Listen to Never Going Back by The Lovin' Spoonful.
Listen to Never Goin' Back by John Stewart.
OK, my last post of the series--it's been fun. When Bill put up that Waylon song last weekend, I realized that this series could probably go on for months! I'm posting two versions of the same song today because I like both versions for different reasons, and because I wanted to start and end the series with a John Stewart song. I don't know which version was recorded or released first, but this song is a truly wonderful example of the genre. Again, we get images of the road, replete with Greyhound buses, Oklahoma City and Denver--but this time the singer is on the road to escape someone (or something) he left behind back in Nashville. I like these resignation songs where the protagonist vows never to go back to a place (see Steely Dan's "My Old School"), knowing that he'll probably end up there sooner rather than later. I also think it's cool that the Lovin' Spoonful had recently cut another great song about Nashville ("Nashville Cats") that took the wind out of the sails of rock and roll guitar pickers, compared to their Nashville counterparts.
Anyway, I love the Lovin' Spoonful version for how wonderfully produced it is--why was this not a bigger hit for them? Always the poppiest of their Folk-Rock peers, the group turns in a really great performance of this tune, with particularly lovely backing vocals. The John Stewart version (which I heard much later) is from his 1969 record California Bloodlines and it too is amazing! Like "Shackles and Chains" from last week, the band is really hot, and Stewart seems to sense this at the end of the song. He gives a shout-out to all the musicians who played on the record, but winds up kind of ad libbing some joyful nonsense that really adds to the excitement of a great song well played.
See you next time!
Photo: Cumbres & Toltec R.R., near Antonito, CO.