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Herman Cherry is a Very Tiny Man

I wrote the songs for my album, Instant Pleasure (2004), in a number of different ways. For example, I had recently been to a used book store (I love them!) and bought an old paperback called Conversations With Artists (1961). It was a compendium of interviews with famous and not-so famous artists of the first half of the 20th century, put together by Seldon Rodman. One of the artists who had granted an interview was Herman Cherry (1909 - 1992). I was quite taken by his name and started to read his interview as I picked up my acoustic guitar. Herman was a short man with a walrus mustache, who loved to dance. He was also known for smoking cigars.

All of a sudden, the chorus of a song about him just came to my mind:

Herman Cherry is a very tiny man,
A walrus mustache and an ever-present cigar.
He can jitterbug with the very best of them,
Herman Cherry is a very tiny man.

As I read more about Herman, more of the lyrics just fell into place.


Click play to hear the song.

A painting by Herman Cherry.

About a year after my album was released, I received an email from a woman named Regina Cherry, Herman's wife! She had googled her husband's name and up it came in many reviews of my album. She said that she was very flattered that someone would write a song about him after all these years and wondered if I would I send her a copy of the album. She also invited me to a retrospective of her husband's works at the prestigious David Findlay Gallery in Manhattan.

Of course, I was surprised and delighted to hear from her and told her so in my return email. I sent her my album the next day.

About a week later, I received another email from her saying that she had received my album and loved the song about her husband. She happened to live next door to the lead singer of a band that I very much liked, Travis. She said that he loved the song as well.

I never did get to the Herman Cherry retrospective, but it was greatly satisfying that his wife had enjoyed and appreciated the song that I wrote about him.

See some of Herman Cherry's paintings.

See Herman Cherry's New York Times obituary.

P.S. I contacted the eclectic Selden Rodman in 2000. He was 90 at the time. I sent him my copy of his book, which he kindly autographed for me.

Related Links:
Instant Pleasure (2004)






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