“WAITING AT THE END OF THE ROAD”: CONAL FOWKES / DAN BLOCK at CHEZ JOSEPHINE (May 30, 2015)

WAITING AT THE END OF THE ROAD music

I think Irving Berlin’s 1929 song, WAITING AT THE END OF THE ROAD, is one of his most beautiful.  And no, I don’t worry whether the solo on the Whiteman record is Bix or Secrest.

WAITING AT THE END OF THE ROAD

What moves me so about this song is nothing new: there were many songs before or after it that chronicled the weary traveler returning home.  But think of the universal desire to find peace and contentment at a familiar place where your loved ones dwell.  Think of the idea of being able to put your weariness aside, your burden down.  As is usual with Berlin, there isn’t an intricate rhyme in the verse or chorus; no Hart or Porter cleverness.  No words that would puzzle an elementary-school student, although the movement from thorns to roses is something a lesser songwriter would not have thought of.  But it’s the common tongue and thus the emotions come right through.  And the melody!

The lyrics, verse and chorus:

Weary of roaming on, yearning to see the dawn
Counting the hours till I can lay down my load
Weary but I don’t mind, knowing that soon I’ll find
Peace and contentment at the end of the road.

The way is long, the night is dark
But I don’t mind ’cause a happy lark will be singing
At the end of the road.

I can’t go wrong, I must go right
I’ll find my way ’cause a guiding light will be shining
At the end of the road.

There may be thorns in my path
But I’ll wear a smile
‘Cause in a little while
My path will be roses.

The rain may fall from up above
But I won’t stop ’cause the ones I love will be waiting
At the end of the road.

On a related subject — with no paragraph transition, hence points deducted. One of the most rewarding aspects of being “back in New York” is slowly finding places where fine music is played — places I’d never ventured to before.  I offer for your delectation a French restaurant at 414 West 42nd Street (west of Ninth Avenue on the south side of the street) called Chez Josephine, which has jazz duos on Saturday night.  I know that heroes Terry Waldo and Tamar Korn appear there regularly, but I was around this last Saturday, May 30, to record some impromptu classics.  (Good urban food and drink, too; nice service.)

I felt as if I had the privilege of absorbing the music made by a trio — Conal Fowkes, piano; Dan Block, clarinet; Conal Fowkes, piano — making their way through this beautiful song, balancing sentimentality and swing at a fine old-fashioned medium tempo:

(Conal and Dan will be creating musical transformations at Chez Josephine today, June 7, as well.  And I will have more music to share from this evening.)

I hope everyone has — or will have, someday — a place to go to of the kind Berlin imagined for us, a home, a respite, a welcoming spot.

May your happiness increase!

6 responses to ““WAITING AT THE END OF THE ROAD”: CONAL FOWKES / DAN BLOCK at CHEZ JOSEPHINE (May 30, 2015)

  1. The first trumpet “solo” is Secrest, as it sounds like a written part, whereas the last solo is Bix, clearly improvised, yet simpler than his usual excursions due to the nature of the song…

  2. Lovely song & eloquent thoughts, as usual, Michael!

  3. Furio Dei Rossi

    Dear Michael, do you know where the “josephine” comes from? From the great Josephine Baker!!! I was there some years ago, and it’s really a very nice place!
    Furio

  4. I am a huge fan of both Conal Fowkes, and Dan Block. The video you have so generously made shows “why.” They are marvelous musicians, and I applaud them. I have a beautiful rendition of “Waiting At The End of the Road,” by the “Roadrunners” featuring Rebecca Kilgore, that is lovely as well. Thank you so much for this great post NM.

  5. BEST recording…?
    The Great Ethel Waters!!

  6. Pingback: MORE OF THE GOOD STUFF: CONAL FOWKES and DAN BLOCK at CHEZ JOSEPHINE, MAY 30, 2015 | JAZZ LIVES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s