2020 has been a year, ain’t it?
Hal Ketchum died on the 23rd. I never dug into Ketchum’s backlist, so don’t expect any deep album cuts, but as a small town boy, his 1991 hit Small Town Saturday Night meant a lot to me. Still does, especially since I just returned home.
Small Town Saturday Night is a perfect 90s country song. It is an enormously fun song. It is also one with real depth and solid writing. It speaks from the heart about the sort of real experiences that country songs today unintentionally parody.
Scraping together a little money just so we could drive around a little more? Driving way too fast down backroads with nowhere to go? Somebody getting drunk and looking for a fight? Somebody way to young along for the ride? These were every weekend occurrences for me at the other end of the 90s.
But it’s these lines that really get me, coming home against the odds after walking away half a lifetime ago:
‘Bobby told Lucy, “The world ain’t round…
Drops off sharp at the edge of town
Lucy, you know the world must be flat
‘Cause when people leave town, they never come back”
They go ninety miles an hour to the city limits sign
Put the pedal to the metal ‘fore they change their mind’