♫ Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)♫

I was beginning to think I would have to settle for a redux tonight, for every song that popped into my head was one I had already played here.  So, I pulled up a Jim Croce song I hadn’t played since 2018 and, as I typically do, went back through the comments on that post.  In the comments, our friend Keith had mentioned a couple of songs by Croce that … lo and behold … I hadn’t yet played!  This is one of them …

The story behind the song was inspired during Jim Croce’s military service, during which time he saw lines of soldiers waiting to use the outdoor phone on base, many of them calling their wives or girlfriends to see if their Dear John letter was true.  According to Jim’s wife, Ingrid …

Jim and I had gotten married in 1966, and we had been waiting for him to go in the service. He was a National Guard, which he had joined with the hope that he would not be sent over, and he would be able to continue his education and his music career. So he signed up for the National Guard, and just as soon as we decided to get married – in August of 1966, the week before our little wedding – he got a letter that said that he would be leaving within two weeks for his National Guard duty down in South or North Carolina, so he was leaving with a very heavy heart.

My dad had been very ill and shortly after that passed away. And we had just waited… wanted to get married and have some time to be together after all those years of waiting. All of the sudden here he is the National Guard, and Jim is not very good with authority. And he’s in the South, and they were not very good with making pasta. He was missing good food, he was missing me, he was missing life in general.

He’s one of the few guys I think who went through basic training twice… he really couldn’t follow the system. He’d always find things that were funny, like a handbook that he put together in dealing with the service with a whole bunch of quotes of how to deal with people in the Army.

But anyway, he was standing there in the rain at a payphone. And he was listening to these stories of all these guys, the ‘Dear John’ stories, that were standing in line waiting their turn in the rain with these green rain jackets over their heads – I can just picture it, all of them in line waiting for their 3-minute phone call. Most of them were getting on the phone and they were okay, but some of them were getting these ‘Dear John’ letters, or phone calls. I think that was the most important aspect of the song, because it was just so desperate. You know, ‘I only have a dime’ and ‘You can keep the dime’ because money was very scarce and very precious, and I think if you look at the words to the song there are so many aspects of our generation that are in it.

Jim Croce died in 1973, the year after this song was released, when the chartered plane in which he was a passenger crashed into a tree during takeoff from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In 2000, the Martin guitar company produced 73 guitars in honor of Jim Croce. In each of these guitars, an uncirculated 1973 dime was inserted in the third fret fingerboard in honor of this song and the final line, “You can keep the dime.”

This song only charted in Canada (#11) and the U.S. (#17) at the time of its release in 1972.  I found in some of my other Jim Croce postings that he wasn’t widely known outside of North America.  Still … I like this song.

Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)
Jim Croce

Operator, O could ya help me place this call?
See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded
She’s living in L.A.
With my best old ex-friend, Ray
Guy, she said she knew well and sometimes hated

But isn’t that the way they say it goes?
Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine
And to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels

Operator, O could ya help me place this call?
‘Cause I can’t read the number that you just gave me
There’s something in my eyes
You know it happens every time
I think about a love that I thought would save me

But isn’t that the way they say it goes?
Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine
And to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels
No, no, no, no
That’s not the way it feels

Operator, O let’s forget about this call
There’s no one there I really wanted to talk to
Thank you for your time
Ah, you’ve been so much more than kind
You can keep the dime

But isn’t that the way they say it goes?
Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine
And to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Croce James J
Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels) lyrics © H&r Lastrada Music, R2m Publishing, Wingate-music Corp.

♫ Bad Bad Leroy Brown ♫ (Redux)

Jim Croce died in a plane crash on September 20, 1973 when he was only 30 years old.  A few days after his death, his wife Ingrid received a letter from him telling her that he had decided to quit music and stick to writing short stories and movie scripts as a career, and withdraw from public life.  Bad Bad Leroy Brown hit #1 on the charts just two months before his death.

The song was inspired by a tough private he met while in the army.  Croce and Brown used to hang out and sing together … until one day when Leroy Brown went AWOL.

Bad Bad Leroy Brown
Jim Croce

Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown

Now Leroy more than trouble
You see he stand ’bout six foot four
All the downtown ladies call him “Treetop Lover”
All the men just call him “Sir”

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Leroy he a gambler
And he like his fancy clothes
And he like to wave his diamond rings
In front of everybody’s nose
He got a custom Continental
He got an Eldorado too
He got a thirty two gun in his pocket for fun
He got a razor in his shoe

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Friday ’bout a week ago
Leroy shootin’ dice
And at the edge of the bar
Sat a girl named Doris
And oo that girl looked nice
Well he cast his eyes upon her
And the trouble soon began
And Leroy Brown learned a lesson
‘Bout messin’ with the wife of a jealous man

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Well the two men took to fighting
And when they pulled them off the floor
Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle
With a couple of pieces gone

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Songwriters: James Croce

Bad Bad Leroy Brown lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Got A Name ♫

I just finished my ‘good people’ post and sat back to see if a song would just magically pop into my head, not really believing it would, but … POOF!  There was a song!  It took me a few minutes of playing around with lyrics and partial lyrics on Google to remember the title of the song, but I had the tune strumming through the cobwebs in my mind!  Now, you all know … those who have been with me for a while … that I’m a big fan of Jim Croce.  This is not his most famous or popular, but … I like it, like the tune and like the message it sends.

This is one of the few songs Croce recorded, but did not write.  According to his wife, Ingrid …

“It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. And they were wonderful guys, really nice people. Jim had been selected to sing this song for this particular movie [“The Last American Hero” starring Jeff Bridges as a stock car racer]. He really enjoyed this opportunity, because he went into the recording studio and it was a little awkward for him not to hold his guitar – his guitar is kind of like a bar for the bartender, having that prop between him and the audience was just a real security, it made him feel very comfortable. So putting down the guitar to sing, just to sing the song in the studio, was a very unusual thing for Jim, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a brand new start for him in some ways, to use his vocals in a different way. I think it’s one of the most powerful songs he does on that album for sure. I loved it.  More people think he wrote that song. His voice was so unique… the timbre in his tone and his warmth and his generosity, everything came through that voice. So when he took a song, he’d make it his own, and I think he did a great job with ‘I’ve Got A Name.’ So many people like to think of Jim with that song that I hate to tell them it isn’t his.”

This was the last song Croce played before his death. He performed it as an encore at a show in Natchitoches, Louisiana at Northwestern College. The crowd was small, as many folks stayed home to watch the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match that night. Croce’s plane, taking off in the dark after the concert, clipped a tree and crashed, killing all six people on board.

What I like most  (besides listening to that gorgeous voice of Jim’s) is the message this song conveys … that of a man who is proud of who he is and where he is going in life, undeterred by the naysaying of others.  

Jim Croce’s son A.J. Croce recorded the song for a 2018 Goodyear tire ad that pays tribute to famed racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, whose father, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a car crash at age 49.  Both A.J. and Earnhardt Jr. lost their fathers young, and Croce said that the similarities between Earnhardt Jr.’s life and his own made contributing to the commercial appealing to him:

“There aren’t a lot of people that grow up in the shadows of a famous musician, or race car driver. I get what he lived through, and he gets what I lived through.”

The song only made it to #10 in the U.S., #8 in Canada, and did not chart at all in the UK.

Lena Horne sang this in 1976 on the first season of The Muppet Show.  While I love Lena Horne, her version does not hold a candle to Croce’s, but I am playing it as a second here, because … well … puppy … and Muppets … who can resist?

I Got a Name

Jim Croce

Like the pine trees linin’ the windin’ road
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
Like the singin’ bird and the croakin’ toad
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I’m living the dream that he kept hid

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
Like the whippoorwill and the baby’s cry
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

And I’m gonna go there free

Like the fool I am and I’ll always be
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to
If you’re goin’ my way, I’ll go with you

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by
Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Charles Fox / Norman Gimbel
I Got a Name lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Time In A Bottle ♫ (Redux)

Tonight I am … oh hell, I don’t know what I am.  I am worried about a dear friend, I am worried about the state of the country I’ve called ‘home’ for 69 years, and I needed a song … Jim Croce seemed like he could fill the bill.  I played this one back in 2018, so you should be ready for it again, yes?


Jim Croce wrote this song the night that he found out his wife, Ingrid, was pregnant. The couple had been married for five years, and Ingrid found out she was pregnant when she went to a fertility specialist. She recalls a mix of terror and delight in Jim’s reaction when she told him the news. The child was a boy named Adrian, who grew up to become the singer-songwriter A.J. Croce.

Croce wrote the lyrics after his wife Ingrid told him she was pregnant, in December 1970. It appeared on his 1972 ABC debut album You Don’t Mess Around with Jim. ABC originally did not intend to release the song as a single; but when Croce was killed in a plane crash in September 1973, the song’s lyrics, dealing with mortality and the wish to have more time, had additional resonance.

On September 30, 1973 a plane carrying Croce and five other people crashed upon takeoff as he was leaving one college venue to another 70 miles away. No one survived the accident, and among those killed was Maury Muehleisen, who played guitar on Croce’s albums.

The song, released as a single in December 1973, hit the #1 spot just 14 weeks after Croce’s death.

Time in a Bottle
Jim Croce

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

Songwriters: Jim Croce
Time in a Bottle lyrics © BMG Rights Management

♫ I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song ♫

Jim Croce is one of my favourite musical artists, but for some reason when I’m wracking my brain for a song to post here late at night, he rarely comes to mind.  Tonight, however, he did pop into my mind.

Jim Croce was just starting to become successful when he died at the age of 30. Jim, the pilot, and other members of his group, were killed when the plane crashed into a pecan tree at the end of the runway in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1973.  This song, as well as another of my favourites, Photographs and Memories, were released after his death.

Croce’s wife Ingrid has an autobiographical cookbook, Thyme In A Bottle, in which she writes interesting anecdotes about Jim. Here’s what she wrote about the backstory for this song:

“One weekend, after being on the road for many months, Jim got a chance to come home to relax with his family. We settled in to enjoy our time alone together. Though Jim was expecting company the next day, avoiding confrontation he never told me that we were to be joined by an entire film crew! The next morning, 15 people from Acorn Productions descended upon our house to record a promotional film of Jim Croce at Home on the Farm. I prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole film crew and after the group left, I questioned Jim about our finances. After a year and a half of his working so very hard on the road, we were barely making ends meet, but Jim wouldn’t talk about it. He hated questions as much as he hated confrontation, especially about money. He stormed out of our bedroom and went down to the kitchen table to brood. The next morning he woke me gently by singing his new song. ‘Every time I tried to tell you the words just came out wrong. So I’ll have to say I love you, in a song.'”

Several artists have covered this song, but none come even close to the originator, Jim Croce.

I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song
Jim Croce

Well, I know it’s kind of late
I hope I didn’t wake you
But what I’ve got to say can’t wait
I know you’d understand
‘Cause every time I tried to tell you
The words just came out wrong
So I’ll have to say “I love you” in a song

Yeah, I know it’s kind of strange
Every time I’m near you
I just run out of things to say
I know you’d understand
‘Cause every time I tried to tell you
The words just came out wrong
So I’ll have to say “I love you” in a song

‘Cause every time the time was right
All the words just came out wrong
So I’ll have to say “I love you” (I love you) in a song

Yeah, I know it’s kind of late (it’s kind of late)
I hope I didn’t wake you
But there’s something that I just got to say
(I know you’d understand)
I know you’d understand
‘Cause every time I tried to tell you
The words just came out wrong
So I’ll have to say “I love you” in a song

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Croce
I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song lyrics © BMG Rights Management

♫ Time In A Bottle ♫

Jim Croce wrote this song the night that he found out his wife, Ingrid, was pregnant. The couple had been married for five years, and Ingrid found out she was pregnant when she went to a fertility specialist. She recalls a mix of terror and delight in Jim’s reaction when she told him the news. The child was a boy named Adrian, who grew up to become the singer-songwriter A.J. Croce.

Croce wrote the lyrics after his wife Ingrid told him she was pregnant, in December 1970. It appeared on his 1972 ABC debut album You Don’t Mess Around with Jim. ABC originally did not intend to release the song as a single; but when Croce was killed in a plane crash in September 1973, the song’s lyrics, dealing with mortality and the wish to have more time, had additional resonance.

On September 30, 1973 a plane carrying Croce and five other people crashed upon takeoff as he was leaving one college venue to another 70 miles away. No one survived the accident, and among those killed was Maury Muehleisen, who played guitar on Croce’s albums.

The song, released as a single in December 1973, hit the #1 spot just 14 weeks after Croce’s death.

Time in a Bottle
Jim Croce

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

Songwriters: Jim Croce
Time in a Bottle lyrics © BMG Rights Management

♫ Photographs And Memories ♫

I didn’t post a song yesterday, and didn’t intend to today, for at the moment I don’t have a song in my heart.  But then I visited a friend’s blog, bereavedandbeingasingleparent, and his post gave me the perfect idea for tonight’s song.

Photographs and Memories is the title song from Jim Croce’s album of the same name that was released in 1974, a year after his death.  Croce was just starting to become successful when he died at the age of 30. Jim, the pilot, and other members of his group, were killed when the plane crashed into a pecan tree at the end of the runway in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1973.  Yet another gone too soon.

Photographs And Memories
Jim Croce

Photographs and memories
Christmas cards you sent to me
All that I have are these
To remember you

Memories that come at night
Take me to another time
Back to a happier day
When I called you mine

But we sure had a good time
When we started way back when
Morning walks and bedroom talks
Oh how I loved you then

Summer skies and lullabies
Nights we couldn’t say good-bye
And of all of the things that we knew
Not a dream survived

Photographs and memories
All the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can’t be true
That’s all I’ve left of you

But we sure had a good time
When we started way back when
Morning walks and bedroom talks
Oh how I loved you then

Songwriters: Jim Croce
Photographs And Memories lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Bad Bad Leroy Brown

Jim Croce died in a plane crash on September 20, 1973 when he was only 30 years old.  A few days after his death, his wife Ingrid received a letter from him telling her that he had decided to quit music and stick to writing short stories and movie scripts as a career, and withdraw from public life.  Bad Bad Leroy Brown hit #1 on the charts just two months before his death.

The song was inspired by a tough private he met while in the army.  Croce and Brown used to hang out and sing together … until one day when Leroy Brown went AWOL.

Bad Bad Leroy Brown
Jim Croce

Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown

Now Leroy more than trouble
You see he stand ’bout six foot four
All the downtown ladies call him “Treetop Lover”
All the men just call him “Sir”

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Leroy he a gambler
And he like his fancy clothes
And he like to wave his diamond rings
In front of everybody’s nose
He got a custom Continental
He got an Eldorado too
He got a thirty two gun in his pocket for fun
He got a razor in his shoe

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Now Friday ’bout a week ago
Leroy shootin’ dice
And at the edge of the bar
Sat a girl named Doris
And oo that girl looked nice
Well he cast his eyes upon her
And the trouble soon began
And Leroy Brown learned a lesson
‘Bout messin’ with the wife of a jealous man

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Well the two men took to fighting
And when they pulled them off the floor
Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle
With a couple of pieces gone

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog

Songwriters: James Croce

Bad Bad Leroy Brown lyrics © BMG Rights Management US, LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

What Time IS It, Anyway? – A Cheat

Okay, so today I am cheating.  I am reposting one from February 2016.  It is a lighthearted and humorous piece, a bit of rambling and mumbling from the mind, such as it is, of Filosofa.  Why, you ask?  Because I am tired … it is nearly 2:00 a.m., and I have slept only about 2-3 hours for the past three nights.  Because I am at odds with my best friend, H, and this weights heavily on my mind and heart.  Because Princess Nala (2nd oldest of the 7 feline babes in our house) is being bratty and trying to knock down my ashtray, coffee cup, magnifying glass and cigarettes.  So … having learned some in the past year since this post was originally published, I have cleaned it up a bit and am posting it in lieu of original content.  Forgive me, please, but I promise to do better in the second half of the day …


The clock in my bathroom is always wrong.  Well, most always.  It is only right for about two months out of twelve.  The reason?  Daylight Savings Time.  Plus, the fact that the clock is hard to get down and harder yet to put back up.  Being half blind, I cannot see the nail from which it hangs, so I have to do the whole process by feel, which involves dropping the clock in the sink multiple times. So I just leave it alone until the battery dies and it is always the same time, whether 8:00 or 2:00. H asks, “why do you need a clock in the bathroom at all?”  Well duh … when I step into the shower, and then again out, I must know precisely what time it is! I must know if I am late for … um … for … whatever I think I must accomplish before noon on this day!

dst

There is a song by Chicago (Chicago Transit Authority at that time), titled “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It IS”, circa 1969, the lyrics of which begin:

As I was walking down the street one day

A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was

on my watch, yeah

And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is

I don’t

Does anybody really care

care

If so I can’t imagine why

……..

What, after all, is time?  “Time is a reference humans have labeled an intangible cognitive idea. although the experience of time can be manipulated, time itself cannot, as it is always moving in one direction.”  Time marches on, it is said.  Set your clock ahead an hour, set it back an hour … the sun will still rise when it rises spring will still come when it comes.  Throughout history, man has felt it necessary to not only measure time, but to attempt to control it.  We can measure it in any fashion we choose, but we have absolutely no effect on time as a universal concept that existed for many millennia before humans appeared on earth.

There is another song, Time in a Bottle, circa 1972, Jim Croce:

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I’d like to do

Is to save every day till eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

………..

We cannot save time, in a bottle or a juice can, a Ziploc baggie nor even a time capsule.  But we surely do try to manipulate time, don’t we?  So much so that throughout the years we have played a little game with time … here in the U.S., we call it daylight savings time.  Every year, on the second Sunday in March, we all dutifully set our clocks ahead exactly one hour at precisely 1:00 a.m.  Then on the first Sunday in November, we again dutifully set them all back exactly one hour at precisely 2:00 a.m.  Okay, the reality is we may either re-set the clocks before we go to bed those Saturday nights, or set them when we awaken that Sunday.  Or, if you are like me, you may set them several months later when the batteries run down and you have to take them down from the nail on the wall anyway.  I believe that there is some sort of penalty for this behaviour, but Big Time Brother hasn’t yet caught up with me!

Daylight savings time has a long and perhaps interesting history that I will not be relating in this post, but you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about it and more here.  All I know is that for my entire adulthood it has messed with my internal clock (which has never been all that reliable to begin with) and for 3 months after the switch in either direction I feel adrift and … sleepy.

Today I saw that a California legislator, Kansen Chu, of San Jose, California, is proposing to eliminate daylight savings time altogether.    Apparently, based on the number of “yea’s” and “amen’s” in response to this proposal, I am not alone in my dislike of this manmade conveyance.  I would love to see this proposed and passed in all 50 states, or at least the lower 48 … I don’t really much care what they do in Alaska … if it drives Sarah Palin nuts, all the better.

I can never remember which way to set the clocks anyway.  There is some cutesy little saying that we are supposed to recite … Fall back, spring forward … or is it fall forward and spring back?  I don’t know, which is why if you ever come to my home, don’t put too much faith in what any of the clocks on the walls say … they are probably wrong anyway.  But then, does anybody really care what time it is?