Benalla, Victoria, 1998
I like my bread, and we pay some exorbitant price for a locally baked vintage grain sourdough.
Cass, my partner, often reminds me that when I was in hospital and couldn’t eat anything at all, fed by the tube in my stomach, I would remark, that when allowed I will never eat shit bread again, period. And I try hard to do that. Songs or versions of songs can be bad bread, not really up to scratch, just filler, soft fluff. Some come along that are a real game changer and leave a mark.
The other day I was down a familiar YouTube tunnel, somehow a quick look at a link turns into a long rabbit hole of scanning at random stuff. I came across a song that I hadn’t listened to for ages, a song that when I first heard it, was a real life changing moment.
I can clearly remember when I heard Eva Cassidy the first time. I was lying in bed listening to the local ABC radio when Over the Rainbow came on. I couldn’t believe it. What a great version. What a voice. I was a bit dumbfounded.
At the time I was single, not playing any music, not really listening to much either. I was kind of in that place where you just tread water day to day. Maybe, something or someone will help jolt you out of that funk you’re in. Eva’s version of Over the Rainbow did the job.
I had to find out about Eva Cassidy, get some of her CDs. Learning she had died in 1996, and was born the same year as me, that news had a big impact. I started playing music again, started to write songs, started to find a way forward. Found some perspective.
I thought Billy Thorpe did a great cover of this song but Eva Cassidy’s stays with me much more.
The You Tube performance took place at the Blues Alley jazz supper club in Georgetown, DC, on January 3, 1996. Recorded by Bryan McCulley.
Eva Cassidy, 2 February 1963 – 2 November 1996.
Stereo Story #633