Song Of The Day 5/13/2014: Jack Jones - "Dixie Chicken"


Quarterly Covers Report: Some things defy easy explanation. The Bermuda Triangle. How Full House lasted eight seasons. Dennis Rodman. And how Jack Jones, the easiest of the easy-listening singers of the '60s and '70s, reached the artistic decision to cover Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken."

Jones was a bombardier on Billboard's Easy Listening chart in the '60s, spreading 13 soft, pliable and foamy Top 10 hits around to accompany the era's fondue parties and self-cleaning ovens. He's known for recording the most popular version of Burt Bacharach's retroactively offensive "Wives And Lovers," a cautious rendition of "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha and, most notably, the durable theme to the Aaron Spelling TV show The Love Boat, back when cruise ships were nautical lotus-lands of escape and romance and not the barely afloat, health-code-violating abattoirs they are today.

Like a few of his ilk, some attempt was made to modernize Jones' song selection after Hair made Middle America aware of its own genitalia, so he had a go at things like "Come Together" and "Spinning Wheel." Strictly on its own merits there's nothing terribly off-putting about his version of "Dixie Chicken." It's not like it's "Willin'" or anything. The singer becomes an alcoholic in verse two, true, but he then respectably buys a house and gives domesticity a shot. So Jones does circle back gracefully into the commitment real estate encourages.

In his last interview -- which for some reason I excessively refer to on this blog -- Little Feat main man Lowell George gave an underhanded blessing to Jones' version of his song, admitting that even milquetoast interpretations of his work were appreciated ("It's a real honor to have somebody do something like that."). Then he died. Jones eventually gave up his just-left-of-Carpenters song experimentation and got fluidly cozy with Alan & Marilyn Bergman. Everybody has a home.
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