I’ve got a slew of fantasy recording projects in my head. I half-plan them all the time. One is a tribute album consisting only of the songs of my favorite rock band, The Sinatras. Another is an all murder ballad collection. Still another is an album of not-as-well-known Muppet songs. I like “Rainbow Connection” as much as the next guy, but how about “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday”? Or “Be With Me”?
Well, I haven’t gotten to the all-Muppet-song album yet, but on this new record, I am fulfilling a longtime dream (obsession? preoccupation?) I have recorded “When The River Meets The Sea”, a song from Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. It’s the crown jewel in a forty-year-old TV special full of great songs written by Paul Williams. Emmet Otter had a very limited theater release this past December. I took my boy, Emmet, to see it with me. (See previous blog post to read about my blubbering. I only cried a lot.) I listened to my own recording “When The River Meets The Sea” in the car on the way to the theater. I gotta say, it’s pretty cool. Hard to go wrong when you start with the words and music of the great Mr. Williams. And when you have a whole bunch of crazy-talented people playing and singing with you… well, yeah… you get the idea.
It sounds like church to me. The good kind of church. There’s piano by Mark Hartman. The kind of piano that makes you remember why Willie Nelson has kept his sister, Bobbie, in his band the past 45 years. There are beautiful harmonies, sung by Sarah Fuerst, Lily Werbin, Grace Gheen and Joe Newberry. Joe plays my dad’s Gibson J200 on it. Rick Slachta on bass. Beautiful playing from everyone.
It’s the first song I ever sang to my boy. It opens the record. An “altar call,” Joe said it was. Indeed.