Guest Post: Encore Series #5: I Just Can’t Make It By Myself
This is a guest post from NewSoGoFan.
I’m not really sure how this one slipped through, from the Cathedrals’ 1986 release Master Builder. It’s a cleverly crafted, beautifully executed up-tempo piece with a bit of a bluegrass flavor. Die-hard Cathedrals fans probably know the song. The production is driven by banjo and fiddles, giving it that country/western air. It’s tough to write an up-tempo SG song that manages to be substantial and meaningful at the same time, but this one is. It uses vivid metaphors to describe how much we need God—we are the man in the desert thirsty for a cool drink, the cold child longing for a fire to warm him. And we are the prodigal who tried to tackle life on his own and lost everything he had. Indeed, we cannot “make it by ourselves.” Here’s my favorite couplet:
A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do
But he doesn’t have to do it alone.
It seems that “I Just Can’t Make It” got lost in the shadow of more popular up-tempo numbers like “Can He, Could He, Would He?” This is a shame, because I like it even better than some of those more instantly recognizable tunes. Because it’s a forgotten gem, I’m not going to advocate a radical re-working of the arrangement here. If someone were to bring this back “like new” while sticking pretty close to the original, I wouldn’t complain.
So who should do it? Well, Signature Sound would have been a natural fit, but understandably this one didn’t make it onto their tribute project. My first thought was actually the Booth Brothers when I heard this song, but ultimately, I settled on the Mark Trammell Quartet. Who better to revive it now than MTQ, since the song even featured Mark originally? Pat Barker could handle George’s bass step-outs capitally, and Mark could take the lead. Who agrees with me that this is an obvious candidate for being dusted off and that the MTQ is the obvious group to do it?