Well, the great LP purge is finished. Last Saturday, we took another 800 or so LPs down to Cheapo in Minneapolis, and we should get a decent check in the mail today.
When Tony at Cheapo told me the amount over the phone Sunday, I was a bit surprised. It was more than I expected for this particular batch of records.
“Well, you had some interesting stuff in there,” he said.
“What worried me,” I told him, “was all the K-Tel and Ronco stuff.”
“Yeah,” he said with a chuckle. “You didn’t get much for those.”
Altogether, I estimate that we dropped off about 2,200 LPs in our three trips to Minneapolis. How many of those Cheapo sent to the wastebasket, I don’t know. But we averaged about fifty-six cents per LP, which was nice for our savings account.
I still have about 1,000 LPs, mostly the stuff I love (some of which, like the Beatles and the Dylan collections, would sell well), and about twenty of them are in a basket near my desk where they wait to be ripped on the turntable. And I have a list of stuff I sold that I want to replicate via mp3. I’ve scavenged a few of those out in the wilds of the ’Net in the past weeks, and I’ve got a long list of CDs reserved at the local library.
This week, I was ripping some of the yearly Billboard hits CDs and some of the massive – eight CDs’ worth – history of Atlantic rhythm & blues. That’s meant a few hours each day at the computer, winnowing out old mp3s of lower bitrate or researching catalog numbers and release dates for tunes new to the digital shelves.
With the total of sorted and tagged mp3s loaded into the RealPlayer approaching 90,000, it’s difficult – as I’ve noted here before – to keep track of everything I have. So as I sort things, I’m sometimes surprised. That was the case yesterday as I wandered through my collection of work by the late Ben E. King.
I don’t have a lot of his work – thirteen tracks – but I have the obvious ones – “Stand By Me,” “Spanish Harlem” and the other hits. And I have a track that I tend to forget about that I found on the 1997 anthology One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen.
So here’s Ben E. King’s sweet cover of “4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.
So, last week Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And when the Swedish Academy made its announcement from Stockholm, Sweden, there was a wide range of reaction.
Lots of folks liked the idea. A bunch of folks didn’t, some saying that giving the Minnesota-born Dylan the honor stretched the definition of literature to something evidently unrecognizable and others saying that the award cheapened the integrity of rock as an art form. Or something like that.
And in probably the most Dylanesque act in nearly sixty years of being Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter (or song-and-dance man, teller of wild tales or lots of others things as well) has so far – not quite a week after the honor was announced – made no public mention of the Nobel. In fact, according to a piece on the CNN website, the Academy said Dylan has not returned their calls.
Odd Zschiedrich, the administrative director of the Swedish Academy, talked to the news network on Tuesday, and said, “We have stopped trying – we said everything we needed to his manager and friend, he knows about us being eager having confirmation from him, but we haven’t heard anything back.”
Zschiedrich also told CNN: “We will have the ceremony as usual, he will have the prize even if he is not there. Now we are just waiting for information.”
My reaction? I was surprised by the award (but not by Dylan’s non-response). I’d read over the past several years that Dylan had been considered – or at least nominated – for the Nobel, but I’d also read that he was, in effect, a fringe candidate whose odds were not great. I was also delighted, as Dylan’s work – from the epics like “Desolation Row” and “Highlands” to even trifles like “Wiggle Wiggle” – has been a major portion of the soundtrack of my life and a sizeable influence on my writing and music.
I imagine there’s more I could say, but a look at the nearly 2,000 posts I’ve offered at this blog over the years probably says enough. I’ve written more frequently about Bob Dylan than about any other artist (with Bruce Springsteen, unsurprisingly, being a close second). And I’ll no doubt do so again as memories and music merge here.
The next-to-last thing I want to offer here today is a picture I scavenged from Facebook showing the utterly perfect message presented this week outside Hibbing High School on Minnesota’s Iron Range:
The last thing here today, of course, is music. For the last few days, I’ve been playing Dylan in the car as I make my way around town. Here’s one I heard yesterday: “Not Dark Yet” from the 1997 album Time Out of Mind.
So as we resume our somewhat dormant project of finding covers for the ten tracks on Joe Cocker’s 1969 album Joe Cocker!, we find ourselves considering the final track on what was Side One of the album, “Hitchcock Railway,” which also happens to be my favorite track on the record (and almost certainly my favorite Joe Cocker track of all time, a status cemented, no doubt, by the rollicking version I recall from seeing Cocker perform in 1972).
The song came from the duo of Don Dunn and Tony McCashen, who released a couple of albums as the Sixties became the Seventies and had a minor hit with “Alright In The City,” which went to No. 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1970. They’d put out a single of “Hitchcock Railway” in 1969, but it did not chart.
They weren’t the first to record the song, though. In 1968, José Feliciano had released a single version of the tune that had gone to No. 77. That’s the only time a recording of the tune has charted.
And there aren’t a lot of versions of the song out there. Second Hand Songs lists six. Along with three already mentioned, the website mentions versions by an Irish group called Anno Domini, Latin bandleader Mongo Santamaria and bluegrass singer Claire Lynch. There are at least a few more: I have a 1972 studio version by a band from Ohio called Clockwork and a live cut from Cleveland’s Agora arena, also from 1972 with the same arrangement, credited, however, to a band called Change. (I’m assuming that the band took a new name.)
And at Amazon, there are a few versions I have not heard by groups I’m unfamiliar with: The Hegg Brothers, Sweet Wine, and Chris & Mike.
I like all the versions I have, to various degree, but to be honest, only the Joe Cocker version grabs hold of me by the ear and shakes me around the room. So to find a cover that works with our slowly moving project, we’re heading to bluegrass territory. CLaire Lynch has been performing and recording since the 1970s, first as a member of the Front Porch String Band, and then on her own. She formed the Claire Lynch Band in 2005. Her take on “Hitchcock Railway” was on her 1997 album Silver and Gold.
I am, as the cliché goes, a creature of habit. I suppose I get some comfort – and some relief from the difficulties of Attention Deficit Disorder – by having the days of each week neatly sorted by activities and tasks. Monday is for laundry, mainly. Tuesday is blogging and other writing, and so on through the week.
I had a lengthy appointment yesterday, which meant the laundry was left unfinished, and my unease at trying to fit both Monday’s and Tuesday’s tasks and activities into a Tuesday is, at least from the inside, kind of interesting, but it is also disconcerting. When my schedule gets out of alignment, so do I.
So I’m going to drop a tune in here and hope that by tomorrow, my week will be less out of whack. And I find a little resonance this morning in the closing words of “Better Tomorrow” by the Freddy Jones Band:
All we live for has been cluttered By distractions today And I look to make it whole again
A couple of times in this space, I’ve mentioned English singer Joe Brown and his performance of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” at the 2002 memorial concert for George Harrison. I’ve dug around a bit, trying to find the 1997 album for which Brown originally recorded the 1920s tune – Fifty Six & Taller Than You Think – but with used copies going for more than thirty bucks at Amazon and one new copy there priced at $3,769, I think I’ll go without for a while. I did find a video at YouTube that features Brown doing a shorter version of the old song than he recorded for the 1997 album. (The video uses the artwork for the 1997 album but offers, I believe, the version of the song included on the 2008 album The Very Best of Joe Brown.) I included the video a few years ago in a post that looked at my favorite music from the decade 2001-2010, and here it is again:
I’ve come to love that old song, but despite that, I’ve never looked much into the history of the song itself, and that surprises me, as it’s something I generally do when I realize that a current recording is really an old song resurrected. So over the course of the next few days, I’m going to dig into “I’ll See You In My Dreams,” which Second Hand Songs tells me was written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn and first recorded in 1925 by Jones with the Ray Miller Orchestra.
We’ll likely get to Isham Jones’ version, but that will be next week. For now, as I begin to dig, I’m going to start with a very new version of the song that I found on the recently released second volume of soundtrack tunes from the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I watched the show regularly during its first season but then lost track of it and of the storyline. Even so, I take a look at it when I chance upon it during a late-night wander up the premium channels, and I remain impressed with the show’s ability to look and feel like the 1920s.
Some of that success no doubt comes from the music, which is generally new recordings of period songs done in the period style. And that recently released Vol. 2 of the soundtrack includes an abbreviated version of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” as performed by Matt Berninger, the frontman of the indie band, the National. I don’t know the National, and I suppose I should give its work a listen. But for the time being, Berninger does a decent job on “I’ll See You In My Dreams.”
Next week, we’ll head back to 1925 and Isham Jones’ original version of the tune, and we’ll move forward from there.
Date of first recording corrected November 20, 2013.
Still not certain how many covers there might be of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” I keep looking at the lists at Second Hand Songs and Amazon for some insight. No revelation comes, but I do note, perhaps unsurprisingly, that most of the covers listed at the first of those sites came in a very few years after Dylan recorded and released the song himself.
Dylan’s version came out in 1965 on Bringing It All Back Home, with the album reaching the Billboard 200 chart on May 1; the Byrds’ famous cover of the song hit the magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart on May 15, on its way to No. 1. Between then and 1969, SHS lists thirty-four covers of the tune, with the vast majority of those coming in the first couple of years.
Among those thirty-four covers was William Shatner’s legendarily bizarre version from his 1968 album A Transformed Man. (You can find it easily at YouTube if you feel the need.) One that I like a lot came from the British group the Marmalade in 1968; another that’s not nearly so high on my list was the cover by Don Sebesky from The Distant Galaxy, his 1969 album of what I can only describe as futuristic easy listening.
One of my favorite versions of the song came from 1969 as well, courtesy of the one-off group of musicians who called themselves the Brothers & Sisters of Los Angeles for an album called Dylan’s Gospel. As I’ve noted in this space at least once before, the webpage that listed the musicians involved seems to have disappeared in the past five or six years, but I do recall that among the singers on the project were Merry Clayton and Clydie King.
The frequency of covers of “Mr. Tambourine Man” slowed as the 1960s ended, but every now and then, the song drew the attention of a group or performer, and some of the resulting covers sound pretty good from this vantage point. The R&B group Con Funk Shun took the song uptown on a single in 1974, a performance that wound up on the 2010 anthology How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan, and the Fourth Street Sisters recorded the song for the 2002 effort, Blowin’ in the Wind: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan.
A couple of other versions stand out from recent years, though perhaps for different reasons. Jazz singer Abbey Lincoln did a very nice version on her 1997 album Who Used To Dance. And, on an entirely different level, a collection of youngsters from New Zealand called the Starbugs recorded a cheerful and antiseptic version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” for their 2011 album Kids Sing Bob Dylan, and I’m not altogether certain how I feel about their bland take. (Two things to note: The Starbugs – or more realistically, their adult producers – have also fashioned a similar album of Beatles’ songs; and among the members of the Starbugs is Jessie Hillel, who was the runner-up in the 2012 edition of the reality TV show New Zealand’s Got Talent.)
The most interesting version of Dylan’s iconic tune that I’ve found among the later covers – and my explorations have been by no means exhaustive – comes from a group with Minnesota origins. Cloud Cult released its idiosyncratic cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” on a 2010 EP, Running With The Wolves. I don’t know that I’d ever heard much by Cloud Cult before; as with so many performers and groups that I come across when I explore covers of familiar tunes, that lack has to be remedied.
Slow and insistent, the recognizable riff came from the speakers high above the floor of St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center Sunday evening.
“How are they going to do this one without the marching band?” the Texas Gal asked me in a whisper.
“I don’t know,” I whispered back as Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham continued the riff on his guitar, joined soon enough by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. And then “Tusk” burst forth in full voice from them and Stevie Nicks and the rest of the musicians onstage Sunday: a pair of back-up singers along with another guitarist and a keyboard player.
But even as that happened, I wondered how the second half of “Tusk” – from the 1979 album of the same name – would sound without the brass and percussion provided thirty-four years ago by the University of Southern California marching band. I needn’t have worried. At exactly the right moment, the horns and drums rolled out of the speakers, and on the big screen at the back of the stage, the image changed from kaleidoscopic abstract (if foreboding) art to footage of the USC band from a video shot back in 1979.
As the song came to a thundering climax and ending, those of us in the X (as it’s called in these parts) came to our feet roaring in approval. It wasn’t the first time we’d risen like that, and it wouldn’t be the last.
Seeing Fleetwood Mac was the Texas Gal’s idea. She’s a big fan of Stevie Nicks and thus, by association, a Fleetwood Mac fan, and one evening early this year, she poked her head into the Echoes In The Wind studios and told me we were going to go see Fleetwood Mac in April. I was fine with it. I’d never had the Mac on my list of must-see artists, but I knew (and liked) the group’s music well enough that it had showed up in this space numerous times.* So off we went Sunday, joining what appeared to be about 18,000 others in St. Paul for what turned out to be a very good show.
We stopped for dinner on our way, and the Texas Gal asked me over our enchiladas which songs I was most looking forward to hearing. “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain,” both from 1977’s Rumours, came immediately to mind, and an instant later, I thought of “Silver Springs,” the outtake from Rumours that was released as a B-side. And then I revised my list, putting “Landslide” from 1975’s Fleetwood Mac at the top of my list.
I heard all four, including an intimate version of “Landslide” midway through the show, with Nicks accompanied only by Buckingham’s acoustic guitar. “The Chain” showed up early, following the opening “Second Hand News” and preceding the group’s only No. 1 hit, “Dreams.” “Gold Dust Woman,” with Nicks drawing applause for the third or fourth time for her whirling dance during the instrumental, came near the end of the main part of the show. And just when I’d thought I’d have to go without it, “Silver Springs” showed up as an encore, earning a place on my list of great concert moments.
All together, the twenty-three songs offered Sunday night spanned more than forty years, with the earliest being “Without You,” a song Nicks said came from “1970 or 1971,” when she and Buckingham were working toward their 1973 album Buckingham Nicks, and the most recent being the new recording “Sad Angel,” which Buckingham said was one of several new tracks recently recorded.** (The set list also included “Stand Back,” Nicks’ solo hit from 1983.)
Fleetwood Mac’s catalog from the mid-1970s on is so well known, of course, that the opening notes of nearly every song brought a roar of approval from the crowd; the loudest roar, it seemed, came for Nicks’ iconic “Rhiannon” from Fleetwood Mac. And the roars didn’t subside until about two-and-a-half hours after they began, when the band members bid us goodnight and Mick Fleetwood told us, “Be kind to one another,” as the houselights came up.
There are a few videos from Sunday’s performance at YouTube, but none are very well done. So here’s “Landslide” from the 1997 release The Dance. This is pretty much how it sounded in St. Paul.
And here, courtesy of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, is Sunday’s set list:
Second Hand News
Not That Funny
Sisters of the Moon
Never Going Back Again
Eyes of the World
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
*Many of those posts were, of course, from other versions of the band, as Fleetwood Mac has had several incarnations through the years: There was the blues band featuring Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer; the early 1970s band with Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch and Christine McVie; the mid-1970s band that saw Nicks and Buckingham join the McVies and Fleetwood for an extraordinary run of both popular and critical acclaim; the short-lived 1990 lineup when Buckingham was replaced by Rick Vito and Billy Burnette; and the current regrouping of John McVie, Fleetwood, Nicks and Buckingham that we saw Sunday evening. Christine McVie hasn’t worked with the group since sometime in the mid- to late 1990s, but I read online in the past few weeks that she’ll join the band onstage later this year for a couple of shows in London.
**Shortly after I posted this, I read that Fleetwood Mac has issued a four-song EP, available at iTunes, that includes both “Sad Angel” and “Without You.”
Driving down Lincoln Avenue toward some fast food last evening, I was listening – as I generally do in the car – to WXYG, the low-power album rock station that popped up on the AM band here in the St. Cloud area about a year ago. And as I pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot, I heard a familiar and mournful violin introduction come from the speakers, followed by the breathy voice of Jesse Colin Young:
Darkness, darkness, be my pillow, take my head and let me sleep In the coolness of your shadow, in the silence of your deep.
The song was Young’s “Darkness, Darkness,” an eloquent and haunting surrender to despair recorded by the Youngbloods for their 1969 album, Elephant Mountain. Some listeners have heard a metaphor in the song for the anguish in Vietnam going on at the time the album came out, but I’m not so sure. Either way – or any other way – it’s a chilling song that gets a little trippy in the middle:
I’ve run across numerous covers of the tune in the last decade or so, including versions by Richie Havens, Richard Shindell, the pair of Elliot Murphy & Iain Matthews, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Mott the Hoople, Robert Plant and the Cowboy Junkies. So with the song running through my head this morning, I dropped by Second Hand Songs to see who else might have covered the tune. The website listed ten versions of the song, including the original; I’ve heard eight of them, missing only those by Cassell Webb from 1990 and Golden Earring from 1995.
I also took a look at the mp3s available at Amazon, and that brought up quite a few other names, some of which I knew – like Michael Stanley (with the Ghost Poets) – and many that were unfamiliar. I listened to some samples but left my pocketbook untouched this morning (although there were a few versions that might merit exploration down the road).
So with all those names, what’s actually out there? Well, the Wilson sisters’ version, which showed up on Ann Wilson’s 2007 album, Hope and Glory, is just okay, and the same is true for Robert Plant’s cover, from 2002’s Dreamland. Mott the Hoople’s 1971 version from Brain Capers is good (if a little too Mott-y, if that makes any sense). Ian Matthews’ solo take on the song – found on his 1976 album Go For Broke (released before he changed the spelling of his first name to “Iain”) – felt too matter-of-fact at the start; it became more compelling as it went along but eventually did not match the version he recorded with Elliot Murphy for La Terre Commune in 2000. I do like Lisa Torban’s version (featured here eighteen months ago), which was used in the soundtrack of the 2003 film about the Titanic, Ghosts of the Abyss.
Keeping all that in mind, four versions of “Darkness, Darkness” stand out. Almost five years ago, I wrote that Matthews and Smith’s take on the tune was at the top of my list. Well, lists like that can change, and I now think that three other covers of Young’s song are a little better: The Cowboy Junkies’ version of the song, released on a bonus EP with their 2004 album One Soul Now, seemed a bit leaden at first, but the slower tempo eventually pulled me in. And my growing appreciation for Richie Havens’ interpretation of the song will, I’m sure, be unsurprising to most readers. His version came out in 1994 on his Cuts to the Chase album.
But the cover that I prefer these days comes from folk artist Richard Shindell, who I think found the center of Young’s song when he recorded it for his 1997 album, Reunion Hill.
It was sometime during late 1987, and Robbie Robertson’s first solo album was on the stereo in my apartment in Minot, North Dakota. I was letting the record play in the background as I did something else – reading, most likely – and the second track on Side Two began.
The loosely structured “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” is one of those songs with spoken portions and several different sung verses, and it caught my attention. I heard most clearly the second spoken portion:
Take a picture of this The fields are empty, abandoned ’59 Chevy Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John Yea, that’s when time stood still You know, I think I’m gonna go down to Madam X And let her read my mind She said “That Voodoo stuff don’t do nothing for me.”
That might have been the first time I’d heard of Little Willie John. Or I might have heard of him in conjunction with “Fever,” his 1956 hit (No. 24 pop, No. 5 R&B) covered and taken to No. 8 by Peggy Lee in 1958. I’m not sure when I first heard about Little Willie John, but I do know that I still know very little about him or his music. Beyond the facts that he had some R&B hits – I have a CD’s worth of them in mp3 form but none on vinyl – and that he died in prison, my data banks have been pretty empty. And I’m going to have to rectify that very soon.
So why spend four paragraphs writing about things I don’t know? (Readers of an acerbic bent might suggest that I frequently spend many paragraphs writing about things I don’t know.) Because this morning, the RealPlayer popped up the Allman Brothers Band doing “Need Your Love So Bad” from 1979’s reasonably good Enlightened Rogues. I knew it was a cover, and – my curiosity piqued – I did some looking.
The song was written in 1956 by one Mertis John Jr., says Wikipedia, and was first recorded by his brother, Little Willie John. Released on the King label, “Need Your Love So Bad” went to No. 5 on the R&B chart, the second single by John to do so. (“All Around The World,” John’s first single in the R&B Top 40, had gone to No. 5 in 1955.)
John went on to place fifteen more records in the Billboard R&B Top 40 and sixteen in the Hot 100, and I may dig around in those someday, but my interest this morning was in covers of “Need Your Love So Bad.” Performers who have covered the song include, according to All Music Guide, the Allman Brothers Band, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, Pee Wee Crayton, Whitesnake, Tracy Nelson (recording with Mother Earth), Brenton Wood, Joe Cocker, Gary Moore, Ruby Johnson, Eva Cassidy, Georgie Fame, B.B. King, Bonnie Tyler and seemingly many more.
Digging around at YouTube, I first found a cover of the song recorded live in 2008 for the BBC by Adele and Paul Weller, and that was pretty good. But then I found the late Eva Cassidy’s version, a duet with Chuck Brown from the 1997 release Eva by Heart, which AMG says was Cassidy’s “only true studio album.”
And I don’t need to go any further than that this morning.
I dithered a little bit over the past few days about what to do here today. I thought about doing some chart-digging, but the years when a chart came out on October 26 didn’t interest me, at least not today. So I started thinking, trying to figure out how else October 26 might be important.
And then I realized that it’s our wedding anniversary. It was three years ago today that the Texas Gal and I went down to the courthouse and said our vows, formalizing in the state’s eyes what had been a fait accompli in our hearts for some time. Now, I’m not in any trouble for not remembering our anniversary; neither of us has been good about recalling the day over the past three years. But I recalled it last night and mentioned it to the Texas Gal, and we decided not to do any major celebrating.
What I am going to do, however, now that I’ve recalled it, is take a look back at the records that were at No. 26 on October 26 on selected years in the past. The data I have from Billboard ends in 2004, so we’ll be skipping 2007, which is probably just fine. We’ll start our October 26 adventure in 1997:
The No. 26 record thirteen years ago today was “My Body” by LSG. The debut single from the group’s first album, Levert Sweat Gill, “My Body” peaked at No. 4 in the Hot 100 and was No. 1 on the R&B chart for seven weeks. I don’t recall hearing it, but that’s not surprising.
From there, we head back another ten years, to 1987, and we find ourselves on more familiar ground. The No. 26 song twenty-three years ago was John Mellencamp’s “Paper in Fire,” taken from The Lonesome Jubilee, an album I still listen to occasionally and enjoy. The record peaked in the Hot 100 at No. 9 and was No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart for one week.
Back another ten years, and we’re in 1977: The No. 26 record as October 1977 was drawing to a close was Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree.” Taken from Mason’s Let It Flow album, “We Just Disagree” went as high as No. 12, the first of two Top 40 hits for the former member of Traffic. (Mason’s cover of the Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” went to No. 39 in 1978.) While far removed from the sounds of Traffic and not quite as good as Mason’s great solo debut from 1970, Alone Together, “We Just Disagree” and Let It Flow are good listening.
As October 1967 drew to a close, forty years before we would be married, I was fourteen and in ninth grade at St. Cloud’s South Junior High while the Texas Gal was ten years old and in – I believe – fifth grade in Garland, Texas. The No. 26 song – which I don’t recall from the time (and I would guess she doesn’t, either) was “Pata Pata” by the great South African singer Miriam Makeba. Originally recorded – if I have my information correct – in 1956, “Pata Pata” would peak at No. 12.
And so we head back toward October 1957. As it turns out, the Billboard Hot 100 for that week was released on October 26, fifty-three years ago today. The No. 26 record on that chart was “Remember You’re Mine” by Pat Boone, one of his thirty-eight Top 40 hits. The record had peaked at No. 20 on the Hot 100, but the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits credits it with a peak position of No. 6, based on its performance on one of the other charts of the time.
That record was on the radio, of course, when I was four and had no clue there was such a thing as the Hot 100. It’s a time I only dimly recall, though I do have a memory from early that month of my dad and me lying in the grass in our backyard, scanning the sky in vain for a glimpse of the tiny Soviet satellite Sputnik. At the same time, there was an infant in Texas just beginning her journey, one that would eventually pair her with that sky-scanning little boy from Minnesota. And though October 26 would be an important date for them, none of those records really resonate. But this one by Darden Smith, from his 1993 album Little Victories, does: