Tuesday, January 29th
“If I Could Only Fly” (B. Foley)
Merle Haggard, TV show (music starts at 1:15), 1986
Blaze Foley (1949-1989)
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.”
Here’s one more take—Blaze, boozy, somebody’s backyard, 1985.