A Song - A Story
Back in the late 70s, my friend, guitarist - fiddler -
bassist - accordionist - mandolinist - dobroist, Martin Grosswendt invited
me to play some piano and organ tracks on his album for Philo Records called
On A Dance Floor. To be included on that album, to my great honor,
was a song I wrote called "Waltz Of The Lost Partner." The instrumentation
for the song was piano, acoustic bass, cello, harmonica, triangle, and
Martin's voice. Very simple. Chris Turner was called to play the harmonica
track. I think it was his first recording session since arriving in the
US from England. And his work was exquisite, the tone sad and plaintive,
in keeping with the spirit of the song.
Years passed. Chris and I never lost touch, but we never
talked in detail about that session, or the song. Until the year 2001.
Once again, I needed a harmonica player for a recording session, and Chris
was available, to my delight. This time, it was for not one, but several
songs that I had written, and this time, for my own CDs. Chris and I decided
to squeeze in a little rehearsal time before going to Boston to record.
Late that night, in between running songs, we got to talking
about this and that, and we did get to talking about that first recording
session that we had done together more than 20 years earlier. Mimi Fariña
had died the week before, and I told Chris that the song we had done back
then was scheduled to be recorded again on one of my new CDs, and asked
if he knew that the song was about the Fariñas? He said, no, he
never knew that. He said that was funny and asked me if I knew that just
weeks prior to the Philo recording sessions for Martin's album, he had
been working with Mimi, and had done concerts with her and an ensemble
of friends in Boston and New York, and had gotten quite friendly with her.
No, I hadn't known that, and of course, if I had known it, I would have
told him about the Fariña connection with that song! And I certainly
would have asked him to help me get a copy of the song to Mimi, which I
was trying to do at the time!
Well, the song is now called "Few That Know Me Well," but
it's the same song, word for word, note for note. On my CD Big Book
Of Love, we decided to go with an even simpler treatment, so there
is no harmonica or cello this time, but Chris and I played the song together
that night at his house, and for me that conversation and that musical
sharing was one of those magical moments that musicians live for. Thanks
Chris - I'm glad we found that connection. At first I thought it was spooky,
but now I think it was more like what you might call grace.
You know what? People don't talk enough!