Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 23rd January 2018

Sunny And The Sunliners
Should I Take You Home

1968


How do I get through the winter? The days are short and cold, it’s wet, it’s dull, the fields are muddy, the skies are heavy. The birds, like most sensible things, have fled to the south. The rabbits and foxes are snug in their burrows. How do I get through December, January, February? I turn To Sunny And The Sunliners.

When I was much younger, sad in my teenaged years, lost in Texas, I met Dan Del Santo. Dan Del Santo was exactly the man I needed to meet. He was a musician that loved music and he talked to me seriously about serious things. In a dark time of Fleetwood Mac and Boston and Peter Frampton he played me Fela Kuti and Donnie Fritts. He lent me stacks of records. He told me to be interesting. He played me conjunto records and cassettes of spoken word poetry. He lived big and welcoming and he had opinions that mattered. He told me: never trust a musician, trust the music. And I remember him talking about Sunny.

He asked me if I wanted to go with him: I’m going over to San Antonio to meet Sunny for lunch, you wanna come? I never went. The stupidity of youth. What was I possibly doing that was was more important than meeting Sunny Ozuna? I was young and dumb and without vision. It’s a huge and constant regret.

Del Santo had a stack of Sunny And The Sunliners records, both in English and in Spanish. He had singles too, like the one I still have. ‘Should I Take You Home’ is a perfect slice of Texas soul – written by Sunny and released on his own label. He was, and still is, the Prince of Brown Eyed Soul. Last year, when Big Crown released a compilation of Sunny’s best sides, I bought one immediately. It was the record I played more than any other last year.

So how do I get through the winter? How do I get through the year? How will I get through the rest of my life? By playing Sunny And The Sunliners records, by remembering Dan Del Santo, by watching the grey clouds bump slowly across the fields; by being forever young and dumb.