Hello, Old Friend

Click on the arrow to play. Allow a few moments for the music to start.

Every April here in Catawba County, North Carolina, hardworking and bighearted volunteers organize the “Veterans’ Stand-Down.” Many of the volunteers are veterans themselves. Veterans in need, some of them homeless, many with psychological and addiction problems, come for free advice, dental treatment, medical referrals, clothes and food. A few years ago, I got to thinking of the stories behind the faces and wrote this song.

The other day, the band was sitting around enjoying a well-earned drink after a rapturously received performance at the Ramada Inn in Falling Rock, North Carolina, when Gene Poole-Skimmings started tickling the ivories on the piano.

“I’ve heard that tune before somewhere,” exclaimed the band’s guitar ace, Dee Sharpe.”

“I should bloody well think so,” I replied. “It was one of the first songs we ever recorded.”

“You know, I was never completely happy with the recording. It always seemed like there was something missing,” chimed in our Peruvian bassist, Juan Tusrifor.

“What it needs is a harmonica,” drawled fiddler and, coincidentally, also harmonica player, Beau Strokes. And he took out his harmonica and started to play. Gene was the first to join in, followed by Juan and me. It was the work of a moment for our skilled Swedish sound engineers, Max and Minnie Mumsetting to fire up their equipment and make this recording right there in the lounge bar of the Ramada Inn. At the suggestion of a girl called Ramona, who was working the bar that night, we slowed it down just a little from the original. Thanks Ramona from the Ramada!

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