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Cornelius News

Modern Dad vs. COVID-19: Willie Nelson

April 3. By Jon Show. When I was five we lived in a Minnesota suburb and my parents had an 8-track player with a pair of giant headphones. The headphones were large. Comically large.

I’m assuming my parents owned more than one album but the only one I remember listening to was Willie Nelson’s Stardust. It was Willie’s 22nd studio album and on it he covered a compilation of fairly well-known pop standards.

I loved Stardust but the funny thing is don’t really like Willie Nelson. I’ve listened to countless other songs and albums of his and, with the exception of two or three songs, I don’t really like them.

And the other funny thing is that I wouldn’t even recommend listening to Stardust. It’s one of those albums that happened in the late ‘70s that someone thought was a good crossover idea that worked at the time but now sounds like bad lounge music.

But I guess that’s what’s great about music and specific periods in your life. No one can tell you how to feel about something you felt during a period of time that you associate with that song or songs.

This week I was watching an episode of NBC’s This is Us. The plot doesn’t matter but at the end, when one of the character’s was trying to cheer up himself and people around him, he played Blue Skies from Stardust.

Blue skies smilin’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds singin’ a song
Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

I hadn’t listed to the album in 35 years so after The Mother of Dragons went upstairs to bed I listened to the song a couple times on Spotify. And then I stayed downstairs to play the other handful of tracks I used to listen to as a little kid.

I can do things like that on a Wednesday now. There’s no bus stop at dawn and no early morning work that needs to be completed to get ready for an onslaught of calls later in the day.

The second track on Stardust is my favorite—Georgia on My Mind. Willie’s version never blows you away like Ray Charles’ but his soft country jazz version feels comfortable. Like the pants I’ve been wearing for three days. Four days? Who knows.

The aforementioned Blue Skies is next on the album, followed by All of Me. Like most of the songs on Stardust, All of Me has been covered by a Who’s Who of pop music icons but is probably most associated with Frank Sinatra. Like most of the songs on Stardust, it has dramatic lyrics that sound like something my kids would say after being sent to their rooms.

Take my arms I want to lose them.

Take my lips I’ll never use them.

Next comes Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, about a guy whose girlfriend broke up with him so he chooses not to go out anymore. He CHOOSES not to go out anymore. Lucky guy…

The album wraps up with Someone to Watch Over Me. I have no insight on this but every song on this album sounds like the backing track included the Slow Rock button on a 1980s Casio keyboard. 

I was listening to Stardust while writing this and both kids walked in my office to ask if it was time to move from school work to lunch because I’m also the Lunch Lady in the current bizarre world we now live in. I was roughly halfway through Unchained Melody—the album’s fifth track. It’s not my favorite remake of the classic song—mid-‘70s Fat Elvis sang Unchained Melody better than anyone.

They both started talking and then stopped for a moment and listened with confused looks on their faces. Future Man loves the Fat Elvis version of the song so I could tell he sensed something.

“There’s something wrong with you,” he blurted out. “This music sucks.”

And with that, Coronavirus Week Three is in the books.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.