Thursday, December 01, 2005:

The Lovin' Spoonful -- Sportin' Life

The Lovin' Spoonful -- Sportin' Life
Today's track is from The Lovin' Spoonful's debut, Do You Believe in Magic, which is a mixture of rockabilly, electric blues, and folk-rock. This one is a slow rock song; the reverb and tremolo on the guitar push the song towards a mild surf sound, while the harmonica wails, moans, and laments, tying it to both country and the blues.

The song is traditional and has been covered by Dave van Ronk and Reverend Gary Davis, among others; the lyrics are more yearning than content, about a man finally considering his mother's plea to give up the nightlife and settle down. Yet the narrator seems less optimistic about the future than resigned about the past; he agrees he should give up the nightlife; and he wants to, or thinks he wants to, or maybe just wishes he wanted to. He might be meant to convince us or he might be meant to convince himself. In any case, there's a weary beauty to it, and Sebastian's delivery is spot-on.
[Do You Believe in Magic]


Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee also covered it. Ian Whitcomb had minor hit with this, released Jan 1965. Perhaps the song inspired or was used in the 1963 English film "This Sporting Life" with Richard Harris?

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