The first time I met you was 19 years ago, I was working on a gospel album and my client had hired a “Guitar slinger” to put some leads on his album. You and I hit it off right away, joking and laying on down guitar parts. If I’m not mistaken I think we managed to finish up all 10 tunes in one evening. The thing that amazed me, and still does. I think the first time you heard those songs was when we recorded them. Oh on occasion we went and did a take two, but not often! Over the years we worked on countless albums, whether it was a country single or a fiddle record. I always knew I was in for some good tracks when I heard that you were coming down. I remember when we did Cliff (maytwaywashing’s) last album. Cliff had a bad habit of forgetting the names of the songs. I finally called you up “hey Jimmy, what am I supposed to name this waltz?” and with a chuckle you said “call it Shane’s waltz”. I think I ended up calling it “sean’s waltz’, because it had a better ring to it.
I used to always joke around with you, every time you pulled a crazy guitar part off “Can’t you just miss one note!” even when we’re working on your last record two weeks ago. You were still pulling off these amazing guitar parts. I distinctly remember one session, we were talking about the kinds of music we were listening to, and I had mentioned some great guitar player, we sat and listened to it and then fell down a worm hole listening to all kinds of tunes.
Whether it was trading licks with Clint, filling in on Wayne’s records, orchestrating parts for Cliff’s arrangements it was always a fun time and learning experience for me. And there were times when I was listening to Jim and he wasn’t even in the building, working on transfers of the old Red Wine stuff, or fiddle compilations.
In the first few months of 2018 we put together a record of your Dad’s tunes (Walter Flett) from transfers and old recordings. Then I got a call from you saying “I’m getting inducted into a hall of fame, maybe we should put a record together!” My response “Well it’s about damn time isn’t it?” And he laughed.
The last few weeks were such a blessing, if I only knew. We were already making plans for some more music. Being a recording engineer is a strange thing someday, you get to listen to these performances before anyone else. Part of the job is making people comfortable enough to let go and have fun. The last thing I listened to Jim play was “The Entertainer” on acoustic guitar. We had recorded it previously, but he wanted one more crack at it. After having a sip from his thermos (that was never not by his side) he grabbed his trusty martin and wandered off into the recording room to run it again. In case you are wondering it was one take.
I’ll miss you.