A Lifetime of Memories Part Two

The Brothers Four
Tue, 06/14/2016 - 01:40

Once I start remembering the memories come flooding in no particular order…I was part of the last Brothers Four recording for Columbia records in 1969. One of my solos came on Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Flying to Japan later that year the song was part of the in flight entertainment package. I must have listened to it a hundred times…It was amazing to read James Clavell’s “Shogun” in Japan…I remember the fried chicken baskets after shows at many hotel’s top floor restaurant or Sky Bar…I remember getting the autographs of Shigeo Nagashima and Sadaharu Oh (Japan's Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig) to bring home for a friend…Nagashima ended up giving me the hat he wore the previous game…going to Akio Morito’s house because the head of Sony’s son wanted to meet The Brothers Four and while there we were shown a product that was about to be introduced to the general public. It was going to be called a Walkman…all the black cars with white lace and white gloved drivers…those years when I would run around the Imperial Palace…doing Christmas shows in hotels all around Japan. The snow was falling in Sapporo…all those years we performed in tuxedos…not able to sleep that first trip in 1969 and listening to Armed Forces Radio playing a new song called “Snowbird” by an unknown artist named Anne Murray…ordering stereo gear that same year, addressing it to Seattle, Washington and it being shipped WASHINGTON, DC…fortunately my friend Bruce was living in DC then and sent it on its way…there was that tour in 1979 when I spent 4 or 5 hundred Yen after each show playing Space Invader…The Grass Roots Summit in December of 1991 in Koyto is a special memory. The summit was to emphasize that though 50 years earlier we had been enemies that we had first become friends a hundred years before that…I remember learning a medley of Stephen Foster songs on the banjo because of how much the Japanese like Foster’s music…there was a Blue Note Club tour when there was en earthquake, a typhoon, and the plane got hit by lightening on the way home…I remember those times when my career was stalled or faltering and a tour of Japan made it possible to continue…

Just a few of a lifetime of memories…I am including lots of photos in this blog…they show the busy streets…Osaka-Jo at night…Mt. Fuji from a few different angles…racks of bikes and rows of vending machines…sights from different shrines…from a performance hall or two as well…

The country and more importantly the people of Japan forever have a piece of my heart…

I am including a recording of the Stephen Foster medley, “Both Sides Now” from that Columbia recording, and the group’s recording of “Try to Remember.”

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