Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Killing me softly with his song

Those of you old enough to remember Chuck Barris's '70s hit The Gong Show — and lacking in taste enough to have actually watched it — will recall that most of the acts that appeared thereon were talentless hacks just looking to eke out 15 seconds of TV fame (infamy might be a more accurate word).

But every now and again I think about one truly marvelous act that appeared on The Gong Show, and wonder whatever became of the guy. He was an acoustic guitarist and vocalist who delivered a rendition of José Feliciano's "Rain" so heartfelt, tender, and redolent of genuine emotion that I remember tearing up in front of the TV listening to the man sing. Unfortunately, I can't remember the performer's name, or even whether he won the show on which he appeared. He was an African American gentleman, probably in his 30s, and had a sound reminiscent of Bill Withers, who's been one of my favorite musicians for over 30 years.

I'd love to find out whether this fellow went on to fame and fortune, or even whether he's still performing his music for public consumption. Of course, if I knew his name, it would be a snap to hunt him up on the 'Net. But alas, I don't, and therefore can't. If nothing else, I'd like to share with him how deeply that one song touched me all those years ago, and how many times on rainy days and nights I've replayed that tape on the virtual stereo of my mind.

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