Sunday, April 14, 2019

Durwood Haddock on Caprock 108

Durwood Daly (Haddock) - That's the Way It Goes b/w I'm a Lonesome Old Boy (Caprock 108)

Four long years elapsed between Durwood Haddock's debut single (the original version of his song "There She Goes") and his second one for the Caprock label of Big Spring. Although popular histories would lead you to believe otherwise, the music business operates under no logical or predictable rules, so having the co-writer of one of 1955's biggest hits go unsigned by any record or publishing company is hardly surprising or atypical -- especially when the song's other co-writer (Eddie Miller) was only too glad to hog the spotlight. 

Haddock recorded "That's the Way it Goes" at Ben Hall's Studio in Big Spring in 1958. The melody is basically "Folsom Prison Blues," and the entire performance sounds like a Johnny Cash Sun outtake. In my 2006 interview with the artist, Durwood admitted that was the intended effect: "I liked Cash’s stuff. I was really impressed with his songs ... my idea was, 'If I can do something that’s kind of happening today, and do something like a Ray Price sound on the flipside, maybe one or the other will work.'" Weldon Myrick supplies the lead guitar. 

The most surprising thing about "That's the Way it Goes" is the first verse:

She packed her dirty clothes in a duffel bag
Said, "Listen here, sonny, it's a-time for me to shag"

This sense of "shag" as a verb meaning "leave" is unknown to the American Heritage Dictionary. Perhaps it had evolved out of local Odessa barroom slang, or more likely, Durwood simply needed a word to rhyme with "bag" and thought, "Why not 'shag'?" Considering that Durwood would rhyme "blade" with "dead" in his composition "East Dallas Dagger," he clearly wasn't too concerned with rigid restraints on lyrical vocabulary or pronunciation. 

The other striking thing, to modern ears, is the lyric, "who's gonna fix me something to eat, and wash my dirty clothes?," as if the most important aspect of the male protagonist's female companion is her role as his cook and maid. If the listener is supposed to feel sorry for the man, the song utterly fails. Such sentiments were already becoming embarrassingly outdated, even in 1958. 

The flipside is a pleasant Ray Price-inspired mid-tempo song that features Johnny Porter (fiddle), Bobby Tuttle (steel guitar), Deana Hall (bass), and Bill Johnson (drums). Johnny Porter also worked with Adolph Hofner, Eddie Shuler, and probably dozens of other bands through the decades. 

Jack Rhodes called Haddock after the record was released in early 1959 and said he had somebody interested in covering "That's the Way it Goes," but Caprock owner Hank Harral refused, hoping to make it a hit on his own label. This would have probably involved handing over one-third of the song's ownership to Jack, since he made hundreds of similar transactions. Such were the dilemmas that songwriters and small label owners and publishers often found themselves embroiled in during this era. Ultimately, "That's the Way It Goes" was not a hit, nor was it covered by anyone on a bigger label. 

"That's the Way It Goes"

"I'm a Lonesome Old Boy"