Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Paul Delay R.I.P.

Paul Delay R.I.P.

A letter To Paul Delay. R.I.P.
Dear Paul: On one of the worst days of my life I bought your album "Take it from the Turnaround"...I was drunk and High and had a big fight with my family so I left the house in a blizzard that night in Maine and didn't take it with me. Later that year I think I found myself back in Maine in a hospital in the detox ward kicking Crack and booze and everything else. My mom brought me the album and I finally listened to it. From the first note I loved you...Then came the lyrics all about my life and all of us other fuck ups too. That was the beginning of a long beautiful sober learning journey I have taken that is now eight years old. You were the first music and the first hint in that journey that I wasn't alone. The first hint that god was after my soul too and not just the devil. Later Pat Ramsey my main mentor and the man I call Dad came into my life again to help with his experience, strength and hope too...You guys would have liked eachother a lot I think you had heard him before some where...But you were a not so strange, stranger and you affected me deeply as you did so many others.
Later I had to go to jail as you did...excepy you had been out for three years and did more time and harder time than me. I wrote you from there through your record label. I found out later from you that you never got that letter...it's ok it was probably some messed up crazy self absorbed newly sober shit any way but this letter you'll never get either but I know in my heart you can feel all the love that is pouring out from you from down here on this blue planet. You inspiring genius, you master, you unicorn.
So then I started sending you music.... through Peter...I wanted your advice...The Cd I sent you was supposed to be this "Modem" harmonica shit where I wanted every note to be perfect, no chords, especially incomplete chords, I wanted all the intonation to be perfect, the harp to sound like a Guitar or a Violin something more legitimate, more sophisticated than the harmonica. I sent this same Cd to Howard Levy, Pat Ramsey, and Carlos Del Junco. Howard told me to "learn more harmony and expand on treating chord changes like key changes take piano lessons etc"... Pat just said he liked it and it was scary... Carlos said, "Use more Legato" not so much Staccato. You called my house told me the strangers in the night joke...then told me after I probed you about the CD: "Just Don't be afraid to let it sound like a harmonica." It is so absurd...because I love the harmonica but I was afraid of it sounding like one....All it's coarseness and imperfections I then realized the reason I sent the CD to you was because I love you beautiful abandon and humor and I think maybe you loved the harmonica more than any of us!!! That advice helped me love it more too and I thank you forit now sir! I wish we could of hung out a lot. Jimmy Lloyd Rea loved you so much you were his favorite. I know people that's marriages were save by your music and whose lives were enriched beyond description. Mine was changed as I already said. Curtis admires you so much! I was worried you were going to die soon but I thought it would be your weight and/or your heart...It doesn't matter. I'm surprised and unprepared as maybe you were. I hope it didn't hurt. I'll miss you from afar as I knew you in life. Regretting lost time...and way too little conversations. Remeber Strangers in the night in 5/4 time? Hope to laugh about that again with you up on the big stage some day. R.I.P. Big Man! I love you.
Another fan that loved you.
Jason Ricci

1 comment:

Bent Reed said...

That's a beautiful story and a great letter. Paul is still one of the most inspiring and influential harp players on my life as a player, to this day. He was not only a genius musician on the harmonica but also a lovable human being. Thanks for sharing this Jason. I really enjoyed it and was already familiar with part of it...as I heard about the advice he'd given you about letting the harp sound like the harp, long ago. Great advice! <(Bent Reed)>