September Song

Al, 77
Walnut Creek

Your song?

If there’s any one song that wraps it up for me, it’s September Song. Oh, boy. That one hurts. A lot of old songs are so very good. Just like “Who’s on First?,” in a different way. That’s always there for us.

Why did you start thinking about this idea of “death songs”?

Well, it’s a reference I kept find coming up in various books, but particularly in Plains Indian culture. I know little about it, except that it seems to be important. It’s the way a man sums up his life.

We use the phrase casually, “His was a life well-lived.” Well, maybe, maybe not. But if you can put down a record in some form—“Yeah, this was my life: this is the way I did it”—it might be interesting for the people who come after you.

If you have any kind of, I guess, sensitivity for lack of a better word, music goes through your life, whether that be popular music, or death songs, or whatever you want. But I originally had been thinking in terms of a death song being, well, for a funeral or whatever; I’m gonna record a tape with a whole bunch of music on it that will either stun and amaze, or whatever, those who have attended it.

I recently made the discovery that my musical knowledge, was sadly off —-I always thought the Geezinslaw Brothers sang “Bird of Paradise”. It was Little Jimmie Dickens. And I know that now.

And…is that a song you’d want included in your memorial?

I don’t think so, no.

So..your “no-go” song?

“May the Bird of Paradise fly up your nose?”
Yeah, that would do it.