How do you say it anyway? MamaroNECK...MamaRoneck...MaMAroneck? In any case, we had a gig there -- a 70th birthday party for the lady of the evening, Diane. This one required a brief jaunt on the Metro North, which made for good rehearsal time and a bit of the ritualistic "passing of the flask." When we arrived at the station, 40 minutes from home base, two black cabs sat awaiting us.
Unable to contain ourselves, the Mamaroneck Song which we had thrown together at Grand Central spilled into the cab, much to the delight of our driver, Dexter. We knew this was a cool cat from his laid-back 'tude and his fetching blue fedora. But when he asked if we knew the old doo-wop tune, "So In Love," things got interesting. Dexter hopped onto the lead, albeit a few steps higher than we're accustomed to singing the doo-wop ditty. But we followed his soulful croon dutifully, and it was glorious. (He even nailed the lyrics which have eluded Will for the better part of two years now). We slapped and shook hands after the short ride, and even asked Dexter to join us for the gig, but alas his "work" took precedence. Little did we know, the cabbie on the return trip wouldn't require an invitation.
The gig itself was fantastic. We annihilated a glorious antipasti spread. We made the most of the open bar, and per the usual, Mike made friends with the tenders of said bar. We severely depleted the cookies and cannoli before the partiers ever caught a glimpse of the dessert trays. Somewhere between the revelry we managed to sing two sets, one contemporary, and one doo-wop, for Diane and her charming family and friends.
Not to gloss over the gig itself, but we must hasten to the story of the second cabbie. When I think of the name "Dominic," I think now think two things: Kindergarten Cop, and an impossibly rich Mamaroneckian baritone. This guy was the latter. When we arrived at the train to take us back to the city, Dom physically left his car, ignoring the calls of his CB radio, to come stand in a cold man-circle and serenade us with old standards in shockingly robust tones. Eventually we landed in common ground and ran through a version of "Going to the Chapel," the footage of which was happily captured. When it was over, Dom left us with some words of wisdom, asserting that music is the language which truly binds us all together.
We rolled back to Manhattan for a nightcap and an improvised tune with a rollicking Irishman, who confessed he was supposed to go meet his girlfriend 3 hours ago. The fateful lyric that resounds with me goes, "I don't know where I'm going but I know that I'm here/ I spent all my money on whiskey and beer."
As seems to happen more often than not, the most cherished memories associated with a gig are made up of the people and places that become peripherally involved. It is a wonderful phenomenon which shall henceforth be known as the "Low Key Effect." Put seven gentleman songsters in suspenders, embolden them with spirits and a little something for their stomachs, toss them into society -- and see what happens. Video below.