Trip To D. C. – Part 2 – The Blues

So… the project that Alan had been hinting at and having me help with a bit (by converting some vinyl 45’s to digital) was still a mystery, but at the Fed Ex store he had a pile of papers cut and secreted back to his backpack promising to reveal once we got to the townhouse.

Once we were settled he folded and then delivered to me what appeared to be a CD booklet with the simple title “The Blues”.

He asked me if I recognized the cover. There was something familiar about it, but I couldn’t place it. Ironic.

As Alan took care of some duties that needed attending I opened up “The Blues” and started reading the 18 pages within.

As I read through this booklet and eventually realized what it was about I have to confess I was really surprised and amazed.  Luckily he was busy and didn’t notice that I had to keep blinking to clear my eyes to continue reading. This project, which I unknowingly took a small part in, was about a tape that I had given him years and years and years ago. His writing is great and I love how the story unfolded and I was glad that something I sent him was so revered.

Let’s start here:

This tape, which frankly I had forgotten I had given him, was the subject of the booklet I was reading. It was a moving essay (Alan is a great writer) on the subject of this tape and the weaving of it in and out of his life, and his effort to recreate it. Like me, his copy of the tape vanished. Both of us grieved its loss, but Alan, over the years went to amazing lengths to bring the feel of this tape back into our lives.

The booklet is the insert to a digital copy of “The Blues”.

The DJ of the radio show that I recorded that fateful night turned out to be a rather celebrated DJ in the Chicago area. Big Bill Collins and his show “Blues Before Breakfast”.

He is as important to the substance that was the tape as the music was. Here is a brief bit about him:

Here is the link  but in case it ever disappears, here is the info:

RIP Big Bill Collins -April 5th, 1935 to February 14, 2011. Legendary Chicago blues DJ Albert “Big Bill” Collins passed away on Feb 14th. He had a delightful after-hours blues radio show on WNIB where he would use his well-loved slogan “Big Bill Collins, down in the basement, sittin’ up here on an old beat-up orange crate”. His down home approach, which often included numerous dedications, and ad skits, was nothing less than pure charm. He was especially prominent in the 1970s and ’80s. He also managed blues singer Bonnie Lee and others. He was frequently seen at blues events with his characteristic trench coat, passing out cards for his show. To see a website that honors Big Bill’s legend click here. To hear excerpts from Big Bill’s show (thanks to Twist Turner) ckick here (vol. 1), here (vol. 2), here (vol. 3), here (vol. 4) and here (vol. 5).  Big Bill Collins‘ memory will be carried on through the ages as part of Chicago blues history.

I sent Alan a copy of the tape I had recorded and it was as influential in his life as it was in mine. He loved it as much as I did and was just as upset when his copy went missing. At some point he contacted me for another copy and I was bummed to find out I couldn’t find MY copy and so I created a blues mix tape to put in its place, but it fell far short of the feel and vibe of the Big Bill show. Good music, but not the real deal that had infected our souls.

Over the years Alan had undertaken a search to find out who the DJ was, which he eventually found and that you see above. The booklet details the struggle. Then once he found the DJ, he searched and found on YouTube clips of the speaking part of the show, but not the music.

Determined to recreate as much as possible of an entire show, he listened to the chatter and worked on getting all the songs that Big Bill played in that show. Some were easy to find, some not so much. A couple he was unable to find except for the vinyl versions, which he had shipped to me so I could convert them “for a project” he was working on. He was cagey when I asked about it, but I converted them and sent them anyway, hoping I would learn one day why he needed digital copies of “Sunnyland Slim – Tired But I Can’t Get Started” and “Clarence Barry – Can’t Stand Being In Love With You”.

Once he had all the songs, he began the work of trying to combine the music and the lead-ins from Big Bill. Some had Big Bill talking over the start of the song and Alan had to do the syncing just right to make the transition from the vocal to the music seem as natural as possible. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into doing this. Downloading and learning to use Audacity and making time with work and family to stitch tracks together a bit at a time, eventually creating a 2 hour and 8 minute masterpiece.

I don’t want to go over the top on this, but after reading the booklet I was kind of speechless. It’s another one of those connections we have between us and I am glad to have it back in my life. It felt like Alan had fixed us both with this project since we both had it and both had lost it. The way he went after it and researched and gathered reminded me of, well… me.

Except his writing is better.

He agreed to let me publish the text of “The Blues” here. It’s a great read if you have time.

Thanks Alan. This really touched me.


The Blues 

by Alan

I had a friend named Alana and she told me about a play she’d written. The characters were famous playwrights themselves Ionesco, Genet, Sartre. Though I never read nor saw a production of the play, its the theme of the thing that stuck with me. She said the play was to convey that art inspires art. That these writers inspired each other, inspired Alana, and I guess her play was to inspire others. I wish now I’d asked to read the thing. Writing about the conceit now does not seem like a huge epiphany but for whatever reason it stuck with me. Lately, I’ve realized that this inspiration is born of much smaller mischief than art. Inspiration comes from interest. By way concentric examples, my cousin came to visit me while I was in High School. She’d been in trouble for partying and having an older boyfriend. I was trapped in a friendless Denver suburb ( providing me personal insight to the student mass shooting years later). My cousin loved rock n roll. I remember she was reading “No One Here Gets Out Alive” which was really a love letter from Danny Sugarmann to Jim Morrison. I read the book based on her recommendation and that led me to an interest in Classical Greek and Roman studies, Beat writers, and influenced me more years later when I moved to San Francisco. crafted a clay sculpture of a vulture eating Prometheus’s liver. Beer was my vulture in my own late night bacchanalian festival inspired by what? The Greeks? The Beats? Mr. Mojo Risin? My cousin’s life on the edge?  

So this is my sum knowledge at half a century? Maybe. I know if you were curious about hinges on medieval serf cottages, there is most certainly an entire crowd likely on the verge of establishing an association and trade magazine (if they haven’t already!) And it really is glorious to know this infinite universe offers us so many options yet it would be hard to find a topic waiting to be uncovered and that does not have a tome already detailing every nuance. Years ago, using my lifetime as a yardstick, when you found someone or something related to an interest you coveted, a sensation of validation radiated your soul. Like the call of the blacksmiths hammer coming down on that hinge just magic. I met Gerold Giefer, an older gay man, when I was sixteen. I was traveling alone to Hawaii and he was going there to meet a couple who were his friends, one of whom was an artist and had just sold a collection to the Prince Kahiho hotel in Waikiki. I don’t think he and I would have spoken if I hadn’t picked up a biography of Montgomery Clift at the SF airport during my layover from Denver. We were seated next to each other and Mahler’s Eight symphony cassette with Seiji Ozawa mid-spasm peeked at me from my soon to be acquaintance’s seat pocket. Mr. Giefer was prepped for the long flight with extra batteries and his  “Symphony for a Thousand” already snapped into his Walkman. But for some reason, Montgomery Clift was too much for him to bare. I only knew him for that trip and a couple of brief letters exchanged, but what a great friendship. And to this day I remember that sensation of finding a kindred person in this world. I wish I knew what it was about Monty. That they both were gay wouldn’t have been enough I don’t think. The Bay Area runs culturally few decades ahead of the rest of the US and 1981 San Francisco would have been more like 2010. I’m sure he registered it, but to risk foregoing his restful trip, I don’t think so. Since I love the tortured soul, the boozing self destructive I like to believe he danced on that edge too. But now I’m just about the same age my travel buddy would have been and Montgomery’s other curse, passing from handsome leading man to the ruined faced misfit in an instant, resonates with age as our own looks must be daily abandoned in some new way. Maybe this occurred to him sitting next to a ruddy insecure zit faced teen. Perhaps he felt his relevance waning and he wanted to see how a figure of his generation was being picked up and remembered. I surprise myself with how precious this memory is to me. I could go on but can hear you screaming. – “can one of our illiterate serf children put some whale fat on that damned hinge, and close this door already!”

If we spent the time, quickly the connections in our lives, the currents playing so randomly, trickle out in a direction that reveal themselves as tributaries to what becomes our lives. Our current culture is obsessed with this feeling. As much as Thomas Hardy layered the coincidence, the unlikely tumbling over and over again within our own stories, the world today doesn’t look to Tess of the DUrbervilles but to the real world at large. All of this roaming interest and the thought threads tethering them together, represent what we now have labeled “surfing the web”. Our net, now cast out much wider, comes back wet with the promise that you have your feet in the stream. No matter how satisfying riding that wave may be, ultimately, the people in our lives are our connection. Mr. Giefer gave me some many substantial things that are a big part of my today – from the New Yorker magazine he was reading (including a lengthy article on Francis Ford Copola) to his vivid descriptions of a city that I thought of daily and where three years later I would move to spend the next twenty forming what will be my life. 

So interests, in small things, unrelated, shared interests, without fanfare, considered and appreciated, become the outline, the border, the shore of our story. Maybe I focus on the minutiae of all this to set the stage for those that play a bigger role in who we are. And maybe, I’m talking about myself for sure now, that we don’t spend the meditative time we do on those instances. One, I do think it is rare, but certainly our spouses and significant others and children have crafted some set of decisions that are not just a tacit response to need. No matter how busy we are or disinterested or done in we are with one another. This ‘essay’ is really just an introduction to a super cool rare moment, created by my oldest and dearest friend, who doesn’t know this story or if he does, only a fraction.

In 1982 (my best guess), I received a package from Mike my friend at that point of 6 years. We had gone to Junior High together in Ann Arbor. I moved away in 9th grade but our friendship was uninterrupted by the distance. We decided to make cassette tapes in lieu of letters to one another. And so began a creative outlet for the two of us. Crafting a collection of static moments interspersed with whatever music we had on the turntable. Tape to tape also a favorite practice. We each spent hours making detailed covers and improving our recording skills, fading songs in and out, covering specific topics and launching into supporting music. Theme tapes – trip to the store, lunch at the mall, cleaning my room. Usually, the tapes were given specific names, like an artist album. “Who Me?”, “Start Me Up”, “The Mishawaka Tapes”. Little in my life topped the moments when these packages arrived. I lived in what I viewed as a cultural waste land, a friendless acne covered freak, but not unappreciated somewhere out there. By 1983, we were both on our way to college. My tape creation tanked and has never rekindled to anything that could be called “output”. There exist a few artifacts from me, however Mike remained disciplined. This confession, though unnecessary because at the time a gap in communication was not unusual, It is relevant in to understand how long lasting the impact has been. 

With our audio missives, we occasionally created a tape that is the equivalent of a non sequitur. The Monty Python, “now for something completely different.” We called them Bonus Tapes. In truth, I don’t remember much about mine. There was a strange cassette I found that was only 10 minutes. I think that was my first, but I couldn’t tell you what filled that short span. Thinking about it now, the tape must have come from an answering machine. I cant imagine any other purpose for encasing so little magnetic tape. Additionally, these Bonus Tapes were provided without any fanfare. No cool sleeve, clever title or well crafted theme. They arrived in a clear plastic case, or often with nothing at all, mixed in with their more refined brethren, a thick scrawled “Bonus Tape #…” across the factory label. I forgot to mention that the tapes, along with a unique name, also were sequentially numbered. And Bonus Tapes initially had no name but did have a number. So when in my last year of school, right before another move still further away, I received a package that contained a collection of tapes but one that would be formative for me. First of all, the cover was super cool. No writing – just a series of geometric cutouts of muted bluish construction paper. I instantly thought of those old Jazz album covers front the late 50s and early 60s. The tape cover was clear plastic with a newer black backing. It looked sharp. If I remember correctly it was Bonus Tape 5. And in Mikes very neat block it said – THE BLUES. How impossible to really understand that? A single 60 minute tape, which means 30 per side, was going to be THE blues. The leader collected on the empty  side of the cassette and the speaker picked up mid-song, the smoky joint Muddy Water singing BOOM BOOM BOOM. No intro from Mike, no slick styling, not even starting the song from the beginning. It felt like I’d caught it mid-thought. 

Now I didn’t know the blues then. I knew my rock and roll. My version of the blues was the Blues Brothers album and I liked that a lot. I knew that some of the guys in the movie were the real stuff. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. Listening to Muddy growl through half a song, how fantastic my ignorance! When the song ended, it sounded like someone had punched the cassette stop button, there was a breath and what I imagined was the straightening of the microphone. Then he spoke. A DJ like no other. He talked like the blues, he stumbled over over words but repeated them till they sounded right, not just to him but to anyone listening. The EQ levels were all over the place. He kept saying he was down in the basement sitting on an old beat up orange crate. And that is exactly what it sounded like even though I don’t know if an orange crate chair sounds different than an apple crate. He said it was three in the morning and I could see the exposed pipes running over his head, the heavy  coat he had to be wearing to stay warm as he flipped through the albums he’d spent the entire afternoon pulling off the shelves for the show. And that part, his obvious love and incredible taste in blues was infectious. I wanted to call him, I wanted him to send out one to me. This tape from Mike was on constant rotation. I think it was responsible for revolutionizing my taste in music. Not bad for a “Bonus Tape”.

And as all good stories go, there is intrigue and mystery. One day the Blues tape was there, and the next it was gone. I lived in the dorms at San Francisco State University – Mary Ward Hall. I know it must still be there because it was designed by the guy who did San Quentin. Which means it would have cost ten times the normal amount to bring down than your average student housing. The entire place was poured concrete and rebar. It was such a cinder block it had trouble holding more nuanced pieces to its rigid structure. One time I was in the sixth floor common space and slid open one of the large plate glass windows. It gracefully disentangled itself from the aluminum rail, and freed from the hideous perch, plummeted to a welcome end on the roof of the lunch room five floors below. The floor throughout was like your childhood friends basement romper room that was carpeted but the expense of a padding (which would make it not feel like cement covered in a thin blanket) was too much extravagance. Mary Ward Hall will survive the rapture and Armageddon and will remain unloved and unremarkable in anyway. The structure is similar to where I imagine Jimmy Hoffa sleeps eternally undisturbed beneath a grey institutional behemoth headstone to creativity. Anything good would come to Mary Ward and slip under its banality like a pearl disappearing below the stagnant black waters of quarry that must have been emptied and ground down to make this unhappy place.  This is where my beloved Blues tape came to an end. I had a secret hope that someone found it and they too discovered the Blues and recognized the greatness of the Chicago scene. But I know in my heart it’s gone. There are several suspects, in my mind at least, who may have  been involved in the disappearance. The first and most likely, Kiniki, my wannabe thug roommate expressed an interest in the recording. He found fault in my tastes in music, literature, friends, word choices. Pretty much everything. He sat on his side of the room chain smoking and drinking horribly cheap wine that gives me a headache just thinking about. His complete distain for me with the exception of this tape makes him people’s suspect number 1. Across the hall was a friend, Rick, who also seemed to fall under the spell woven from that basement orange crate. When he came by my room he asked me to play the tape into the boom box. it was always in the boom box – then it wasn’t. And after that first semester they were both gone. Kiniki got an apartment, and Rick started playing guitar and disappeared to Spain. And there was an infinite cast of characters that passed through our room during that time invited by me to bum Kiniki smokes or drink some Kiniki wine. Any of them could have nicked it. Ultimately, the sad conclusion, be it by theft or chewed up by the soul sucking darkness of the dormitory itself, is the tape departed. 

As I’ve gotten older, I begin to better understand the ebb and flow of things – beloved toys donated to goodwill, favorite Wings t-shirt that becomes a rag, the most comfortable chair whose spring popped making it wildly uncomfortable, college friends gone through death or disinterest. But loss is always offset with memory which inflates as required to meet the need. And there are different levels all worthy of note because they become the shelves we fill – our conscious mind just throwing them willy nilly but our subconscious mind carefully aligning and organizing and ranking and cataloging – they become the infrastructure of us. And the rating system – the size and importance, the weight and placement – does not follow any common discernible methodology no matter what the psychoanalyst tell you. Sure the exceptional like trauma and adrenaline spiking fun time make the shelf and inflate and harden to bone until we would not know life without them. To take them away would be a collapse. With the heist fo the Blues, it became for me the touchstone of what the real blues were. Any semblance of authenticity detected during the grinding out of 12 bars I heard on the radio or in a bar was a stolen track from the basement.

So with this conflated view and straight gate belief, I found little else captured the lonely hours sweet with regret as my memory of the solitary disc jockey surrounded by sweating pipes in his underground enclave. I tuned in radio stations claiming to be the blues but ended up being more R&B. Then I listened to blues “programs” – special hours set aside by stations to highlight the best of a genre. These specials only solidified my view — I had forever lost access to the blues. 

I was busy at the time, my attentions splintered across work and school and girls and reading, I abandoned the blues as being so rarified that I would have to do research. This of course was in the dark ages before the internet and “Google it”. There were guides and tons of books but those options were what I didn’t have time for. Today, I would have typed in “Chicago blues” and been on my way. This was 1985. During this time, my definition of home modified to a more liberal “wherever I hang my hat”. My worldly belongings fit into several produce boxes and I tended to be an unnamed party on the lease opting for maximum flexibility. And there were tales a plenty but when I ended up with a loveseat sofa sleeper, I began to get more grounded. And during a particularly stable phase renting a room in the basement in the foggy Sunset district of San Francisco, once again, a friend shifted the course of my musical journey. Doug had been exposed to the original blues tape and he had appreciated it (as anyone who had ever heard it). He showed up on my birthday with an album and three cassette tapes in hand. The album “Chet Baker in Milan” a black and white photo against the broad Red White Green was actually more in keeping with my obsession in 1989. But the cassettes, they were the spark. And who has the temerity to resist Muddy Waters, or John Lee Hooker, or who ultimately become and remains the tone I associate with authenticity – Howlin’ Wolf. 

I don’t know how anyone today acquires a sense of self discovery separate from a SEO marketing effort. I live for the thrift shop, the garage sale, the used bookstore. Sure you are surrounded by the detritus of yesterdays interest but under the SORRY box with its layers of yellowed taped corners, look! It’s a spoken word cassette of Gertrude Stein! Sure I read a book of hers in college but this is something new – to me at least. On that bookshelves in the upstairs bedroom smelling of something that I imagine is close to the smell of death, next to the bed covered with every stitch of clothing owned by an unusually petite husband and wife, between the farmers almanac from 1971 and a random collection of hard back readers digests, the collected short stories of John Cheever. And where do these discoveries lead? Just like the blues, they all have trails long throughout my life and are the pinion that hold it together – my own Brooklyn bridge of experience. Defining, intricate, unique – impossible to imagine myself without. And maybe I don’t trace these cables often from shore to shore but i would be unrecognizable without them. 

Now years later I’d packed up my worldly belongings so different now than a few boxes but now with my wife and my kids and my dog and the baggage that makes up a life, we moved to Seattle. Mike had asked me several times to send along his old tapes so he could digitize. And this move unearthed a collection I’d sealed away on previous relocations (as we all do with our treasures). While packing these up to send off to Mike I made a shocking discovery – the cover of the original Blues tape. Inside was a tape entitled the Blues and I tripped over myself scrounging in my daughters bedroom to find the cassette player she’d borrowed to play Harry Potter books on tape (we’d gotten at a library book sale). However I quickly discovered it was not THE tape but rather a replacement Mike had sent when I told him years before I’d lost the original. Mike’s musical tastes tend to be broader than mine. And this replacement tape was an example of blues music but not in my narrow definition. I described to Mike in detail the radio program he’d captured before, but he had no idea what it was. He’d been up late one night into the early hours, and threw the tape into the recorder, and that’s that. I boxed up the tapes minus the empty cover. This ghost tape I put on my desk. Its near mythic return could not be ignored. 

I’m often distracted. My mother used to say I was always up to something. Intended as a criticism, I have taken pride in it – choosing to embrace versus fight my tendencies. Over the next few years, I began an investigative journey into the mysterious Chicago blues program. I was certain my experience wasn’t unique. Look, everyone who listened to the program “got it”. Someone had compromised their character to steel the thing. It had inherent value. My initial searches were for blues shows in Chicago. Not helpful. And then I started with the “Basement” and the “Orange Crate”. Neither led anywhere. But I did discover in the early 80s there were still a number of Black owned radio stations that serviced the city. I found websites focused on old stations. Several times I thought i was close and followed old call letters only to discover they’d been purchased by Murdock and all the archives now existed with these conglomerates. Occasionally, I found clips of old DJs but none were long enough or good enough to determine. Sadly I discovered that there was a rich culture of black owned radio that had disappeared. And little remains historically to document any of it. The mega media companies have stolen the voice and created a rather dull hum of commercial and commercial edgy programming. The parental warning label is more often a warning of banality than a challenging artistic voice. 

There are radio enthusiast. And they have plenty of websites. Most of them skew to the forties and fifties. I know I’m not alone in pining for seventies and eighties radio, but I guess the retirees that have time to chase their childhood are wolf-man jack fans and not WRIF DREAD card holders. Not to mention after Elvis was on TV, did radio really have the grip on the youth of America? I found some good sites worth checking out – with snippets of old disc jockey talent (see below). I find myself inspired to start my own site to start saving some of these passing moments in time. These inspired inflections in life. But I can’t decide if they are too many or too few. Or once you start that train rolling, is there an obligation to fill the voracious endless well of the web – soon filled with chronicles of my morning coffee service and pithy comments about the next level of political sadness we all share even when we think we are winning. But aren’t we all now Gonzo reporters? Hunter S having pulled the trigger on stream of conscious insight so deft and smart everyone started believing they could do it – or should for that matter. Folks should take a moment and look at how that worked out for him. Keeping a public diary is for the rare spirit to wrestle. Endless sharing with any truth behind it will be into the void devoid of echo. So could I do a website, maybe. I cannot see at the moment anything beyond a collection of notes. Like this one. Jottings in search of a topic sentence.

How does this tale end? The discovery was rather sudden. I was going through a list of DJ names searching the web for clips or articles. One of the names, Big Bill Collins. I did a search and found a YouTube of his radio show with all the music edited out.  In a way, the perfect reward for my search. I listened to it over and over. It totaled about fifty minutes. I’d found my man. He wasn’t like a high school sweetheart – he was exactly how I remembered him – if not better because he was real again. It immediately occurred to me to rebuild the recording to its original by inserting the songs and in a way perform my own restoration of Big Bill. In a world of meaningless activities, consider this – I find a recording of a DJ someone has made and carefull removed all the songs and splicing back together just his voice. I then have to determine every song that has been removed and align it to the fade-in’s and outs. Like some archeologist piecing together ancient pottery that an old farmer had repaired before some gleeful pillager smashed for the shards. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I can be distracted. And I began the journey of reconstruction about two years before completing. Along the way, there were several songs I found that didn’t exist anywhere else but in UK 45 record collections. Thank goodness for their love of the blues. For a while I was stumped what to do. I don’t have a turntable any more. I can’t see me getting half back into that. I started to look at components and I purchased a couple of albums for my daughter who likes to spin a disk on occasion. in the end, I’m not where I want to spend my time in one room with an obligation. The only true spin doctor that I know is Mike, the great creator of “The Blues” tape. So I had the vinyl shipped to him and he digitized for me. He asked why these songs, what was I working on? I told him to be patient. It was well over a year just identifying all the songs. His pronunciation and the obscurity of the artist became it’s own adventure. Once I’d identified all the songs, I started collecting the digital versions. The more easily procured I began dropping into the audio file. However, most were not readily available. I relied heavily on YouTube. The folks that had posted songs there made it possible for me to digitize and find a lot of obscure stuff. I also found that often there are multiple versions – the remix is nothing new. I started with Big Bill’s track. I raised the gain and tried to push the levels. I was working from memory. His presence was the essence, the foundation. Without getting that right, i’d just have spent my time making a mixed tape. He made no effort to mask his process. Buttons clicked and transitions were unapologetic. The way a friend slaps on their playlist and can’t wait to get you their next favorite song. With Big Bill’s track mainly done, I started putting in the different artists. I made slow progress. About 6 months in, it still looked like an old picket fence – more gaps than substance. I used Audacity. Fantastic software, but I was novice and since I wanted to control each piece, I had one long recording of the voice and I would create breaks as long as each song. Getting the right drop-in was tricky in that I didn’t want it smooth but I didn’t want it to sound like a mistake either. There were several times I just put the wrong song in the wrong place. Anyone who has a tight schedule and a hobby they only fleetingly get a chance to indulge will understand the frustration of spending 25 minutes carefully agonizing over details that prove to be not only a waste of time but require additional effort to get back to the point before starting. Mike meanwhile would receive a 45 from Kentucky or Kent and dutifully digitize and forward on trusting there would be more to come. Then all the tracks were on my computer. It’s that feeling you get as the jigsaw puzzle has a handful of recognizable pieces remaining. I didn’t want it to end but I muscled on. After three solid editing passes over the entire 90 minutes and some major fixes, I exported the file to an MP3. I listened to it on the plane on my way to my Maryland client. I played it for my fellow consultants as we drank too much and played pool into the wee hours. Needless to say, they requested it on constant rotation. The spell unphased by time or place. 

That was two years ago. I have several things I can point to as valid excuses. A couple of moves in Maryland. The death of my mother. The general busyness of consulting. And most importantly I realized this was not a casual recording or some simple mixed tape. It was truly formative and important to me. I could certainly let it stand on it’s own. As they say, it needs no introduction. However, I became convinced, the restoration of “The Blues” required an honorarium. Thus prolonging the process keeping the thing undone.Honestly I just don’t want it to be over. To reconcile myself to the last words, I know it still have to design the CD, the booklet, the packet it will go in, the email introduction to the whole thing. There is time, but I know I told myself that when I started. When I first mentioned to Mike that there was a special something coming his way. That was three years ago. I need to set it free. Mike deserves to know just one of the many sets of tumbling dominos he started in my life. What all the secret fuss was about. He deserves that. He’s been patient.

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