By Chris Moore:
Hello and welcome to your Sunday, Sunday, Sunday installment of the best acoustic cover song blog on the web today! After a couple of nineties covers, I’ve decided to go back a bit further… to 1973 with Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” This is a song that I remember hearing for the first time when my father bought an audio tape (that’s a hint at how long ago it was…) and played it for me, along with “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” explaining that he always liked the story in the songs. I instantly agreed, thinking that the way Croce described Leroy Brown and his lifestyle was really funny and catchy.
I just learned that Jim Croce’s life was sad, though, as he died the same year that this song (considered his biggest single) was released. I found it really interesting to learn, according to Wikipedia, that he was the third singer/songwriter to score a posthumous #1 single (for “Time in a Bottle”), after Otis Redding and Janis Joplin. What is even more sad, I think, is that he died in a plane crash. I’ve got to be honest here — I don’t consider myself a superstitious person, but if I ever get a record contract and any degree of fame, I’m not setting foot on an airplane…
One of the best parts of doing so many Laptop Sessions this year is that I’ve had a chance to learn so much about great singer/songwriters and to remember so many great songs like this one. Now, you may wonder how I learned this song if I haven’t heard it in so long. Well, one of the best parts about having over 11,000 tracks available at my fingertips on my iPod is that I have access to a lot of songs that I have forgotten over the years. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is to set my iPod to shuffle and just wait to see what great music will come up. Unfortunately, there are just as many if not more not-so-great tracks that come up in search of the great ones…
But, as they say, it’s the journey and not the destination, right?
If you didn’t already, you should read Jim’s post from yesterday. He pretty much summed up our day that led to an as-usual great performance by Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley, aka the band America. Not only was the show great, but they are really nice guys. After the show, they signed autographs and shook hands with the fans. I got the chance to tell Dewey that, when teaching the Transcendentalism unit in my English class (Emerson and Thoreau, “Nature” and “Walden,” etc…), I used the Here & Now track “Walk in the Woods.” He seemed interested, as Gerry smiled and said that he’d been thinking about playing that song in concert so they could do the whistling part! We all laughed, and for a brief moment, it felt like Jim and I had broken the usually solid barrier between fan and artist. Cool moment.
I have looked forward to their shows ever since the first time Jim took me to go see them several years ago, and I’ve regretted missing any opportunity to see them. He had initially gotten into the band because of such songs as “Sister Golden Hair.” As with many bands he’s gotten into, I felt like I was missing out on something and had no choice — I had to get into them too! My only past experience with them had been their hit single “A Horse With No Name” that I first heard as a kid (where else?) on a seventies tape that my father had.
And so this session comes full circle! I present to you an acoustic cover of a song my dad played for me as a kid, and not 24 hours after going to a concert by a band that I first heard in my father’s music collection. I’ll see you again on Wednesday for one of my own songs, track two from my soon-to-be-recorded new album.
See you next session!