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Monday, March 5, 2012

3-05-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Starter Job #62 (“At Last I Am Free”)

In my UK adventure I now knew had a real friend now, somebody who gave enough of a crap to take the time to return a call and maybe hang out. The knowledge that I’d left behind my life in NYC and now was really on my own in a very strange land had begun to sink in, along with signs of depression. I fought them off, reaching out for whatever help might be possible.

So on a lazy late August weekday, John Bentley drove up from Crystal Palace. We went to lunch and the zoo. We took pictures there, too. . . especially loved the little ponies. We laughed and joked around a lot, horsing around for sure!

Again, I’ve got to say that Johnny B. was quite adorable and funny. In fact, he was rarely serious, except when it came to music. And he liked to eat, drink, etc. -- though in moderation, because he’s not a big guy at all. Suited me fine, because I am a slave to moderation.

Musically, John Bentley was into writing his own songs, which Squeeze wasn’t into recording. And he was really into Allen Touissant, Rick James, and the bands Chic and LaBelle -- really, anything really kind of cool and funky. “At Last I Am Free,” was a key song. . . and in Bentley’s living room, I picked up a bass and figured out that great bassline from “Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi?” and if I had been a little less shy I’d have asked John how to finger it and play much better than the lame way I was going about it, but. . . at the time, I didn’t want to look musically ignorant, or be a bother. I sure did love the parts the bass played in great music of ALL kinds (pop, country, R&B, rock, jazz, and especially classical), as did Bentley.

I loved this one song Bentley wrote, “Workin’ Class,” and learned how to sing and play it on guitar. He also had a really cool samba-ish song, “Hidden Danger,” that I learned from him, and I still love it to this day. . . nice hook in it goes, “Five a.m., a voice comes on the telephone/Says ‘I’m sorry’ a hundred times. . . I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. . .”

And the lyrics to the end of the song went: “Talkin’ to some stranger/’Bout the Hidden Danger/Better Grab your coat and hat and leave before you fry. . .”

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