Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Eddy Arnold: "Cattle Call"

Sometimes at work I feel a little crazy and neurotic and I can't stand to hear the noises my coworkers make. The constant wheezing sound of the perpetual nose-blower (she "requires" an air filter, apparently being highly allergic to normal air, and seems to fixate on her nose, even though from all indications, there's never anything in it. The sound, you see. It's not a "productive" sound. Like a productive cough, as you're getting over a cold or what have you—yes, I hate it that I've formed opinions about my neighbor's health and her vital signs. It's weird. But that's what happens when someone's blowing their nose all day), and the clickety-clacks of the mad-typer who's always composing lengthy emails to other coworkers comprised of poignant and clever observations, and the constant hacking cough of the smoker (sometimes I'll begin a sweet doze and the smoker will hack and cough out of nowhere, with no warning whatsoever, startling me from my peaceful lucid dreams. It's frustrating, and then I think of Pride and Prejudice when Mrs. Bennet gets mad at Kitty for not timing her coughs well and how the coughs wear on Mrs. Bennet's nerves. My nerves too!).

And today is one of those days. I was suddenly feeling very claustrophobic, and HOT (I think my company believes we'll freeze to death if they don't run the heat at 90 degrees). I can't stand it. So I was melting at my desk and feeling like if I had to listen to the clickety-clack of my neighbor I would explode (or gurgle to death in a pile of ooze, because it's so hot, you see), and that's when I remembered last night.

Last night Stoker was researching the history of the Nashville music scene and he played this one song by a musician everyone but me has probably always known about: Eddy Arnold.

Holy moley. It devastates me in a good way to find out there's always been some awesome musician or singer around being great and I've never known about them. That's the benefit of arriving to the scene late. Like being born in the late 70s and only reaching full maturation (really) the day I hear the artist (because it's like I've never arrived until the day I hear that music). Basically I have everything pre-80s to look forward to discovering over the course of my life.

Last night Stoker played "Cattle Call" and I couldn't believe it. Some people might hear it and scoff. Others probably love it and have a long tradition of hearing it—beautiful traditions of going out to the farm with dad or grandpa and having them sing "Cattle Call" or being forced to listen to it on the 8-track. But I haven't got those experiences.

I have others. But not the "Cattle Call" ones.

How can a guy sing that well? That's my main question. It's absolutely insane to me to hear the recording and know that when he recorded it (he recorded three different versions over a period of about fourteen years....or something. Stoker can tell you. Don't quote me), they didn't have auto-tune. I listened to two versions last night and both were amazing. I guess you'd say it's yodeling, but yodeling has always been awful to listen to, for me. And it's always been like, "Yo-del-eh-eh-hoooooo," which is just about terrible to endure. And I don't think that's exactly what Arnold is saying in the song. He's saying, "Ooooh doooo doooo dooo oooooh oh delo, oh doooo dooo, dwip, deee ooooh, ohhh delop, dooo dee dee." That's an actual transcription. I just sat here and transcribed it, vowel for vowel.

And each . . . cattle call . . . is clear and perfect. It's like clear mountain streams. Unblemished blankets of snow. Something like that. John Denver would be able to describe it better than I can, because it's like "Rocky Mountain High," or "Annie's Song," only it's a guy with a flawless voice and it was recorded in the 50s or something. Take that all you modern singers....

Anyway, so I remembered that I didn't have to listen to my coworkers and all their standard noises because I had this Eddy Arnold album to listen to. I got it last night. After I was slain by "Cattle Call." Thank goodness.

This is a televised version. I have the studio version from Eddy Arnold: The Hits on Island Def Jam.

p.s. Note the angel-choir. Sadly, it's not in the studio version.

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