I don’t think “I Love Little Baby Ducks” (1973) has been played on Ken Burns’ Country Music mini-series, but Tom T. Hall has appeared frequently. That forces me to think of this song.
When the song first came out, I was working at Northwestern University and discovered I was part of a group who couldn’t get the song out of my head once it was played on the radio 100000 times. With therapy, I finally got rid of it. Now it’s come back.
So, I’ve had a relapse. When I told my wife what happened, she said I better not tell her what song it is, or she’ll be stuck with it, too. My hearing is so bad that even if the song had been played on Burns’ documentary, I wouldn’t have been able to hear it. So, I thought I was safe. But then Hall showed up and the song came to mind.
Burns’ documentary does, however, display the song lyrics in its closed captioning. A lot of old memories there from “Ode to Billie Joe” to “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Porter Wagoner looked just as goofy in the old clips as he did in real life when we used to watch his syndicated variety show.
Burns has done a wonderful thing for those of us who like music, who care about it in some depth, including how disparate genres are interwoven.
Now, if I could just take a pill and forget the ducks.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” a story about a 1954 conjure woman fighting the KKK in the Florida Panhandle. The novel is available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardback editions. The audiobook was an Ear Phones Award Winner on AudioFile Magazine.