This low-key acoustic track was recorded live in one take. Lead singer Craig Finn explained to Uncut magazine June 2008: "Any attempts to 'fix' it took away from the vibe, so we used the original 'scratch' vocal."
This features J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. playing the banjo.
The album Stay Positive weaves a narrative from song to song using several characters. The "Saphire" here is also the one from "Yeah Sapphire" on the same album, and the "couple boys that died" refers to the murdered characters in "Navy Sheets." The whole song tells the story of a fight involving these characters, using religious metaphors in place of the real characters. By the way, The Hold Steady absolutely loves religious themes, especially Catholicism, though its used for rich story-telling symbolism rather than preaching. Check the album cover art and the blood-red logo in the middle. That's an integrated infinity and positive symbol: "Stay Positive." But it also references a cross. Clever?
If you're noticing gravel-voiced lead singer Craig Finn improving here, that's the voice lessons paying off. He was taking them around the time of recording this album.
The Isley Brother's song, "Contagious," peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. This meant that the band of brothers became the first group to score a Top 50 hit in six consecutive decades on the chart.