"Old Friends, Old Tunes"

“Sitting home alone                                                                                                                             strummin’ my guitar sippin’ on a cold one                                                                                Ain’t it funny how the years fly by                                                                                                      I’m growing older yet I wonder why                                                                                             Still feel so young inside…”     JS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy journey down memory road goes on as I continue rummaging through  my old writing tablets. Last night I found some real buried treasure, an old song that my buddy Paul and I wrote back in the day. Yeah we could have been the Lennon McCartney of Angeleno Ave. After all our names were John and Paul. Actually I believe Paul and I only wrote a couple of songs that we collaborated on from start to finish. The best of the two was a romantic ballad we wrote for my wedding called “Since the First Time.” At the wedding Paul sang and played guitar with my other guitar playing buddy Bob and the entire Shalom group and performed it beautifully.

Funny, even after all these years when I close my eyes I can see our wedding day so clearly. We had just finished exchanging our vows and were seated in front of the altar in two elegant high back chairs looking out at our guests. The bridesmaids and groomsmen had returned to their seats in the first pew. I remember looking over at Paul who was one of my groomsmen sitting in the middle of the pew, decked out in his tux waiting for the moment when he would join Shalom and perform our song. When the time came he stood and made his way across the pew past the other groomsmen. as he did so  he looked up towards the altar, flashed a quick smile and raised his eyebrows a couple of times. What a character. He then strolled down the side aisle to the rear of the church where Shalom was set up. I can still hear his heels clicking loudly on the tile floor and people turning to see where Paul was going. I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the moment as well. He liked the attention. God that was so long ago. Where do the years go?

Yeah, Paul and I used to have a blast making music. We were always sharing songs with each other. We would listen to each others songs and throw out suggestions here and there, even offering up a lyric now and then, but the majority of songs we played in his room were his. The biggest part I played in their creation was to write them down on paper. Yeah Paul was good at coming up with awesome lyrics but he seldom wrote anything down so I used to do it for him.  I can remember several times sitting in his bedroom playing guitars when he would share a song he was working on and sing these incredible lyrics. When the song would end I would ask to see the lyrics and he would reply” I just made them up while I was playing.” God, he probably lost some awesome lyrics that way. That’s why I began writing things down.

One of the songs I came across last night was one of my all time favorite Paul songs called “Faded Dreams.” It’s a beautiful song about the pain of breaking up. It was such an awesome song. I remember Paul telling me how he had taught the song to the Shalom group one night after rehearsal and how great it had sounded. I’m sure it was awesome. I wish I had been able to hear Shalom do it. It must have been incredible.

As I read the “Faded Dreams” lyrics  I could almost hear Paul singing “Where am I going?  After all these years. Why have all my dreams faded into tears?  Tell me why our love died, my heart cries and my soul sighs for faded dreams…”  Yeah it was truly a beautiful song. After finding it I was hoping I might find more. I would have loved to find the lyrics for such classics as “High Class Bum,” ( kind of a take on “King of the Road.” “I am a Mind,” or “Idaho,” but no such luck. Paul had another song he called “the Prophet, it was pretty awesome. Actually I don’t think there were any lyrics to it, but it was a beautiful arrangement.

Funny, but bits and pieces of those songs are still swimming around in my head.

Every once in awhile I find myself humming or singing the parts of the songs I remember which isn’t much. The one I remember the best besides “Faded Dreams” is “Idaho.” We used to sit around and sing “Idaho” all the time. “40, 30, 20, – 10 miles to go, I’m a truck drivin’ man headin’ straight for Idaho,  Driving my Econoline,  crossing over the double yellow line, and as I move to pass a truck  I turn around and wave – good luck…  Yeah I’d love to find all the lyrics to that tune. It was a fun song. Perhaps as I continue going through my old files I’ll get lucky and find it. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what I come across. But not last night, once I got to reminiscing I ended up grabbing another beer picked up my guitar and played me some “Faded Dreams. It was sweet. The only thing that could have made it better would have been having Paul and Bob or Don (another guitarist from Shalom) here to join me. Yeah that would have really been nice…

Life is Good…




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