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The ones that got away

Country Musings by Robert Loy, May 2004

Everybody's had at least one get away from them. I've lost three - two little ones and one big one.

I'm not talking about fish; I'm talking about music. A song that you heard once and never forgot or an album cut you loved on some long-out-of-print LP.

All three of my songs were lost during the 1970s. During that decade, I was such a country music freak that I not only left the radio on all night (and consequently once had an unforgettable erotic dream about La Costa Tucker (Tanya's sister) where she exhorted me to get on her love train and ride), but I would also tape the radio before I fell asleep.

Then I'd play it back during the day, which seems sorta pointless, but I did it for two reasons. One was because there were fewer commercials at night, and I could fast-forward through what there was, and the second was because once in a while they would play a song that you never heard during the daytime. I don't know if the DJ was sleep-deprived or just feeling his oats since he knew the program director was not listening or what.

But when I found one of these songs I liked, I kept the tape. Unfortunately, these tapes disappeared along with all my baseball cards and Silver Surfer comic books and other treasures of my youth.

But they're still with me - pieces of them anyway. One of these after-midnight only songs was a love song to a mule, a mule named Bernard (pronounced as in George Bernard Shaw not like the big Saint Bernard dog.) All I remember is one line "Oh Bernard, although you were a fool/Still, Bernard, you were a pretty durn good ol' mule" (although the fact that the singer - whose identity I never ascertained - is referring to Bernard in the past tense makes me think this love story does not end happily.)

Another one by an equally unknown artist concerns itself with would-be country artists and contains the chorus "He ain't country! I don't remember him / He didn't eat them beans and wear them jeans / pick and grin with us." I remember that the dude does eventually become a country star and treat wannabes with the same scorn.

Those are the two little ones that got away. And while I would really appreciate any information anyone out there has about either of those tunes, it's my inability to find out anything about the big one that compelled me to write this column.

I know a little bit more about this one. It's by Larry Gatlin and was an album cut on an early LP of his. I'm pretty sure it's called "Jacob and Marcie," and it's about a preacher having a tempestuous affair with a young woman. It begins "He was tall like an oak tree / Had coal black curly hair / And he looked as if God made him by hand," and it contains one of my all-time favorite lyrics when the minister tells his paramour "Give your soul to Jesus, Marcie, cuz your body belongs to me."

One night Reverend Jacob dreams he died and went to hell. He wakes up screaming, and he tells Marcie he can't see her anymore, forgetting that as bad as hell might be, a woman scorned is worse. Marcie makes sure he won't forget again by slicing him up with a dagger. It's a great song, if you love overly dramatic sexually charged religious-guilt Southern gothic murder songs as much as I do.

For years I've searched for this song at record stores, flea markets and on the Internet, and have come up empty. If you know where I can find this tune please get in touch with me. And if there's one that got away from you let me know, maybe I can help you find it.

The views expressed in this column are Robert Loy's and do not necessarily reflect those of CST. Loy can be reached at raloy@sc.rr.com.