Objects can’t be friends, I know, but sometimes there is something familiar in the feeling of manipulating an object that has become a fixture over the years. So, then, in a fit of teen fantasy about music that swirled around my head (and sometimes still does), in the midst of a summer soaked with Dickey Betts and company playing stuff from Brothers and Sisters, the first post-Duane recording, I went out and bought this:
It’s strange, in a way, that a chance encounter at the Student Union Building a couple of weeks earlier had pretty much decided me that I wouldn’t be pursuing music as a career. The building was on an events-only status, meaning that my games area gig had turned into door security for some events, one of which was a party of some sort where a pick-up band was scheduled to be the entertainment. One of said musicians drove up in a very banged-up Beetle and approached the door with what was clearly a case with some variety of Gibson guitar in it. He was early and pleased enough to show off his ’54 Les Paul Gold Top, then to give a quick overview of what he could do with it (without any sort of amplification), proving that he was a fine musician. We got to talking some, and he allowed that he wasn’t exactly basking in the glow of recognition of his talent, nor was he spending freely the largesse of the music-loving public, little of which seemed to have been deposited in his pockets, and he and his wife were struggling to make ends meet with their two children, even though she worked at a reasonably well-payed job. Apparently, she respected his talent and desire enough to continue to subsidize his playing habit. Finally, he handed the LP over to me, an opportunity I couldn’t resist despite minimal learning and possibly even less innate talent. His example was enough of a cautionary tale, despite his encouraging words, to keep me from ever seriously considering music as a steady gig. However, it never kept me from playing, though mostly in the comfort of my own quarters, where I get to play what I want, when and how I want. I have also managed to acquire other instruments, all of which I like a lot, but this old warhorse has tolerated my moods and continues to pump out lovely sounds when I take the time to work at it. It’s rare, particularly when life seems to be constantly accelerating change cycles, to keep something for forty years, but today is the fortieth anniversary of this particular acquisition and I thought it would be nice to share the thought.
Here is what Bruce (and co-conspirator Garfield) cooked up for me: