Friday, February 19, 2016

BOBBY COLE - "GROWING OLD" (10 Years After)

Ten years ago on this date, THIS BLOG appeared.

One of the first things I posted was "Growing Old," written and recorded by my late friend Bobby Cole.

We didn't talk much about his old songs. He was pretty modest about his sheet music, his many looseleaf binders of music study, and whatever "unreleased" material he was still working on. I remember checking out some of the songs and asking, "Why did you write them down in such complicated keys?" Much of his stuff was in 4 flats, 3 sharps, etc. He said, "Hadn't thought of that."

And then we were off for a walk, or a discussion of beer, women, and anything but song. After all, you don't expect a doctor or a lawyer to "talk shop" after hours? They're trying to get away from it.

There's no getting away from today's anniversary, so I'll acknowledge it. Yep, 10 years of this blog. But I have no profound comment to make about it; no paragraphs of nostalgia about all the changes over the years. As with Bobby and his music, living it was enough. Just enjoy what remains. The blog has some 1,000 or so links. And below is one of them.

Ten years ago I wrote:

"I'm Growing Old" is Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" gone very bad. The singer here isn't looking backward fondly, he's accepting a very unpleasant future. The song puts a final chord on the forewarning of an earlier song (on Bobby's solo album) called "Lover Boy."

In that one, he tells a playboy that Life will eventually provide the truth: "taking in exchange...your youth." Here, the truth is "I'm Growing Old," and it's so painful Bobby told me that grown men in the audience would cry. That might also explain why Lou Rawls emphatically turned this song down when Bobby offered it. PS, Bobby had better luck when Nancy Sinatra covered one of his tunes (Flowers)."



Timmy said...

I forget your name, compadre, but I do want to congratulate you on this aluminum anniversary of yours. I wish thee well.

Brian Prebble said...

Ten years... and how the blog landscape has changed for the worse. A relief this one has managed to survive continuing in it's own unique way whereby the music is just one component - a perfect model by the way, one song and not entire albums or discographies which is precisely how it should be complete with links to the sites where it can be BOUGHT and not stolen. Adding to it, intelligent and insightful writing with good sometimes irreverent but always respectful humour. A genuine rarity for music blogs then, and now. Whatever happened to writing and reading in the 21st Century? Oh... it's been reduced to witless facile YouTube videos of commonorgarden drivel bought from Amazon. I might sound like that boneheaded B**o making one of his countless pretentious statements when I say this, but this blog has always been and remains a beacon of sanity and decency, a fitting example from which a great many could learn... but won't.

As for Bobby's song... it grows ever more eerie with each passing year as we all get older... how I felt ten years ago health wise is very different to how I feel now which is considerably worse which is fascinating since ten years ago I would had been around the age Bobby was when he wrote this - the guy sure had vision. Bobby's harrowing portrayal of the things that one starts noticing with the passage of time is frightening because he was so spot on. It's little wonder this song could reduce grown men to tears... and it still does if I may be bold to admit since I find it both sobering and heartbreaking... and not just in relation to Bobby's own life either.

A truly timeless song and I think the reason it remains "obscure" is because it's so REAL... and too many people hate being confronted with reality when it comes to superbly written songs such as this. A shame that Bobby's recorded output is so small but what there is proves the old adage - it's about Quality as opposed to Quantity, a lesson I wish many other musicians would learn.

Marie said...

Thank you for being so respectful of Bobby Cole's legacy. I missed your annual December posts. Congratulations on ten years, and I hope you'll see many more.

Marie said...

Mr. Illfolks, I help manage a Bobby Cole Facebook page. You seem to have known him well, and have so many stories to share. I'm copying a link to the page, and I hope that you and your readers might look at it and join. I didn't know Bobby; I've only been a fan for two years. But I want to help keep his music alive too. Thanks.

Ill Folks said...

Nice Facebook page, Marie. Yes, I remember Jerry's article after Bobby died, mostly for that line about his "sapphire blue eyes." What a memory that guy didn't have. Yet a well intentioned squib in the Daily News got some surprising anger. Well, emotions were raw in those sad days after his passing. I hope what's left of the inner circle finds your page, and adds photos and stories. (Is Tony L. still around? On the Internet??) Stephanie's participation is also a good sign. I know hers was a difficult situation, as most everyone who knew Bobby had their frustrations with him. So the daughter would find things even more disappointing. I think she'd be within her rights to re-issue Bobby's Concentric album, or dupe the version Jack and his pal was selling. It should at least be on eBay once in a while.

Marie said...

Since you asked, I got curious about Tony Lupo, so I checked YouTube and found a 30-minute interview from 2013. At the time, he was playing in a jazz trio called Paris-Manhattan. During the interview, he spoke of his years with Bobby with such affection and respect. I complimented the video and posted a link to it on the BC Facebook page.

You've disillusioned me about Bobby's alleged sapphire blue eyes! I've only seen him in black and white or very blurry color. Maybe Mr. Tallmer was thinking about Frankie, lol.

I would appreciate the chance, if you're willing, to communicate with you off-blog regarding a couple of issues. I don't want to know who you are; you value your privacy, and I don't want to overstep. The FB page now has an email address - it's Or you can write to my personal email address, which I think you can see on your blog settings. In either case, I'm the only person who can open either account. Thanks, and I hope you have a peaceful night.