Gold Soundz: "I Saw The Light"

My Easter was very nice, thanks for asking. After the turkey dinner and subsequent nap on the living room floor (of my girlfriend’s parents house) I woke up to the sounds of a family jam session, which, come to think of it, may have been initiated to drown out my snoring. It was basically her very talented brother playing guitar and those who knew the words to the songs he played singing along as best we could. Being Easter there were a bunch of old spirituals and what not, and though not my genre of expertise, they hit the spot.

And it also made me appreciate “I Saw The Light” even more. I’ve always loved the song - from Hanks Williams’ original to covers from Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Bap Kennedy and so on. Without question, this is one of those songs you hear once and it’s forever etched into your brain. I had to ask last night whether Hank wrote the song himself, or if it was some timeless old folk song he appropriated, but he did in fact write it. It wasn’t much of a hit for Hank in his day, but over the years it’s become one of his most recognizable songs. I bet that if this song (and others like it) was used in church I might get my ass there more than once a year.

I probably appreciate Williams’ influence and mythology more than I actually listen to him though - usually when I do it’s a few songs in a row, sometimes over and over, before I move on to something else. My drive home from her house last night was just such an occasion - “I Saw The Light” playing 4 or 5 times on repeat, with Hank’s cracked country voice dancing in the light with a joyous fiddle. And then wouldn’t you know it….the Belt Parkway backed up to a crawl as the procession of Sunday drivers made their way Westbound into a beautiful blinding sunset.

MP3 :: I Saw The Light
(from Hank Williams: Gold. Buy here)

Gold Soundz highlight some of my favorite songs of all time. “Gold Soundz” because I thought it would be cool to rip off a title for a “column” from a not-at-all obscure Pavement song. Previously featured in Gold Soundz:

Slobberbone :: “Gimme Back My Dog”
The Jam :: “In The City”
World Party :: “Way Down Now”
Elmore James :: “The Sky Is Crying”
John Prine :: “Lake Marie”
The Band :: “Jawbone”
Neutral Milk Hotel :: “Holland, 1945”
The Velvet Underground :: “I Heard Her Call My Name”

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