Note: I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Edwards (the singer/songwriter, not the 18th century theologian) since first hearing his music in 1971. It took all these years until last night before I heard him perform in concert. It brought back memories of my first encounter with his music.
Having returned home from college for the weekend, I wasn’t around that October night Poco performed at Notre Dame. I heard it was a great concert with Poco delivering on their promise at the outset about getting the crowd to “kick up their heels and never let up.” They had the audience dancing in the aisles. What I really missed that night, though, was the party after the show.
Frank, my apartment mate, and I hung out with some classmates who lived in a large house they rented outside of town in the middle of a corn field. The seclusion of this place, notoriously referred to as “the Ranch,” made it an ideal location for parties. Loud parties. The living room furniture consisted of two old, comfortable sofas, an equally comfortable easy chair and a high-end stereo system whose gigantic twin speakers were once used in a P.A. system for a rock band one guy had been in. As I said, the parties were loud.
Enjoying the after-show party I missed that night at the Ranch were not only the usual suspects, but members of Poco who were invited by “someone who knew someone.” While my friends were rubbing shoulders with the likes of Richie Furay and Timothy B. Schmit (years before he joined the Eagles), I was rubbing noses with my hometown honey. I look back now and wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?”
The following weekend featured another party at the Ranch, a welcome respite from hitting the books all week long. Still flying high, so-to-speak, from the week before, a lively discussion ensued about Poco’s show and subsequent appearance at the party. Ed, the party’s host, picked up a record album. As he slid the vinyl out of its sleeve and placed it on the turntable, Ed recounted a discussion he’d had with some Poco guys. He’d asked them what music they listened to when they weren’t playing their own. They said at the moment they were listening to a new singer/songwriter by the name of Jonathan Edwards.
Ed cranked up the volume as the first track began to play. Everybody knows her. She’s the one to love… came blasting out of those speakers. “This is the guy they were talking about,” Ed announced when the song finished. We listened to the next five songs on the album’s first side in virtual silence. Wow! Great stuff!
Browsing the record bins in the campus bookstore a few days later, I ran across that eponoumously titled album by Jonathan Edwards. I snatched it up and and trotted over to the cashier, plunking down my three bucks and forgetting entirely about whatever else led me to the bookstore initially. I couldn’t wait to get a listen back at the apartment, pull out my guitar and start learning how to play those songs. It was a lofty challenge, but I learned to play a couple and would sometimes include them when entertaining myself or my apartment mates late at night. One song, Shanty, remains in my repertoire to this day.
Thanks for the years of great tunes, Jonathan Edwards. Such beautiful imagery from a guy who shares his name with an 18th century preacher man.
Jonathan Edwards – Everybody Knows Her :