week before his death, the legendary folk singer Bob Gibson held a party
Sheraton North Shore in Chicago, inviting all of his friends to see him and make music
One last time. To the shock of everyone--especially since he had declined to attend a
recent benefit concert in honor of Gibson--Shel Silverstein showed up, unwilling to
miss the opportunity to be at one last party for his friend and colleague of over forty
years. He sang one of his songs ("Cuddlefish", which I have not seen anywhere) and
gave this moving tribute:
OK, I'll tell you how Bob got me started. Bob had a song--well
it was about half finished--three-fourths finished.
He'd heard that I'd written something, so he tossed me this and said, "You can try this." I was able to finish it--
a Bob Gibson song, and another Bob Gibson song, and then we wrote some songs together, and then I was able
to write some songs alone. And what I owe him I will tell you, for all of us I think--for me, I shouldn't say all of
us--what he did for us was he set the time for us and I know that at the time of the Earl and the Gate, John
Brown's club--to be there was to be the best place in the world. To be where we were at that time--I've never
had anything better--I've never known anything better. I think it's important, you know, for us to know that--
that we were at the best place at the best time.
So what more do I say about Bob? I had a band once that had a clarinet
player--his name was Joe Moriani. Later
on when Louis Armstrong passed away, they interviewed Joe on TV, among a lot of other people, and they said
that we know how much you loved Louis Armstrong. Joe Moriani said, "No, I don't love Louis Armstrong." He said,
"I am Louis Armstrong!" And this is true. This is true. I don't just love Bob Gibson. I am Bob Gibson. Because
other people, not just to affect them or to entertain them--but that's enough if it was that--but we do become
them and pass them on. So I thank you for coming into me and letting me pass that on.
Shel Silverstein performs "Cuddlefish" at Bob Gibson's Farewell Party
This information was taken from "Bob Gibson:
I Come for to Sing", cowritten by Bob Gibson and Carol Bender in 1999.
Copyright 1999 Carole Bender & the Bob Gibson Trust. This biography is excellent, and the insights that Shel and Bob
have about each other are insightful and priceless. Definitely a recommended read.