Thursday, December 5, 2013

Paul Siebel

For the Love of Music


It's hard to remember dates but it was back in the 1970 that I first heard of Paul Siebel. Leo Kottke performed a version of "Louise". Kottke is best known for his skills on a guitar but not as a singer. There was no way anyone could damage this song. It's so well written that the words tell a full story of a lady of the night with tenderness.

It was a short time later that I first hear a song by Paul, "Then Came the Children." The DJ said that this song was written about "The Incredible String Band." Wow! I had recently seen them perform at the old Main Point. I sat about five feet from the stage. They were sill a duo at this time. Robin Williamson's masterful guitar work was to be seen to be believed.
In 1970, "Woodsmoke and Oranges" was the first album release by Paul Siebel. This album had "Louise" but it also had "Long Afternoon". There's more to it than just this.
Paul Sieble was being hyped as the "next Dylan". You can hear similar tones in both their voices but that was were it ended. Their style of writting was different and Paul had a pleasing expressive voice.
This album sold well but not a huge success. His songs were better known than he himself as a performer/recording artist.
"Jack-Knife Gypsy" was released the next year, 1971. Paul's friend, Linda Ronstadt, was the inspiration for the song "Hillbilly Child". The production value of this album was a major step up but it only had the same modest success as the first album. There were more memorable songs that showed his  progression as a songwriter. It also turned out to be the last album he'd ever record.
Paul went on tour and made a stop in Philadelphia. My girl friend and I saw him at the music hall (I forgot the name of it.) at 5th and South St on the second floor. The duo, Pearls Before Swine, guitar and cello, opened and also closed the show.
It was Paul and a young man on guitars. The beer flowed and it showed but it didn't hurt the songs. Paul sang with every drop of emotion that the written word of the stories conveyed. It was a powerful performance regardless of the environment or the state of mind. It was about the human condition played out on a stage.
Yes. The music just stopped. Hell! I wanted more. I was learning from him: how to better write and craft a song. It pushed me to be self-reliant like never before. Sure, there were others that influenced me but, my first glimpse of the soul of a song was fostered in his work.
I some how came to understand that it's alright to write one's last song. Thank you Paul.

Here's a good article that tells his story. It's worth reading:   http://www.americansongwriter.com/2010/11/paul-siebel-journey-of-the-jack-knife-gypsy/

   roman blazic

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