Saturday, June 24

Daylight gonna catch me up again

Around 1974-1975 a young aspiring songwriter named Harold Payne met Bobby Womack and together they created the song "Daylight." Released in 1975 with background vocals by the Pointer Sisters, the song became a hit and a perennial anthem for night people.

Harold Payne once recounted the story of how the song was created:
After receiving a call from [his brother] Larry Payne, Harold Payne flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco and met with Bobby Womack at the Wally Heider Recording Studios, where after hashing over musical ideas with Harold, Bobby devised a rhythm track. Harold then completed the lyric for "Daylight" at his home in Los Angeles, which he described as "a notorious party house."  
"The lyric took on the story of what went on at the house and it meshed well with what Bobby had in mind."
Thus launched a musical collaboration that spanned 37 years, right up until Bobby Womack's last album, in 2012.  He died in 2014, at the age of 70. 

"Daylight" Lyrics 
Well, look like I'm goin' again
I can't seem to believe myself
Here I go again, here I go again, here I go again
Listen to me now

It's five o'clock AM but the party is still going strong
There's a conversation over in the corner
Big cats all on the lawn *
And the FM music is groovin'
Folks getting down, getting down in their stocking feet
Sleepy eyes are peeping from the window across the street

And it looks like daylight gonna catch me up again
Most people are getting up when I'm just getting in
Oh it's the only only time, it seems to be the only time
That I can unwind

Swore to myself time and time and time again
That I would give up the nightlife, start layin' in
But it ain't easy, no no, sayin' no to my friends
‘Cause the real, cause the real set don't get started **
Till everyone else is in

And it looks like daylight gonna catch me up again
Most people are getting up when I'm just getting in
It's the only only only time when I can unwind
Daylight, daylight gonna catch me up again ...
- - - 

* Every website I've looked at that publishes the lyrics to the song has the lyric as, "Big Ed all on the lawn." So one website must have copied from another without anyone actually listening to the lyric. It's very clearly "Big cats all on the lawn." The big cats in this context are the professional musicians relaxing after a hard night's work at a club or recording session.

** The word "set" refers to a musical number or group of numbers. The "real" set, within the context of the rest of the lyrics, refers to the musical numbers played by musicians who gather to 'jam' -- improvise music together. These jams often happen in the wee hours, when professional musicians ("big cats") have finished their performances for pay and gather somewhere to exchange musical ideas and improvise. 

"The real set don't get started till everyone else is in;" i.e., not until all the professional musicians have arrived to jam.  


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