Why would I lie about a name like that? He was my 6th grade teacher, and he used to sing.
I'm not talking about cool, early musical influence, or admitting to any sort of early musical dorkiness here. I'm just saying Mr. Herman Ripp, my 6th grade teacher who wore corduroys and had a mustache, used to sing. No guitar. No piano. No tiny little wooden recorder. Just hardbound song books and tunes like Streets of Laredo--sad cowboy songs where men died alone in the middle of the desert.
Here's a verse:
Then beat the drum slowly, play the fife lowly.
Play the death march as you carry me along.
Take me to the green valley, lay the sod o'er me,
I am a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong.
Good times. Mr. Ripp would stand in the front of our classroom and warble those songs like he was about to cry. Then we'd all put the books away and go back to math.
And I even thought to mention it because I was listen to REK's latest studio album,what i really mean, and one of the songs sounded a lot like those old cowboy songs.
And I remembered Mr. Ripp and was struck by how sometimes our early influences aren't so much inspirational as they are, well, influences.