#2 and I dropped the Holy Tara off tonight at a Christmas party and were making our way up to College Heights Baptist Church to hear the heavenly, other-worldly sounds of the Isaacs. Good lordy mercy. Those people can sing.
On the drive up to Gallatin, I had the radio on 92.9 and they played Same Old Lang Syne, which I believe is perhaps one of the best, most visual songs ever sung. Because the HT was not in the vehicle, I proceeded to cut that radio up and let the wonderful tracks and oh-so poetic lyrics fall on me again. That song always leaves me with the feeling like I just want to have a good cry.
I can remember when that song was in the Top 40, around Christmas time that I was in the 6th or 7th grade. I have a distinct memory of the first time I heard it (warning…Rainman alert) and it was Christmas Morning, really, really early and I had woken up way too early to open presents (I knew Biff and Barb would not go for a wake up call of 4:30 a.m.) and I remember hearing that song for the first time and this was also the same time I first ever heard Simon & Garfunkle’s Bridge Over Troubled Water (I was a year old when that was first released in 1970 and my parents didn’t have any S & G records around, sadly) and totally fell in love with that song (I thought it was new).
The thing about Another Old Lang Syne…this was the first time I can recall ever really noticing or realizing the power of words set to rhyme and melody and how powerful they can be in telling a story, conveying such emotion and, I don’t know what the word is…longing, aching…..
Even at 11/12 ish, I knew that the line about “I said the years had been a friend to her and that her eyes were still as blue….and in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw doubt or gratitude” was some kind of beautiful poetry and heavy stuff. I maybe didn’t understand exactly what that meant but it was sure pretty.
To this day, anytime I hear that song and when he gets to the end telling how she got out of the car, watching her drive away and the snow turning to rain…..holy mutha of Harlan Howard….I just feel like bawling and I still get a knot in my stomach, feeling so bad for this poor guy, missing the old days, alone on Christmas Eve in the slush.
A little bit after I got home, I heard that Dan Fogelberg died of prostate cancer. I knew he had the same metastatic cancer that killed my father. Dan had been sick for awhile with that horrible disease. He was not what I would call old either. Boys….go get your PSA’s done.
Besides the Auld Lang Syne song, I was nuts about “Longer”, “Leader of the Band” and all that stuff Dan was famous for. His album High Country Snows helped turn me onto Bluegrass in 1985. It was not really traditional Bluegrass but that album, along with finding a Smithsonian collection in the closet that featured Doc Watson’s Black Mountain Rag is what made me pay attention to Bluegrass, which ultimately wound up changing the direction of my interests and life and directed me towards Mr. Smiff. Funny how music can do that.
So, one more time, Dan…