David Duval shot a 68 today at the US Open at Winged Foot. This was the second round, and he would have shot 66 if he hadn't started losing his drives to the right toward the end and double bogied the 15th hole in his round. He hadn't made a bogey all day up to that point. This was on a day that Tiger Woods shot 76, the same as he did on Thursday, and packed his bags to leave New York having missed the cut for the first time in a major as a professional.
The ups and downs of the golfing world are strange, indeed. Before Tiger Woods was the King of the Courses everywhere he went, David Duval was the Number One player in the world. Then, one day, Mr. Duval put his clubs in the closet and did something else. No one except the man himself is really sure what that "something else" was, but it wasn't golf. I really think he meant to quit forever, like Bobby Jones did at the height of his dominance. That's a classy thing to do and it gets folks talking about you for many years after you live out this annoying lifespan and even afterwards, if you had the Right Stuff.
What does this have to do with Jackie DeShannon and her 1975 album New Arrangement? Perhaps nothing, except that on the day this happened with David Duval and while I was getting eyes full of golf tears for a man I respect quite a bit, a user on this website saw fit to send me the entire New Arrangement album via email. This user found some obscure Japanese outfit which had remastered this classic which had henceforth been out of print, to the best of my knowledge. They even included a couple of bonus tracks which sounded as if they were recorded by Ms. DeShannon at a later date. So, as David Duval was sinking putts from everywhere except the spectacular clouds over the New York course, I was getting double weepy watching him play while listening at a very full volume to Ms. DeShannon harmonize with Brian Wilson on her song which pays homage to the man, "Boat to Sail". And this was back when Brian Wilson was in his own sort of feeble attempts at a comeback, after working his heart out on things like Smiley Smile. That's another album which I wore out on that same turntable back in the 1970s. You could do the same with the new version just called Smile. It's pretty much the same thing, only released at a time when the public might be able to withstand it. Like Wilson's Smiley Smile, Ms. DeShannon really was doing something quite different here. The title "New Arrangement" has a lot more meaning than just the title song about an affair with some young struggling artist. To hear her refer to herself as "an older lady" is refreshing. I'm sure her meteoric early success aged her quicker than she would have liked. She looked kind of like Holly Hunter back in those hitmaking days. Holly Hunter is cute.
So the Duval story line has another connection with Jackie D's effort on this album since she'd been pretty much counted out of the music business for several years when this masterpiece popped up unexpectedly. I wore my vinyl copy of this album out back when it emerged, but I still have it and could have played it if I'd cared enough to drag out the turntable, calibrate the turntable, hook it up to some sort of amplification system, etc. Instead, I chose to just remember it in my mind. As with so many things in life that we treat in this way, I was sore afraid that my memories were tarnished and incomplete. I really was afraid to listen to this thing, fearing that I'd built it up into something that it really was not. Like that short college romance which you think lasted a couple of weeks, when the good part was only half an hour long. Like that French movie you raved about for decades, only to realize that it was a pretentious piece of crap when you had Netflix send you a copy a few weeks ago.
When I got this digital surprise from across the pond today, I could not have been more pleased with the reintroduction to this album. It truly does stand the test of time, and I am quite sure Ms. DeShannon was burstingly proud of this effort. The fact that it took this long for it to get back into circulation only tells both of us what we already knew about what is held of value in our time.
My favorite song on the whole thing is the first one. It's called "Let the Sailors Dance". The tunes my friend sent me contain both the original as well as a "singles version" I'd never heard. That one is shorter and contains more weepy strings. Lots of painters are mentioned in this series of tunes. This one drops Gauguin's name. As with another female songwriter, Joni Mitchell, I suspect Ms. DeShannon is going for the visual as well as the auditory thrill much of the time. I don't know if she actually paints as does Joni, but she has the same visions, I'm quite sure.
I won't go into each and every song here, but I stand by what I said a long time ago in the short and E1ish writeup about the lady: There's not a bad song on here. And I also stand by what I said in the writeup about White on Blonde. There is a ton of influence which was peddled here.
If David Duval can pull off the miracle of being in one of the last two or three groups this Sunday, I am going to play this series of digital tunes over and over and imagine what I'd say about all of this if I could kidnap these broadcasters and tell the truth on TV about what golf and modern music is and is not. I might let Johnny Miller stick around. I think he'd understand.