Les Paul and Mary Ford played on my Pandora Station the other day. It was How High The Moon. Dad used to listen to them on his old 78 rpm records when I was a kid. They were cutting edge for their day. Multitrack recording. One guitar could sound like a hundred, one voice a choir. Ole’ Les invented the solid body electric guitar. That’s what Dad said.
Turns out the military was using multitrack recording before he did. They used it with Sonar. I’m not sure what they did with it, but they used it. Les Paul did invent the solid body electric guitar. He invented Mary Ford, too. Her real name was Colleen. They married in 1949 and divorced in 1964.
When I was a kid Dad was a Disc Jockey. That was back when Disc Jockeys were really something. He told me you had to have at least a months notice when you did a remote broadcast. You needed to call the Bell Telephone Company and have them install a separate phone line.
Dad said there was a radio station whose local High School Basket Ball Team went to the State Championship. The owner wanted to do a remote broadcast but the designated phone line would be too expensive. Dad said the owner wondered if he could hook all the barbwire fences between the radio station and the state capital together and use that instead of a phone line. Dad said it was an interesting idea. Sometimes when I can’t think of a solution to a problem I think about that idea. Sometimes, you just need to think differently to find the answer.
Dad said he had certain records he’d play when he had to use the bathroom. Dad said he had them timed down to the second. Dad said he liked to put on Ernest Tubb singing Waltz Across Texas and sing along with him. Dad said anyone can sing along with Ernest Tubb singing Waltz Across Texas. He was right.
Dad used to make flying ducks out of cedar. He’d sand them smooth and finish them with Kiwi Shoe Polish. My brother has a portable fireplace he burns to stay warm on Halloween Night. We found one in an old box of wood scraps and put it on the fire and drank a toast to him. Dad would have liked that.
Dad died four years ago on February 13th. He chose to use Hospice and I had plenty of time to say goodbye. Dad said he wasn’t perfect. Dad said he made a lot of mistakes. He was right. But that’s not the point, really. We all make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. But Dad said anyone could sing along with Ernest Tubb. And Dad played Les Paul and Mary Ford, even though her real name was Colleen. So I’ll play them both and think about what Dad said, and remember.