by Rollie Tom
The ol' switcheroo begins
It was a chilly, cloudless winter day in Phoenix when the jet touched down in the afternoon. Gabriel retrieved his single piece of luggage from the creaking carousel in the terminal and took a taxi to B.W.’s house. The place looked exactly the same as it had the first time he’d set eyes on the place. Even the pack of frisky, slobbering dogs came running out like he was a rabbit, jumping up on him and barking wildly like every time before. He paid the cab driver and started walking up the front lawn with his suitcase when the door flew open.
“Gabe!” B.W. hollered, jumping from the porch and grabbing him in a bear hug. They stood back and looked at each other.
“Hey, am I mistaken or are you wearing your mane a lot closer to your scalp these days? You’re beginning to look like everyone else, man,” Gabriel said. “And that ain’t right!”
“The big thicket started to get out of control so I had Michelle whack it down to size one night. I’m still not used to it but at least now I have better brain ventilation. Aww, Gabe, it’s so great to see you. We haven’t heard a peep out of you since we got that post card you sent us from Atlanta a few months ago.”
“Well, I have no good excuse. Time just has a way of slipping right on by, you know.”
“I’m just glad you’re here. Really glad.”
B.W. took his suitcase from him and led him inside. There in the kitchen doorway stood a very pregnant Michelle.
“Hi there, stranger!” she chirped. “It’s nice to know you haven’t completely forgotten the little people now that you’re a high-rollin’ rock star.” She walked over and gave him a strong hug. “It’s good to see you.”
Gabriel pulled back and ogled her baby bump.
“I’ll be! How cool is this? I can’t believe there’s going to be a miniature B.W. or Michelle running around here soon. You look gorgeous, sweet lady.”
“Why, thank you. But I know you’re just saying that to be nice. I look like the Goodyear blimp!”
Gabriel looked around and noticed that they had spent a lot of time fixing up the inside of the house. Normal for a couple expecting a baby. But, then again, it had been quite a while since he’d been there. B.W. opened up a couple of bottles of beer and they went into the living room to catch up. Michelle waddled back into the kitchen.
“So. How are things down at the Atomic Dandelion?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I sold it five months ago. Went into the food business. Got a place called ‘Veggies and Vittles.’ Serve only natural food. No junk.”
Gabriel was incredulous. “Are you serious? What brought on such a radical change?”
“Honestly, Gabe? I got more and more weirded out about selling drug paraphernalia to teenagers who have no business smoking pot. Especially after I gave it up myself. The whole “stoner” scene was turning into a comedy shtick and guilt over being a part of it was slowly eating into my conscience, making me feel lousy. Plus, I’d begun to grow tired of it all after you left. The old carefree spirit we had in there was gone, you know? Well, last year the owner of the record store got interested in buying the shop from me so he could expand his floor space. I turned him down at first but then he came back with a lucrative offer I couldn’t refuse. Michelle was just starting to show and I felt like it was the perfect time to try my hand at something more respectable. It’s really worked out great, too. Exceeded every expectation I had. A lot of the folks who used to come in the store now come in to eat. You’ll have to come down tonight and have dinner with me. Every dish is an original recipe by Michelle.”
“No wonder it’s been a success. She’s an outstanding chef.”
B.W. nodded in agreement. “That’s a serious understatement, man. Like I’ve said many times before, I’d be nothing without her.”
They talked about the current status of Josh and Gabe, how Phoenix was beginning to change and what was happening in the lives of some of their old friends and regular customers. Finally Gabriel got around to the subject he wanted to know the most about.
“Do you ever see her, B.W.?”
“You know who.”
“Oh, Amy?” He shook his head. “Not much. She doesn’t come around me anymore. Even Michelle hardly ever gets a chance to talk to her these days and they used to be best friends.” He took a swig of his beer. “Kinda seemed like she didn’t want to associate with any of us “hippie” types after she got married.”
Gabriel almost choked on his beer.
“What? She’s married? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
B.W. winced. “Oh, crap. You didn’t know? She got hitched to some guy named Kenny about two or three months back. Can’t say it was that much of a surprise, though. Heck, seemed like it was no more than a week or two after you guys officially called it quits that they got engaged and started shacking up. The timing of it all stirred up a lot of juicy gossip, that’s for sure. Amy went through a lot of changes, man. A lot. You’d hardly know her. Shoot, we weren’t even invited to the wedding. I can’t believe you didn’t know. I just figured that you did or I would’ve broken the news to you a little gentler. Sorry ‘bout that.”
Gabriel stared at him in disbelief.
“Amy. Married. What the hell? That blows my mind. But I guess it shouldn’t come as that much of a shock, really. It’s been over a year now. There must’ve been a lot more going on between her and that bozo Kenny than I ever suspected. What a blind idiot I was. I couldn’t see what was blatantly obvious to everyone else. I guess I didn’t want to”
B.W. blew out a heavy sigh. “Look, Gabe. People just go through different and sometimes inexplicable phases in their lives. They change. Take me, for example. I’m changing all the time. One day I’m a trouble-making menace to law-abiding society, the next I’m a restaurateur. One day I’m an anti-establishment rebel and the next I’m a daddy-to-be, worried about the economy. Change is natural and inevitable. I’m so sorry, man, but it happens. It wasn’t your fault.”
Gabriel didn’t reply. He just stared at the floor. “She’s gone forever,” was the devastating thought that rattled around in his head like a loose screw.
“Oh, damn!” B.W. exclaimed suddenly. “I gotta get a move on. I hate to run but I have to get things fired up at the restaurant. Want to tag along?”
“You go on ahead. I’ll drop in later. I want to take a walking tour of the old neighborhood and see how things are going for Tom down at the pub. Maybe run into some old buddies there. You never know.”
“Well, surely you know you’re welcome to stay here as long as you like. There’s no telling when you’ll come through here again. I’ll see you later, right?”
“Cross my heart and hope to die.”
B.W. put on his jacket, shouted a goodbye to Michelle and left in a hurry. Gabriel took his beer and went outside to sit alone on the porch for a while and try to deal with the fact that his whole fantasy world had suddenly crashed down on him.
At one point Michelle stepped outside to express her condolences. She, too, was saddened by the fact that Gabriel hadn’t known about Amy’s new status until now but she was glad he’d heard it from B.W. and not somebody he hardly knew.
“I hope you won’t be too hard on yourself or on her, Gabe. She just lost her way. Like a lot of women who reach their mid-twenties, she started getting paranoid about ending up an old maid. It’s a common malady amongst our gender, unfortunately. I tried to reassure her many times that you were well worth the wait but Kenny was very persistent, constantly filling her head with doubts about you. In the end, I’m not even sure that things would’ve turned out differently if you’d been around. Sometimes girls just get bedazzled by alluring tales of the supposed “good life” and they foolishly leave the best men they’ll ever have behind. She may not have regrets now but someday she will. When it’s too late. You didn’t do anything wrong, Gabe.”
“Thanks for saying that, Michelle. I don’t know what would’ve become of me if it weren’t for you and B.W. so I’m forever in your debt. I apologize if I’m not very good company right now, though. I’m still in a state of shock, if you know what I mean,” Gabriel said.
Michelle kissed him on his forehead, said she understood and left him on the porch, alone with his thoughts.
Eventually he got up, stepped inside for a second to thank her for letting him stay there and then started walking. He went straight to the park where he’d first held Amy that moonless, starry night so long ago. The breeze was cool on his face as he bent down and touched the spot on the dead, yellowed grass where they’d laid side by side and talked about eternity. The enormous anguish that that memory generated pressed in like a vice around his heart. He had to sit down until it subsided. A thousand thoughts assailed his brain. “She actually married that creep. How can he have her? I love her so much more than he ever will. Where did I go wrong? Would I be her husband now if I would’ve worn a three-piece suit and drove a nice car? Or if I’d turned down Josh’s offer to play at the pub with him and just stayed at the head shop? Would that’ve been enough for her? Why did I have to meet her in the first place if this was how we were destined to end up? Was this your idea of a joke, God?”
He finally rose and began to wander up and down the neighborhood’s streets without any destination in mind, wishing he could just fade into the ether. He even prayed for lightning to strike him dead but God didn’t care to waste the electricity, evidently. He chastised himself for being such an ignorant fool. Stupidly, he’d convinced himself that he would arrive in Phoenix to find her lonely, desperate and waiting for him to rescue her. Now that naive illusion was shot all to hell. Amy wasn’t forlorn. Far from it. She was happily married to her knight in shining armor, living in a castle! He felt as if he’d been eviscerated. As if everything positive and hopeful had been sucked out of him. He wondered how he could ever even imagine finding another woman as compatible and emotionally fulfilling as Amy. No amount of fame or wealth could ever take her place. He felt like he was in a spiritual panic, lost and drowning in a sea of sorrow.
He had to find a bar. He needed a drink. Or two. Or three. Maybe he could drink himself into oblivion. If not he could at least deaden every nerve in his body and he could stop feeling anything for a little while. He walked a few more blocks and entered the old wooden front door of the People’s Pub. The familiar stench of stale cigarette smoke that had invaded every molecule of the paneled walls for years, along with last night’s spilled Miller High Lifes’ that had somehow evaded the mop’s swath hit him like a hard slap but it hardly registered. For a moment he allowed himself to grin as he stood inside the room where he’d discovered the joy of performing and spent so many fun nights entertaining his friends and fans. The place looked and smelled exactly the same. Even the bartender Larry Dunson was still there. The bar was unoccupied and Gabriel took a seat right in the middle. Larry had his back to him but spotted his old friend when he glanced up into the wide mirror in front of him.
“Well, what do you know! If it ain’t Gabe Brewer in person!” He swung around and shook Gabriel’s hand. “Long time no see. How’ve you been, man? ”
“Tuckered out, Larry. You?”
“Join the club. Holy cow! It’s really you! What brings you back to this cheap saloon?”
“Old friends. Good memories. Where’s Tom?”
“Oh, he’s off on another vacation. Left me in charge. Again. Do you want something to drink? It’s on me.”
“Yeah, give me a…”
Larry pointed at him and interrupted. “…Jack Daniels on the rocks.”
“Sometimes I recall the drink long before I recall the name. Not in your case, of course. Are you going to be in town for a while? We should throw a party.”
Gabriel waved his hand back and forth. “I’ll pass on the party if you don’t mind. No offense, but that’s what I’m trying to get away from for a spell.”
Larry turned to pour the drink. At that moment the jukebox started up and played Josh and Gabe’s melancholy hit song about lost love. Larry delivered the drink and motioned toward the jukebox.
“Helluva song, Gabe. They play it all the time in here.”
“Hmm. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess.”
A phone began to ring in the back room and Larry went to answer it. Gabriel lit up a cigarette and stared dejectedly into the mirror situated behind the rows of bottles across from him. The sad lyrics he and Josh had sung so many times reverberated in his head. He’d written the words for Amy.
Thinking back on times together,
Remembering all the love we shared,
I just can’t help but feel so lonely deep inside
Since you took, you took your love away,
Since you took, you took your love away…
At that moment he conjured up an image of Rick Blaine, the heartbroken character Bogart had portrayed in his favorite film, Casablanca. All he needed was a Sam to reluctantly play his and Amy’s special song on an upright piano.
Hours later Gabriel stumbled out of the darkness that had descended upon the desert town and into the harsh lights of the parking lot in front of Veggies and Vittles. He slipped and fell off a curb, skinning his knee, but made it to the front door, opened it with a loud bang and unsteadily staggered inside. B.W. was just coming out of the kitchen area when he heard the noise followed by the sound of a decorative plant almost falling over. Gabriel grabbed it just before it hit the floor, set it back up and dusted his hands. B.W. walked over to him.
“What happened to you? I thought you were coming in for dinner tonight.”
Gabriel gave him a goofy grin. “I had dinner at the pub, Bub.”
B.W. sighed. “A liquid cuisine, no doubt.”
Gabriel sat down hard on a chair, knocking a plastic ashtray from the adjacent table onto the floor.
“Oops. Sorry, man. I’m kind of a mess right now.”
“No harm done. I think I’d better get you back to the house.”
“No problem, Bee Wee. I’ll drive.”
“I think not. You couldn’t drive a nail right now.”
Gabriel snickered. “You could be right ‘bout dat,” he slurred.
B.W. went around quickly and turned off all the lights, then led the grossly inebriated Gabriel out to his van. He went back to lock the front door but by the time he got behind the wheel his old pal had passed out and was snoring like a foghorn.
B.W. gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. “Sleep it off, old friend. Maybe that stuff about it being lonely at the top is all too true,” he said to him softly. He put the van in gear and pulled out of the parking lot.
Two jetliners, one from Denver and one from Phoenix, landed at LAX fifteen minutes apart on a hazy morning in early March. They both descended through the same yellow-gold canopy of smog and they each delivered one half of the nation’s most promising musical duo, Josh and Gabe.
An unshaven, haggard-looking Gabriel had ordered a stiff Bloody Mary at the bar in the VIP lounge and it was just being served up when a bright and cheerful Josh came jogging up from behind him.
“You did order two of those, didn’t you?” he said.
Gabriel turned, raised his dark sunglasses slowly and eyed him suspiciously for a moment.
“Sorry, kid. Two for one doesn’t start in here till five when happy hour rolls around. You’ll have to buy your own poison.”
Josh slid into the barstool next to Gabriel and motioned for the bartender to prepare another.
“I thought I’d find you in here. Oh, man. Looks like you had way too much fun.”
Gabriel chuckled. “Oh, I had fun all right. But let me give you a tip. Never. And I mean never try to drink B.W. under the table. It can’t be done.”
In a few moments another Bloody Mary appeared and they raised their glasses for a toast.
“Here’s to the grindstone. May we apply our noses well.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Gabriel said.
They took appropriate swigs and set their glasses down on the bar.
“So tell me, Tonto, how was the wilderness?” Gabriel inquired.
“Man, it was unbelievable. I met three deer, one bear, a dozen chipmunks and the most wonderful woman I’ve ever encountered. Bar none.”
Gabriel’s jaw dropped in disbelief.
“You met a woman you liked? You? Professional heartbreaker Josh Kelly? Pardon my cardiac arrest but I’ve never known you to hang around one woman for more than a few hours, tops. However, this is comforting news. I was beginning to wonder about your sexual preference. She must be something else.”
“She is, believe me. I’ve never met anyone like her. She’s amazing!”
“Well, then…” Gabriel said, looking around the room. “Where is she? Don’t I get to meet Miss Incredible?”
“Oh, no. I’m not bringing her to crazy land. This mean old town would eat her alive. Her name’s Tenni Richardson. She’s an artist living in Vail inside a cozy little bungalow overlooking the whole valley. She has gorgeous brown hair, angelic eyes, a great body…”
“…And she lives in a ski resort?” Gabriel interrupted.
“Yes. Not everyone there is a stuck-up brat, it turns out. In many ways it’s heaven on earth. Anyway, she illustrates children’s books for a living and she’s been very successful at it. Her place is just up the mountain from town. She’s amazing!”
“You said that already. I can’t quite come to grips with it, though. Josh is in love. Someone should alert the media. I’m still not sure I believe it.”
“Trust me, she’s the real thing. Now, tell me about your sojourn to Phoenix.”
“Well, first off I followed a last minute impulse and flew back to Tennessee to see the folks.”
“Really. How’d that go? You were completely out of touch with them for a long time, right?”
“Yeah, but I finally did the right thing for once and made some much-needed amends. The whole thing was like something right out of the movies. They took me in as if I’d never left. I should never have intentionally shut them out of my life for so long. They were able to understand a lot more things than I ever gave them credit for. All the resentments I’d imagined they’d harbor for me due to my going M.I.A. were non-existent. They were just glad I was alive. It felt good to open up to them. That in itself took a big load off of my shoulders. I hung out there for about two weeks and then flew to Phoenix. Stayed with B.W. and Michelle. Oh, and I have big news about them. She’s preggers and he sold the shop to go into the restaurant business.”
Gabriel paused and lit a cigarette. “Amy’s married.”
“Say what? To whom?”
“Are you ready for this? To that weenie in a suit, Kenny Whatshisname. Cobb or Dobbs, I think. Probably Snob, if there’s any justice. He’s a world-class jerk. You met him at the pub once.”
“Damn! That was rather quick, wouldn’t you say? She sure didn’t waste any time getting over you.”
“Nope. I reckon she didn’t.”
“Did you see her?”
“No. I found out about her getting married from B.W. He and Michelle both said she never hangs out with any of the old crowd anymore so we didn’t cross paths and I didn’t try to find her. It wouldn’t have changed anything. What would I have said? Congratulations?”
“Sorry, man. I wish it would’ve turned out differently. Now maybe you can close the door on that chapter of your life. I have a feeling that Chris will keep us so busy that you won’t have all that much time to dwell on it. Did you write any lyrics?”
“Did I ever! Misery is my muse, my brother, and she’s been working overtime. I’ve got a whole spiral notebook full of words. Some of them are even suitable for children to hear!”
“Good. I’ve got a ton of music. All I did for over a month was play guitar, make love, ski a little, make love, play guitar, make love…”
“…Oh, please. Give it a rest, will ya? I don’t want to hear about it.”
Gabriel glanced at his watch. “We’d better find a cab. We were supposed to be at Chris’ office twenty minutes ago.”
“Yeah, he’s probably freaking out already. I’m anxious to hear what he’s got planned for the rest of the year.”
“He’s got every second of our future existence accounted for, I’m sure.”
Josh tossed a ten on the bar and they went in search of a ride to downtown L.A. The gears were back in motion and they could feel their lives accelerate once again as their taxi pulled onto the crowded San Diego Freeway.
“Nothing here but more good news, boys,” Chris beamed from behind his shiny new mahogany desk. ‘Since You Took Your Love Away’ is still hanging around in the top forty and the LP keeps selling. Now all we have to do is follow it up with more great songs.”
“When do we start?” Josh asked.
“Yesterday. I sorta promised the label we’d have it to them by the end of spring.”
Gabriel and Josh shot a troubled glance at each other.
“What?” Gabriel exclaimed. “You can’t be serious. The songs aren’t even written yet and you’re making promises? Are you out of your gourd?”
Chris’s demeanor took an immediate plunge southward.
“Look. I’ve been busting my ass while you two were on vacation and now it’s time to bust yours. The public has the attention span of a housefly and if you don’t put something new in their ears by the end of summer it’ll be like starting over from scratch. We’ve come too far to let that happen.”
“Don’t get your skivvies all twisted in a knot, Chris. We hear you. But we don’t need negative vibes or unwelcome pressure and we sure don’t need deadlines. Let’s do this one right. If it’s as important as you say it is then we should take as much time as necessary to make it our masterpiece. The label can wait,” Josh said.
Chris rolled his eyes. “Josh, welcome to show biz. The biz stands for business and if you don’t get the master to the pressing plant then the packaging is held up, the distribution is delayed, the ad campaign stagnates and everybody at Globe starts yelling at Chris! Don’t you get it? I can’t be involved in the artistic end of things. That’s your job. It’s my job to deal with the money changers in the stinkin’ temple!”
Chris rose abruptly in a huff and walked to the window. “Everybody’s a damned artist!” he grumbled.
Josh and Gabriel shrugged at each other. Josh’s mind went back to Vail. “How long till I can touch you again, Tenni? How long can I tolerate this world of money talk and ultimatums? You’ve shown me a whole new way of living.”
Neither Josh nor Gabriel were consciously aware of it but their attitudes had begun to switch places since the last tour ended. Gabriel, having found out that Amy had moved on and was forever beyond his reach, now felt compelled to take more and more advantage of the Love the one you’re with lifestyle of an unattached musician. In the past, while he was staying true to Amy, the being-away-from-home deal and all it entailed had been something he detested because it took him away from her. Even after she’d left him he’d imposed a modicum of restraint upon himself. Now he felt like an unleashed tiger, free to stalk the jungle at will.
Josh had always liked living the life of a road warrior. He’d been traveling around the country for a long time before he met up with Gabriel and he was used to it. He did as he pleased. But then Tenni had entered his life. Now it was Josh who began to resent the demands that were constantly being put upon him as a recording and performing artist.
Perhaps it was partly due to this ironic interchange of mindsets or that they were just getting to be more proficient at wielding their craft, but an extraordinarily creative magic erupted between them. Maybe it was an outcropping of their individual emotional upheavals. Maybe it was the fact that they’d tasted success and now possessed the confidence that they could do even better this time. Most likely it was a combination of all those factors but the songs that sprang forth from their collaborative efforts were not just above average this go ‘round, they were classics in the making.
Chris had rented a house in Palos Verdes for them that overlooked the Pacific Ocean and its tan, rock-studded beaches at the foot of the cliffs where surfers congregated daily. It certainly beat the pants off of being stuck in a claustrophobic hotel room. There the two of them were able to combine the individual ideas they’d amassed while they’d been on vacation. The tunes came together so smoothly that often they would sit back in awe of their own creations. Even the ever-skeptical Chris breathed a little easier after hearing samples of the material they were writing.
Their writing sessions would usually begin with Josh playing chords and humming a melody to Gabriel who would then embellish the original theme with harmonies and countermelodies he’d concoct on the spot with his voice, harmonica and guitar. As the song’s structure was starting to take shape Josh would fine tune the music while Gabriel would locate some finished or unfinished lyrics in his notebook and tactfully mold them into the framework of the composition. This was nothing new, though. All of their tunes had been written in the same manner, but this time they came together quickly and with hardly any struggle at all.
To an outsider the songs would’ve sounded like they were some of the first they’d ever written together in Phoenix, perfected by years of performing them night after night. But these were brand new tunes and yet they already had that same polished sheen. Josh and Gabriel knew they were on to something much grander than anything they’d ever done before and it was exhilarating.
To their further amazement, all the material for the third album got written in two weeks. They started rehearsals the last week in March with their band of seasoned studio cats and their new friend, the talented and respected producer John Spencer. His influence was a boost because his suggestions were comprised of common sense and intelligent purpose born of experience. He instinctively knew when to speak up and when to stay silent. Unlike the overrated imposter that had wasted the label’s money on their debut disc and the inadequate intern that merely lurked around in the shadows while they recorded their second LP, John was very hands-on and involved. His attention to details helped to shape the album into a gem and his calm-but-firm mien made the machinations of the studio run smoothly and efficiently.
On the nights when they weren’t hunkered down in the studio during the months of the record’s gestation period, Gabriel would usually be out on the town with the gregarious John Spencer or various members of the band, partying and nightclubbing all over Hollywood. Having the constitution of a Budweiser Clydesdale, however, he managed to stay within his limits and was always on top of his game when the tape started rolling. Josh would, as a rule, stay at the house in Palos Verdes, practicing guitar and talking to Tenni on the phone.
The phone rang in Tenni’s house and she left her easel to answer it.
“Hi, baby. It’s me again.”
“I knew it was you. You’re regular as Big Ben. How are things in L.A. tonight?”
“Lonely, as usual. Other than that I have no complaints, though. The moonlight on the ocean is a gorgeous sight tonight and the album is coming along so well it’s hard for me to believe it’s us making it. It sounds fabulous.”
“That’s good to hear. I’ve been working on some sketches for a series of books about animals on a magical, deserted island today. They’re so cute! I wish you were here to look at them. I miss you.”
“Oh, and I miss you, too. Why don’t you fly out to visit me again this coming weekend? Gabriel’s hardly ever here anymore so once again we’d have all this luxury to ourselves.”
“Not this weekend, baby. After I finish this set of drawings I can come out. It does me good to get away from this unending peace and quiet for a few days. It does me even more good to be held in your arms. I realize it’s only been two weeks but it seems like it’s been years since we were together.”
“It really does. Someday we won’t have to live like this and we’ll be together all the time. I don’t want to do this my whole life, you know.”
“No one knows what’ll happen in the future, Josh. We can only live for today and make the best of what we have sitting right in front of us.”
“Yeah, I know, but I waited a long time for you to show up. I’m not letting anything come between us, Tenni. I’ve never loved anyone or anything as much as I love you.”
“The same goes for me but we have to be patient and trust in each other. I waited a long time for you, as well. I have no intention of letting you go. You just do what you gotta do and I’ll do the same. I think we’re strong enough to get through this, don’t you?”
“You’re very convincing, Miss Optimism, and I so appreciate that about you. You always cheer me up when I’m squatting on my pity potty, feeling all lonesome and sorry for myself. I know we’ll make this work. We are forever.”
The telephone bills that reached Chris’ desk were astronomical, but then so were Gabriel’s bar tabs. Josh and Tenni talked for hours almost every day. They talked about California, Vail, their respective families’ trials and tribulations, politics, art, People Magazine, music and everything else. Josh fell deeper and deeper in love with Tenni with every day that passed. He knew he’d met his match in her. No longer would he lie awake in the middle of the night, wondering if he’d ever find a love that was pure and worth fighting for. He would allow nothing to jeopardize their relationship. Not distance. Not hard times. And, if it came to it, not even his partnership with Gabriel.
It took a total of five months to write, record, mix and master the third album. Chris Jackson proudly handed over the finished tapes to Globe Records early in August, only a week and a half later than they had demanded. But Chris didn’t feel badly about delivering it after the deadline. He knew that the LP, to be titled “Third Time’s the Charm,” was nothing short of brilliant.
Thanks to John Spencer, the sessions had been executed in relaxed and high-quality conditions. The studio they used had the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art technology available and the musicians involved were some of the most respected on the west coast. Josh and Gabriel had averaged 55 hours per week working on the record and John even more than that.
The mood had been electric, aggressive. Ideas had been formulated and tossed around, some kept in and some thrown out. Jokes had been told, pranks had been pulled, equipment and instruments had been temperamental at times and meals had been missed but nothing dampened their enthusiasm. Out of all this came their pivotal third album, the one that would determine if they were more than a flash in the pan.
Boldly stepping away from playing it safe, allowing themselves to shake off the restrictions of being pigeon-holed as being some kind of folksy country rock entity and nothing else, a few of the tracks were startlingly epic in scale. They wanted the public to know that many of their new offerings were an intentional departure from their conservative guitar-and-harmonica style. Not that they deemed that image to be demeaning, they just felt like their current material was far superior to anything they’d ever done before and they didn’t want to shy away from taking risks. Globe Records set a tentative date for its release in late September.
(Hear the music of Josh and Gabe on the album "Two Old Friends" by Davis-Anderson Project at Amazon, ITunes, etc.)