SOMETIMES by Jonathan Edwards

 

A quick one.  Here’s a little something which has ‘stuck around’ in that hummy singy part of my brain for four decades or so, surfacing unexpectedly now and again with me crooning “sometimes, in the morning…” –usually, not too surprisingly, in the morning, sometimes.

Despite that, I’ve too often thought of it as a little bit of 1970s singer songwritery ephemera from a one -hit- album wonder (and by the way, big brother, if you’ve been looking for the album, it’s in my house) and this song a melodically repetitious but pleasant two-and-a-half- chords earworm of dreaminess.  But over time, over the decades of occasional morning hums and croons, I feel the song began to acquire substance for me, and so I’m going to redress the balance and give this song something of the respect I think it deserves.

Let’s say this.  It’s not just a love song –or, if it is a love song, it’s equally about loss and memory –and the tricky, shifting insubstantiality of those memories which have acquire dreamlike wateriness.  These three simple verses eloquently explore that.  In verse one, the memory of the loved one is “…  A falling dream, disappearing scene”; in verse two, “a phrase [which] echoes through the haze/just beyond my vision…” In the final verse he declares an intention to “go back to sleep…[to] keep my memories in motion…” And there is a sad and subtle irony there –that only in the unreality of dream can the memory acquire clear animation.

We can be forgiven for not noticing the profundity of that –after all, it sounds so throwaway, such a naive, ridiculously simple, starkly structured little thing.  But – turn it on its head –and it becomes a jewel – neat, unadorned, pared to perfection – of a song, a classic of its kind.  And the melody, and the accompaniment –bravely understated, the simple chord shape chased up and down a few frets –and that voice, perfectly echo the dreamlike longing state between love and loss.  No jarring chordal acrobatics, no distracting melodic manoeuvres, but this gentle, seamless reflection.

I’ll be continuing to croon snatches from it, sometimes, in the morning –not of course those zingy, glad to be alive, thank you Lord mornings –there are plenty of songs for those days; no, this is for those more wistful, misty-headed mornings when we reach to feel the beauty even in a bit of melancholy.

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