On a previous blog a few years back I related the story of an encounter I had with Bill Clinton while moonlighting at a restaurant playing organ and singing back in the mid-seventies. I submitted the story this morning for publishing consideration to our local state newspaper and thought, “What the heck, why not just post it and expand on it a bit here on the blog!”
The story revolves around a song made popular back in the sixties. The song titled “Yellow Bird” was released by a group called the “Arthur Lymon Group”. The year was 1961 and the song charted on the Pop Charts at Number 4. The famed “Lawrence Welk” also had a version that sustained some measure of popularity. If you don’t quite remember the song – then give it a listen….
But as to my association with the lovely song and what if anything it had to do with our past President Bill Clinton, well I’ll let you decide for youself. Below is the article as submitted….
“Bill Clinton & My Yellow Bird”
I think it would be fair to assume that most citizens who exercise their right to vote do so with some measure of discern and understanding – both on the issues and in regard to their chosen candidate’s positions. Perhaps on the other hand however there are those of us who from time to time make casting their vote more of a personal thing. I would like to say that I have never found myself to be quite that superficial in choosing a candidate but alas, that is something that I cannot say unfortunately. I can certainly recall one particular instance that instigated that to be precisely the case.
It was in the early fall of 1976 and as I often did back in those days, I was moonlighting filling my evenings by playing organ and singing at a local restaurant, The Marina, located in Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville, Arkansas. It was your typical weekday evening and business at the restaurant was relative slow on the evening in question.
As I recall I had barely begun playing a favorite old instrumental of mine from my repertoire, “Yellow Bird”, when the front door of the restaurant opened and in walked a young man in gentlemanly attire and smiling for no apparent reason from ear to ear. He immediately started shuffling from table to table, greeting the customers with a loud voice, laughing loudly and talking to any mouth not encumbered with chewing or shaking any hand that wasn’t preoccupied with an eating utensil.
As I earnestly labored at the task of weaving the melody of the beautiful “Yellow Bird” between the loud talking and laughing I became more and more irritated at this loud-mouthed imbecile who had rudely interrupted my digestive concert. At some point I finally cut my song somewhat short and curtly announced to my unsettled audience I would be taking a break. In fact, it crossed my mind that perhaps inviting the a** hole who interrupted my lovely “Yellow Bird” out to the parking lot might be in order – business suit or not.
Well, the first thing I did after leaving my bench behind the organ was to approach the owner who was sitting at a small corner table by chance and immediately queried her as to who that loud mouthed idiot was? She chuckled and informed me it was some ‘not so dry behind the ears yet’ wanna-be politician named Bill Clinton running for State Attorney General and he had apparently stopped in to do a little campaigning. I immediately chimed in with a rather loud and emphatic, “Well the a** hole won’t be getting my vote!”, secretly hoping of course that my words of displeasure would somehow knife their way across the room imposing on his rhetoric and raining on his parade.
I then got myself a glass of refreshment, lit up a cigarette and went and found my own corner of despair and drowned my misery in my iced tea! He finally left shortly thereafter and things in my world were seemingly restored back to some semblance of order so I returned not long after to my musical perch and finished out the evening.
But when November rolled around a month or so later, well I suspect I don’t have to tell anyone who I “did not” vote for! I suppose in hindsight my self-sought justice was for naught since casting my vote in perhaps a vindictive manner to keep it out of the hands of my yellow bird nemesis had little bite since he was elected to his first public office in spite of my efforts. And is often the case, misery sometimes manifests itself in “3’s” as we’ve all learned. That proved to be the case because in the election cycle two years later my yellow bird nemesis was elected Governor of Arkansas – that’s “2”. And after years of continued convalescing from the traumatic event I had suffered, in 1992 he gets elected to you know what – President of the United States and that’s “3”!
That was almost forty years ago and as I think back on it all now, I suppose in my old age I have mellowed out and don’t any longer hold any measure of grudge against the fellow. He never, ever got my vote but as these things often turn out – it seems he never needed it. And you know he actually turned out to be quite a likable fellow when it was all said and done.
But, just as most folks probably think of Christmas anytime they hear “Jingle Bells”, so it remains to this day that anytime I hear “Yellow Bird”, well I’m forced to think of Bill Clinton!
That’s pretty much the whole thing I suppose. After initially posting this story on my blog some years back as I mentioned in the beginning, I did decide to play and record my own version of this piece of music in the quite of my home studio well away from any possible interruptions. Although I never quite completed it, which was not unusual for me when I was still writing and arranging, I have included just a short excerpt of my recording and arrangement below and I should again note that “The Electric Key Orchestra” was a pseudomym I used in lieu of my real name – but then that in itself is another story.…
And with that, I leave you with yet another blog post that just seems to go on and on and on…. :?’