Posts Tagged ‘Darden Smith’

Saturday Single No. 390

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

This is a season of busy Saturdays. There are normal errands to run, and yard chores call. Now that the snow has melted once more – for the final time this spring, one hopes – we can attend to the thick layer of last autumn’s leaves covering most of the lawn.

If it were up to me, I’d call our landlord and mention that we need the leaves removed, and without complaint, he’d have Steve the Yard Man come by and clear the lawn. But last weekend, the Texas Gal raked a good portion of the upper part of the lawn, the areas where we sit in the evenings, where the bird feeder is and where our guests join us during our annual August picnic (an event we regretfully canceled last summer but hope to revive this year). Her effort left piles of leaves around the lawn, piles that need to be cleared so as not to kill the awakening grass beneath them. (We let such a pile go too long last spring, and the resulting bare spot was a reminder all summer long that grass waits for no one.)

As she raked last weekend, I wandered down with a glass of juice. She drank it thirstily, and I asked, “Why not just call the landlord and tell him we need the leaves cleared.”

“We could,” she said, “but I like raking.”

We’ve had the conversation before, likely every spring we’ve lived here under the oaks. I guess I start the conversation each spring because I think she might have come to her senses. Of all the chores I did while growing up over on Kilian Boulevard, the one I likely detested the most was raking and bagging leaves in the spring. Those spring Saturdays when the four of us Ericksons raked and bagged were among the least pleasant Saturdays I can remember, and that’s coming from a man who tries, and generally succeeds, at finding the good parts in most things.

The Texas Gal knows I hate raking. She doesn’t ask me to do it. But she does ask me to help her bag the leaves. And I do. And I will do so this afternoon, when both of us return from errands. She’s already left on hers, which include a couple of hours clearing the community gardens at church. I need to leave on mine soon. And that means finding some music.

I was going to wander randomly through six tracks and choose one for this morning, but the first track up made me change my mind. It comes from Darden Smith’s 1990 album Trouble No More. Having listened closely to Smith’s work from the late 1990s on (and having backtracked to the beginning of his career in the mid-1980s), I think I can safely say that it was with Trouble No More that Smith left straight country music and moved down the musical road to that intersection of country, folk and pop I mention frequently.

Because it’s never really been featured here – it was part of a download six years ago – and because it speaks to me, “Listen To My Own Voice” is today’s Saturday Single.

Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

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:

Happy anniversary, honey.