Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Louvin’

‘We’ve No One To Hold . . .’

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

One of the more sentimental songs in the folk/pop canon is “Turn Around,” written in the 1950s by Malvina Reynolds, Alan Greene, and Harry Belafonte and first recorded by Belafonte for his 1959 album Love Is A Gentle Thing. The song might be most memorable to folks of my generation for its use in a 1960s television commercial for Kodak.

We’ll get to all that, I think, as well as a discussion of which male vocalist sang the tune for the Kodak commercial, in the coming days. Today, I just wanted to note why the song slid back into my life. Not quite two weeks ago, I concluded a brief meditation on autumn with the late Charlie Louvin’s 1996 version of Sandy Denny’s lovely song “Who Knows Where The Time Goes.”

The song was from Louvin’s album The Longest Train, and after I wrote the post, I did some digging, listening to a few more tracks from the album at YouTube and checking out how the album was received by listeners and critics. And I decided to invest a small amount of cash in a used copy of the CD, which arrived yesterday. After listening to the album, I can say it’s one of the best investments of six bucks I’ve ever made.

Louvin was in his seventies when he recorded The Longest Train, and his voice shows it. But the aging that’s evident in his voice adds a poignant touch to many of the album’s tracks. That was true of “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” when I shared it twelve days ago, and it’s equally true in Louvin’s take on “Turn Around.”

There are numerous variations to the lyrics of “Turn Around.” Here’s how Louvin sings it on The Longest Train:

Where have you gone, my little boy, little boy?
Where have you gone, my sonny, my own?
Turn around, you’re two.
Turn around, and you’re four.
Turn around, you’re a young man going out the door.

Where have you gone, my little girl, little girl?
Pigtails and petticoats, where have they gone?
Turn around, you’re young.
Turn around, you’re grown.
Turn around, you’re a young wife with babes of your own.

Where have they gone, our little ones, those little ones?
Where have they gone, our children, our own?
Turn around, they’re young.
Turn around, they’re old.
Turn around, and they’ve gone and we’ve no one to hold.

Turn around, they’re young.
Turn around, they’re old.
Turn around, they’ve gone and we’ve no one to hold.

(For those interested, Louvin recorded the song once before, for the 1966 album The Many Moods of Charlie Louvin. That version is here.)

‘I Do Not Count The Time . . .’

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Autumn advances. The leaves on the oaks here are still mostly green, though a few have turned brown and made their ways to the ground, like an advance patrol checking out the terrain ahead. Those few pioneers crinkle some underfoot as we walk along the driveway; in a few weeks, they and their fellows will be more than ankle-deep across the lawn and will break like dry waves around our shins as we take our last walks to the garden.

In our eighth autumn here in the house, the rhythms of the seasons are ingrained. I no longer have to make lists of autumn’s chores. I know we must tear down the garden and clear the garage for the cars, we need to change the windows in the dining room and kitchen from screens to storms, we should clean the gutters, and more. Some of that will get done this weekend and some during the following week. I will find the time.

Similarly, I will find the time during this weekend, during next week, and during every succeeding day of October to embrace the season, to feel its rhythms of change, to sip its bittersweet wine, and to cherish the memories the season holds for me. And I’ll hope that many more autumns are yet to come.

I once described Eric Andersen’s “Blue River” as the most autumnal song I know. These days, I’d put it in a tie with Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where The Time Goes,” and I’d especially use that adjective – autumnal – for the version of Denny’s song that the late Charlie Louvin released in 1996, when he was in his early seventies. It’s from Louvin’s 1996 album The Longest Train.

Edited slightly since first posting.