Nobodycaresville #3

I don’t think that there are a lot of songs about high school athletics, but Steve Earle’s “Number 29” is truly a great one. (It’s off 1987’s Exit 0, one of my all-time favorite albums.) I like the way he steers clear of schmaltzy tribute on the one hand but also never mocks the character on the other. Earle portrays him as a regular guy trying to make his way in the world. I’ve known guys like this guy in the song. There’s also a little bit of this guy in me. Maybe you too?

Number 29
I was born and raised here, this town’s my town

Everybody knows my name
But ever since the glass plant closed down
Things ’round here ain’t never been the same

I got me a good job alright but some nights
Take me to another time
Back when I was Number 29

I was pretty good then don’t you know, watch him go
Buddy, I could really fly
Everyone in town came, hip flasks, horn blasts
Any autumn Friday night

Sally yelled her heart out push ’em back, way back
I was hers and she was mine
Back when I was Number 29

We were playin’ Smithville big boys, farm boys
Second down and four to go
Bubba brought the play in good call my ball
Now, they’re gonna see a show

But Bubba let his man go I cut back, heard it crack
It still hurts me but I don’t mind
Reminds me I was Number 29

Now, I go to the ballgames cold nights, half pints
Friday nights, I’m always here
We got a pretty good team, good boys, strong boys
District champs the last three years

Got a little tailback pretty quick, real slick
I take him for a steak sometimes
Nowadays he’s Number 29

I don’t follow rainbows, big dreams, brass rings
I’ve already captured mine
Back when I was Number 29

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld