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By Jean Metcalfe
I want to say right up front how proud I was of all our writers who performed their original songs – and in some instances, the songs of other non-performing members – on the showcase that followed the awards dinner.
Tim Lynch led off with his clever "Scoot Over Rover, which was a finalist in two categories of our songwriting contest. And even though he was quite nervous, he did a fine job of it. He also did a great and efficient job of handling all the on-stage roady chores. Thanks, Tim!
Alan Morris followed with "Take One More Step," and did a commendable job. Ditto for "Papa" Gene Adams on "Lonesome Pine Tree."
Becky Bennett and Kelly Wilkinson got the audience's attention with their nice harmonies on Joann Hatcher and Keith Bradforo's "Say Hello to Your Last Goodbye Kiss."
Fighting back a lack of breath after having raced to the stage just in the nick of time, Scott Furlong displayed his new "Tell Me If My Eyes Tell the Truth," and I detected more than a little nervousness in his voice. Not to worry, Scott, you did all right and I sure enjoyed your "Never Never Lie" at the guitar pull the prior evening.
A lovely piano solo of "Don't Do This to Me" by Marian Maxwell was very well done. Marian is a professional pianist and that was apparent in her performance.
John Dowell did a touching rendition of "Those Eyes," and I was once again reminded what a nice voice he has and how well he writes. It was no surprise that his "No Room" did well in the songwriting contest. I have listened to it many times and I am touched by it each time.
Although the darkness of the stage caused Jude Kupper to pass right on by the piano she was to accompany herself on, she quickly righted the situation and went on to do an admirable version of her "Maserati Moonlight." (If I hadn't already cared for Jude, she would have caused me to do so when she asked me for my autograph during a later performance of my song on the showcase.)
We didn't put Bob Maples "on the clock" to see if he adhered to the four-minute limit for songs, but the audience did put him at ease with their several indications of approval of his lyrics for "Portrait Of An All-American Hero."
Lynn Riffle's original "Don't Go Away" certainly kept the audience with her as she accompanied herself on piano and showcased her lovely voice.
I recognized Larry Easton's "The Same Old Crowd" as a song he had written some time ago. I liked it then and I still like it. Although Larry later told me that he was scared to death onstage and. could hardly breathe, only those of us who have heard him before would have guessed. He has a wonderful voice and many of us are well aware of that fact, even though Larry seldom performs publicly. Too bad.
Lee Cable and Robbie Bartlett joined together to do a nice version of Lee's nice "Baby, I'm Gonna Love You." Lee is perhaps best known for his "Cocky Feet," which placed second in the Jazz/Blues category of the contest and received an honorable mention in the Rock category.
Jazzy Marie Augustine has been known to write a song or two about the breaking up of a relationship. One such was "One Dish From Your Smorgasbord Is Gone," which received an honorable mention in the contest's Jazz/Blues category. Marie did a nice job of singing that tune on the showcase.
Karen Le Van met a lot of nice people at Billy Edd Wheeler's "SongChase" in North Carolina this past summer. One of them, Danny Arena, helped her rewrite "Strangers Again," and another, Donna Beck Michael, graciously agreed to sing the song on the showcase. Donna Beck did a lovely job on the rangy number and Karen was very happy and appreciative. Understandably so.
"Music Man" Charlie Walls, who expended untold hours of time and energy to help ensure the success of "Run for the Royalties," continued his helpful ways by taking charge of the second set of the showcase. With his "Silicon Valley Boys," Charlie did not only a few of his own originals, but provided his synthesized band as backup for several other L.A.S.C. writers.
Claude Wayne opened the set with a funny, well-done bit with his famous "Mini Minnie," a dummy of Minnie Pearl which Claude created. I especially enjoyed the "dueling impersonations" and "Elvis Fudd."
Earl Meyers, who had five songs in the finals of the songwriting contest (he won the country category), ran out of luck when a severe case of laryngitis kept. him from singing his "No Turning Back" on the showcase. Charlie was standing by with taped tracks, but in Earl's case the show went on but he didn't.
Ken Perkins is not usually redundant. but the title of his great country tune was. Ken performed "I Love You, I Love You, I Love" in a fine pure country voice. The song earned him an honorable mention in our contest.
Lynn Riffle made a return trip to the stage on this second set to sing this writer's "I Want to Be Your One and Only." She did a lovely job, especially considering the fact that she was a last-minute replacement as vocalist on the song. Thanks a million, Lynn. I sure do appreciate you.
Claude Wayne returned to do a cheerful number he wrote a while back – "The Job Of Lovin' You."
Charlie handled the vocals as well as the instrumentals on Diana Black's "Please Don't Stop in Austin," an "I'm not going to go back home until I've made my mark and I haven't done that yet" story song.
Sammy Reid's touching original "Dust On My Knees" was also performed by the Music Man. That's a nice song, Sammy.
Charlie threw in a couple of his own originals, "Moving to the Country" and "I Can't Take Anymore." The former number was his first one on the set and he immediately won the hearts of his audience by "getting his mistake over with" at the outset. After forgetting a couple of words – and who could blame him after all the time he had spent on taking care of L.A.S.C. business – he started over and "got it right."
Charlie called Prez Paul Moffett onstage for the final number of the set. The song, "Upright Lady," was a Paul Moffett, Jean Metcalfe, Charlie Walls collaboration; principal writer Paul harmonized with Charlie on the uptempo rockabilly number and it got a very favorable reaction from the audience.
A&M recording artist David Wilcox capped off the evening with a very entertaining set of mostly original songs. Drawing from his two albums The Nightshift Watchman and How Did You find Me Here, Wilcox exhibited an engaging stage presence and kept the audience – who must have been at least a little weary by that time – entertained.
Wilcox is a unique entertainer and does a variety of songs – some funny, some thought-provoking and some touching. He did several poems that defy pigeonholing. He writes great lyrics.
Although I was bone tired and brain dead by that time, I was still able to stop by and purchase a copy of his The Nightshift Watchman tape and compliment him on his performance before loading up to go home. Good show, Dave.