthy quote from producer George Martin about how that was accomplished:

In order to record the backward guitar on a track like “I’m Only Sleeping,” you work out what your chord sequence is and write them down in the reverse order of the chords – as they are going to come up – so you can recognize them. Then you learn to boogie around on that chord sequence, but you really don’t know what it’s going to sound like until it comes out again. It’s hit or miss, no doubt about it, but you do it a few times, and when you like what you hear you keep it.

It wasn’t as easy as Martin makes it sound, according to a note from another volume on my shelf: Here, There and Everywhere by long-time Beatle engineer Geoff Emerick and collaborator Howard Massey. Emerick writes that getting that solo for “I’m Only Sleeping” made him wish “we had never come up with the concept of backwards sound.”

And then Emerick takes aim at Beatle George Harrison’s musical abilities (something he does regularly throughout the book):

At the best of times, [Harrison] had trouble playing solos all the way through forwards, so it was with great trepidation that we all settled in for what turned out to be an interminable day of listening to the same eight bars played backwards over and over again. . . . I can still picture George – and later, Paul, who joined him to play the backwards outro in a bizarre duet – hunched over his guitar for hours on end, headphones clamped on, brows furrowed in concentration.

Assessing the finished track, Dowlding offers a comment from Lennon’s long-time friend, Pete Shotton, who said the song “brilliantly evokes the state of chemically induced lethargy into which John had . . . drifted.”

Having known the track for almost fifty years – I got the U.S. version of Revolver as a birthday present in September 1970, four years after it came out – and having it run through my head for most of the last two days, I concur with Shotton’s assessment.

Since the original is not available to us this morning, let’s see about covers. Second Hand Songs lists thirty-seven covers, ranging temporally from the Lettermen’s shimmering 1972 version to a jazzy 2016 take on the tune by Brit singer Will Young. A couple of other names in the list are easily recognizable, like Lobo and Shawn Mullins, and there are a lot of names I do not know (though perhaps I should).

Another recognizable name in the list is that of Rosanne Cash, who released her version of “I’m Only Sleeping” on her 1995 album Retrospective. It showed up again on the 1999 compilation New Horizons: An Essential New Country Collection and once more on the 2005 compilation Yesterday (A Country Music Tribute To The Beatles). Here’s Cash’s version, which is not all that far removed from the original. I like it a lot.

Saturday Single No. 491

April 9, 2016

While sorting out tracks for our Follow The Directions project, I became intrigued by the number of times the word “southbound” showed up. There are twenty-four tracks in the RealPlayer with the word in their titles. (There are also two tracks by a late 1960s group that called itself Southbound Freeway and thirteen tracks from a 1975 Hoyt Axton album titled Southbound, but we’ll set those aside.)

Now, “southbound” and any other directionally tracks wouldn’t have qualified for the Follow The Directions project the way I originally envisioned it. I was thinking about titles with specific directions in them, like “Girl From The North Country,” which showed up when we did “North” the other week. But it’s my game and I can change the rule, so as we look for titles with the four directions, we’ll also look separately for titles with the suffixes “-bound” and “-ern” attached to the directions. It turned the project from four full installments to at least twelve and maybe more, sometimes maybe with fewer than the full complement of four titles per post, but we’ll work around that.

Having decided that, I went off to see how often musical journeys have taken folks in directions other than south. Given the influence of the South on American history and culture, I expected folks to be bound in other directions far fewer times. But I thought I’d look anyway.

“Northbound” nets us three tracks: the quiet “Northbound Bus” by the Flying Burrito Brothers from their 1976 album Airborne, and two versions of a gentle song titled “Northbound 35,” one by folk performer Richard Shindell (who’s showed up here before) on his 2007 album South of Delia and the other by True North, an Oregon-based bluegrass group that included the song on its 2014 album Elsebound.

“Eastbound” brings us one track, another quiet song: “Eastbound Train” by the early 1970s folk-rock group Wooden Horse. It’s on the groups’s self-titled 1972 debut.

When we search for “westbound,” we have to discard five of the eight tracks that show up, as they’re single releases on the Westbound label: Four by the Detroit Emeralds and one by Teegarden & Van Winkle. That leaves us with three tracks: A slow and sorrowful piece of Americana titled “Westbound Tomorrow” that the group the Robber Barons put on its 2004 album Dragging The River and two sprightly versions of “Westbound #9,” one of them the 1970 hit by the Flaming Ember and the other a track from jazz organist Charles Earland off of his 1970 album Living Black!

So southbound tops all the others direction-bound possibilities by an aggregate score of 24-7. And if we’re going to dabble in things southbound this morning, I think we’ll start with a song by country singer Pat Green that shows up four times: “Southbound 35.”

Green first recorded the song for his 1995 self-released debut album, Dancehall Dreamer, and included it on live albums in 1998 and 2000. (If I’m ever lucky enough to be anywhere in Texas when Green is scheduled to perform, I’d love to see him.) He re-recorded the song in a much tougher, guitar-heavy version for his 2001 album Three Days, but I prefer the earlier recording.

And all of that is why Pat Green’s “Southbound 35” is today’s Saturday Single.

‘They Won’t Tell Your Secrets . . .’

January 15, 2016

Things start with a familiarly slinky piano riff joined by a girl group singing softly in the background. Then, enter Mitch Ryder.

“Sally,” he says, “you know I’m your best friend, right? And four years ago, I told you not to go downtown, ’cause you’re gonna get hurt. Didn’t I tell you you were gonna cry? Mm-hmm. So you kept hangin’ around with him.”

Then, sounding utterly fed up, Ryder hollers, “Here it is, almost 1968, and you still ain’t straight!”

And Ryder rolls into his own version of “Sally, Go ’Round The Roses,” one that works in the chorus to “Mustang Sally” along the way:

Ryder’s cover of the Jaynetts’ 1963 hit is on his 1967 album What Now My Love, and it’s just one of numerous covers of “Sally” in the more than fifty years since the Jaynetts’ hit went to No. 2 in the Billboard Hot 100. Twenty-seven of those covers – including two in French – are listed at Second Hand Songs. There are certainly more covers of the song out there, but as usual, that’s a good starting place.

That list of twenty-five covers in English range in time from a 1965 version by Ike Turner’s Ikettes that doesn’t roam very far from the Jaynetts’ original to a 2012 version from the album Moving In Blue by Danny Kalb & Friends – Kalb was a member of Blues Project in the 1960s – that’s instrumentally exotic but vocally drab.

There have been plenty of others along the way. One that I’ve heard touted as worth hearing is a live performance from 1966 by the San Francisco group Great Society with Grace Slick. I found it uninteresting, as I did a 1974 version by the all-woman group Fanny (on the album Rock & Roll Survivors). Yvonne Elliman traded in the Jaynetts’ slinky piano for some weird late Seventies electronica when she covered the song on her 1978 album Night Flight, and that didn’t grab me too hard, either. More interesting was the funky 1971 version by Donna Gaines (later Donna Summer) released on a British single.

At a rough estimate, covers of “Sally” by female performers outnumber those by male singers by about a three-to-one ratio. Joining Ryder with one of the relatively few male covers of the tune was Tim Buckley, whose 1973 cover from his Sefronia album has an interesting folk vibe (though he wanders away from the lyrics and the melody for an odd bit in the middle).

Another folkish version of the tune comes from the British band Pentangle, who included the song on its 1969 album Basket of Light. The group’s version is one of my favorite covers, as is the version by the far more obscure group Queen Anne’s Lace, which put a cover of “Sally” on the group’s only album, a self-titled 1969 release.

But the honors for strangest version of “Sally, Go ’Round The Roses” that I came across go to singer Alannah Myles, who found an utterly weird – but compelling – Scottish vibe for the song on her 1995 album, A-Lan-Nah.

‘Riding With The Wind . . .’

October 30, 2015

Originally posted June 16, 2009

To this day, Jimi Hendrix remains an enigma to me. And that’s my fault, I suppose.

There’s no doubt about his prodigious talent; when one talks about great rock guitarists, his name is – and should be – one of the first to be laid on the table. (I’d also include Eric Clapton and Duane Allman among those first named; maybe Derek Trucks, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Who else?) But I never got into Hendrix when he was alive. At the time of his death in September 1970, I was still sifting through music that was much more accessible and less challenging: the Beatles, CSN&Y, Chicago.

And I didn’t really dig into Jimi’s music until I began collecting LPs seriously in the late 1980s. Over the years, I’ve gathered seven Hendrix albums, from 1967’s Are You Experienced? through Experience Hendrix, a 1997 two-LP anthology. (I have a couple of things on CD as well.) So I know the music – and I like most of it – but it never really brought along to me that “wow” factor that other listeners have told me about over the years. That doesn’t negate the brilliance of what Hendrix accomplished in a very short time; all it means is that when I put together a playlist of favorites, there are very few Hendrix songs that would show up: “Red House,” “All Along the Watchtower,” “The Wind Cries Mary” and “Little Wing” are the most likely.

I suppose that I might have heard Hendrix’ version of “All Along the Watchtower” when it was getting a little bit of airplay in 1968 (it went to No. 20 that autumn). I might have heard some Hendrix as I wandered the residence halls at St. Cloud State during my freshman year. But my first verifiable exposure to Hendrix’ work came in the spring of 1972 through a cover version of his song, “Little Wing.” Derek & the Dominos’ version of “Little Wing” was included on Clapton At His Best, a two-LP set that included highlights of the single Blind Faith album, Clapton’s first solo album and Layla.

That first hearing is probably one of the reasons why “Little Wing” remains one of my favorite Hendrix songs. Beyond familiarity, though, it’s a great song: It’s got a strong melody and chord structure, and the lyrics – enigmatic and evocative – are among the best that Hendrix ever put on paper. Here they are as presented on the inside cover of Axis: Bold As Love:

Well, she’s walking through the clouds,
With a circus mind that’s running wild,
Butterflies and Zebras,
And Moonbeams and fairy tales.
That’s all she ever thinks about.
Riding with the wind.

When I’m sad, she comes to me,
With a thousand smiles she gives to me free.
It’s alright, she says, it’s alright,
Take anything you want from me,
Anything.
Fly on, little wing.

Of course, given the song’s quality, cover versions of “Little Wing” abound. All-Music Guide lists more than 300 CDs with a recording of the song. Maybe fifty of those include Hendrix’ version and another fifty include Derek & the Dominos version (or versions by Clapton), but that leaves a hefty number of cover versions by other performers. I can’t provide my customary rundown of some of the more interesting names on the AMG list, as the site is being balky this morning.

But here are a few of the cover versions of “Little Wing” I’ve come across over the years.

“Little Wing” by the Corrs from Unplugged [1999]

“Little Wing” by Sanne Salomonsen from In A New York Minute [1998]

“Little Wing” by Toots Thielemans & The London Metropolitan Orchestra from In From the Storm: Music of Jimi Hendrix [1995]

The most familiar name there is no doubt that of the Corrs’, the Irish group that dances a line between Celtic folk and pop.

Salomonsen is a Danish performer who records in both Danish and English. The album, In A New York Minute, was a project that brought Salomonsen together with Danish-American jazz pianist Chris Minh Doky and his quartet for a series of largely improvised sessions. In addition, Doky brought along some friends and colleagues, including among them American alto saxophonist David Sanborn, American trumpeter and flugelhornist Randy Brecker and his brother, saxophonist Michael Brecker, American blues, jazz and rock guitarist Robben Ford and legendary Belgian guitarist and harmonica player Toots Thielemans. The album, which is out of print and quite pricey even used, is well worth a listen. “Little Wing” is one of the better performances.

As I was digging around for information about Salomonsen’s album last evening, I came across that reference to Thielemans, whom I’ve seen called many time the world’s greatest classical harmonica player. And then I found a reference to Thielemans’ own cover of “Little Wing,” which I’d never heard. I managed to find a copy, and I think the album from which it comes – which also includes performances by Buddy Miles, Taj Mahal and other folks – is going to end up on my want list.

Saturday Single No. 395

May 31, 2014

The gardens are taking shape.

The strawberry boxes constructed two weeks ago are settled near the garden below the house. Both the bare root strawberries and the plants that the Texas Gal planted in them seem to be thriving.

In that garden below the house, we have numerous peppers – green bells, sweet bananas and chilis – as well as cabbages, eggplant, many onions and one plant each of celery, tomato and kohlrabi with many more of those last three planted in our spot in the community garden on the far side of the copse west of our driveway.

Why the split? Well, the Texas Gal is conducting an experiment. The past two years, we’ve planted potatoes in the garden just below the house along with a few other things. Last year, the peppers adjacent to the potato patch did very little until she dug the potatoes in early August. After that, the peppers thrived. The same was true of tomatoes two years ago.

Over the winter, we’ve read that potatoes are, in essence, unfriendly neighbors and that very little will thrive if planted nearby. So we will grow none this year, and she’s interested to see if the celery, tomato and kohlrabi do as well in the garden below the house without potatoes to subvert them as they tend to do in the community garden.

Along with the bulk of the tomatoes, kohlrabi and celery, our plot in the community garden is home to broccoli and zucchini and maybe cabbages. There are still bush beans, radishes and cucumbers to plant down there and pole beans and a few chili peppers to plant in the garden below the house. And we’ll need to find a spot for dill.

Most of the planting took place last weekend; a bit of it came just this morning before the rain came in. It’s likely to rain on and off all weekend, so the Texas Gal is not at all sure when she’s going to get the last bits done. When the last seeds and plants are in, we’ll settle into an eight- to ten-week period of watering and weeding – I often help with the former but only occasionally with the latter – that’s not quite as challenging as either planting time or harvest time.

And as the end of planting nears, bringing with it the somewhat less strenuous time of tending the gardens, I found one tune this morning that fits here neatly, one I was startled to realize I’d never shared here before.

Here’s Sheryl Crow’s cover of “Keep On Growing,” written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock. It’s from the soundtrack to the 1995 film Boys On The Side, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

‘Now I Don’t Know How I Feel . . .’

December 17, 2013

I can’t write today, not after learning late last night that one of my oldest friends in this lifetime is undergoing life-altering surgery today. I might be able to say more tomorrow, but all I can do today is remember cherished times, reflect on how fragile all of us are, and tell him here and via thoughts through the ether that I’ll see him on the other side of his trials.

Here’s Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band with “Blood Brothers” from 1995.

A Landmark Preserved

July 9, 2013

A few times over the past five years, I’ve written about the building at 508 Park Avenue in Dallas, the building where Robert Johnson spent two days recording in 1937. I’ve written about the possibility that the building – dilapidated and in a difficult neighborhood – might be torn down. I’ve written about the sessions that Eric Clapton conducted there in 2004, recording several of Johnson’s songs in the same room where Johnson recorded them in 1937. And I’ve written about my two visits to the building, about standing at its doorstep and standing in the same place where both Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton had been.

But I’m not sure I ever shared here the very good news that, through a project headed by the Stewpot – a homeless shelter across the street from 508 – and the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, the building at 508 Park will be preserved and will become the centerpiece for what’s being called the Museum of Street Culture. The vacant building on the north side of 508 has been razed to create a space that will include an amphitheater, and a now-vacant lot on the south side of the building will become a community garden.

The plans for the museum and its programs are available at the website for the Museum of Street Culture, a website that includes a photo of Steven Johnson, the grandson of Robert Johnson, standing in front of the building where his grandfather recorded some of the most influential songs in blues history.

Here’s my photo of the door of 508 from one of my trips to Dallas.

And here is a selection – offered once before, in 2009 – of covers of some of the songs that Robert Johnson recorded during his two sessions in 508 Park Avenue in 1937:

A Six-Pack of 508 Park Avenue
“Stop Breakin’ Down” by the Jeff Healey Band from Cover To Cover [1995]
“Malted Milk” by Eric Clapton from Unplugged [1992]
“Traveling Riverside Blues” by John Hammond from Country Blues [1964]
“Love In Vain” by the Rolling Stones from ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!’ [1970]
“Stones In My Passway” by Chris Thomas King from Me, My Guitar and the Blues [1992]
“I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man” by Robert Lockwood, Jr. & Carey Bell from Hellhound on My Trail: Songs of Robert Johnson [2000]

A Summertime Plot

June 28, 2013

Originally posted May 20, 2009

Well, we’re armed and ready to garden.

The Texas Gal stopped by at the end of her lunch break the other day to drop off the results of her trip to the garden store: chicken wire, wooden stakes, a hoe, a metal rake, some pruning shears and a hose. Add that to a few garden tools we bought about a week earlier, and we should be set for implements.

So we spent an hour that evening attaching chicken wire to the stakes and marking off a roughly twelve-foot square in the garden plot in the side yard (available for use, as well, to the folks in the adjacent apartments, where we used to live). The fence is less than artistic, but it marks our plot adequately, and it should keep all but the most persistent rabbits away from our vegetables this summer.

So what are we going to grow? That’s been partly determined by the packets of seeds the Texas Gal got free at her workplace. Her goal for the coming weekend is to get seeds planted for several varieties of vegetables: We’ll certainly plant yellow squash and zucchini, some cucumbers, some beets, maybe some cabbage and likely some tomatoes. We’ll probably get a couple of pots to grow some parsley and some catnip, and there is a small strip of garden between the house and the sidewalk where we’ll plant – more as ornaments than as consumables – green kale and red lettuce.

In addition, we’re planning to head out to one of the garden tents at either the grocery store or the discount store down the street and get some plants to set in: more tomatoes (in case the seeds don’t go well) and some peppers – green and chocolate for sure, maybe yellow and possibly some jalapeño. And I’m thinking about growing some eggplant, although the Texas Gal is skeptical, having never eaten it before.

I wonder if we’re not being a little too ambitious, given that this is our first time around the vegetable patch. We’ll likely find out as mid-summer approaches, when watering and weeding may be the last things we want to do on a hot evening or humid Saturday. If all goes well, though, we’ll have the pleasure and satisfaction of home-grown salads and stir-fry and more.

I might – and I emphasize “might” – even eat some beets.

A Six-Pack of Gardens

“Here In The Garden, Parts 1 & 2” by Gypsy from In The Garden [1971]
“Johnny’s Garden” by Manassas from Manassas [1972]
“Safe In My Garden” by the Mamas & the Papas from The Papas And The Mamas [1968]
“A Wednesday In Your Garden” by the Guess Who from Wheatfield Soul [1969]
“Come Into The Garden” by Chimera from Chimera [1969]
“Secret Garden” by Bruce Springsteen from Greatest Hits [1995]

Probably the least-known of these groups is Chimera, whose self-titled album was recorded in 1969. The record, featuring two female vocalists and a few British folk and rock notables, went unreleased for many years. You’ll find a slight history of Chimera and an affectionate assessment of its only album at Time Has Told Me, one of the great blogs for out-of-print rarities, many of them in the line of British psych-folk, as is Chimera’s work.

The tale of Gypsy, a Minnesota band that began as the Underbeats, showed up here in the early days. In The Garden was the group’s second album. (I noticed this morning, as I was going through earlier writings and my files, that I keep changing the year In The Garden was released, citing either 1971 or 1972. While the LP and its jacket seem not to have a date anywhere, All-Music Guide says the record came out in 1971. So I’ll go with that.)

I’m never sure, as long as we’re talking about indecision, whether to classify Manassas as a Stephen Stills album or as an album by the group Manassas. My sense of the album is that it was a Stills solo project that shifted in the process to a full band identity, but I’m not sure. I’ve tagged it as a Stephen Stills album because that’s what the record jacket and the CD cover say. I could easily go the other way, as AMG does, saying “Formed in 1971 from the sessions for what was going to be Stills’ third solo album, the chemistry of the musicians he gathered was so intense that before long they were a full-fledged band.” Either way, it’s still good tunes.

The tracks by the Mamas and the Papas and by the Guess Who are album tracks whose sounds fit into the groups’ canons without many surprises. Listening this morning, I realized once again how main Papa John Phillips and producer Lou Adler worked painstakingly on every detail, even on album tracks, creating a lush pop-folk sound that still sounds effortless today. The Guess Who track sounds like no other band, as well, but I’m not sure that “effortless” is the word I’d use for “A Wednesday In Your Garden” or in fact for many of the Guess Who’s recordings. Thinking about it, I always got the sense that Burton Cummings was working too hard at being a rock star. I may be forgetting one or three, but the only Guess Who record I can think of at the moment that sounded light and effortless at any point was “Undun.”

“Secret Garden” was one of three new tracks Bruce Springsteen recorded with the E Street Band for release on his greatest hits album in 1995. The other new recordings were “Blood Brothers” and “This Hard Land.” Also on the album was “Murder Incorporated,” a 1982 recording with the band that had never been released. Of the four, “Secret Garden” is my favorite.

Note: While I still love “Secret Garden,” I have to admit that in the past four years I’ve come to admire and enjoy “This Hard Land” more. While the former is a beautiful love song that could only have come from Springsteen’s pen, “This Hard Land” is a heartland plaint that clearly shows the connection between Springsteen and the music of Woody Guthrie, the fiction of John Steinbeck and the photography of Walker Evans. It might be worth noting that “This Hard Land” was recorded in January 1995, just a few months before Springsteen began recording The Ghost of Tom Joad, his minimalist album that focused on similar themes as “This Hard Land.” Note added June 28, 2013.

‘Like A Face In The Crowd . . .’

June 13, 2013

Maps fascinate me. From the time I could unfold the bulky road maps of the early 1960s – free in those years at nearly every gas station – I’d trace routes from city to city, look for rivers and lakes and wonder what it would look like and feel like to, say, drive south along U.S. Highway 71 from the Canadian border at International Falls all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. (I’ve never done that, and the drive would be much less interesting now than it would have been in the 1960s because it appears that much of that highway’s route now follows the Interstate highways.)

Along with my fascination with maps came a love for place names. Whether they come from Native American traditions or from the names of places left behind by settlers or even from the less-than-fertile imaginations of suburban developers – a trail that leads figuratively here in Minnesota from Wabasha to New Prague to Woodbury – I’m captivated by the names of places every time I look at a map.

And that captivation finds its way into my life in a lot of ways. Most pertinent to this space is that I find myself listening to and collecting records and digital music files that use place names in their titles. I walked briefly through titles that include “Memphis” a couple of years ago. That may be the most popular of place names in my collection, but it’s not necessarily the most fun. Shortly after I began collecting mp3s in 2000, I came across the track listing of country singer Yearwood’s 1995 album Thinkin’ About You.

When I looked at that track listing, one song title stood out: “On A Bus To St. Cloud.” I’d never seen my hometown mentioned in a song, and I wondered if the city in question were instead St. Cloud, Florida. I got hold of a copy of the song and learned, happily, that it was my St. Cloud that was referenced. So I did a little bit of research. I found an interview with writer Gretchen Peters in which she said the inspiration for the song came when she was looking idly at a map and noticed St. Cloud, Minnesota. The name of the city intrigued her and provided the inspiration for what turned out to be a pretty decent song.

Yearwood was the first to record it, according to Second Hand Songs, with Peters recording her version a year later for her album The Secret of Life. Other covers listed at Second Hand Songs have come from John Joseph Nolis and the duo of Neyman & Willé. At Amazon, one finds versions by Leah Shafer, George Donaldson and other names that are unfamiliar (at least to me). One familiar name there is Jimmy LaFave, an Austin-based singer-songwriter whose work I enjoy; he put his version of “On A Bus To St. Cloud” on his 2001 album Texoma. And there are other covers out there, I’m sure.

But as I look for what sounds and feels definitive, I go back – as I often do – to the original. I’m astounded that it’s taken me this long – more than six years of blogging – to write about the song, but here’s Yearwood’s version of a tune that name-checks my hometown.

Saturday Single No. 325

January 19, 2013

Well, it’s baseball in January.

Last October, my pals and I found ourselves unable to clear a Saturday for us to get together here on the East Side and play the second half of our two-part 2012 Strat-O-Matic baseball tournament. November didn’t work, either, and then came the holidays, so we decided we’d regroup in January. And today is that day.

Waiting in the wings for most of today’s action will be the 1920 Cleveland Indians, who won last spring’s first half by defeating the 1988 Mets 11-2. Rob owns of both those clubs, and he chose to guide the Indians during the finals. The winner of today’s eight-team tourney will take on the 1920 Indians in a best-of-three finals at the end of what could be a long day today.

Today’s first round pairings have another Cleveland Indians team – Rob said he’d play either the 1995 or 1996 Indians; he wasn’t sure which one he could find in his stash—facing Dan’s 1998 Atlanta Braves; my 1991 Minnesota Twins against Rick’s 1946 Boston Red Sox; my 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks against Rick’s 1990 Oakland Athletics; and Rob’s 1922 St. Louis Browns facing Dan’s 1970 Baltimore Orioles.

As always, I’m very much looking forward to having the guys here. And as frequently is the case, the Texas Gal will be taking her laptop and her books to study at the public library for much of the day, leaving us to our loud day of baseball and brotherhood.

Here’s “Blood Brothers,” one of the tracks recorded new for Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 Greatest Hits album. And it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Corrected since first posting.