I prayed once more for calm and ability to put two words together (oh, please don’t let me sound like a geek!), took a breath, dialed… and asked for Mr. Williams’ assistant.
“Hi!” she greeted me, as if we were old friends. Pausing, she asked, “Are you ready right now?”
I laughed. “Yes, I’m just trying not to be nervous.”
“Well, let me tell you, Pam,” she said genuinely, “he’s a very kind and warm man and you will really enjoy it.” A lovely thing for her to say.
A brief moment, and she connected me.
“Hello! Pam?” came that voice. “This is Andy. How are you?”
I smiled. “I’m great…How are you?”
“Terrific,” he said. “I wanted to thank you for your wonderful letter about the CD. Your feeling for each song…Everything you wrote is so well expressed. What you said about the fresh loveliness in Moon River, for example…” I could hear him shuffling papers as if he had my letter right there. “That’s the special arrangement Henry (Mancini) wrote for me, you know,” he explained. “I love this LIVE version better than the original myself…”
“Oh, I do too,” I agreed. “It has a dream-like sound to it…”
“I don’t really listen much to my own music,” he confided then, “but my wife always has this CD on in the car…and I’m finding myself loving these songs all over again –”
“– I really love this arrangement of Can’t Help Falling in Love, because it is so soft and pretty,” I heard him saying, “and all the wonderful background artists I got the chance to work with who made this so great…”
Suddenly – talking music – we were like two “kids” comparing our love of these songs and I found myself just grinning while he was telling me how wondrous it had been for him to work with music greats like Dave Grusin, Jobim and so many others.
It astonished me to hear him talking as if he were simply the bystander on these renditions…with no sense of bragging at all. Just out and out love of the beauty in it, the joy in producing it. Explaining how he felt the true stars were those who had composed, arranged and orchestrated this music. “Everything was live in those days,” he reminisced, “and we had a full orchestra. You just don’t hear this glorious sound much anymore…”
“I know,” I enthused with him, feeling like he was giving me a backstage pass to those days he was remembering… I recognized names he mentioned, from television credits and album covers… as well as from other music I knew…making it fun and easy to talk with him about it all.
“I always enjoyed the wonderful camaraderie you had with all the other singers who came on your shows,” I remarked.
“Yes,” he answered, a softness in his voice. “I never felt a competition with any of them. It was just great fun to perform together…”
I could feel the conversation coming to a close… and wished it could last a bit longer. Patti had been right…I’d just enjoyed our easy-flowing discussion. The richness in talking with someone who has such extensive history…and who was sharing it all with me like good friends.
“Well, before we say goodbye, I wanted to ask you,” he said, “would you mind if I sent your comments to the studio heads to read?”
Taken by surprise, I wasn’t sure what to say.
“It’s just that you expressed so many beautiful things that I feel about these songs too,” he explained. “I’d like to quote from it… you know, like reviews from a fan.”
I found my voice, then. “Sure,” I said warmly. “Feel free to use anything I’ve said about your music…”
“Thank you,” he said. “I appreciate that. It’s not often they get to hear firsthand what the fans think.”
“You, too,” he said. “Bye. And thanks again for the letter.”
I sat by the phone, letting the tone of our conversation flow over me. Incredulous. Remembering how I’d asked God to help me put my written thoughts into words that would move Andy as his music does me.
I thought of how words have always been such an integral part of his artistry, how his incomparable phrasing always makes me see and feel the words with the music. And he’d called because he liked my words, wanted permission to quote me.
Thank you too, Father – for unexpected gifts, I breathed. And for words that bless...
Then… a thought I’d never imagined before. It would be amazing to talk with him in person sometime. Hah! I thought. Things like that just don’t happen… Even if such fun phone calls do…
To be continued…
© Pam Depoyan