“Fake Books”

Back in the day they were declared illegal and immoral but I grew up to Dad playing piano and singing songs from the 20’s on up to the 60’s. They’re not original sheet music, thus the “fake” tag. But anyone trying to make it through college playing the fiddle at square dances couldn’t afford sheet music for every song.

Last year he gave me one. It was tattered and on three rings, one of which is now holding together my measuring spoons. I bought a paper cutter and cut off all the excess and placed each page in a plastic sleeve in a new binder.

What does it do but give me ideas and remind me of my childhood standing behind Dad at the piano and learning how to make up harmonies. Yes, that’s something I still do for fun. It’s impossible with rap et al which is not music to me. That’s something I’d like to do with him one day, sing at the piano.

One song really brings everything together and no-one knows it anymore. I went to a wedding about 15 years ago and the live band started with the 20’s by decade. I danced and knew every word of every song. Someone mentioned my knowledge of decades of music and I simply said, Dad.

It’s only a shanty in old shanty town, the roof is so slanty it touches the ground. It’s a tumble down shack by the old railroad track, like a millionaire’s mansion keeps calling me back. I’d give up a palace if I were a king, It’s not only a palace, it’s my everything. There’s a queen waiting there with a silvery crown in a shanty in old shanty town.

There’s a contra element that Dad added after the first verse and I don’t remember the words to that. He knew that if I could sing the verse while he sang opposite me I probably had perfect pitch and a brain to go along with it.  Think about singing row, row, row your boat and having others come in every phrase.

I love having my preserved fake book from olden days but today I enjoy downloading free lyrics online without any musical notes or chords and making it up myself. Strange, I know. I did take up guitar at age 50 but they ended up giving me private lessons with a drummer who only cared about the beat and not the music so I quit. We were singing something together and I went into harmony and he followed me then realized he was wrong. He was angry and said, you must have perfect pitch. I replied that I didn’t know but several music teachers have told me so. It went downhill from there.

When we lived out west I chose a food delivery company not only because it would deliver to my door weekly all the heavy stuff like milk and juice, eggs, bacon and more. I bought the surprise package of fruits and veggies that would inspire me invent something new in the kitchen.

That produce box (thanks Winder Farms) is my fake book. It provided inspiration to create and to comfort friends and family. Oh, no, I may have to get Beatles Rock Band out of storage and bring people in to sing and play! Let’s not sing Eleanor Rigby today, that was tough in poetry class. Let’s do something upbeat and I can score 100 on vocals. Dee

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