Saturday Single No. 541

So I searched the 94,746 tracks in the RealPlayer for tracks with “Saturday” in their titles (and yeah, we’ve done that before, but it’s been a while and we’ve added some material), and came up with 115 tracks.

But you know the drill: There are a number of them we can’t use, like everything we get from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. With the exception of their title tracks, other entire albums get tossed away, too, like Saturday Night Special, a 1975 album by jazzman Norman Connors; Come Saturday Morning, a 1970 easy listening treat from Jackie Gleason; Between Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, a 2005 release from Mick Sterling; and Come Saturday Morning (And Other Hits), a 1970 album by the Living Trio. And there are single tracks from albums that have “Saturday” in their titles, like a Tom Waits track from his own The Heart of Saturday Night from 1974 and a Bobby Charles track found on the 1993 compilation Louisiana Saturday Night.

But we still have about forty tracks to choose from, so let’s look at three of them.

The first track under consideration is “Saturday Nite At The Duckpond” by the Cougars, a 1963 record from a short-lived band from Bristol, England. The surfish record, which spent eight weeks in the U.K. singles chart and peaked at No. 33, borrows themes from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, an act of appropriation that led to its being banned from broadcast by the BBC. It showed up in the digital files here as part of a collection titled Instrumental Gems 1959-1970.

A fair number of emails show up here offering digital copies of new musical releases, and that, I think, is how I came to own copies of two albums by Gin Wigmore, a singer-songwriter from New Zealand. She has an odd quality to her voice that’s not easy to describe, something that other listeners might think makes her voice sound, well, “affected and “precious” are words that comes to mind. Over the course of an album, that quality might be wearisome, but one track at a time, I think it works. “Saturday Smile” is from her 2013 album Gravel & Wine, and it’s a slightly melancholy but effective meditation on love and loss.

Seven versions of “Come Saturday Morning” lie on the digital shelves. The song was first recorded by Liza Minelli in 1969, but became popular when the Sandpipers’ was included on the soundtrack to the 1970 file The Sterile Cuckoo. From there, for a few years, the coverfest was on, with easy listening giants like Ray Conniff and Jackie Gleason joined by singers like Johnny Mathis and Patti Page, instrumentalists like Peter Nero and Andre Kostelanetz and more. I think the Sandpipers’ version is my favorite, but the most interesting of the seven I have – and I will no doubt go looking for more in the next few days – is the one offered by former Raider Mark Lindsay on his 1970 album Silverbird.

And for some reason, as I ponder those three, I keep returning to Gin Wigmore’s “Saturday Smile.” It’s grabbed hold of me this morning like I remember it doing the first time I listened to it a few years ago. So it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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One Response to “Saturday Single No. 541”

  1. David Lenander says:

    You said, “Over the course of an album, that quality might be wearisome” but note that you have digital copies of two of her albums. I do find this “grabb[ing] hold of me” so how did you feel about more of the albums?

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