I’m happy to announce the release of my new CD called “Old Five and Dimers” ! This title is also the title of the first song which was written by that great outlaw country writer, Billy Jo Shaver. He worked with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to create that great outlaw country music back in the 1970’s that was a major influence on my music.
Almost a year ago, I started playing live on Street Jelly, which is an on line busking site. I have my regular show there at 5PM EDT every Saturday called “Bill’s Happy Hour”. It’s great fun and I even make some tip money when I’m playing.
Recently, I started recording my performances and that has resulted in this new album consisting of 14 songs. This is a solo album which is a first for me, but I am quite pleased with the outcome. I am selling the album in CD format only for $10 at my web site and that includes free shipping. Hope you stop by and pick up a copy to enjoy!
Here you can listen to Old Five and Dimers as is on the CD!
Also, hope you visit Street Jelly for Bill’s Happy Hour live at 5PM EDT every Saturday!
I have been friends with Jim Remington since our college days at the University of Rhode Island during the early 60’s. He is a tremendous guitarist and he and I played together quite a bit. We went on the road touring during the late 60’s and lost touch with one another after 1980. We found each other once again earlier this year through a mutual friend and musician, Ed McGuirl. We are collaborating once again over the internet and I am going to be doing a dulcimer track over his recording of Richard Farina’s Pack Up Your Sorrows. I like his prose and want to include his story about his musical background in this post.
Mostly Short, Mostly True Stories from Ireland
By Jim Remington
Music and the Family
I’ve been involved with music all of my adult life. Whether performing, teaching, jamming with friends, songwriting or recording, music has been a constant in my life. Because of this I occasionally get asked about my family background and how that influenced my life with music. Did your parents or grandparents play an instrument? Was singing or playing passed on down the family? In Ireland there are countless examples of musical families. Singing or playing an instrument might be passed on for generations within a family. It is a wonderful thing. I usually give the short simple answer to the questions of my family influences on music in my life. My father was a singing waiter in his early twenties and my grandfather played the piano and wrote music professionally. A straight simple answer, now time to move on. But if pressed for detail I’ll tell a bit about my father’s “career” as a singing waiter. It goes like this.
For many years our cousins, the Oates, ran a popular tavern in Cranston, Rhode Island, called “Oates Tavern”. The draw of the tavern during the 1920’s and 30’s was a live big band on the weekends. My father’s job was a waiter but he would also sing a particular song that the band could play at any time. You can imagine that this could be great fun and a real draw for the tavern. My father would be serving a lobster dinner and if the band played his tune he would sing that song to the guests at the table while holding a lobster on a plate. Great stuff and very popular. My parents loved to tell the story of how they met at the tavern. My mother was on a first date and having dinner at the tavern. My father was “waiting” on her table and out of chance his song came up. You can guess the rest. He sang that song to my mother and won her heart. As my mother was leaving at the end of the evening my father took advantage of her date’s absence getting the coats and asked for her phone number. My mother responded that it was already written on the napkin at the table. My mother was always one step ahead.
Of course I grew up hearing this story and remember as a kid how my father would sing a bit of the song that won over my mother. My father was a fine tenor and the song was beautiful. This made quite an impression on me. When I was old enough I asked my mother how she felt about “dumping” her date and she would say it was only a first date, destined to go no further in her mind. Besides she would say, my father had “style”! So as a child, it was customary to hear one or both of my parents singing at family gatherings. My mother could knock out a pretty good version of “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well”. Maybe a reference to her first meeting with my father!
This didn’t exactly make a musical dynasty out of our family but it certainly had an influence on my picking up a guitar at age fourteen and my brother following a short time later. Now there is still the story of my grandfather and his musical influence on the family. But that will have to wait for the next issue. That’s a real story!
I want to conclude this post with another great video from Tyrone Shulace and his Pals – I just love these guys! Have a great weekend! Bill