• Paul Barrere

"Old Folks Boogie"

When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill. It’s the reality of aging, and not only in your mind and body. Groucho Marx said you’re only as old as the woman you feel, and I must say he had a point - to a point, but there is the reality of everyday wear and tear on the body. I know that for me, there are certain things I can’t possibly do the same as when I was in my twenty’s. I’ve lost a few miles an hour on my fastball, and a half court shot is a bit longer than it was even in my thirties. And as for the mind, well I seem to forget things a lot easier now, not really sure that’s more of a blessing than a curse. I feel great about getting older, since there was a time when I didn’t think I’d even make it to thirty. Everyday above ground is a gift, even the ones that suck.


When I wrote Old Folks Boogie I was 23 years old. It was a eight stanza poem that I recorded with Lowell George behind the board and we thought I should just recite it, while doing a soft shoe on a piece of plywood on the floor, acting out the part of that cagey old codger, and it was just a hoot, it was late at night and we were deep into our cups if you know what I mean. I got that line from my father, who was the funniest man I ever knew. He was an actor from New York City who migrated to Hollywood in the 1930’s to get into the film business, but brought with him some of that New York broadway, and vaudeville theatre knowledge, and he had heard that line in a vaudeville act. The real riff was “you ain’t old when your hair turns grey, and you ain’t old when it falls away, but if your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill … you’re over the hill brother, over the hill”. Oh, there were other stories and songs that he knew and would sing around the house, but all way too filthy to put into a song. He loved the fact that I used that line and gave him writers credit. I miss my old man. When I finally turned it into a song, the only song I’ve ever written on piano, I took 3 of the stanzas and tossed out the other five.


That brings us to today, and times have changed. I’ve changed, the music business has changed, hell everything changes over time. Old folks needed an upgrade. Hence the “Redeux”. Roger had an inspiration on how to make it a bit more modern. He blew my mind with his plan. Create samples, sound designs. and a bit of a rewrite of the words, and voila! the ‘Old Folks Boogie Redeux’ was created, and its got the funk, and the bounce, and damn it’s just fun for the whole family.

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