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To The Lighthouse
John Robert Brown
"I learned yesterday that a hamlet is a village that doesn't have a church or a pub." Daryl Sherman is describing the smaller destinations on her 2016 'Nooks and Crannies' tour of the UK. Today she is making a stop en-route to Grimsby. She is to appear at the Grimsby Central Hall. "My inspiration to come to the UK this time was a combination of travelling over from New York to play in Somerton, Somerset, for my friend Roy Copeland's 87th birthday, to help celebrate and jam with him," she says, "And to return to Grimsby, to reunite with the go-to-guitarist Pat McCarthy. I've played with Pat before, at the Grimsby Jazz Society.
"Maybe a year ago, Pat e-mailed me to say that he's been trying his hand at 'pop songs'. What is meant by 'pop songs' I'm not sure, perhaps something that might be tuneful that someone else might sing? Pat sent me a couple of things, as a demo with a singer. Immediately on seeing the title, 'Let's Go Live in a Lighthouse', I was intrigued. I thought: 'I wonder what this is about?' The melody was kind of catchy, a little predictable, but that's good. But it was the lyric; Pat didn't tell me much about what prompted him to do it. So wistful and charming, you can visualize what it looks like as you climb the stairs: 'Every stair leaves a care behind us as we climb'. I'd never thought about climbing up a lighthouse with a gentleman, that it might be so romantic.
"There's another line: 'As you look out from the window, shading your eyes with your hand, you'll see three words I have written, from my heart in the sand.' Immediately, I get this picture of beach sand with the heart traced, and 'I Love You' written. Isn't that lovely? The song has been one of the hits of this tour.
"The song went on its way on an album I recorded in Japan. Soon I'm going to return to Japan for my fourth three-month stint. There were a few specific songs that my Japanese fan base would request, the most popular being Fly Me to the Moon, which I call the Japanese national anthem!
"But like-minded spirits find each other. That's why I keep coming back to England. The common language certainly helps, whereas Japan is far more challenging. But you find out that there are song sleuths everywhere. We all find each other, somehow. There's a huge Frank Sinatra Society in Tokyo. That leads to all things American popular song. There's a place there where a husband and wife have opened a little cellar club that displays all things Frank Sinatra - every memento they have ever collected. They've created their own juke box, not only of Sinatra recordings but of all the great songs. For instance, There's a Lull in My Life by seven different singers, fabulous versions. They'll ask for songs such as I Walk A Little Faster, or maybe a Blossom Dearie classic, and maybe Tony Bennett (who does a great version) and, I think, even Sinatra, but not exactly on the usual request list. They are very discerning. Another song that I recorded on this album was You Turned the Tables on Me, which I know from Benny Goodman. He himself sang it, as did Helen Ward.
"One of my fans in Japan is a Helen Ward enthusiast. He brings me volumes of scrapbooks that have pictures of her. I'm not even sure that Helen Ward went to Japan. I said: 'Instead of bringing me these books and photos, can't you bring me some of her gowns? That's what I'd really like.'
"Another Japanese fan loves the song because his mother played the piano. He had the sheet music. It was on the piano. He learned it from that."
Daryl Sherman has the enviable skill of being able to endear herself to most of those who she meets on tour. "The hospitality is so gracious," she says. "I get to go inside someone's home, see how they live, eat some home-made meals and get a feel for the town."
Besides her imminent tour of Japan, Daryl's future plans include CD with saxophonists the Anderson Twins and, in 2017, to seek an appearance in Hull during its year as UK City of Culture.
As yet there are no more plans climb stairs in a lighthouse.
John Robert Brown