Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barry Crimmins - "Farewell, Hercules"

I had only met him once.

He was sharing the stage with Barry Crimmins, and, not surprising, Crimmins deferred the "headline" time slot to him, where, for an hour, or so, he strummed his guitar, talked, and joked, with the audience some, in-between singing some serious sweet tunes.

We speak of folksinger, and writer, and all-around cool guy, Bill Morrissey, who passed away this weekend, at the all-too-young age of 59.


This, from Wikipedia;

Bill Morrissey (November 25, 1951 – July 23, 2011) was an American folk singer/songwriter from New Hampshire. Many of his songs reflect the harsh realities of life in crumbling New England mill towns.
Over the course of his long career, two of Morrissey's ten albums received Grammy nominations and several have earned 4-star reviews in Rolling Stone as well as equal accolades in other major national publications.[citation needed] Stephen Holden, for the New York Times, wrote, "Mr. Morrissey's songs have the force of poetry...a terseness, precision of detail and a tone of laconic understatement that relate his lyrics to the fiction of writers like Raymond Carver and Richard Ford."[citation needed] He is also the author of the novel Edson (Random House/Alfred A. Knopf 1996) and the recently completed Imaginary Runner.


Morrissey, best known for his depressing lyrics, also occasionally wrote such humorous songs as "Party at the U.N." ("It's such a happy community / Everyone's got diplomatic immunity") and "Grizzly Bear", about a frustrated working-class gentleman dating a wealthy young woman who wants to "dance till we dehydrate", while he just wants to "take her home and dance the grizzly bear".

And this, from Gil Bliss, in today's 'Boston Globe';

Mr. Morrissey’s music was distinctive, as he combined a growl of a voice with impeccable guitar picking, all supported by lyrics that reflected his strong literary background. His music had diverse influences, from Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk to the old bluesmen, especially Mississippi John Hurt, whose music Mr. Morrissey featured on one of his two Grammy-nominated recordings.

The most eloquent of tributes comes from Crimmins, himself;

Farewell, Hercules...

The end came for the folksinger, novelist and world-class romantic when he was alone on the road in Georgia over the weekend. I'm sure he died with his guitar lying in its open case on his motel room's other bed, a few boxes of his CD's deposited onto the floor of an inadequate, doorless motel closet, his neatly packed suitcase flipped open on an aluminum stand with nylon straps, a few scribbled notes on a pad on the nightstand, a well-dented bottle of Jack Daniels next to those final thoughts and an ashtray containing the remains of the last few mentholated cigarettes he ever smoked in his remarkable life. It was a life in which he lived most every emotion that he employed in hundreds of songs and a few novels that described the human condition in detail that would make an Egyptian crypt-carver envious.
I suggest you go over and read the entire post of "Farewell, Hercules...".

It's not just they shared stages together, performer-to-performer, road-warrior-to-road-warrior.

It's about losing (and celebrating) a close, personal friend.

Condolences go out to all of Bill Morrissey's family, and to the legion of friends, and fans, who now, much earlier than expected, have to assuage their pained hearts, through clear or fleeting, warm and sweet, recollections, few or many, of the great cool cat that Bill Morrissey was.

Bill Morrissey : Inside

1 comment:

Martin Olson said...

Nice article, Tom.