Harvey Reid's 1995 Newsletter, Cyber edition
It's time for my once-a-year newsletter to all y'all, ayuh (as we say in
Southern Maine), to tell you all the good news, try to make my pitiful life
look glamorous, and perpetuate the myths. I hope those of you who don't
want this forgive me for having your name in my mailing list, and those
who do will actually read it.
I stayed home a lot this year (downshifting, I heard it called...)
& did not tour as much as in the past, so you may not have seen or heard
from me this year. I had my first garden, pruned trees, planted rose bushes,
scraped my first paint, and had a blast doing a lot of normal things you
regular people do all the time. Even bought a tool belt.
Harvey Reid's Concert Schedule
Nice Guitar, Dude ...
The Artistry of the
Voice Mail at Woodpecker Records
Rusty Licks and the North Dixie Road Kings
An Open Letter to the alternative media
Recordings on Woodpecker Records,
and how to order them.
MYSTERIES OF OIL AND WATER
On Augut 27 at 2:04PM I paid $1.12 a gallon for 93 octane gas at a service
plaza on the Indiana Turnpike. Being thirsty and it being summer, Î
also bought a liter of drinking water (which falls from the sky, and is
virtually free) for $2.09, which calculates to $7.87 a gallon, nearly 6
times as much as gasoline. Oil has to be located, drilled for, pumped from
the earth, shipped halfway around the world, refined, trucked to the service
station, and sold to me. I figure if I can understand how this can be I
might gain much insight into how the world works. I wonder how the cost
of these things varies around the world.
FUTURE ARTISTIC PLANS
A number of you bothered to vote last year and let me know what you wanted
me to work on next. Thank you. Quite a few of you indicated wanting something
instructional, which is too bad because I don't read or write music, and
it is hard for me to do such things. I have been negotiating with Homespun
Tapes about doing a fingerstyle guitar video, and that will probably happen.
I am currently working on (and may have finished, but I doubt it...) an
album of vocal duets with Lynn Rothermich and am collecting concert recordings
for a live, in-concert album. Am also starting to work on a new Christmas
album and possibly another guitar project. I still have to release the collection
of partial capo music I promised in last year's newsletter, though.
Long ago I learned that the act of playing guitar for people was a perfect
activity. I played at parties and campfires and on the streetcorners and
in thousands of bars. When you play music for people and find a connection,
the experience needs no other elements. (Money, fame and power are not needs.)
You might be just crooning in the moonlight, or leading your family in Christmas
carols, but when it's done the old way, it simply cannot be improved upon.
Recordings, managers, agents, sound engineers-- all that stuff just gets
in-between the performer and the listener, and it can only interfere, which
explains why I perform and record the way I do. I do not think it improves
the spirituality of music performance to move it to a more glamorous setting.
I am haunted lately by reading about the minstrels of old who actually would
play for armies on both sides during a war. Those soldiers were camped in
the woods and had no music, and were so grateful for music that they would
allow the minstrels passage through war zones. Hmm.
"...for there is no man that imparteth his joys to his friend, but
he joyeth the more, and no man imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he
grieveth the less" (Francis Bacon)
JUST A THOUGHT
Solving the Mystery of the Harveys
I had been hearing
mysterious rumors for years about the times I had supposedly been playing
in Ann Arbor, MI, when I wasn't. I finally went there, and tracked down
Harvey Reed, a master jazz piano player who is a fixture there in town.
He said "Man, I been hearin' about you..." (He's checking my ID
here.) There are 27 Harvey Reid's in the CD-ROM 80 million-name list
who have phones in their name. One has my middle initial, too.
Transmogrification of Songs
Any musician who plays in a band for any length of time knows how much fun
it is to invent parodies of the songs in your set list. A few years back
I hit upon the idea of what I whimsically call Transmogrification of Songs,
when I realized that Chuck Berry songs and Carter Family Songs were interchangeable,
both being metrically perfect. Try to sing the words of Johnny B Goode to
the tune of Wildwood Flower. Or Promised Land to the tune of Will the Circle
Be Unbroken. It's harder than you think, probably because the part of our
brain that remembers songs seems to store the words and music together (which
is what ancient ballad poetry stuff is all about- it's easier to remember
your tribal history when it is a song.)
Once you learn to Transmogrify you find that you often end up with a good
song. It works. When I tried to sing various songs to the tune of each other
(there are endless possibilitites) I learned that 1) it is hard 2) it is
hilarious 3) only some songs work well 4) sometimes listeners don't even
notice you are doing it. It's a perfect thing to do to your friend's songs.
It's good clean fun, and you might as well do something with all those dumb
songs that are stuck in your brain forever.
The more tired you are, the harder and funnier this is. Certain lyrics will
fit the tunes of many more songs than others­p;they seem to be the best-known
songs! Perhaps there is something about why a song becomes universal that
has something to do with this property. So far Johnny B. Goode is the winner,
and Greensleeves is 2nd place. (Try switching them with each other.)
It is of course especially fun to sing the words of a cool song to the tune
of a dumb one and vice versa, since if you switch two songs in the same
genre, chances are no one will notice. You almost have to do something jolting
for people to catch on. Here is a list of some common un-cool melodies that
you can sing the words of Johnny B. Goode to: Puff the Magic Dragon, Froggie
Went A Courtin' (you have to add uh-huh after each line, which is the best
part), Ghost Riders in the Sky, Turkey in the Straw, Yankee Doodle, Summertime
(hard, but very peculiar because it's a good song that doesn't remind you
much of either of them), House of Rising Sun. You can also fit it to the
Tennessee Waltz, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Old Time Rock & Roll and almost
any of those worn-out or trite songs they always want to hear when you play
in a wedding band. Good luck & be careful. You might damage some neurons
if you overdo it. (HR)
IN MEMORIAM Death's icy hand strikes so close sometimes.
Top right is Alan Whicher, a high school friend from Beltsville, MD in the
wrestling team photo our senior year. Alan died in the explosion at the
federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19. Top left is me--155 lb class.
Rest in Peace, Alan.
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Road pics: Skowhegan, Maine
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PO Box 815 York
Maine 03909 USA
phone (207) 363-1886
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