Sunday Morning Coming Down

I don’t claim to know everything (no, really, I don’t!). Every now and then something happens that just blows my mind.

Serendipity. I think that’s what it’s called.

Let me explain.

I’ve thought recently that I was turning into a Dad (Oh, how my mother wishes….), sitting here chuntering on about how they don’t write songs like they used to, is that a boy or a girl?, turning off Top of the Pops and then going to the corner shop in my slippers. Not my Dad, but a Dad.

What I mean is, now I’m old (50 is disturbingly close, if a few years off yet), and those moments where you hear a song for the first time and it just takes your breath away don’t happen so much these days. Few and far between. Seen/heard it all before.

But a few years ago, someone out there (thank you, whoever it was) posted a song by Candi Staton that I thought was just one of the greatest records I’d ever heard.

You all know Candi from such hits as “Young Hearts, Run Free” and “You Got The Love”, but this particular tune hit a nerve; soulful, reflective, defiant, gorgeous:

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Candi Staton – You Don’t Have Far to Go

Then Merle Haggard died. It’s 2016, that’s what much loved people do. And I got myself a 4 CD retrospective of his. Popped it on my iPod, and, as usual, left the rest to the Gods of Fate and Shuffle.

And so it was that I was on the bus home from work the other day when this came on, and I was gobsmacked. The clues were there in the Candi version – the slide guitar for example – but I had no idea it was a cover version, and even less so that it had been written by Merle (and Red Simpson, credit where credit’s due):

merle-haggard-and-the-strangers-you-dont-have-very-far-to-go-capitolMerle Haggard – You Don’t Have Very Far to Go

You’ll love either one of those versions. Or, if you’re sensible, both of them.

Let them both into your life, is my advice.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

As many of you will know, this little corner of my blog has pretty much turned into a little corner of Country music, which seems just perfect for Sunday morning listening.

So there’s no way that I can’t make mention this week of the latest addition to the 2016 Deceased Club (seriously, they’ll be having one hell of a party up there right now), with the passing of Merle Haggard, a country legend if ever there was one.

Haggard is the archetypal Country star, a reformed bad boy, and his road to redemption is particularly astonishing, for in 1958 he was in the audience at a gig by one Johnny Cash, who played a gig at San Quentin prison where Haggard was residing at the time.

Haggard drew inspiration from Cash’s appearance, becoming a Country star in his own right, eventually, years later upon his release.

(Note: this is not the same gig as immortalised in Cash’s “…at San Quentin” album, the lesser known off-spring of his “Live at Folsom Prison” album.)

So, here’s some Merle, one of his best know songs (and that’s no bad thing), about him going off the rails and how his mother tried her best to keep him on the right side of the tracks:

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Merle Haggard – Mama Tried

Sleep easy, cowboy.

More soon.