This month's song is very, very special for me. Last December, Chris Gaffney joined me on stage with The Gene Taylor Blues Band and sang Earl King's classic 1955 blues ballad, "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights." As great as Earl King's original recording is, Chris and I have always loved the version by Johnny "Guitar" Watson also cut in '55. Besides a typically passionate vocal, Watson's version features one of my favorite guitar solos of all time - as simple and effective as a Zen haiku or a punch in the face (I try to replicate Watson's furious, one note attack in the first chorus of my solo before heading off in my own direction). Needless to say, Chris sings the hell out of it. As some of you who are fans of his solo recordings and his CDs with The Hacienda Brothers already know, Chris is one of contemporary roots music's greatest singers. Whether the song is country, soul, blues, rock and roll, norteno or even Sinatra pop, Chris delivers the musical and emotional goods like few others can these days.
All this brings me to some very sad news. My best friend Chris Gaffney is seriously ill and requires some costly medical treatments. Unfortunately, most of us understand the tough financial reality of the health industry these days and know that every little bit helps in paying the various bills. To help Chris cover his medical expenses, his family has put together a website where all of his friends and fans around the world can donate to the Gaffney cause. Please go to helpgaff.com. You'll be able to make a donation there through this site as well leave get well messages for Chris and get updates on his situation. I know times are tough for just about everyone right now, but any contribution you can make would be deeply and sincerely appreciated by Chris, his family and me.
Our version of "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights" with Gaffney is another outtake from the upcoming Gene Taylor Blues Band live CD, and whatever income is generated from the downloads of this recording will be going directly into the Gaffney medical fund. I'd like to thank the members of The Gene Taylor Blues Band (Gene the piano monster, bass specialist John Bazz and drum deity Bill Bateman), genius recording engineer Mark Linett, visionary executive producer Hudson Marquez and the good folks at Yep Roc for their generosity and help in making this possible.
Get well brother Chris. I'll see you in Cuervo!
- Dave Alvin, March 17, 2008