by James Taylor, as performed by him on his CD/DVD set, “One Man Band,” with Larry Goldings on keyboards and harmonium (recommended version), 2007, Hear Music
And then there was Mic, who turned out to be Bison Barb the Sequel (see the previous post, here), the two of them more or less book-ends to the romantic tragicomedies of my undergraduate years – or, in the words of today’s selection, “Sing me one more highway song.”
I met Mic in a film theory class. We were both seniors and when we first started going out (you didn’t call it dating in 1972), she not unattractively cursed her fate: she wanted to be with me but she didn’t want to be with me because she was about to head for Japan for at least a year. I was as infatuated with her as I had been with Barb, but I figured once burnt, twice immolated, and I moved on.
Then one late winter day Mic saw me with another confused young woman as we held hands on a park bench. Mic decided that maybe she wanted to be with me after all. Sure enough, nothing makes you more attractive to A than when B is attracted to you.
And yes, once burnt, twice running back into the burning building (translation: shame on me). Mic departed for Japan on schedule, thereafter offering me the Barb Hanson, a.k.a. mushroom, treatment.
As with Bison Barb, I had hoped love would stop her going or get her to come back early (and get me back into the more fragrant light), but absence made the resolve grow stronger: Footloose and Fancy Free 2, Feverish Love and Devotion nil.
So it seems appropriate that this memory, too, resonates with and against another lovely James Taylor song,* never mind that it’s the guy who’s the wanderer (Taylor himself, it would seem), which is of course conventional in popular music. Anyway, as the lyrics have it, from the start Mic was “already outta there,” waiting “by the door.” Did she, like Taylor, know she should hang around while she knew she would go? She wavered – Jewishly thoughtful, I suppose, she was more reflective and sympathetic than Barb. My solace is that these travelling star types “hunger for home but they cannot stay.” My pain is that they bloody well could have if they wanted you, er, wanted to. Shame on them “for sure.” Travel and commitment are not mutually exclusive.
I highly recommend the One Man Band version for Golding’s accompaniment on piano and harmonium, and for the supporting choir in which Kim Smedvig, wife of committed but travelling Taylor, sings. The repetitive harmonium lick and the folksy choral punctuation add just the right complement of cozy melancholy. (The version on YouTube is great, but it’s not this one.)
*I promise that soon 366 will get back to jazz, classical, trad, world, vocalese, etc. It just seemed that these three posts fit together.