Father's Day notes

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This draft was started a couple of days after Father's Day, but I never got around to finishing it. In lieu of something more substantive tonight, here it is:

We celebrated Father's Day by taking my dad and mom to lunch at Mexicali Border Café at Main and Brady downtown. It's one of our favorite Mexican places; Mom and Dad had never been there. Great salsa (sort of halfway in texture and heat between Chimi's salsa fresca and salsa picante) and some delicious non-traditional Mexican dishes.

My wife and I had the Stuffed Carne Asada. At $13.95, it's one of the most expensive things on the menu, and we always consider getting something else (the Shrimp Acapulco is very tasty too), but we can't stand not to have this: "Fajita Steak stuffed with Melted Jack Cheese, Mushrooms, and Onions. Topped with Sautéed Pico de Gallo, Bacon and Mushrooms. Served with Rice, Borracho Beans and Saut´┐Żed Vegetables." It's big enough and rich enough we always have enough to bring home for another meal. The sautéed vegetables (carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini) were nicely spicy and just crisp enough.

The waitress, Heather, deserves special praise. She managed to be both attentive and inobtrusive. Instead of interrupting conversation every five minutes to ask, "Everything OK?" she passed by regularly, noticed if anything needed refilling, and just took care of it. When she noticed one of us dabbing at a bit of salsa that had landed on a shirt, she brought out some club soda and some extra napkins.

I gave my dad a new sports shirt and a Johnny Cash CD. My Mother's Hymnbook is a collection of traditional hymns and gospel songs, sung with only a guitar for accompaniment. Cash recorded it in the few months between his wife's death and his own. I had come across it in the CD return shelf in the library, checked it out, and loved it. These are songs that we sang in the little Southern Baptist church I grew up in, but don't hear much in our PCA congregation: I'm Bound For The Promised Land, Softly and Tenderly, Just As I Am, When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.

(I've found all sorts of gems on the library's CD return shelf, things I probably wouldn't have sought out on purpose: Spike Jones' Greatest Hits; Sam Cooke: The Man Who Invented Soul, a four-disc set; a two-disc set of everything Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters recorded together.)

The kids gave me a Louis Armstrong CD, a Patsy Cline CD, and the original version of Asleep at the Wheel's first Bob Wills tribute CD, along with a new clock radio that synchronizes itself to the atomic clock via shortwave.

I already had a version of this disc -- the "dance remix", which has a black cover. I bought it as motivation/reward when I refinished the kids' wood floors last summer, and I liked it, but some of the tracks (five of them, to be precise) seemed unnecessarily tarted up -- as if some producer didn't think classic Western Swing was good enough to get people out on the dance floor. On "Big Ball's in Cowtown," the dance version is almost double the length of the original, padded out with backup singers singing "Cowtown, Cowtown, we're all goin' to Cowtown" over and over and over again. Then there's the bizarre addition of the same two measures of "Yearning," digitally transposed into three different keys for the intro to the song -- somehow that made it a dance version. Similar weirdness is inflicted upon "Hubbin' It," "Corrine, Corrina," and "Old Fashioned Love." At least they left 13 of the songs alone.

I had heard the unadulterated versions of a couple of the tracks from the white-covered original edition, and put it on my wish list, a wish my wife and kids were kind enough to fulfill.

The album features famous modern country artists (e.g., George Strait, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks -- Huey Lewis, too) singing or playing Bob Wills tunes alongside Asleep at the Wheel and some of the original Texas Playboys -- Eldon Shamblin, Johnny Gimble, and Herb Remington.

"Yearning," sung on this album by Vince Gill, has become a favorite of mine. It was a Tin Pan Alley tune, published in 1925 by Benny Davis and Joe Burke. (Davis and Burke also wrote "Carolina Moon." Burke also wrote "Tiptoe through the Tulips" and "Rambling Rose." Davis also wrote "Baby Face.") Somehow this sweet little tune found its way into both the standards and Western Swing repertoires -- Nat King Cole, Tommy Dorsey, and Frank Sinatra, Spade Cooley and Bob Wills all recorded it. Merle Haggard sang it on the final album with Bob Wills (For the Last Time), but I like Gill's version a little better, if only because it includes both verses.

The songbird yearns to sing a love song.
The roses yearn just for the dew.
The whole world's yearning for the sunshine.
I have a yearning too.

Yearning just for you,
That's all I do, my dear.
Learning why I'm blue,
I wish that you were here.
Smiles have turned to tears,
Days have turned to years.
Yearning just for you,
I hope that you yearn, too.

When shadows fall and stars are beaming,
'Tis then I miss you most of all.
I fall asleep and start a-dreaming.
It seems I hear you call:

Yearning just for you,
That's all I do, my dear.
Learning why I'm blue,
I wish that you were here.
Smiles have turned to tears,
Days have turned to years.
Yearning just for you,
I hope that you yearn, too.

I've enjoyed the gifts from my children, but the greatest Father's Day gifts of all are the children themselves.

3 Comments

W. Author Profile Page said:

Serious question: Why won't your church play or perform those songs? IMO, good gospel music transcends all denominations.

I think I've mentioned this before, but do get Alan Jackson's "Precious Memories" if you liked the Johnny Cash gospel album. Happily, the Jackson album is also a big hit.

See-Dubya said:

"My wife and I had the Stuffed Carne Asada. At $13.95, it's one of the most expensive things on the menu,..."

Grrrrr.....must leave California...must leave California...

That AATW/Bob Wills CD is a classic. I bought that when it first came out. Not long after that I heard that playing on a CD player in a shop in Auckland, NZ.

If you like it AATW has another Wills tribute album called "Ride With Bob", which I don't own, but I would encourage you to buy it and review it so I'll know whether it's redundant or not.

W., I don't think it's a denominational issue, more of an issue of style or habit. At the little Baptist church I grew up in, we probably only sang about 100 of the 600 songs in the Baptist Hymnal, and the ones we sang tended to be from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although classic 18th century hymns like those of Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and John Newton were in that hymnal, I never heard them until I went away to college, where they were often sung at the Baptist church I attended in Boston.

The other reason we don't sing some of those songs in our Presbyterian Church is because they tend to be used as "hymns of invitation" or "altar calls", which isn't a feature of our Sunday worship service. (Someone has jokingly suggested that "Que Sera Sera" would be an appropriate hymn of invitation for a Calvinist church.)

See-Dubya, "Ride with Bob" is worth having. There's no overlap with the earlier tribute album. On the first tribute album, Ray Benson picked more obscure Texas Playboys tunes. The second one has more of the big Bob Wills hits like "Faded Love," "San Antonio Rose," "Stay All Night," and "Take Me Back to Tulsa." Don Walser yodels on "I Ain't Got Nobody." Merle Haggard sings "St. Louis Blues." Squirrel Nut Zippers recreate a big-band arrangement of "Maiden's Prayer" -- more horns than strings. "Roly Poly" is peppy enough that it doesn't bother me that Natalie Maines is singing it. Willie Nelson, backed by Manhattan Transfer, was the perfect choice for "Going Away Party." Lee Ann Womack's minimally-accompanied opening on "Heart to Heart Talk" gave me chills. Well worth having.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 6, 2006 11:01 PM.

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