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Sara Smile

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Thanks to a piece yesterday on NPR, I am now aware of Daryl Hall’s free monthly web show, Live From Daryl’s House. And I wasn’t even listening to NPR yesterday morning, so I’m all the more lucky. I just happened to open the NPR app (it’s really good!) on my iPad and start scrolling through their recent music pieces. There it was, a story about Daryl Hall, the newest one.

Over the course of the interview with NPR guest host Robert Smith, Hall talked about how he brings guest artists to his house in “upstate” New York to play with him and his friends; the influence on him of Smokey Robinson; the portion of episode 9 in which he plays Sara Smile with acoustic guitarist-singer-songwriter Monte Montgomery; and the loss of his best friend, music producer, and fellow musician T-Bone Wolk (the long time bassist for Hall & Oates).

As a decades-long closet Hall & Oates fan, and fan in particular of Sara Smile, I could hardly wait to watch episode 9 of Live From Daryl’s House. Sara Smile is the next-to-last song they play. Part of the background to this choice of song is that Monte Montgomery (I hadn’t realized this) has developed a reputation for his own version of the song, as he and Daryl discuss. It’s easy to find on youtube and I’m embedding it below.

The excerpt of episode 9 containing the Sara Smile segment is also available on youtube; you can see it at the top of this post. I’ve watched it a couple of times now, and when I do, I can’t take my eyes off the guy between Montgomery and Hall. He is, of course, the late T-Bone Wolk, singing background vocals and doing a masterly job of complementing Montgomery on guitar. There’s a good appreciation of him here, written just after he died at the end of February.

I have my work cut out for me trying to catch up on past episodes. My first priority is episode 22, with Smokey Robinson. By chance, driving home Friday, I had on some soul station on XM satellite radio and they played The Tracks of my Tears. Smokey is such a genius; I paid special attention in a lame attempt to make sense of that genius. A further coincidence: Hall & Oates are playing right here on Wednesday night! Not Seattle, but a bit south at the Puyallup Fair, which essentially functions as the annual state fair for western Washington. Should I come out of my Hall & Oates closet and attend? We’ll need to decide fast. The best tickets are already gone.

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