A friend of Paula’s was visiting from California, and we knew a stop at the Best Western’s legendary drinking spot would be mandatory. As good fortune would have it, Beachcomber Music Award winner Bill Garrett was filling in from 8 to midnight, bringing his usual winning blend of standards, novelty songs and witty commentary.
Garrett started his 10:30 set with Unknown Hinson’s “Fish Camp Woman,” a favorite of ours that will hopefully turn up on Garrett’s long-awaited food and beverage-themed album (tentatively titled Feast and Famine). I was treated to an early listen, but so far I’ve only made it to Track 4. The album is primarily covers with the exception of a Garrett original, “If I Canned Ham You,” which he graciously played for the enthusiastic Tuesday night patrons.
We also enjoyed a couple Pinkard and Bowden numbers, the hilarious “I Lobster and Never Flounder” (“a seafood love song,” as Billy described it) and “Help Me Make It Through the Yard” (a parody of Kris Kristofferson that I’d never heard before).
Other highlights included a Merle Haggard tribute (“I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”), a couple Taj Mahal tunes (“Fishing Blues” and “She Caught the Katy”), and Fred Neil’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love.” Turns out an old neighbor of Neil’s was at the bar and Garrett didn’t know “Everybody’s Talkin’.”
Armed with a Martin guitar and an effects pedal that Garrett used sparingly, the formidable musicmaker delivered the goods yet again. He’s been at it for decades. He’s a walking Great American Songbook and a first-rate guitarist, singer and solo performer.
Here’s to Bill Garrett’s continued success on the Beachcomberland music scene. And thanks for letting me get up and play “The Bacon Song” and “Don’t Be Ashamed of Yer Junk.”
– Chris Manson
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