STORIES IN SONG – By Des Kelly
Strange things happen occasionally.
Because of the fact that I love music in general, all types of music, but certainly music that “tells a story”, while browsing through the many CD’s I have recorded, I suddenly came across one with the “title” of the above article, containing songs that do exactly what I am talking about. They tell stories. Reminiscing on just one such personal experience, I decided to share this with all my readers of eLanka, numbering over 20.000, to date.
This happened in Melbourne, Australia in the mid 70’s. I was well into my 2’nd part-time job, as an “entertainer” & “floorshow artiste”, Venue being “The Rising-Sun” Pub., in Richmond. It was a Saturday evening, my 2nd appearance in as many weeks, at the pub, a large popular one, with a “dining room” adjacent to the massive “men-only” bar, as was the custom at the time. Ladies, with or without partners were always welcome to the dining room only.
The band was the same Italian 4piece combo., that I had rehearsed with, & performed with, the previous week. My job with them was to sing a few special requests of their Saturday night customers, backed by Antonio & his band, go to the office, collect my fee & go home, hoping to be asked back the following week, a simple but enjoyable part-time job.
On this particular night, I sat alone at my table, having a cold beer, waiting to be called up on-stage, this guy walked in, up to my table & said “hi, mite”. At once, I knew he was an Aussie bloke, because of his accent, said hello & introduced myself. He said “I know who you are mite, came last Satdy & heard your show”. He was still standing there, so I asked him to sit down, & whether he wanted a beer ?
He agreed, sat down and I called up a young waitress to bring us an extra beer. What was strange about this encounter was the fact that he did not introduce himself, just telling me that he was also a musician, and could he “back me up” as I did my show. I was taken aback by his request. He was somewhat shabbily dressed, so, not to be rude, I just told him that Antonio the band leader would probably say “no way”& anyway, I wasn’t in a position to authorise it, but he said “Don’t worry mite, I won’t even come up on stage. You guys will not even know I’m there”
Then, he just stood up, walked out the front door, and I must say that I felt a sense of relief, hoping that this guy was just having me on, for the sake of a free beer. I carried on with the meal I had ordered, got myself a second beer and listened to the music, waiting for 9.30 pm & my introduction “on-stage”. Antonio did the usual introduction, I walked up, the dining room lights were dimmed to create a special atmosphere, and I started on my first song which was “Walk right back”. The band was right into it, but as the musical interlude came up, from a darkened corner of the room came this solo sound of a “horn” trumpet or cornet, it didn’t really matter. Mixing in subtly with the band, sounding so very good, Antonio looked shell-shocked but happy at the same time, letting this unseen horn player carry on, backing me as though he had rehearsed every song I sang that night, and there were about eight of them.
I finished my show. The applause was even better than the previous week, and I knew why. I walked back to my table, hoping to shake this guy’s hand, buy him another beer and tell him how much everyone in that pub enjoyed his music, but my new “mite” was nowhere to be seen. He had walked out, just as he walked in, and here I was, hoping against hope that we would have the pleasure of his musicianship when next I sang at the “Rising Sun”.
As I said before, strange things happen occasionally.
We never did see this superb musician again, the sad fact is, I don’t even know his name, but I dedicate my song-clip with this article, to him. “Stories in song”, sometimes do come true.
Star of eLanka