Caught by the River

Jeb's Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 6th December 2013

24. Only the lonely knows

Only The Lonely Knows
Ted Taylor

Ronn Records, 1969

Winter’s coming, you can feel it in the air, see it in the frantic gathering of the squirrels. Hear it in the grass crackling beneath your feet.
The laurels and the ash, both heavy with berries, pulse with flurries of small dark birds.

This afternoon I stacked wood and turned the compost, this morning I cleared the guttering. Tomorrow I’ll make sure the drains beneath the lane are running.

Tonight I’ll listen to Ted Taylor sing Only The Lonely Knows.

This is perfect December music. A music that takes its time, that isn’t in a hurry, a music made for long, dark nights.

“Only the lonely knows
the joy of a knock on the door
the ring of a telephone
so you know you’re not alone
only the lonely knows…”

It’s the perfect antidote for the forced jollity of the season. As Blind Lemon Jefferson sang in his Christmas Blues: “Don’t forget the forgotten, there’s always someone worse off than you.”

I don’t know when or where I bought this record, it just seems, like the winter, to have always been a part of my life. And like the seasons, it comes and goes. I play it for a while and then one day it seems to disappear, only to re-emerge at some later date.

It’s a beautiful song, full of hope and honesty and pain. And what, at this time of year, is more welcome than that?

Jeb Loy Nichols.
Jeb’s Jukebox archive.