Song Of The Day 5/17/2014: Sen. Sam Ervin (D-N. Carolina) - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"


Quarterly Covers Report: Senator Sam Ervin was one of the 20th century's most notable legislators, having played key roles in the downfall of Sen. Joe McCarthy and the unraveling of the Watergate scandal. He also had a somewhat unfortunate record when it came to civil rights, having defended Jim Crow laws and segregation. Speaking of unfortunate records, he also made an album in 1973 called Senator Sam At Home, because at the time the teenyboppers were positively going ga-ga over the Osmonds, Sonny & Cher, Motown, and 77-year-old Congressmen ruminating about their experiences in the corridors of power and their indefatigable Southern roots. Woolworth's couldn't keep Senator Sam At Home in stock. True, nobody wanted it, but I prefer to say they couldn't keep it in stock. I just spin-doctored my own blog, see? Polish your turd, suh?

Senator Sam At Home interspersed Senator Ervin's waxings with renditions of some well-known songs. With that phrase, I'm distinguishing them from what we'd call "popular" songs. The only really current song Ervin tried his hand at was Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Not wanting to force a competition with Art Garfunkel's soaring, haunting original version, Senator Ervin graciously and modestly spoke the words rather than singing them, heading off a potentially awkward encounter had he and Garfunkel ever attended the same fundraiser.

Cultural anthropologists will note the opening musical accompaniment, a solitary harmonica playing a plaintive, single-note-at-a-time restatement of the song's original melody line. This solo harmonica is the international symbol for "pastoral remembrances of the South as seen through cheese cloth." Following immediately will be soliloquies of a tomboy romance, butter and faithful hunting dogs, mostly independent of each other. Not very convenient if you're taking the subway.

And with that this quarter's cover report comes to an end, but we will rebuild.


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