A few months before he died, my dad and I went through his old reel-to-reel tapes. He was looking for some junk that I did when I was a teenager or some Revolver stuff.
It always amazed me how much he loved the garage band I was in. I know it shouldn’t–he was a typical proud parent, after all–but if there was anything he couldn’t stand, it was rock music. He was a good-ole-boy from northern Georgia (near Chattanooga, Tennessee) and had been a country singer in small bars and such–even on local TV (remember Stacey’s Country Jamboree? *shudder*).
But I always heard him tell people about our band, and he never treated me like I was wasting time in it. At one point, when the band was the only job I had, someone asked him what I was doing for a living. He didn’t say, “He’s out of work.” He said, “He’s a guitar player and singer.” I’ll never forget that. Or the fact that he traded two of his guitars to get me my first real one–a Telecaster.
Anyway, I took the box of tapes and his player home with me to continue the search. What I found was magic. On one, small tape, there was a recording he did in 1967 to send home to his dad. It’s just my dad, playing guitar into an old Sears Silvertone recorder on either his Silvertone guitar or his Gibson Les Paul Jr and singing Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, George Jones…whatever he felt like…with kids and dogs playing in the background…my mother trying to shush us…I can almost smell the cigarettes and Old Spice…hear mom getting ready to call us in to supper…
I fed the sound into my PC, cleaned it up a bit, foolishly added echo to some tracks, and made a CD for him. I am so glad I got to give that to him before he died–especially since one of the tracks has a certain 5-year-old singing with him…before he got too embarassed to sing with his old man….
Love’s Precious Flame.mp3 – I just started singing with him again the last year before he died, dammit.
In the Middle of Nowhere.mp3 – Something he says he wrote the music to…he also said Elvis wanted to see him after he was part of the opening act for the King at a show on a South Carolina air base in the 50’s, but he was too shy…who am I to doubt it?
Think of Me.mp3 – I do. All the time.