This part of the collection is a 1970’s version of today’s “reality programming” — unscripted, unedited, and deliciously revealing audio tapes, private letters, postcards from the road, personal stories, and photographs with Barnes’ family and friends.
GEORGE BARNES: THE LIFE features audio interviews with Barnes and Guitar Player Magazine for publication in 1976, a radio broadcast with Barnes, Ruby Braff, and Cornel Chiriac of Radio Free Europe in 1974 in which the boys take over the interview, and Studs Terkel’s fine historical tribute to George Barnes, broadcast in 1978.
You’ll hear tracks from 1972 and 1975 demo sessions with his daughter Alexandra. Barnes’ arrangements of his daughter’s early originals are played by some of the 1970’s finest New York session musicians — drummers Steve Gadd and Bill LaVorgna, bassists Russell George and Don Payne, guitarists Allen Hanlon and Vinnie Bell, and keyboardist Michael Holmes.
And Barnes’ informal musical accompaniments with his wife Evelyn — his favorite singer of all time — are especially touching.
Evelyn and George Barnes at photo shoot for “To Fred Astaire with Love” album cover – RCA Records, New York, February 1975
The personal audio recordings allow you to eavesdrop on Barnes’ interactions, in entertaining conversations with family and friends, including a spirited collaboration between George, Alexandra and Evelyn on a song titled, “You Can’t Cook Supper on the Front Porch,” two wacky “radio plays” he wrote and performed with his daughter when they briefly lived in Texas in 1967, and delightful conversations with his wife, walking in their bucolic Northern New Jersey neighborhood in 1970, and driving around their new home in Northern California in 1976.
These rare recordings are a humorous, heartwarming wide-angle lens on the private life of a musical genius.
Evelyn, Alexandra and George Barnes for Oakland Tribune interview – Concord, California, 1976
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