So lets end up this tale of the night, summer ’74, the future changed hands. Yes, I held the future in my hands,, those few pages of words, feelings, thoughts have affected the lives of countless people and when the truth is known, as it will be in the not too distant future, may everyone be ready. I’ve lived my life, not thinking of the past very much till now, very rarely did I tell/discuss my dealings with Bruce , those who knew/know about it knew not to bring it up. I’d be working, have a radio on, a song comes on, the words flip a switch and I’m remembering everything about the song, that I wrote it, where, for whom/why, etc. Then I’d keep on working. I told John Hammond that the songs were Bruce’s to keep for himself, even the ones I said give to certain people, if he so desired to keep them. He also was given permission to change a word or two if he thought it was required. He asked about what to do with any money they made, well I just said what ever they make, $25,000/$50,000 Bruce was to keep for me. Now obviously these songs made a lot more money than that and the one’s given to other’s made money for those singers. Well like I said those people don’t owe me anything but a handshake/thank you. Do something good, help someone else out/do for other’s.
Over the years Bruce has done a lot for the hungry, well I asked him to help the hungry every town he plays and he has kept his word on that count. But, of course, there’s a problem. I’m writing this story so as there is a true accounting of all that passed that summer. And other events in my life, in this day & age I’d of had no problem getting my songs recorded, I would not have to deal with record company’s , they would have come to me. There was a bar on Route 9 just south of Freehold that I’d go to sit, have a beer, talk with farm people,etc. I’d listen to the jukebox, writing words on what ever paper ’round, even bar napkins, they always worked great. Of course one or two people would get interested in my writing, so I’d read them my words, then they’d like them so much they’d have me reading to the whole bar of 15 people. Got me free beers but back then beer was cheap. Wrote a few lines in that joint, of which one was “Something In the Night”. Not much to it really but you’d have to imagine someone singing it the right way and Bruce got it right, with the feeling coming from his gut of heartache, sadness and disappointment.
So it’s done, I’ve won, getting Bruce to accept my words as his own. One thing , I had music for some of my songs but he only asked for certain songs music, but as I’d explained, the way I wrote the words/lines just naturally lent themselves to a rhythm, a tone, a sound you’d hear when you started saying /singing the words and I made up some on the spot.. Now I would like a beer to celebrate my night but as is custom I was tapped out. So I ask Bruce to spot me a ten, he gives me a funny look and tells his friend who came along with him to just give it to me. I reply he could take it out of my money he’d be holding for me. And as I wrote the words for “Don’t You Know What the Night Can Do”, for Steve Winwood whom I also saw at the Fillmore East, I went next door to the liquor store and got a 6-pk of Michelob Beer and a pack of Winstons. As I walked back to the stable gate I could see they were still in the store talking, but I wanted quiet/peace sittin’ in the shed row talkin’ with a horse lookin’ out at the night. I’m on my second life, having died, then zapped back to life, guess you could say my feelings on many things have changed now.
And I did tell him how/when I wanted my money. Damn if I didn’t also tell him what would happen if he fucked me. Let’s just say it ain’t pretty. The main point being if he didn’t come thru then his Word, his handshake mean nothing. He will have become what he so rails against now. Things he resisted against at various points in his career become meaningless as he is no better than those he fought so hard against. And more importantly the common man, injustice, hopelessness, the very words he sings become a lie. He will have become the very essence of what is wrong about the recording industry, government in this country.
I just got back out of the hospital, again for my heart, thought it was over again, but I’m back today, what a wonderful feeling, still being here that is! And yes this story I’ve told is true, I’ve written the words to Grammy, Oscar-winning songs, so many # 1’s, all in other’s names. I’m laughing believe it or not as I write this for even if I pass on, someone will take care of business for me, concerning Bruce. For as they say Jesus forgives sins, debts, I don’t.
People, you should give the Alabama Shakes an ear, the singer ain’t exactly a pinup but who said a voice always comes in pretty packages. “Hold On”, is a good tune, they might be going places! Also have you heard, “Midnite in Harlem”, Tedeschi/Trucks Band, Duane would be watching/listenin’, saying “Damn”. Actually met Derek years ago, think he was 13. Place I used to play down here, blues club, he had a show so I asked him to pass a letter to Gregg for me. He’ll be in the Hall one day, Derek that is.
It’s that time again, good luck to you all trying to change America for the better. May you succeed in getting’ rid of crooked politician’s/banker’s, etc., etc. May Obama be reelected, and the tax laws be finally changed rather than just talked about every 4 years.