Last Saturday, passing through Bakersfield, I put on the radio hoping to find some older country to listen to and lo and behold! on the first non-Spanish station! "Louisiana Saturday Night"! darn near the very beginning!
This is a regular on my internal jukebox. And one I've been meaning to write about for this series for a long, long time. Why haven't I? I'm not sure. It's just so fundamental to my sense of what a good song is that I guess it just never felt urgent to revisit. I won't forget it. Even if I haven't heard it in maybe twenty years. (Sort of like how I should probably call my parents more than I do.)
Anyway, looking it up, I've learned a few things. First, it's not an Oakridge Boys song. This is lucky. I almost bought Oakridge Boys greatest-hits albums via Columbia House or BMG on the assumption this song would soon be in the mail.
Nope. It's Mel McDaniel. A name I don't know.
And the first recording was by Don Williams! Everything sounds good when Don Williams sings it. Let's listen to that version:
We can, in short, listen to it as many times as we feel like. Which may be a lot. It's short and its sharp and it takes up so little time it'll leave us hungry for more: the perfect (country) pop song.
Speaking of perfect (country) pop songs by Mel McDaniel whose name I never even knew, let me tell you about the karaoke machine my parents bought me circa age ten.
My favorite song during my late single-digits was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."---it was the first single I ever owned (and only vinyl) (the B-side was a disturbing [to me] adultery song---the mental disconnect between feel-good patriotism and slimy sluttiness was rough) and when my parents gifted me a karaoke machine one Christmas, it came with "God Bless the U.S.A." and a couple other songs (I think two per side of the cassette tape---or maybe two cassette tapes, one song per side?) only one of which I knew, which was the ever-catchy "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On."
"Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On" is another song in permanent rotation on my internal jukebox (much to my beloved's chagrin). Looking it up now (again, perhaps twenty years since hearing it) it's got a lot more tok!tok!tok! than I remember, but it's still "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On", goldernit!
Both of these McDaniel hits were written by Bob McGill---another name I don't know. And although his Wikipedia page isn't all that helpful, I see he's written songs for Waylon Jennings and Juice Newton and Anne Murray and Joe Cocker and Ray Charles and, wait for it, Don Williams, so he may have already been featured in this series and may well be featured again.
It is nice to meet you, sir. May we meet again.
In the meantime, let's kick off our shoes, throw them on the floor, dance in the kitchen till the morning light: Louisiana Saturday Night.