Thursday, October 18, 2012

No. 595 – Day of Celebration

Performer: Santana
Songwriters: Carlos Santana, Chester Thompson, Freddie Stone, Linda Graham
Original Release: Supernatural
Year: 1999
Definitive Version: None

The songwriters above are the ones credited for the song The Calling on Supernatural. On the CD, it’s the 12-minute album-closing track. In reality, of course, it’s two songs—this one being an unlisted “hidden” track.

By the time this album came out, I was definitely beyond the “Clapton is God” sentiment. Two very tepid concerts will do that for you. Whatever deity he once claimed, to me, had long since fled. The Calling, which I was eager to hear given that it held the promise of Santana trading licks with Slowhand quickly gave way to boredom. Slowhand, it seemed, was no longer an opposite nickname.

So The Calling started to fade, none too soon, and then all of sudden, like a burst of fresh air in a stuffy room, this song came on. What is this? This was the first song on the album that wasn’t either in Spanish or had guest artists attached to it. The breeze became a gale by the end.

It sounded like classic Santana, like Black Magic Woman or Evil Ways. It was like this song was the payoff, the reward for the old-timers who patiently slogged their way through the overhyped collaboration tracks. I quickly made an edited recording of the song and only found out the name of it years later.

Speaking of days of celebration, the same year that I discovered this song, I learned that my job at The Dispatch was changing. I had been in charge of BT the previous five years as it shifted from being a Monday local-news catch-all to a section that was focused on small business and workplace issues.

It was proud of the work I did on BT, and I worked hard to make it the best section I could, but it was thankless. I often worked solo, not only in terms of the production, but also in the conception. No one else really seemed to know what went into the job, and few cared as long as it came out on time.

When Jerry was Business Editor, he took a keen interest in the section. Jeff’s sole interest in BT, however, was before his promotion, when he complained about having to do a weekly column—like every other business reporter had to—longly and loudly enough that eventually they all were ended.

After Jeff was installed as Business Editor, with his primary focus of doing as little managerial work as possible, it all fell on my shoulders. This was particularly true when there was a mistake or someone had a problem with my layout or story selection. The buck couldn’t be passed faster if it were on fire.

So when it was announced in 1999 that BT was going to die in favor of a Monday section that focused more on the Internet and how businesses could use this new and burgeoning tool—a section that would be overseen by Paul—I was overjoyed.

The funny thing was, when Jeff made the announcement, he prefaced it with something to the effect of how the announcement he was about to make was going to tick me off, because BT was my little fiefdom. Now, I’d be just a regular copy schlub with no extra responsibilities.

I believe my exact words in response were, “Good. I’ve had enough of being on an island by myself.”

The announcement meant that my days of working Tuesday through Saturday were over, too—more good news.

And when the final BT was sent to the printer, I didn’t feel any sadness. I guess my attitude toward BT finally matched that of the rest of the paper. Good riddance.

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