The world has lost two great accordion players this past couple of days.
Before I went to work this morning I checked the Gaffometer total and saw it was making steady progress. Checking the "stats" a little later, I came across a google that somebody had typed in "chris gaffney rip". When I clicked on it, it took me down a rabbit hole that I really didn't want to navigate. It was the OC Register obit that really hit home that it was in fact true. A reply to an e-mail sent to Dave in a mild panic confirmed what I already was in a tiz about.
I discovered Chris Gaffney via Art Fein who sent me "Road To Indio" when it came out. Many years later I would get acquainted with the man himself when he came to Glasgow with Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men. Tom Hamilton and I put on a show at Glasgow's Grand Ole Opry at which Chris opened and captivated everybody in the room. It was quite a night. Earlier that day we all made our way from London to Glasgow by train. Quite the trek but what a great time we all had and that memory will stick with me for as long as I'm around.
It became obvious that Chris was something special both as a human being and a performer.
He ought to have starred in his own TV show. He had such strength of character and was in many ways larger than life. The guy was also a gentleman in the most honourable sense of the word.
It was a pleasure to be in his company the few times that I was privileged for that to happen. This was a man that really seemed to have lived and despite not having become a household name like he deserved to, he made more of a mark in his short time on this earth than any of us might be aware including, in the end, his own good self. If he’d won some kind of title as the funniest guy on earth, I wouldn’t have been surprised.
Tonight I'm gonna spend some time with his music and will hoist a couple of bottles while doing so. One thing I'll remember is the proud look on his face when we were playing his (at the time) recently completed Hacienda Bros demos in the bar at Glasgow's Central Hotel. Chris was also a huge boxing aficionado and Ken Buchanan was a big hero of his. The younger Chris was pretty nippy in the ring by all accounts too.
I feel a great sense of loss with regard to Chris' untimely passing. My thoughts are very much with his family including the great David Alvin Esq, all of whom must be devastated. The world has lost a great, great artist who many have yet to discover and I kind of envy them that. Getting knocked out by those golden tones, the very essence of country soul.
On the other hand, as I tap away here, Gaffney is singing Joe Ely’s “Are You Listening Lucky” which is just about to segue into the Cold Hard Facts definitive roadhouse version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”. This guy had all the bases covered and our big backyard is not a better place for his not being around.
Hacienda Brothers homepage.
I didn’t know Danny Federici of the E-Street Band on the other hand but he was always an integral part of the Springsteen sound. To hear that he’d passed away today was a surprise and he too touched a great many folks over the years.