One Road Will Lead You There

Here’s another post from the past, from a series about songs that sound like October to me.

October is, as I’ve said repeatedly over the life of this blog, the month when the temperature falls, the leaves change, and time runs in reverse. It is also the month in which your correspondent becomes even more moony and reflective than usual. Ever since I was a kid, this has been my favorite month of the year, and fate has obliged me since then by packing some of the best (and worst) days of my life into October, or right around it. So now and then throughout this month, I want to feature a few tunes that sound like October to me. Some were hits in the fall, some were not. Some I discovered in the fall. Some I associate with those best or worst days. Some are about the desire to go home, which is a natural part of autumn—go out and see the world in the summer if you want, but just be sure you don’t get caught out there when winter comes. Some are about the act of remembering. A few you’re just going to have to take my word for.

The first two are a set, featured on one of the Warner/Reprise “Loss Leaders” compilations you could buy for a couple of bucks from 1969 until the early 80s, which is how I first heard them some 30 years ago. The first is “Carey” by Joni Mitchell, originally found on the Blue album from 1971, which is one of those songs about going home—or, more precisely, about hearing the call to go home:

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn’t sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
But it’s really not my home

The second is “Oh Papa” by Maria Muldaur, which originally appeared on her self-titled 1974 album:

Home seems so far away
And heaven’s out of sight
One road will lead you there
And one will lead you far into the night

Not only does “Oh Papa” have the whole longing-for-home thing going for it, it also features the ever-popular longing-for-a-love-grown-cold thing, with which a singer can never go wrong in October:

Love is so hard to live
And hard to live without
With nothing more to give
And nothing left to talk about

But there’s a bright side, too, and perhaps even a reason to hope:

Friends from the start
Friends we part

Which is followed by one of the loveliest guitar solos you’re ever going to hear, sounding like the raindrops that are rolling down the window you’re looking out of while you’re thinking about all of this.

(Originally posted on October 1, 2007.)

“Carey”/Joni Mitchell” (WMA file; buy Joni here)
“Oh Papa”/Maria Muldaur (buy Maria here; these files are coming down on Sunday, so if you want ’em, grab ’em now)