In Praise of David Friedman

Friedman-Songbook

 

David Friedman is a composer, a songwriter, a conductor, an arranger, a producer, a philosopher, a teacher, AND a dedicated advocate for the singer Nancy LaMott, who died much too young in 1995.

I first became aware of him after hearing one of Nancy’s CDs — and eventually buying all of them because I was so touched by the heartfulness in her voice.

Nancy-LaMott

Nancy recorded many of David’s songs, and I fell in love with several of them.

So when David put together a songbook of his original works, I bought it and got to work!

Two of his songs ended up on a CD of songs about love which singer Bobbi Carrey and I recorded with pianist/engineer/producer Doug Hammer, arranger Mike Callahan, and a handful of Boston-area musicians called If I Loved You.

Baby feet + hands

“I’ll Be Here With You” (on the player at the beginning of this blog post) is one of Bobbi’s and my favorite songs with which to end a performance.

And, although I do not know the details of Nancy and David’s musical partnership, I have the sense that this song may have had a strong emotional resonance for them (and might even have been inspired by their friendship…)

David-and-Nancy

Perhaps people who know more about David and Nancy’s history can weigh in using the comments section at the end of this blog post.

I think of David whenever someone says something along the lines of, “They don’t write great standards like they used to…”

There are, in fact, many people who are alive and well on planet earth and who are writing beautiful, wise songs.

But the ways that those songs reach — and touch — the rest of the world have changed significantly since the days of sheet music and singing around pianos in living rooms.

polar-bears

No longer does a new song get recorded by many, many different performers — with different recordings of the same song vying for the top spot on a few national radio networks.

The rise of the singer-songwriter — along with self-contained bands who create their own original material — marked a significant shift in our popular musical culture.

David’s songs have been recorded by pop stars including Diana Ross, Barry Manilow, and Petula Clark — but these days Diana, Barry and Petula are not dominating the charts as they once did…

However, we now have many new ways to share music — such as YouTube, Pandora, Spotify… and even personal blogs like mine.

And there are many singers still devoted to both the Great American Songbook of standards from the 1920s-1960s AND to all of the great songs that have been written since then.

So ripples of music continue to wash around our culture and around our planet…

Water-Surface

Thank you to David Friedman for writing songs.

Thank you to Bobbi Carrey for her singing and for her musical collaboration over the past 15 years.

Thank you to Doug Hammer for his piano playing and his engineering and his production skills and his patience and his humor.

Thank you to Mike Callahan for his vocal arrangements.

Thank you to Pixabay for most of the images in this blog post (and to the world wide web for the ones of David and of Nancy).

And thank YOU for making time so that you could read and listen to another one of my blog posts!

mother-child-sunset

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11 thoughts on “In Praise of David Friedman

    • Thank you for taking/making time to read and listen! I just read a blog post by a woman in Australia (I think?) whose toddler grandson hangs out in her used book store, where he examines “one cover after another and then, finished, will cast each volume decisively aside. Sometimes he will examine pages, turning neatly a hundred at a time, before hurling that book aside too.” She also included a photo of her grandson amidst a great pile of books. It made me think immediately of you and your classroom!

      • Here’s info about the Australian bookstore blog: “Hi, my name is Kerry and I have a little second hand bookshop in South Australia. My blog is about the people that visit me, the readers who share their passion for books, the reading life of the community and the hilarious street life that happens right outside my doorway. I also write about two babies, Noah and Max. They are my grandsons. Thank you Dr Perry for this opportunity to share my blog. I am called The Book Keeper and my blog is called The Library of Consternation and I have been writing there for 6 years. Kerry https://thebookkeepersite.wordpress.com/

  1. I think when I heard you at the Harvard (MA) library some years ago, it was Bobbi who was with you. Not sure if you sang that sang, but it sure is lovely. Thanks for sharing it here.

    • Quite possible! That is a lovely library and performance space. I heard on the radio that most of Harvard was without power due to the recent nor’easter… Hope all is well with you. And thank you, of course, for reading and listening!

  2. I’m always struck by that line, in Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” “but you don’t really care for music, do you?” Who in the world doesn’t care for, and feel moved by, music?! Your posts always remind me how powerful music and music makers are in our lives!

    • THANK YOU, KerryCan! “Hallelujah” has a lot of somewhat (to me) mysterious lyrics and imagery, but I still love to hear it sung or sing it (surprisingly easy chords on the ukulele…) Hurrah for music — and all the other ways that we weave the world together rather than rip it apart!

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