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Long, Long Time

“Long, Long Time” is a song by Gary White, which Tina covers on 1974’s Tina Turns the Country On! It was originally a single for Linda Ronstadt in 1970. It’s a sad song, my favorite from this album. It’s a hard record to find, but you can listen to it online here.

Love will abide / Take things in stride / Sounds like good advice / But there’s no one by my side / But time washes clean / Love’s wound unseen / That’s what somebody told me / But I don’t know what it means

The reason I ever got into Ike and Tina Turner’s music was the year I spent living in St. Louis, after college.  While I was there I met my best friend, Josh, a native.  He moved around for a while, but landed back in St. Louis about five years ago.  I usually visit STL once a year, to see him and some family I have there.  As noted on this blog, Josh used to take me to the Record Exchange, and that’s where I found this copy of Tina Turns the Country On! in 2010.Like a good St. Louisan, Josh was an Ike & Tina and Tina Turner fan.

Here in Durham we have this weird music video channel called CoolTV.  They often play live concert footage videos, and the Tina Turner Wildest Dreams tour is on their rotation.  One night, W. and I were watching CoolTV and were blown away by the hip-thrusting antics of a big, blond percussionist/saxophonist in one of these videos.  I called Josh to exclaim about it and he replied yes, he knew. In fact, Josh had seen this Fabio lookalike when he attended Wildest Dreams at Riverport.  And by the way, didn’t I know that’s the same guy who plays at the boardwalk in The Lost Boys?

That’s a great example of why Josh was a great friend to have, and why we got along so well.  Who else our age would have this detailed knowledge of a Tina Turner touring band member?

Caught in my fears / and I’m sittin’ here blinking back the tears

Josh died in June.

You know, Ike and Tina don’t really have many sad songs.  They tend to make everything upbeat and energetic, whatever the lyrics may be.  Tina Turns the Country On! is a different animal, since it was produced by Tom Thacker, instead of Ike.  The arrangements are straight country, with no Turner flourishes.

For whatever reason, Tina changes the lyrics a bit.  In Linda’s version (and, I assume, the White composition), the chorus changes slightly through the song, from “I think I’m going to love you for a long, long time,” to “I think it’s going hurt me for a long, long time” to “I think I’m going to miss you for a long, long time.”  Tina just sticks to “love you” throughout.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you that I prefer Tina’s version over Linda Ronstadt’s.  Tina hits a perfect balance on this song, to me.  It’s a fairly restrained delivery (well, compared to what Ike usually called for), but she’s not phoning it in — it’s an emotional interpretation, and beautiful.

Life is full of loss / Sometimes I wonder, who knows the cause?

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