|Concert Performances: West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba|
So I stood there a little while longer, still hoping that I could just talk to him for a couple of minutes. And as I stood there, a woman -- I was kind of stammering I guess -- as I stammered, a woman approached him.
A lot of people approached him...everybody thinks that they know him, and that is fine with him evidently, except that he looks out over your head when you talk to him. He's about seven feet five I think and he looks -- he has a habit of looking out at the horizon, and of course there is none in Manhattan. But he's looking out there as if there is one and it's coming toward him. And it had, there's a -- you can see it. It's kind of charming in a way but it's also kind of disconcerting, you don't know who you're talking to and every now and then he'll look down and achieve eye contact. And then he's had enough I think and looks back.
So among the people who approached him was a woman with a Spanish accent who said "Pete, I'm about to get married." And he said "Wonderful, the most beautiful love song ever written is" -- and he rattled off this title and he grabbed her by the shoulders and he started to sing it to her. And she was -- at first she was deeply moved. But by about the 55th verse she was beginning to get irritated. And there was no way out for her. She had to stand there, while Pete stared off over her head at the horizon, and listen to this song. And he sang every verse, and it has as many verses as "La Cucharacha" and I don't know how many there are to that but there's tons. And he kept a hold of her shoulders: she didn't have an option. So he finished it, and he didn't say anything; no editorializing on his part. I think he knew she had had enough. And she went on to her marriage.
I wrote -- I asked Pete at this point more or less for his phone number, so I could call him up and say hello and whatever. I greatly admire Pete and his playing. And instead of giving me his phone number, he drew a map to his house. It's perfect, it's just absolutely perfect. I wrote him a letter once and he mailed me back a leaf.
What a guy.
So he wrote this song and he's recorded it two or three times, once with a whistle where he whistles a harmony. I tried to whistle the harmony once in concert and my pucker so repelled the crowd that I've never done it again.
I tried out for the flute, parenthetically -- I'm about done, I'll be done with this in a second and then I'll play. People have come up to me after shows and they've said "Leo, we've come here to hear you play." [pauses] Well, I don't care.
[Laughter and applause]
This is called "Living in the Country" and it was written by the immortal Pete Seeger.
[Leo plays "Living in the Country"]
I want to thank you for coming out on a slippery night. I know that right out here on the street, four cars were rammed into by -- I hope one of yours isn't among them. I don't know how many of you know that. [audience and Leo laugh] Four cars parked along -- I think -- I forget which way I'm facing -- over there. Good luck.
And you think you've got troubles.
[Leo plays medley of "Available Space," "June Bug," "Train and the Gate," "Machine," and a modified "Jack Fig"].
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