Today’s tune from Sleepy LaBeef, national treasure, is one of dogged perseverance.
Appropriate, if only because that’s what I needed to make it through Saturday’s NorthShore Inline Marathon from Two Harbors to Duluth, Minnesota. It was 28 degrees at the start. That was our coldest marathon ever, though I have skated around home on days that cold.
We had a headwind strong enough to kick up whitecaps on Lake Superior, which was just to our left as we skated to Duluth. I staggered to the finish — after a brief rest stop on a guardrail at 18 miles — in 2 hours, 56 minutes, 8 seconds, my slowest time ever. The field of 2,882 skaters averaged 2:22:54, its slowest time ever.
So, home after a 5-hour drive and resting a sore lower back and right thigh, I’m just gonna sit here and listen to tunes.
Today, Sleepy covers a tune first done in 1954 by country singer Ray Price, who wrote it with Rusty Gabbard. It also was one of Martina McBride’s selections on “Timeless,” her 2005 album of classic country covers.
I don’t believe I’ve heard the original, but Jake Guralnick’s liner notes to this album say Sleepy “wrings gospel fervor out of a source as unlikely as Ray Price’s ‘I’ll Be There.'”
Just as I tell my family every year as they wait for me at the marathon’s finish line. It may be a while, but I’ll be there.
“I’ll Be There,” Sleepy LaBeef, from “Strange Things Happening,” 1994.