He sent me a box full of every album he’d ever recorded. We arranged to meet when he visited Oregon for a concert. I showed up backstage before his show. He asked me about the package he’d sent — if I’d heard anything new. I mentioned a song I especially liked, but I didn’t remember the title. Taj said, “sing it to me.”
Singing is the last thing in the world I want to do — especially to a Grammy winner in front of professional musicians. But fuck it. I sang:
“Flying across the desert in a TWA,
I saw a woman walking across the sand
She been a-walkin' thirty miles en route to Bombay.
To get a brown eyed handsome man
Her destination was a brown eyed handsome man.”
Taj smiled. He leaned back in his chair and pulled his Epiphone across his lap. He started to play. A couple bandmates joined in for a few bars.
In his gravely voice, he said “Ah, man, I didn’t write that one. Chuck Berry wrote that song!” And he said the name “Chuck Berry” as though he was talking about his own father. I understood who his musical hero was.
Shared by John Willis.