A Musical Reunion

Images © Todd Klein

This past Thursday was a wonderful day here at the Klein home, as it hosted a reunion between two of my oldest friends and myself. I first met Tim Walker in the fourth grade, and we became best friends and spent lots of time together, but Tim left our public school class to go to private school after a few years. Tom Burden joined my school I think when we were in sixth grade, and he lived closer to me than Tim, so Tom and I also became close friends and did lots of things together. All three of us were interested in music and would play together in our homes, in pairs or occasionally all three, playing mostly folk tunes, jug band music, and some rock songs of the era. I’ve been in touch with Tim most of the time since, except for a few years in the early 70s, but we lost track of Tom around the end of 1971 until I tracked him down through his brother in 1997. Tom was (and is now) living in Georgia, and all three of us revived our friendship by email and occasional phone calls. But it wasn’t until this week that Tom was able to visit us in New Jersey and we spent an afternoon and evening together in person.

When we got back in touch with Tom he was still playing music and making home recordings, which he sent us. This inspired me to start making my own CDs of music I had recorded over the years. In 1991 I put together the above privately-issued CD of some of our music from childhood, saved on reel-to-reel tapes I had, and a few Tim had. Unfortunately I had very little that included all three of us, but we decided to make two new tracks long distance. Tom recorded a vocal and guitar track, and sent it to each of us, and we added our own vocals and/or instrumental tracks. This was quite difficult, as we were working with cassettes and they weren’t all running at exactly the same speed, but using my Mac computer I was able to digitally edit the combined efforts into something we all liked, a fun project.

But now, for the first time in about 40 years, we were all together again, reminiscing and having a great time. Ellen joined us for lunch, and then took pictures as we got out our guitars (Tom’s was borrowed) and played together on our screened porch. Since we had nothing prepared we mostly look at old handwritten lyric sheets with chords or songbooks by groups like The Lovin’ Spoonful and The Beatles. Each of us had songs we liked to suggest, and it was great fun.

Here are Tom and Tim working on a song together.

And the three of us trying to follow the too-small typed lyrics on another. We all agree that large-print lyrics would be a great help in our current configuration, and if we can do this again (and we hope to), that’s something we’ll work on. The music flowed for about three hours before we all went out to dinner together, and it was a wonderful time. All three of us kept saying, “I’m so glad we did this!” Sometimes you can go back again and relive the fun of your youth. Okay, the music itself was rusty and uneven at times, but occasionally came through very solid, and in any case, it didn’t matter, we loved doing it.

Here are The Three T’s as Tim named us after the fact, then and now. At top around age 16 I’d guess, playing at Tim’s house, and the only photo we have of the three of us from back then. Below as we are now at age 60. Thanks again, Tom and Tim, for a great day that I will always remember, and hopefully more to come!

3 thoughts on “A Musical Reunion

  1. Don

    What a great post, Todd! It reminds me of a few people I’ve gotten reacquainted with and even seen in person after too many years apart thanks to Facebook.

  2. Melissa Trauger Mulroy

    Indeed, a wonderful post. I am fortunate to have had a similar musical reunion with my friend from the 6th grade, after we left Bedminster and moved to Northern Kentucky. Francie and I played music together this past summer for the first time in 50 years!! In July, We played a 40 minute set together,as part of a great little bluegrass festival called Cornstock, put on by my sweetheart Randy.

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