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funky420
Platinum Boarder
Posts:3274
If you stumble, make it part of the dance.

happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#236964 1 year, 5 months ago
merlsaunders-300x208.jpg


Today would have been Merl's 79th birthday. I found this story on FB and thought I'd share it.


from: Michael D Hinton
about an hour ago

Merl Saunders would've turned 79 on 2/14/13.
The Rainforest Band was in the midst of a long tour in February 1996. On the morning of Valentine's Day, about an hour before checkout time, I called Michael Warren and Vince Littleton in their hotel rooms. I wanted us to throw together a 3 part harmony acapella version of "Happy Birthday" to sing for Merl. We met up and worked it out in Vinny's room, which was nearest to Merl's. We ran it down a few times, making some adjustments and improvements. Within around 10 minutes we had a beautiful rendition ready.
We walked down the hall, cleared our throats and knocked on his door. We stood just out of view from his peephole. He opened the door wearing his robe and slippers, looking surprised. Seeing us out of our rooms before checkout was surprising enough in itself.
Before he could speak, we broke into song. We sang it slow enough to magnify the beauty of the harmonies we'd worked out - we had some cool contrary motion in a couple of spots.
Merl was still just waking up. He stood there taking it in with a look of wonder. We sang it perfectly. Every phrase had started and ended as if we were one voice singing three parts. Merl always preferred first takes and this one had been a keeper.
As the last word cut tapered down in volume and went to silence, Merl broke down, opening his arms for a group hug, burying his face into each of us. The hug was an extra long one. The rest of us were all in tears, sharing the emotions of his reaction to our song.
We told him how much we loved him... Merl regained a bit of his composure, enough to say "Thanks Fellas", his voice breaking.
"See you at the car". Merl closed his door, shaking his head with a huge smile, still teary-eyed. We returned to our rooms to get our luggage together.
It was a 'feel good moment' that'd be hard to ever match. Enough to warm all of our hearts for a good long time. I can still feel it 17 years later.
Telling the story takes me right back to the deep emotions of that beautiful moment in time. Those happy 'feel good tears' can't be avoided, nor the warming smile that goes with them.
It feels like we're all back in that hotel hallway once again.
Tomorrow night when I'm playing and I feel the gentle touch of a hand on my shoulder - only to discover that there's not a physical body there, my brain will whisper back a silent reply.
Happy Birthday Merl! I love you and miss you.
{{{ ♥ }}}
The voices tell me what to say
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, Equinox, Warlock, scar1et_f1re, SunshineSue
SunshineSue
Platinum Boarder
Posts:31015
Life is sweeter for this!

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237002 1 year, 5 months ago
Some of my very, very favorite music comes from Merl and Jerry. It's kind of appropriate that he was born today. Happy, Happy Birthday, Merl, I miss you!!


The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, scar1et_f1re
FurthurFlower67
Platinum Boarder
Posts:5021
Good Love!

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237007 1 year, 5 months ago
Happy Birthday Merl!!!! I truly enjoy your music! Thank you so much!!!

Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, scar1et_f1re
Chester
Moderator
Posts:32481
More or less in line

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237063 1 year, 5 months ago
Happy Birthday Merl!
I can't come down, it's plain to see.
I can't come down, I've been set free.
Who you are, and what you do,
don't make no difference to me.
Equinox
Platinum Boarder
Posts:16547

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237065 1 year, 5 months ago
The Rainforest Band was a wonderful experience in concert -- so human and so cosmic at the same time.

For anyone who doesn't know, Merl's history is far more extensive than his association with Jerry. On his own, he was a great jazz musician whose achievements included discovering the great drum master Billy Cobham.

And don't forget, he's the one who almost single-handedly helped Jerry regain his guitar skills after the coma.

Happy Birthday, Merl. We were all blessed to have you.
"Got any nails?"
"No!"
"Got any flies?"
The following user(s) said Thank You: fourwnds, FurthurFlower67
fourwnds
Senior Boarder
Posts:421

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237132 1 year, 5 months ago
Equinox wrote:
The Rainforest Band was a wonderful experience in concert -- so human and so cosmic at the same time.

For anyone who doesn't know, Merl's history is far more extensive than his association with Jerry. On his own, he was a great jazz musician whose achievements included discovering the great drum master Billy Cobham.

And don't forget, he's the one who almost single-handedly helped Jerry regain his guitar skills after the coma.

Happy Birthday, Merl. We were all blessed to have you.


I didn't know that, thanks. Spectrum is one of my fav's.

Merl! Happy Birthy
Last Edit: 1 year, 5 months ago by fourwnds.
lightchaser
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1436

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237207 1 year, 5 months ago
Better late than never, but Happy Birthday to Merl. Been celebrating since my copy of the Keystone Companions arrived. Somebody should put on My Funny Valentine!
Thank You Cody, we are forever Grateful!
FurthurFlower67
Platinum Boarder
Posts:5021
Good Love!

Re: happy Birthday Merl!!!!!

#237277 1 year, 5 months ago
Yes I love the Keystone recordings! And all the Legion of Mary stuff! Gets me moving and grooving! There is something special to be said about it. Just can't quite put my finger on it just yet....



This song OMG gets me going everytime! Wooo!
Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
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