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But the Days Grow Short When You Reach September

Updated: Sep 24

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December

But the days grow short

When you reach September

When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame

One hasn't got time for the waiting game


It's late September and despite what Rod Stewart says, I don't need to be back at school. I'm taking online classes anyway.


I need to hear "September Song," the Willie Nelson version of the Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson classic from his 1978 Stardust album of American standards. Produced by Booker T. Jones, all of the tracks sound like they were recorded in a take or two.



Willie sounds so relaxed, you'd think he was reclining on a sofa, drinking some Sleepytime tea. He gives all of the songs a nice touch, however, all with a well-worn country sensibility.


September Song is something special. Listening to it, I can't help but place myself on an old fence staring at the fading sun falling over a ripe cornfield.


Once I got past all the pages with lyrics to the Earth Wind and Fire song, I was moved. I found Maxwell Anderson's lyrics quieting, sad, and yet optimistic. I was taken with the solemnness and the romantic immediacy. As if, it's time to make something happen.


Kurt Weill

The album was recorded in the home of Brian Ahern using his mobile recording studio, so it's possible Willie was on a sofa. The harmonica player, Mickey Raphael, recorded his parts in the tiled bathroom.


Listen to the slowly-played piano and the warbling organ. No one is in a hurry on this session. Enter the drums with brushes, just a bit behind the beat. Here comes the harmonica, closing a dramatic verse.


Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few

September, November

And these few precious days

I'll spend with you


One more line and then it's the acoustic guitar, sounding like an old one with worn finish, left leaning against the rail on the front porch.


These precious days

I'll spend with you


Booker T and Willie

It's nothing without Jones. But it's nothing without Willie. Or any of them.


The original Stardust album reached number one on the Country Album chart and eventually went quintuple platinum. "Blue Skies" went number one on the Country Singles chart and Willie won the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 79'.


If the weather's nice, look this one up if you're outside, especially near an old farm. It's late September. Happy autumn to all, and to all a good night.


When the Autumn weather turns the leaves to flame

One hasn't got time for the waiting game

 

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