Tuesday, January 29th

by musicclipoftheday

two takes

“If I Could Only Fly” (B. Foley)

Merle Haggard, TV show (music starts at 1:15), 1986


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Blaze Foley (1949-1989)


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What makes this song work? For me two things stand out; both relate to the first line of the hook (“If I could only fly . . .”). One is the sounds of the words: the repeated “f’s,” the long “i” and the “y.” The other is what happens with the melody: the little step up on the second syllable of “only.” To me it suggests, fleetingly, what it might feel like, as imagined by the singer, to take flight—”if only.”

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lagniappe

Here’s one more take—Blaze, boozy, somebody’s backyard, 1985.