Forty years ago, I lived in this house on the south side of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. My bedroom, where my Panasonic AM-FM radio sat on top of a filing cabinet, was upstairs on the right as you look at the picture.
We lived there for only three summers — 1969, 1970 and 1971. The trees were not so overgrown. Just a rental, the house was painted dark red, perhaps crimson. But certainly not that dreadful brown.
One day — had to be that last summer there — I sat on the steps near the sidewalk, a paper grocery bag in front of me. I’d taken football and basketball cards I no longer wanted, put them in the bag and let some neighborhood kids take what they wanted. It wasn’t long before I regretted giving away the basketball cards. I still might not be over it.
The cards were going out because I felt I’d outgrown them. My passion had become the music that poured out of that AM-FM radio, then tuned solely to WOKY, the big Top 40 AM station out of Milwaukee. It all had started, of course, the summer before.
As summer gave way to fall in 1970, the radio told two sad stories.
One was about a boy who had to grow up quickly after his papa died.
“Patches,” Clarence Carter, from “Patches,” 1970. The LP is available digitally and on this 2-on-1 CD with “The Dynamic Clarence Carter,” which came out in 1969. They were Carter’s third and fourth albums.
Though this is the most well-known version of “Patches,” it’s a cover of a tune done earlier that year by the Chairmen of the Board and released on their “In Session” LP. I’ve never heard the original. Jerry Reed did a fairly faithful cover of Carter’s version in 1981.
(By the way, Side 1 of the “Patches” LP was featured last month over at The Midnight Tracker, our other blog.)
The other was about a man on the run, one who can’t go back home.
“Indiana Wants Me,” R. Dean Taylor, from “I Think, Therefore I Am,” 1970. It’s out of print. The tune is available on “The Essential Collection,” a greatest-hits import released in 2001.
Renowned as a songwriter for the Motown labels, Taylor also had a long recording career. He started in his native Toronto in 1961, then moved to Detroit in 1964. He worked there solely as a songwriter until 1970, when he started cutting songs for Motown’s Rare Earth label. The biggest hit, of course, was this one, written with R&B singer Joe Simon.
Truth be told, I bought this LP a couple of years ago, ripped only this single and haven’t listened to it since. I ought to go back and give it a spin one of these days.