Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 28th August 2022

Jeb Loy Nichols writes in praise of forgetting — his latest 7″ selection one forgotten, remembered, and forgotten again.

The Ovations
I’m Living Good
1966 ?

This is all about forgetting.  In praise of forgetting.  This is all about the things you forget and the things you remember.  Often the same things.  I tell myself  not to forget the moon rising behind the oak tree.  I won’t forget the touch of my father’s roughened hand.  Nor will I forget reading The Roman Spring Of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams.  Nor hearing, for the first time, Sandy Denny sing ‘Where Does The Time Go’.  I don’t forget to sit quietly for at least an hour each day.  I don’t forget the last remaining curlews, nesting just behind the two hazels.  I hope to never forget seeing, on a train leaving Amsterdam, a woman in a red coat that waved at me.  All else I forget.  Until I remember.  And then, again, forget.  

I’ve woken up over twelve thousand times with Loraine.  Twelve thousand!  Imagine!  Twelve thousand times and how many can I remember?  How many specific mornings are there in a lifetime?  Rather I remember the flow of mornings, the balance of them, the unbrokenness.  Love is forgetfulness.  Love is all those commonplace, forgettable mornings.  This morning Loraine woke first and nudged me awake; we got up, raised the blind, straightened the pillows and blankets; there was birdsong; she said something about the day being bright.  We did all the little things we always do; tea, cereal, porridge, exercises.  We filled the bird feeders.  And I remembered a song I first heard forty-five years ago.  ‘I’m Living Good’ by The Ovations. 

I first heard it on the radio when I was fourteen.  Maybe thirteen.  I forget the exact year; I’d completely forgotten it until Dave Schramm played it for me ten years later and I thought: I’ve heard this before.  How easy it is to forget beautiful things!  I came across it again when I heard Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham sing it.  They wrote it and no one sings it better.  When I asked Dan about it he said, man, I’d forgotten all about that one till Nick Lowe reminded me.  

So after breakfast and yoga and emails I go to my studio and put it on the turntable.  I’d forgotten how great it is.  It’s like a hymn.  Like something that’s always been there but is forgotten until something prompts us to remember.  Something pure and humble and sure.  It’s here and then gone and then here again.  Its strength is its ability to reappear.  It survives by getting lost and allowing itself to be found.  Or something like that.  I forget exactly what I mean.  Which is as it should be.  


You can follow the Jeb’s Jukebox Spotify playlist here.