Title: The Girls from Santa Cruz
Artist: Lacy J. Dalton
This is like… everything I love in a song, and it makes me feel completely solid and connected just to hear it. I never understood the words growing up, as in, the meaning of them. But all the sound textures and rhythms and stuff are just perfect. Oh and that’s Santa Cruz, Texas, not Santa Cruz, California.
As an adult I was thrilled to discover it was a classic outlaw story about women for once. And I already have… headcanon, I guess it’s called, about the two of them. This is digitized from a record, because this doesn’t exist anywhere that I could find in its original form on mp3. The record came out the year I was born and my parents played it all the time until I was about nine, so I grew up with it.
Also I love her voice. She can do all kinds of things with it, and there’s layers of emotion there that don’t even have words. And she can do that layered emotion thing in as little as one word. Amazing.
Lacy J. Dalton, “China Doll”. From a time in country when stuff like this was actually common.
Approximate lyrics here. (Too sick from antibiotics to handle the HTML and corrections to post them here.)
In the process of digitizing a country record.
And I’m realizing how much of what I heard as a kid was country. But I had no concept of “country”. (I remember once my brother tried to explain to me something about “country” music. And then I decided there must be “country music” and “city music”, because I had a record called “the country mouse and the city mouse”. But I had no clue what they were or how to tell them apart or what kind of point my brother was actually making.) At least not until I was a teenager and wasn’t surrounded by my parents’ music anymore. And then “country” became “what I listen to when my dad drives me around”. But I never, ever connected it to the stuff I heard when I was younger. As with any broad style of music, country has dozens of styles, so I noticed those, but thought it was just “music” for the most part, with no names or categories.
There also seems to be some sort of difference in what each of my parents was willing to listen to. My mom once agreed to tape some tapes of my dad’s for me, and according to my dad she was outraged that some of the songs “promoted adultery”. (Very few songs that I ever noticed, but enough to piss her off.) And some other stuff about them she didn’t like, but I don’t remember the specifics.
But I’m starting to think that, as far as my early upbringing goes (in terms of what actually got played around me the most), that bumper sticker applied “There are only two kinds of music, country and western.” Except more than two, because there are zillions of styles of country and I never equated them all with each other. I can hear it now, but I’ve been exposed to a lot more music now. I’m also totally unaware which songs or singers were popular, except the ones I heard on the radio maybe. But my parents played so many over and over that don’t even exist in MP3 form, or not their original form, that I thought must be really popular because I heard them a lot. And that’s why I’m having to buy records one by one and digitize them. (That and neither I nor my parents know how to safely and cheaply ship records, and all they have at home is a record player, no tape recorder even, so they can’t tape stuff and send me the tapes. And record player/tape recorders like the kind I have (which also has a USB audio cable), I would gladly get them one, but it’s out of my price range these days.
But I’m no longer surprised when I find out that yet another song from my early childhood is country. It seems like nearly all of them were either country or specifically children’s music. (And a few 45s of various bands.)
Of course if they don’t know how to ship records without breaking them, I don’t know how they plan to get me all my childhood records I left at their place. (They’ve been sorting them out from their own record stacks. Both stuff from early childhood, and the records I used to find in free bins as a teenager. I remember finding an entire perfectly clean set of Beethoven’s symphonies for instance. And they had actual record stores back then too, and I got used stuff there. Do they still have those now or have they entirely phased them out?)
My second Lacy J. Dalton record came.
I’m on the bipap and suddenly I can write slightly better. Oxygen level is better too.
And wow this record is amazing. I’m stunned it never made it to MP3.
There’s something I really love about records. When my vision finally kicked in, one of the first things I remember is staring at records spinning. Also, before that, staring at the rainbow patterns my hair made in the sun. And other things that were more like what most people would call “background”. But the records were some of the first “foreground” things. There was a 45 with a purple label, and a 45 with an apple on it green on one side, cut open on the other.
Anyway back to Lacy J. Dalton. This album is “Hard Times”. I like it much better than her “Lacy J. Dalton” album. Each record is near perfect but skips in one tiny spot on each. Anyway. I also like records because there’s something extremely down to earth and physical about them that seemed to dwindle as technology progressed.
Difficult to start the needle without depth perception though. I really need to consider that Botox thing.
This album must have been played a lot when I was little. Because it is pretty well etched into my brain. I only understood a few of the words as a kid too. I mean understood they had meaning and what that meaning was, not specifically sound processing issues. So they were just sounds with the occasional word interspersed. It’s interesting to know what they mean now. I think this one I listened to in the car (my parents taped it for long trips) until I was about eight. But still didn’t know most of it had any meaning. And somehow the stuff where I didn’t know there was meaning, that stuff seeps into my bones more so than the word stuff.
I’m really enjoying “Girls From Santa Cruz”. It’s hard to pick favorites but I really really liked that one. The only ones I knew were words was “that Texas ranger met his match with the girls from Santa Cruz” and even those made no sense to me. Which tells me how weird my language skills were how late. Like I understood a few of the individual words but together they made no sense.
The more of these old records I get, the more connected to things I feel. It feels like my whole life has reached some kind of critical mass where I feel more connected then I do things that make me even more connected and so forth.
Oddly enough some of it seems to do with this conversation I had with a friend. There’s these two elements of me that have always been forced apart by… something. I always associated one with the ground and one with the sky, and identified more with what was on the ground. She often uses the old four element thing as symbols to describe things, so she described the ground one as earth/water and the sky one as air/fire (although she described me as “extremely watery” in general, and after learning what she meant I had to agree). And she told me they wouldn’t always be disconnected like that. And I think just that knowledge was one thing that set all this off.
I got really upset for a long time because the air/fire piece is what people see of me in online and offline activism. So it felt like nobody knew who I really was, they thought I was just this intellect and intensity. While I felt like the air/fire place was somewhere I visited, not where I lived. And I have been so happy to be able to paint because that’s the earth/water part of me, the part I always associate with the soil in redwood forests. And music has been the same way.
And I’m starting to see who I can be if all these things connect together. And it amazes me that I could be that person.
This is a father’s day video I made for my dad a few years ago.
Mostly posting for the benefit of feliscorvus, because I said I’d try to find her some good country music. This song is from a band (Blackhawk) who manage to be both good and reasonably modern. I saw them at the county fair once when I was a teenager. This song was one that meant a lot to both of us.