OK, This is something Joe taught me cuz’ he had such an incredible ear for music. I know, I know…we’ve all heard this song 100 times over and it’s a tad misogynistic, but that’s not the point, so just relax and roll with me on this one. Umkay?
One night, many autumn moons ago, Joe said; “Timmy! You’ve GOT to hear this part! Then, he put the needle down on the record and played “ownly” the portion of Midnight Rambler between the 7:47 & 8:19 mark. 5 times. Back to back. He’d get so excited. “LISTEN! LISTEN! Hear how Mick Taylor is floating under and over Keith’s rhythm!” Then…with the record blaring at full volume at Chateau Le’Roy in Ferndale, Joe got right in my ear. (he did that on a regular basis with complete strangers) In perfect tune & pitch, he started right in with Taylor’s riffage…doo doo doo doo doo….doo doo doo doo doo….doo duh dee da…dee da duh doo…and on it went throughout that musical bridge back into the last verse. Joe did not miss ONE note. He was like some kind of Savant Sampling Machine who soaked up music like a junkie scoring scag in the “D”. The analogy fails because He Was So Much Fun and did not give one rolling doughnut how he looked, when locked in on a musical mission.
After Joe discerned that he’d sufficiently schooled this brother enough so I “got” it, an awesome time of epiphanal, transcendent, deep pocket jamming forged our hearts as one in holy brotherly communion. I looked at him and said,
“Wow Joey. I never really heard that until you pointed it out”.
He loved getting his affirmations, but never sought them out.
Sufficiently validated, he looked at me with that big Irish Grin and said;
“Now THAT is Rock N’ Roll Timmy! It’s all right there in that little riff.”
From Joe’s passionate lesson more than 30 years ago, to this very day, I can spot any band that can put the roll in the rock. In that same house, we would play guitars. One day, I kept hitting the wrong note. Finally, in the only manner he could express his exasperation, Joe yelled; “TIMMY! KNOCK IT OFF IF YOU DON’T STOP PLAYING THE WRONG NOTE I’M GONNA’ HAVE TO FINE YOU–JUST LIKE BB KING DID TO HIS BAND”.
Well, my eyes are now flooding with tears at the joyous memory of it all. In Joe’s honor, I’m going to learn Midnight Rambler right now. Hell, it’s only a few chords. And while I’ll never be able to play like Mick Taylor, there’s no need to because I can close my eyes and still hear Joey humming that lead within a half inch of my right ear canal…right down to the center of my soul.
Sweet Jesus….I’d give anything watch him hum…..doo doo doo doo do….in some lucky target’s ear again. They always walked away with a grin and a better person for it.
I sure did.
Ramble On Joe