I used to sing. I was pretty good at it. My ex played guitar with several bands and we were together for 10 years before he ever heard me sing. I never sang in front of people in those days, so I really did sing like nobody was listening because …..nobody was. I think it’s fair to say he was pretty much stunned when he heard it the first time.
It was on a tape player. (Can you say “LONG TIME AGO?????) I had been messing around with a new song I had heard and I forgot to erase it. He heard it by accident. He asked who in the hell that was. I said it was me. He didn’t believe me for one second because as far as he knew I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. Eventually he got me drunk enough to sing in front of him and prove it was me.
Back in the day we always had music. Everything was accompanied by music. People coming over to hang out always brought guitars, amps, harmonicas and whatever other instruments they had and we jammed. We went to other people’s houses and played. It was alright. And, back in the day, we had beer. I’ll be kind to my momma and leave it at that. So, we started gettin me all drunked up and I started to sing with them.
They came to the conclusion that I sounded like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt. With a slight quiver. That was pure terror. There was not enough alcohol invented to take that away. But they gave me songs and booze and I sang. Then one evening out in someone’s barn a sneaky varmint turned on a hidden tape recorder and taped me singing. A few weeks later we were at another guys house hanging out and playing. When I started to sing a song he jumped up and hollered, “You’re the girl on the tape!” I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.
You have to remember that: 1. I was drunk. 2. I didn’t know about the tape.
So he played it and sure enough it was me. Have you ever heard yourself on tape? I really can’t stand it. I don’t mind hearing myself through my own ears inside of my head, but I hate hearing it from outside in. I almost spit up. But they all seemed to love it. So they hatch this plot. The guy who managed the local newspaper at the time was having a Christmas party at his house and had asked the guy who’s house we were at to get together a band and play at it.
Now I’m really thinking I shouldn’t have had those last couple of beers. They want me to sing. In front of people. A bunch of people. Maybe I’ll rethink that beer thing and just have a few more. Cuz those guys are really excited and happy and wanting this to happen. And deep inside of my alcohol induced haze I’m kinda thinkin this might be kinda cool, too. If I can keep from spitting up, that is.
So we practice. We practice a lot. We practice and we practice and I sing and I sing. I’m well on my way to becoming a raging alcoholic. Because there is no way on God’s green earth that I can sing in front of anyone without it. I’ve only been singing in front of my ex for about 3 or 4 months at this time. But it feels good to have people telling me that I can do something well. And everytime we practice more and more people show up to watch us. It’s all really new and exciting.
So, the fateful evening comes. Let me set the stage for you.
This was about 25 years ago. I was young and hot as a two dollar pistol. Long wavy chestnut brown hair, slender, an ass that looked like two puppies fighting under a blanket when I walked. They get me there and we’re in the back room. It’s almost time to go out. The plan is to keep me in the back of the group until it’s time for me to sing. That way I can get used to the atmosphere and I won’t be so nervous. They brought me a bottle of gin. All the quicker to schnocker you with, my dear. And I knocked that baby back as fast as I could.
Then we went out to the stage. It gets a little hazy around here. There were many people, pretty lights, music, clinking, talking, and then they brought me to the front and set me on a stool and started playing my music. I think I had my eyes closed because I was ok at first. I just started to sing and I was having fun for the first few lines. Then I noticed that it was very quiet in that place. I opened my eyes. Everyone was standing there with their drinks in their hands and they were all looking at me! I immediately stopped singing. I thought I had messed up really bad. I turned around and looked at the guys in the band. They said, “Keep singing, they love it!!”
I turned around and looked at all those faces again and they were nodding their heads yes! Holy Crap! The band started playing again and so I started singing again. They sang with me and they clapped and sometimes they just stood there and listened to me. It was probably the most incredible thing ever. I sang every song we practiced. Somewhere along the line I forget the rest of what happened. It all just sort of melts into one big good ol time.
We played alot of other places and I got to sing alot of other times. It was always a big surprise to me. And it always felt really great. But that first time will always be my favorite. I don’t do that anymore. But, once upon a time, long long ago………
I used to sing.