Feb 172013

Following up on a story about the passing of the guy who wrote “Along Comes Mary,” Tandyn Almer, has unexpectedly turned me on to a bunch of great songs I’d never heard before — and one or two I’ve always loved that it turns out Tandyn wrote, in whole or in part. (“Shadows & Reflections”? “Sail On Sailor”?  Almer co-wrote both of those.)

Too many online remembrances and feature stories have focused on the more curious and “newsworthy” (in a VH1 Behind the Music kind of way) aspects of Tandyn’s life, and that’s a shame. By all accounts, he was happy and well liked, and that’s what really matters. A good, and seemingly well informed, accounting of Almer’s accomplishments can be found in this excellent career retrospective/obituary, found somewhat strangely on a Catholic faith-related blog.

Anyhow, I guess I just wanted to pass along my respects for a great artist I basically knew nothing about until today. Being able to hear the original Eddie Hodges version of “Shadows & Reflections” alone — that was totally wonderful; what an awesome arrangement! (Also, check out “Butterfly High,” a psychedelic masterwork performed by Hodges and Almer under the most excellent band name “Paper Fortress.”)



  9 Responses to “RIP, Tandyn Almer. We Hardly Knew Ye. And I Mean That Literally.”

  1. Thanks for the link to the Catholic obit — I didn’t know who the guy was until today — the Washington Post “local lives” obit was OK, but those You Tube links are cool.

    The Association is some my earliest recognizable pop music — as toddler – I remember the incessant playing of “Windy” on KDWB in Minneapolis as our babysitter drove us around. “Along Comes Mary” is their best song,

    “Sail On Sailor” is the last good Beach Boys song in my book.

    There’s also this nugget from Wikipedia:
    Almer invented a waterpipe called the Slave-Master, described by Jack S. Margolis and Richard Clorfene in A Child’s Garden of Grass as “the perfect bong.”[6]

    Post Obit:

  2. Oh my god! I know the author of that Catholic blog piece. Dawn Eden is good people! I will give some background later.

  3. OK, just got time to read Eden’s piece all the way through and watch the videos.

    Fascinating, Captain.

    My bandmates and I crossed paths with Dawn a few times over the years, the first time in 1987 or so, when she booked us at a club in New York, around the time of our second record. I don’t think my path ever crossed with hers again until 10 years later, by which time our band had broken up, reunited and fell apart a couple more times, then finally reunited ’til death does us part. We’d put out a new record and received a fantastic review from someone named Dawn Eden at a national news and entertainment website. The reviewer somehow compared us to one of my favorite records of all time. She had to have been crazy, but for all the times in our original incarnation we’d been compared to bands we didn’t like (eg, Husker Du) there was no way I was turning down this comparison, no matter how tenuous.

    I tracked her down to say THANKS. We ened up talking on the phone, at which time I learned of our original interaction 10 years earlier. She was a major ’60s rock nerd, and we stayed in touch through the formation of Rock Town Hall, trading tapes and tales of favorite obscure records. She then became a key figure in the Stiff Record tribute album we organized, introducing me to a few of the artists who would contribute, including some incredibly kind artists who would introduce us to other artists with Stiff ties. She even made the leap from rock critic to rock singer, performing a number with The Anderson Council. Dawn is one of the many people I’ve stumbled across in the music world who make all the time I can’t help thinking I’ve wasted worthwhile.

    A few times I tried to get Dawn involved in RTH. She respectfully declined. She’s up there with my old friend and advisor Jay for the title of Rock Nerd Most Suited for the Halls of Rock Who Has Avoided Joining Us for Health Concerns. In Dawn’s case, at the time we were building this place, she was moving toward writing about Catholicism and away from covering rock ‘n roll. Good to see she hasn’t lost all touch with her first religion!

  4. underthefloat

    Thanks for the information and link on Almer. This is right up my alley and yet I really didn’t know of him until now.
    I’ve read other articles by Dawn Eden in the past. Always very good. Cool that you have that connection Mod.

  5. This is a great post – really interesting stuff. I’ve just started scratching the surface of the resources.

    Somewhat on topic, I just read that Tony Sheridan also died this week.

  6. jeangray

    WoWsa! That is some serious Bubblegum. My teeth hurt after listening to that!

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    Please get your bullshit rock critic sub-genre buzzwords straight, Townswoman Gray. The correct ID for that version of “Shadows & Reflections” would be “Sunshine Pop.”

  8. And THAT term makes me sick in the stomach. I miss EPG when I hear “Sunshine Pop,” and that probably makes BigSteve sick. See what you’ve started?

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