“Eddie was a Gandy Dancer, but he only lasted a week” and this week, it’s a Doug Hoekstra Vents Magazine premiere served up for your enjoyment. “Gandy Dancer” is the song, about a railroad worker gone off the track, single video number four from the forthcoming album, The Day Deserved. This musical noir features a groovy 1999-Staple Singers inspired vocal trade off between myself (DH), Hannah Fairlight, and Preacher Boy, pushing the tale along. The fabulous animated video was put together by Grant Claire at Goodnicethanks here in Nashville. It’s Saul Bass inspired, but he really ran with it. Link below followed by a bit more on the tune from yours truly.
Before my parents passed, I recorded many hours of interviews with them, family questions, about their lives and the times they lived. Recently, I was driving along listening to my Dad from the past coming to the present to tell me about his brother Herbie, who worked for a short time as a gandy dancer, on the railway in Chicago. Apparently, it was a terrible job, very hard, and he quit after a week. I didn’t remember this particular family tale and I wasn’t even sure what a gandy dancer was, so I looked it up. Herbie is not Eddie, the rest of this story is simply a noir tale I made up, but I thank my Dad for giving me the idea from then to now, as if he was just waiting to lay it on me, from the great beyond.
Gandy Dancer was also the last song we finished for the record; I felt like the bass/drums were solid, but that it didn’t have enough layers and that it was probably a song that needed to deviate more from the original path. When the pandemic hit, however, necessity became the mother of invention as we went back to the drawing board, flying in overdubs, with Wurlitzer (me), guitars (Dave Coleman), congas (Chris Benelli), and sax (Jimmy Bowland) getting added to the mix and creating a whole new stew. Paul Slivka’s original bass and Chris’ original drums remained. Then came the round-robin vocals, adding Hannah and Preach to what I had going already. So this track really has a nice evolution, from my Uncle Herbie to my folk’s recordings to the studio to the “community” created during the pandemic.