For all of the music I’ve bought or been given over the past fifty years, it’s astounding to note this morning that only two LPs and one CD have come my way on any March 28. Those three albums are:
Valotte by Julian Lennon, acquired March 28, 1997;
Aretha Live At Fillmore West, acquired March 28, 1998; and
Texas Worried Blues by Henry Thomas, acquired March 28, 2003.
It’s entirely possible that some of the LPs I acquired before 1974, when I began recording the specific date of acquisition instead of just the month, might have come my way on March 28. But those LPs account for – at a quick estimate – only about 1.1 percent of the LPs & CDs that make their home here in the EITW studios. So those LPs – as much as I love some of them (and I do) – are statistically insignificant.
So what else can we find out about March 28 over the years in the reference books and files here? Well, Billboard has issued charts several times on March 28 in the years that normally interest us here:
In 1956, the No. 1 record on the pop chart on March 28 was “The Poor People of Paris” by Les Baxter. In 1964, the No. 1 record was “She Loves You” by the Beatles. In 1970, the No. 1 record was “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfukel. And in 1981, “Rapture” by Blondie topped the charts on March 28.
What about No. 1 albums on March 28 in those various years? In 1956, the top album as March drew to a close was Belafonte by Harry Belafonte. In 1964, it was Meet The Beatles! In 1970, the top album on March 28 was Bridge Over Troubled Water. And in 1981, the No. 1 album on March 28 was Hi Infidelity by REO Speedwagon.
Well, nothing’s really exciting me this morning. The albums and tracks from Aretha and the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel (and even Blondie) are fine stuff. At the right moments, I like the Les Baxter and the Belafonte, and Henry Thomas’ vintage songster tunes have their place, too. (The less I think about REO Speedwagon, however, the better I feel.) But as we look for a track for the morning – and that’s what this is always about here on Saturday, even though I did not say so at the top – none of that grabs me.
So, let’s look at the slender list of tracks that we know were recorded on March 28:
Prince Albert Hunt’s Texas Ramblers recorded “Blues In A Bottle” on this date in 1928 in San Antonio, Texas. In 1939, March 28 was the date that Hal Kemp & His Orchestra, with vocals by the Smoothies, recorded “Three Little Fishies (Itty Bitty Pool).” Robert Petway laid down “Catfish Blues” in a Chicago studio on March 28, 1941. Six years later, Chicago was also the site for John Lee Williamson – the first Sonny Boy – when he recorded “Mellow Chick Swing” and “Polly Put The Kettle On.” Bluesmen Sammy Lewis and Willie Johnson were in the Sun Studios in Memphis on March 28, 1955, when they recorded “So Long Baby, Goodbye” and “Feel So Worried.” And in Nashville in 1979, Johnny Cash worked on his version of “Ghost Riders In The Sky.”
And finally, in Detroit on March 28, 1988, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band recorded a live performance of “Be True” that wound up on the four-track EP Chimes Of Freedom released in 1988 to support Amnesty International.
I’m tempted by the silliness of “Three Little Fishies,” which I used to have on a kiddie 78 when I was about four years old, but, then, I hadn’t listened to the live version of “Be True” for a while. It’s pretty damned good, and since I’m almost always in a Springsteen mood here, that live version of “Be True” from 1988 is today’s Saturday Single.