Day camp. Nine years old. Armed only with an incredible amount of sort-of blond hair and an avocado green handheld AM crystal radio. So sensitive it could pick up clear-channel stations in neighboring ZIP codes. So powerful you could very nearly hear it when pressed firmly to the side of your head. Maybe I should have changed the nine-volt more often.
The camp councilors (stoned college kids who somehow weren’t getting dismembered by masked killers) had boom boxes. I was on a Friday overnight stay there, when Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” played for me for the first time.
Played. For me. I was certain of it.
My small self spent the rest of the summer calling the KSDK disc jockeys and asking, “Could you play ‘Baker Street’ by Gerry Rafferty?” Eventually, they stopped picking up the phone during certain hours. Jox will do that. As a recovering one myself, I can tell you that for a fact.
Anyway, I’m not even sure I knew what a saxophone really was. But I knew that whatever that was, I had to hear it again and again.
Rafferty was an odd cat and amazingly talented, but didn’t record very much. He didn’t want fame, he didn’t want to tour, he didn’t even want his real face on the album covers. Eventually it killed him — he drank himself to death.
You should pick up the whole album, because City To City is filled with great tracks — this just being the first of many. It’s the opening percussion and guitar that lure you in, but it’s the sax that keeps you coming back for more — even after almost exactly 35 years.