My father emailed me back in February to tell me that he'd written a song for his friend, Tom's, surprise sixtieth birthday party, and he needed some melody and rhythm help from me. I pulled out my guitar and recorded three videos, with three different chord patterns, invented on the spot, for him to choose from. He wrote back saying that, while they were all good, he liked the more bluesy rhythm best. He explained how many verses and instrumental interludes there should be, and I recorded a video, beginning with a "Hey Tom! Happy birthday!" message to try to fool people into thinking that I was being beamed in live over video conference. After I finished, I smiled and said goodbye. Three days later, at the party, my father downloaded the video to Tom's computer, invited everyone at the party to gather around, and the three of us, me on guitar, my father on vocals and harmonica, and my mother on harmonizing vocals, performed the Old Man Blues for our dear friend, Tom. He loved it, of course.
One month ago today, my father turned sixty years old. He was visiting us at the time and he, my mother, and I performed the Old Man Blues, a song about getting old, for my grandmother, wife, and daughter. This time I recorded it. Keep in mind that we had never rehearsed together and I'd only played the song once three months earlier.
Well I'm sixty years old and I've got those old man blues Yeah, I'm sixty years old and I've got those old man blues I've worn a hole in my last pair of shoes
Well I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer Yeah, I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer 'Cuz the future's uncertain but the end is always near
I'm going down to the river, gonna take my rocking chair I'm going down to the river, gonna take my rocking chair If the blues overtake me I'll rock on away from there
Well I've had my fun if I never get well no more Yeah, I've had my fun, if I never get well no more I'm getting ready to go now so point me to that door
I'm gonna lay my head on some sad old railroad track I'm gonna lay my head on some sad old railroad track It'll break your heart Baby but you always look good in black
Well I'm standing at the station Lord, waitin' for that train Yeah, I'm standing at the station Lord, waitin' for that train But there'll be no teardrops falling in my Champagne
Well I'm sixty years old and I'm tired of showing the way I'm sixty years old and tired of showing the way I'm growing one week older each and every day
Well I hate to see that sun set in the west Yeah, I hate to see that sun set in the west Break out the good suit Mama it's time to go get dressed
It may not surprise you to learn that, ten years earlier, my father wrote a song called the Half Century Blues.
Rock on, Dad! I can't wait to sing the Septuagenarian Blues with you in 2019. Hopefully Nora's dance moves will have improved by then. You might need to start now if you're going to find a word that rhymes with decrepit.