Song of the Day #419: ‘Good Intentions’ – Lyle Lovett

largebandLyle Lovett and His Large Band was the album that introduced me to Lyle Lovett. It came to me by way of my brother-in-law, who learned of it from a college friend. You always hold a special place in your heart for the album that first acquaints you with a favorite artist, and Large Band is no exception.

Constructed as a mirror opposite of Pontiac, this album opens with the blues-jazz songs and closes with the country. All are wonderful, but side one is particularly special. Opening instrumental ‘The Blues Walk’ lets you know what you’re in for, putting all of the wonderful musicians through the paces for 2 1/2 minutes of pure swinging pleasure. That song segues into the hilarious ‘Here I Am,’ in which Lovett deadpans spoken-word verses between big shout-along choruses. Here’s my favorite:

Look
I understand too little too late
I realize there are things you say and do
You can never take back
But what would you be if you didn’t even try
You have to try
So after a lot of thought
I’d like to reconsider
Please
If it’s not too late
Make it a… cheeseburger

The songs on side one just get better from there… the first six tracks on this album could go down as the best work Lovett has ever done.

Not to diminish side two, which also has its charms — Lovett’s deadpan delivery of ‘Stand By Your Man,’ for example, which he recorded as a response to the claims of misogyny leveled at him after Pontiac. You have to love that.

And on the less cynical front, you have ‘Nobody Knows Me’ and ‘If You Were to Wake Up,’ two of the more earnest and affecting love songs in Lovett’s catalog.

Even the least successful song on the album, ‘I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You,’ is still a hoot.

Today’s song, ‘Good Intentions,’ is one of those side one gems. Like a few other songs in that group, it touches on the harsh realities of modern relationships. Nobody sings about infidelity more charmingly than Lyle Lovett.

It’s a sunny day in sunny California
But that old sun it’s shining on me right here at home
It’s one of those days
When those great ideas they just seem to fall out on you
And they always fall the greatest when you’re falling all alone
It makes for a good day for some serious reflection
And massive rationalization
For contemplating the future of the future
And the last of the past
And wondering if you could ever forgive me darling
All the trouble that I put to you
And if I could forget all those questions
That I never asked
And if I could forgive
The temporary weight gain due to excess water retention
I could forgive the rest too
It’s just a fact of life
That no one cares to mention
She wasn’t good
But she had good intentions

So the grass it grows
When the sun it shines
And my face it glows
When the woman’s mine
And you say I’m a fool-around
Honey that may be true
But I’d sooner fool around
Than be a fool for a fool
And if I could forgive
The unadulterated adulterating apprehension
I could forgive the rest too
It’s just a fact of life
That no one cares to mention
She wasn’t good
But she had good intentions

So I’m twenty-six and rising
Still too young to live
But too low to go
I guess it’s the process
Of learning to excess
All of those things
That you already know
And if I could forgive
The honey-I-swear-it-didn’t-mean-a-thing-to-me
Attempt at abstention
I could forgive the rest too
It’s just a fact of life
That no ones cares to mention
She wasn’t good
But she had good intentions

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #419: ‘Good Intentions’ – Lyle Lovett

  1. Amy says:

    “… a good day for some serious reflection
    And massive rationalization
    For contemplating the future of the future”

    delivered as only Lyle Lovett can deliver them are among my favorite lyrics of all times. This song is one that would be played from morning to night on my desert island, and is the perfect representative to express why I love this man so much. The musical interludes, the easy delivery, the wry lyrics, the wordplay – all work so effectively here and are the classic Lovett attributes that endear him so to me.

    Of course, you could have chosen a half dozen other songs from this album, for which I would have just as much love. I think I’m going to go play it now. šŸ™‚

  2. Dana says:

    Couldn’t agree with your comments more. This album, particularly the first half, should be required listening for any music fan. Lovett would later make more nuanced records (Joshua Judges Ruth) and more diverse records (Road to Ensenada), but it is hard to argue that this isn’t Lyle on the top of his game.

    I hope that, at some point in the next two weeks, you circle back to feature one of the other great songs on this classic album.

  3. Clay says:

    Sorry, one per album, though that doesn’t mean I won’t return to Lyle after these two weeks are over.

    In fact, I’m planning a special 2-week Lyle Lovett’s Best Country Songs theme just for you. šŸ˜‰

  4. Dana says:

    Well, that being the case…I must ask your readers to please listen to another highlight from this fine album:

  5. Dana says:

    And one more from side 2, before we move past this great album:

  6. Dana says:

    Okay, I lied. Here’s yet another great one:

  7. Amy says:

    šŸ™‚ How lucky I am… I have a husband who understands and enables my Lyle love šŸ™‚

    (I adore every song featured here, and I strongly encourage any lesser Lyle fan to listen and enjoy and get a deeper appreciation for the genius that is Lyle Lovett)

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