What nobler goal than to get better at what you do: To get better at your work, to learn more in your studies, to be a better person, to be more artful at your art. Just to get better. Really, what else can you do anyway? Just try to be better.
I picked up the phrase “just trying to get better” from the sports teams (the NBA teams, that’s what I watch anyway). You know, after the game when they interview the players and coaches, you’ll often hear them say that their goal is just “to get better”. They don’t talk about winning the championship, rather that their their goal is “to get better”. And really, in the NBA, if you’re not the Golden State Warriors, your only chance for a championship is to somehow to try to just “get better”.
Getting better was also the subject of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s foot-tapper on the Sargeant Pepper’s album: “I got to believe it’s getting better. Getting better all the time”. Definitely, that’s one way good way of looking at it. Be an optimist. Go ahead. The more I think of it, getting better is a better and better thing to do all the time. Also, may I add that, if you’re not feeling welll, getting better is a very good thing to do.
All this by way of introducing a few songs that Maybank and I are always playing. That’s right: we keep trying to get better. And to get these songs to sound better. Ultimately, it would be nice to do them justice. Also, it is always important to just “keep on playin’ that country Music”. Anyhoo, here are two that we always do. (Everything here is a sing-along, by the way)
Long Black Veil, a written song meant to sound like a folk classic done by Johnny Cash, the Band and a host of others:
And here’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, a song from 1919, and forever a pleasure to play. Eric Clapton has the most popular version right now, but back in the 20’s Bessie Smith did it, and had a big hit with it.