Silence for a few minutes. "So will ya help me?"
"Most assuredly. She definitely had this coming."
"You bet she did."
"Such a song requires something..... special. Ah, I have just the thing."
More silence, then a laugh. "Ezra, what in the world..."
"Why, Vin -- surely you didn't think the trombone was all I played...."
More laughter. "Perfect! That'll be a twist no one expects!"
"Precisely. Now, let's work on the arrangements...."
At practice, Ezra's new instrument caused some good-natured jibes, as did his willingness to volountarily step aside and let Vin sing lead.
Buck's teased, "After the stink you raised on 'Faded' and 'Bluebird', I didn't think you'd step aside again!"
Ezra grinned so large the gold tooth shone. "Considering the nature and subject of this particular song, I felt Vin would be the best choice. Besides, I cannot sing and play at the same time."
That shut the teasing up on that matter -- nobody could argue with that logic.
After they'd run through the instrumentation once, Josiah asked Ezra about the instrument choice. Ezra's answer was a chuckle. "You can blame my mother for this," he said with a wink. "She insisted I learn to play a 'gentleman's instrument'. She was absolutely mortified when we lived in New Orleans and I took up the trombone to play in the jazz clubs. It seemed -- beneath her -- to have a son interested in jazz and rock."
Nathan chuckled. "So your playin' this on this particular song is kinda as much an 'up yours' to Maude as the rest of it is to her?"
"Precisely, Mister Jackson," Ezra said with a second wink. "Now --- shall we return to practice? The song is scheduled to debut tomorrow night."
That set off general laughter. "Perfect timing, cowboy," Chris laughed, clapping Vin on the shoulder. "Her last night in town!"
"And she will definitely be at the club," Ezra chuckled as he tuned his instrument. "It's already been arranged, correct?"
Vin's wink at Ezra was eloquent answer.
The next night at Four Corners nightclub, the Seven played their hearts out and Vin and Ezra scanned the crowd. Midway through "For your love", Ezra suddenly turned to his left and touched two fingers to an imaginary hat brim, nodding at Vin. Vin nodded back.
Their prearranged signal.
Charlotte had walked in.
After the song ended, the band didn't say a word as they reshuffled their positions. Nathan helped Josiah move his keyboards out of the way and wheel in an electric piano, which he sat down behind as Nathan lifted a woodblock and hammer. Vin unstrapped his guitar -- there was no second guitar for this song -- and moved to the centre microphone, raising it to his height as Ezra moved the leftmost microphone back to lean over JD's drums. The silent drummer would be singing backup on this song, as his Very Good Reason for not singing lead -- his singing voice just went too blamed high -- was perfect for the near-falsetto note needed to blend with Buck and Chris's background. Ezra then lifted the instrument he'd use on this song -- an electric violin -- and ran an experimental note with the bow. He winced and adjusted a string, then nodded at Vin.
Vin licked his lips nervously before he spoke into the microphone. "Ever heard Carly Simon's 'You're so Vain'? The line that says 'you probably think this song is about you'? Well, honey -- this song is about you." And he counted them off.
Violin and a cymbal riff were the background for Vin's strong tenor voice.
"You made a fool of me....
All the broken dreams have got to end...."
Then Josiah's lone piano -- even the notes sounded angry. Guitar, woodblock, drums, and bass joined in in a swing/rock rhythm and Vin began to sing the main song.
"Hey woman you got the blues
Cause you ain't got no one else to use...
There's an open road that leads nowhere
So just fix your miles between here and there...
There's a hole in my head where the rain comes in...
You took my body and played to win...
(Ha ha) woman, it's a cryin' shame
That you ain't got nobody else to blame....
Ezra's violin chimed in playing the lead part, and Chris began playing a rhythm riff on the guitar. Vin sang on:
"Rode in from another town
Took some girl too hot to settle down
But a fool and his money soon go separate ways
You'll find them a'lyin' in a daze.
(Ha ha) woman, what you gonna do?
Destroyed all the good things
That your God gave you....
So good that you're feelin' pain...
But you better get your face on board that very next train....
Evil woman, you're an evil woman...)
Vin stepped back, jamming his hands into his pockets. Without his guitar he just didn't know what to do with them! Ezra moved to the side of the piano, his violin and the piano playing a riff that turned into a musical follow-the-leader! It ended with a swoop of a note and the chorus repeated before Vin stepped back in.
"Evil woman, how you done me wrong,
Now you're tryin' to wail a different song...
(Ha ha) honey, how you broke me up
You made the wine, now you drink the cup....
Came a'runnin' every time you cried,
I sort'a lost my own pride...
(Ha ha) ha, very nice to know
That you ain't got no place left to go!
(oooh, Evil woman....
Evil woman, you're an evil woman...)
They did the chorus one more time, with the background adding "(Such an evil woman!)" then they let the song end.
All seven smiled as Charlotte turned varying shades of pale...red...then purple.... then pale again. On the last notes of the song, she stormed out of Four Corners -- -never to return.
And the Seven high-fived and hugged each other as their second standing ovation rolled out.
Among it, Ezra called in Vin's ear -- to be heard over the racket -- "How do you feel, my friend?"
"To use one of your words?" Vin called back, "Exhilarated!"
And Ezra laughed as The Magnificent Seven took their bows.
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