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You got me thinking about Charlie

July 14, 2021 09:25AM
Charlie was in my band from 1980 to 1996. Charlie's favorite two musical artists were Hank and Merle Haggard. We lost Charlie a couple of years.

I credit Charlie with snapping me out of my anti-country bias. He loved the song "Cold Cold Heart" and whenever, during a gig, he was allowed to choose the next song to play it would nearly always be "Cold Cold Heart". I hated the song. laughing smiley

It was the late 80's and we were playing in some barn near King City..... it had been a great party, going well into the wee hours. Must have been around 4am when the party came to close.... and for some reason we had not played Cold Cold Heart that gig... Charlie requested it. I didn't mind, it was very late and I was dead tired... Cold Cold Heart is a very slow song and easy to play. So we agreed to end the evening with that song.

I guess you could say I had an 'epiphany' that night. I wasn't expecting it, but it happened. We began playing Cold Cold Heart... on a 'perfect' California night... cool, and since we were on a cattle ranch and far from any city lights the sky was brilliantly lit up by starlight. Only a few, maybe 4, couples remained on the dance floor though many sat around the dance floor on the hay bales. Looking up at the sky, the outline of oak trees on the skyline, it occurred to me that that song, Cold Cold Heart, with Charlie singing it... was perfect. I mean that literally... it couldn't have been better. Thereafter Charlie no longer had to ask to sing Cold Cold Heart because I'd ask him to sing it first.

Charlie was always proud of that... that I had come to love the song as much as him.

In 1995 we lost my cousin, Danny, and lead singer of that band, in an auto accident. We continued the band but it wasn't the same. Charlie stuck around for another year and then retired... both from the band and his turkey ranch. He moved to Chowchilla.... and I didn't see him very often after that, perhaps once a year or so.

A couple of months before Charlie died another band member and cousin, Rick, and I went to visit Charlie - knowing he was in bad health. When we called his wife Bonnie answered the phone and said she'd love for us to visit BUT... she doubted Charlie would remember us. Charlie was beginning to struggle. On the way to Chowchilla Rick and I were worried, would he know us?

Bonnie answered the door, we entered. Charlie was on his living room sofa, lying down, and on oxygen. Rick and I walked into the living room and Charlie saw us..... instantly sitting up and coming to his feet. If Charlie was suffering from the early stages of dementia we couldn't tell... "Rick, Jimmy", he yelled out.

For the next few hours, I forget how many, we talked about old days, gigs from the past, funny stories (more than a few of them risqué). Charlie's memory of our years together as a band were as good as ours, if not better. And during that meeting Charlie brought it up:, "Jimmy, I told you Cold Cold Heart was a great song". laughing smiley I agreed. Charlie had Bonnie get his guitar and bring it to him there on the sofa, and for the last time we played, (Charlie played, Rick and I didn't have any instruments but we sang harmony), Cold Cold Heart. It was perfect. - JamesJM



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2021 09:26AM by JamesJM.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  Hank Williams Sr. - wow.......something special

ferragamo7919July 13, 2021 05:54PM

  You got me thinking about Charlie

JamesJM11July 14, 2021 09:25AM

  Really nice story...

sstrams9July 14, 2021 11:55AM

  One or two timers....

JamesJM9July 14, 2021 12:05PM