From the recording Charlie Guitar
My tip-of-the-hat to Chicago's late great Charlie Koster who died 20 years ago this month, on 10/5/99 at the age of 79, and to all the other fantastic Charlies anywhere who played guitar.
“[Koster’s] repertoire ranged from Frank Sinatra to Freddy Fender” – Chicago Tribune
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About Rich Krueger
“I can’t remember the last time I said yes to a song out loud in its first 3 seconds.” - Greil Marcus Rolling Stone
“Here be a literary songwriter of the first rank. A major songwriter.” - Robert Christgau, Dean of American Rock Critics
for the late great Charlies Koster & Christian
Swing souled Charlie Guitar
Blue as nostalgia
Versatile as coal tar
His head's out the window, like he's late for a train.
The King's down the station, pan-handling for a chord change.
And then the President steps forwards. He begins to blow.
His first breath's impression is felt clean in the back-row.
And Charlie's dressed easy, like a rhythm well-wore,
And he'll play a song written long before you could have been born.
Tonight the club's packed in three-deep, all these walls can take.
While all may be dreamers, some are more than awake.
And the club owner’s well rested, has no trouble with sleep;
He drifts off easy, counting the evening receipts.
But these cats will catch it once Charlie's begun.
He's more ways to skin 'em, but hey it only takes one.
Put your head to the track, feel the train on its way.
That Bandstand-To-Your-Heart Express, every Saturday.
And you'll be blown back when it rolls on by.
This train is richer. He'll paint you a picture
From his underground rainbow, Charlie's intent
On mining colors that no German chemist could invent.
Beware imitators who might toss you a bone.
Only Charlie blows kisses hewn out of stone.
Some look to critics. Some look to gold;
Some look to flags 'cause they can't feel the wind blow.
But if you look to Charlie Guitar, be forewarned,
He'll play a song written long before you could have been born.
Catch a train to the stars.
Swing solid forever.
Swing solid, my Charlie Guitar.
-June to August 1988