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Revisiting old friends

Country Musings by Robert Loy, September 2005

One of the good things about country radio stations playing more of the classics or legends or "moldy oldies," whatever you want to call them, is that sometimes you'll hear a song that you haven't heard in a long, long time.

The experience can be very enlightening, sort of like running into an old schoolmate and seeing how much each of you has changed.

I ran into two such old friends recently with mixed results.

One of them was Earl Thomas Conley's "Holding Her and Loving You" which, in 1983, I thought was an insightful look at a complex love-triangle with no clear-cut good or bad guys or easy solution. I welcomed it with a hearty turn of the volume knob.

Unfortunately, this old friend now seems to be obsessed with arranging the hard things he has had to do in life in order of difficulty. He wants me to feel sorry for him even though it turns out the hardest thing this skunk has ever had to do is cheat on his wife who, in his own words "ain't done one thing wrong" and who was "good to (him) when things were going rough." It was great to hear E.T.'s beautiful baritone again, but this is not a friend I want to spend any time with in the future.

Consequently, I was more than a little wary when I ran into another alumni of the class of '83. The Nitty-Gritty Dirt Band's "Dance, Little Jean" was my favorite song for a long time. It never failed to put a lump in my throat every time I heard it. I broke up with the girl I was dating around that time solely because she did not like this song.

What a relief to discover that this companion of my youth has aged so well. It was actually in better shape than I remembered, judging from the size of the new lump in my throat. I can honestly say I have read 400-page novels with less character development and emotional resonance and that for 3 or 4 minutes I felt like a young man again.

Now you can't ask for much more than that from an old friend.

The views expressed in this column are Robert Loy's and do not necessarily reflect those of CST.