Friday Favorites 5/31/2013

martinMuri and I moved to California from Rhode Island in 1971, and after a short stint in an apartment, bought our first house in Yorba Linda, CA.   The suburban city was just beginning to grow and it was a brand new tract.  Most everyone in the neighborhood was about our age and at the same stage in our lives.  There were yards to be put in, so we all spent a lot of time outside.  We rented rototillers together to put in lawns and helped each other out with the bigger jobs.   Everyone got to know everyone.  As children came along, they played out front together, bringing neighboring parents together even more.   For a number of years it was everything a neighborhood should be.

Somewhere in the midst of planting and parenting, our next door neighbor, Rex, and I discovered that we both played the guitar.  And sang.  Well, he sang and I did the best I could.   We discovered we liked similar music.  One night, sitting around a campfire, he started singing the old Kingston Trio song, Remember the Alamo, and I chimed in with the harmony … and we knew we were brothers.   On a Saturday afternoon, he talked me into going to a local music store to look at guitars.  We both came home with beautiful Martin D-28 guitars, one of the few times in my life I’ve made a substantial investment without talking it over with Muri.  Getting together to sing became a regular event, as did going to local restaurants to hear local guitar-playing singers with our wives.   When we sang, we sang what folkie-rockie singers sang back then … retired Kingston Trio songs, Carly Simon, Jim Croce.  I wasnash a big fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but most of their music was beyond us.  But in 1971, following the success of their Deja Vu album, each of the members released a solo recording.  Graham Nash’s was titled Songs for Beginners, and buried on Side One was Simple Man, an earnest little love song sung as a duet with David Crosby to a chorded piano accompaniment.  The first time Rex heard it, he loved it, so we worked out the chords and added it to our repertoire.

Today, as I hunted for a Friday Favorite, I thought, I want it to be something simple, and there it was, Simple Man.  It is not the best composition in the world but it is a beautiful little love song with the great line, The ending of the tale is the singing of the song, make me proud to be your man, only you can make me strong like the last time.  And the performance isn’t fabulous but features the emotional sincerity Nash was known for, coming, as it did, after his break-up with Joni Mitchell.  Sometimes, a song is a favorite because it is part of the soundtrack of our lives.   Simple Man was the theme to a time in our lives that we were probably  too young to fully appreciate back then … but looking back, it was splendid.  And that makes Simple Man this week’s Friday Favorite.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

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2 Comments on “Friday Favorites 5/31/2013”

  1. bluestempond Says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that one, and I’m a big C-S-N-Y fan. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Rex Shaffer Says:

    I always thought that was a clever little song for that time. It had kind of a highbrow feel to it. I especially like the violin and the harmony. Pretty good for what you would call a simple song. Lol.


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