Connecting to last week’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ by Charlie Rich, I could have chosen Slim Whitman’s ‘Just An Echo In The Valley,’ also written by Jimmy Campbell, Harry M. Woods, and Reginald Connelly. But I just couldn’t do that to our writer Clint West, whose parents were Whitman fans. Otherwise there are very few americana connections to the Campbell-Woods-Connelly songwriting team. The WLS Rangers did sing their ‘The Old Kitchen Kettle (Keeps Singing A Song)’ every morning on the radio, but unfortunately there’s no recording of it that I could find. To try to link with Billy Sherill would have been too dizzyingly complicated to narrow down to one song.
‘Try A Little Tenderness’ is the opening song to Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War cult-favourite film ‘Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb’ (1964), a dark-humoured choice for an opener. The soundtrack to the film’s apocalyptic final scene is Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ written by Hughie Charles and Ross Parker in 1939, which also links back to the ‘Chain’ from a fortnight ago.
Johnny Cash’s version of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ closes his final studio album before his death, ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’ (2002), from his album series with producer Rick Rubin. While Lynn’s version is the well-known, classic, definitive version everyone knows, Cash’s stripped-down, simple but powerful cover is very moving. It is even more poignant knowing the health struggles he and June Carter Cash were going through at the time.