Paul McCartney sings "Truckee Blues" at hotel near Tahoe
SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press Writer
Friday, February 28, 2003
(02-28) 18:54 PST TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP)
Regulars tapping to the beat of the Truckee Hotel's usual Thursday night jazz duo got a surprise when Paul McCartney took to the small stage for an impromptu song he called "Truckee Blues."
McCartney sang about 10:30 p.m. Thursday after he and wife, Heather Mills, dined incognito at Moody's Bistro and Lounge in the Sierra ski town's historic hotel about 15 miles from Lake Tahoe.
"I almost died. Here he is, 5 feet from you," an excited Carm Lyman said Friday.
"There were maybe 30 or 40 people there of all generations, all with their mouths open," the Tahoe-area resident said.
McCartney, the former Beatle who opens a European tour next month, played a few songs with Bob Greenwood's Jazz Duo, said J.J. Morgan, general manager of the restaurant in the hotel built in the 1870s.
The couple had been on a ski vacation at Lake Tahoe for a few days, he said.
"He wanted to listen to some music so we parked him next to the band. He was loving it," Morgan said.
"We wanted to make sure they had a private, kind of incognito night, and I think he felt real comfortable," he said.
Greenwood, who plays keyboards and base, and his drummer Dennis Steele, played McCartney's "My Baby's Request" before the former Beatle asked him if he knew an old jazz standard, "The Very Thought of You."
Greenwood said he didn't remember the words. So McCartney said, "Don't worry about it, I'll come up and sing it," the local Truckee musician said. "That floored me."
Next came the Chicago-style blues tune that McCartney dubbed, "Truckee Blues."
"He walked up on stage unannounced and said, `If you guys can play the blues, I'll put my own words to it,"' Greenwood said.
"He created three verses spontaneously. And the hook in the song was the `Truckee Blues.' That knocked me off my feet. I couldn't believe he could come up with lyrics like that," he said.
Greenwood said McCartney came off as "a totally regular guy.
"All night long he was singing along and playing the cup with a spoon to the rhythm," he said.
The local pianist said he had worked with David Crosby, played back up for Billy Preston, and performed before the likes of ex-President Bush and Joe DiMaggio.
"But nothing has ever come close to this. I had to pinch myself when it was over," Greenwood said.
Morgan, who moved from San Francisco to open the restaurant in the former logging town last summer with his partner Mark Estee of Boston, said he's a longtime fan of McCartney and the Beatles.
"Who isn't?" Morgan said. Lisa Marie Presley dined there once, but McCartney's visit was bigger, he said.
"I don't know how much bigger it can get," he said. "Truckee is a small town so word was whipping around."
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