“Oh, the wives of the saints have troubles of their own.” Chuck’s lyrics pop into my head all the time. Hearing The Colorblind James Experience perform forty of his songs over the weekend has reopened the floodgates.
The titles alone of Colorblind songs come complete with their musical hook. “Considering A Move to Memphis,” “A Different Bob,” “Euphoria Jones,” “Rocking’ As Fast As I Can,” “I Saved Your Life,” “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself,” “Show Me” and “She Took The Ring Off A Dead Man’s Finger.” The lyrics unfold like parables. Or poetry.
In high school Chuck and I were both friends with a brother and sister, the girl from his class and her brother from mine. When they moved away Chuck drove down to visit the guy with Peggi and me. I’m not using their names for a reason.
One night between Colorblind sets at Schatzee’s I told Chuck a story that the brother had recently shared with me. I was not supposed to tell anyone about this but I did. We were both friends with the players so I told Chuck and said, “Please, don’t tell anyone.”
The girl was working as a nurse when they brought a body into Emergency. The famous (very famous) person was pronounced dead and the hospital staff told her to sit with the body while they notified the family and authorities. She slipped a ring off his finger as a souvenir. Chuck thought the story was fantastic and a short time later the band was performing “She Took The Ring Off A Dead Man’s Finger.”
I helped Chuck put the artwork together for “Solid Behind the Times,” the album the song was on. Chuck always wanted his lyrics printed out on the lp but the company didn’t have it in the budget so they wound up on an insert. Twenty years later the girl caught wind of the song by her classmate. She back-pedaled a bit and said, “It wasn’t his ring. It was a lighter.” Not as poetic. I don’t believe her.
“Or would he want her to have it
Oh, he might very well”