Saturday, June 21, 2003
Getting back again to Mack Bailey at Baldwin's Station on 6/18/03.
I am sitting with a friend, who like my husband is celebrating a June birthday, so this show is a great opportunity to meet during their "birthday month". Our friend, Wendy, presents occasional house concerts for people like Charlie Zahm (he is a favorite in this crowd) , Robin Bullock, and
Castlebay. They are mostly by invitation, so if Wendy ever invites you to her lovely but sporadic Baltimore apartment events, you will be in for a treat. Joining us is Wendy's friend who works at the Tai Sophia Institute. He is not an acupuncturist himself, but I think one is here from the conversation I overhear at break. At Baldwin's most tables are large and you can sit with people you don't know. I ask the woman to my left if they see Mack often and she says every Sunday, he goes to my church.
Other's at the center table saw Mack last Sunday at
Rams Head in Annapolis with members of the former John Denver band as backup. One of them tells me she wants to see this show, but wishes all of Mack's shows could be with the John Denver band. I am sure that is lively, but I often prefer just the singer and a guitar. For me bands sounds can get loud. If I can get up and dance I can get into loud music, but otherwise I often prefer the intimacy of hearing all the words and the more accessible sound of just the guitar and the voice.
We tell the newcomer to Baldwin's that trains come by. Uusually performers are forewarned and may have a train song prepared. What will the train song be tonight? But then a train comes by as we are waiting for the show to start, so maybe there won't be another.
Set List -
High Gear - this is the first song. I like it better as a Mack solo than when he sings it with The Hard Travelers (sorry guys) I do love the Hard Travelers too. We often see them with W. at their Christmas show at Rams Head
Rock Me Grandpa - At a Christmas concert with Maggie Sansone's group years ago we picked up a flyer about a "house concert". Now what is that? We tried it. At our very first evening at The Panzer House Concert as Mack sang this song, we were hooked. How did they get a performer like this to come to their home? We keep giving the Panzer's another chance to delight us, and over the years they have never failed. We see Mack elsewhere too now. Following people we see at the The Panzer's around the Baltimore and Washington beltway has led us to many interesting venues, and to this room tonight.
Virginia When It Rains starts but Mack slides seamlessly Fulson Prison Blues at the sound of an approaching train. Mack sings " oh that train keeps rollin on to San Antone" 3x as this train just does not end. Returning without missing a beat to Virginia When it Rains, after the train when it seems the train has gone, but no there is more train and we hear Old Train "Oh Train I Can Hear Your Whistle Blowin"
Paraphasing Mack roughly - In a Country Roads Folk Festival songwriting group I was challenged to write a song about crosses on the side of the road. The song title felt too morbid then, but later I was driving home from a trip to N. Carolina and words starting coming into my head. It is hard to drive and write. For safety I pulled over the side of the road, and had to pull over several times to get all the words down. The song became an up-beat song
Cross at the end of the Road
Another one from Country Roads. I was working on this song and I felt stuck. I saw Tom Paxon, and went over to him and asked if I could play this song for him. He said, "we can finish this". So we co-wrote
Just Because You Can't See Me
Autumn in New England - Joyce Sica requested this one
Another train comes by
I Walk the Line…
Mt. Washington Hotel Song - Mack was asked to write a jingle for a hotel in New Hampshire - and as requested came up with this ditty for an ad. Ignore the official words on Mack's web site. The last line cracks up this crowd and show's Mack's slightly rebellious streak, and is the reason they declined to use the song.
Daniel Lee - no train going by now but this song mentions a train
Mack was asked to perform for a 5oth Wedding Anniversary celebration. He asked the wife what was the secret to her long marriage. She said "patience"; her husband said, "I kept my mouth shut". They requested:
I'd Rather Wear Out than Rust
This was another request from the 50th Anniversary - The Wind Beneath my Wings
The Way You Look Tonight
La Vien Rose -This song has a French verse and as he finishes it Mack jokes "I have no idea what I just said" A woman in the audience seductively retorts "I'd be happy to take you out back and tell you" . We all laugh. I do not think to look around to see if her husband is laughing, but he knows she is a character so he probably is not surprised.
Mack tells us he and a back up person had a copy of a song John Denver wrote - they had the cords written down and they were practicing for a performance. Mack's partner said great, well you know the song. But Mack didn't know the song! They went out and performed this song, and now Mack has recorded it.
Wandering Soul (Love is the Answer) - by John Denver
The Wings that Fly us Home by John Denver
The first set is over. I tell Wendy I admire her ability to knit and watch the show. She tells me she went to a "knitting retreat" and learned knitting as a meditative activity. She is making something quite ambitious for her first project - a lovely tunic which is most done. More on the Intermission and the second set coming soon.