Advice from the Gentle Giant

School is starting very early this year, so you won’t see our little boy and girl eating lunch in the booths here in the record shop again until MEA weekend. We’re going to miss having them here, and biking around the neighborhood together. Laura likes to compare our home here on East Lake Street to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and it’s a pretty good explanation for how we feel. We could wear our arms out waving to everyone on our walks to work. Even the mail carrier is our friend, and she came to our tenth anniversary party last year and brought a growler of great beer made right here in Longfellow. One of the best things about living in this neighborhood is how many good friends we have right here. It’s a pretty great place for two kids to grow up.

i believe in youHere is a song introduced to us by someone who we miss very much. It’s message is very positive, as are most songs by the “Gentle Giant” of country music, Don Williams. This one was written by the duo of Roger Cook and Sam Hogin, who were successful Nashville songwriters. Cook is probably best remembered in pop culture* as one of the three who invented the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” jingle while sitting in an airport. “I Believe in You” was just another huge country hit for Williams, but remarkable in that it was his only single to make it onto Billboard’s “Hot 100” list, too.
(*see what we did there?).

“I Believe in You” reminds us of Paul McCartney’s “Too Many People,” a song on Ram considered to be a slight directed at John and Yoko’s activism. McCarney acknowledged as much in a October 2010 interview for Mojo.

The first line is about ‘too many people preaching practices.’ I felt John and Yoko were telling everyone what to do. And I felt we didn’t need to be told what to do. The whole tenor of the Beatles thing had been, like, each to his own. Freedom. Suddenly it was ‘You should do this.’ It was just a bit the wagging finger, and I was pissed off with it.

In both songs, the messages of “you should do this” are dismissed, and in “I Believe in You” flatly refuted. Williams had good reason to not let anyone tell him how to live his life: the song was recorded around the same time he and his wife, Joy, celebrated their twentieth anniversary. This April it was their fifty-fifth. And while he had to reschedule some shows earlier this year, Don Williams will be back on the road again in September. Seems like he’s doing just fine on his own.




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