Say A Little Prayer
Red House Records, 1988
New stuff happens every day. Unexpected stuff. You see something or smell something or your neighbour says something or a leaf falls on the road in a certain crooked way and it’s like everything is new, all brand new, and you, by being there, by seeing it, have a hand in its invention.
I wasn’t expecting to like this record. I had a whole big cart load of reasons not to like it. I was pretty sure I knew my own mind. Which goes to show how stupid I am.
My good buddy Jerry David DeCicca sent it to me. It’s not the first favour he’s done me. He knows I’m an idiot and that I need, every now and then, to be looked after. He sent me a package that included this record and I’m so stupid, so bad minded, so set in my ways, that it took me three weeks to listen to it. And when I finally put it on I hovered over the deck ready to snatch the needle up and be done with it.
After all, I had Mbongwana Star to listen to. I had Stanley Cowell and Andy Bey and a stack of singles I wanted to hear. I had stuff to do. Emails to write and wood to chop and phone calls to make.
Sometimes it hurts to be so dumb.
Listening to Greg Brown reminded me of this: do what you’re doing and only do that. Be in it. What my father, a Quaker, called being Mindful.
Say A Little Prayer, in every little way, is a masterpiece. It’s all there; love, fear, fatigue, hope, faith. I played it three times. I sat in silence and then played it again. I played the rest of the record and when it was over I thanked Jerry and Greg and all the new, unexpected stuff. I thanked my dumb mind for being smart enough to know how dumb it is.
And then I cut some wood and caught up with other things.