Home > 1, Music, The Music Business, The Virgin Islands > Book 4. On Nicky Russell, Sad Beyond Words…Continued

Book 4. On Nicky Russell, Sad Beyond Words…Continued

Book  4. On Nicky Russell, Sad Beyond Words…Continued

 The fact of Nicky’s demise has been too sad for words for me, for many days now, and has precluded my posting to the Memwa?

 I have to move beyond that sad preclusion, I will save  my wild ranting  for another time., and I will instead, keep it simple..

It rained like hell at Nicky’s memorial and the grand assemblage under the striped circus tent at Magen’s Bay got soaked from above, aside (actually both sides) and flooded up from below.

 Sensible people, which included the bands and sound system folks (I know that it sounds like an oxymoron) concluded that playing with electricity while standing in water up to your ankles was not wise. Many if not most  packed up and split. I did not, (but only because I have  never and never do, known or know when to go) consequently when Mssr. Pat Bailey and “Bongo Man Bar none”, Richard Spencly suggested that we “just play” regardless of the juicy water and lack of amplification, it felt like a mighty fine flashback to days of old. Days (and nights) of old wherein young men (flung about the waterfront across from Trader Dan’s)  literally sang the sun up out of the sea.

We sang the sunrise welcoming many a mad morning.  Mad mornings of the very best/worst kind. The kind  that our friend Nicky elevated in memory and celebrated fight down to the end. So we did…

We played a rousing set of calypso caraho that included Nicky’s (and his straggler fans) favorites, “La Biega Carousel”,


and “Captain Creole”

As sweet sad a raucous rhapsody, as can be imagined.

As we moved from song to song we were joined by others who refused to let the music and the moment go. Morgan Rael on the mighty jaw bone, an unknown (to me) bell swacker and a mighty fine mystery conga man.

Someone was kind/foolish enough to plug in a microphone and guitar amp, the volume jumped and the joint got jumping.

Our little oddchestra was fronted by the ever enthusiastic prantastic dancing of the afore-mentioned Pat Bailey, who revved to wild, right off the bat.

You (in the audience) may not always be aware that we (on the band stand) see you and feel you and receive intense infusions of emotion and energy from you.

This “speed of light” zappage is a primary driving factor in the degree of intensity that charges the back and forth energy/passion/love/exchange between us.

The double polarity ultra zapbomb was in full force on this occasion.

The sad eyed ladies down front, were well past early spring but their energy and emotion for the moment and what the moment meant, was as strong as any ever.

We were all once young together and these songs were the sound track of that time, and all the time between, and of course our friend, who represented well, was gone and each and all of us knew that we are soon to follow. Ah Yes. Stuff like that will strum up a feeling or two.

To watch the girls of yesterday, dancing yesterday away, is enough to bring a fellow like me to his weeping knees.

Instead we jumped back into a reprise of Nicky’s “Theme Song” “La Biega Carousel /Tutsie” to close out these magic moments of this magical memorial.

When I originally wrote it back in 1964 the third chorus ines were, “And I wish I were like Tutsie and could do as I please, then I’d be barefoot at the Foxes Tamerindo”(Foxie’s bar in Jost Van Dyke) but through the years Nicky began to insert his own updated line “Then I’d be dancing naked at the Fox’s Tamerindo.” I thought it appropriate to sing Nicky’s line for this occasion (and will in remembrance from this point forward)  as the line rang out good brother Pat, tore all his clothes off and really started  prancing the light fandango.  The dance fantastic.

We are trying to find the fellow who filmed the whole thing so that we can share this extraordinary fare-the-well to show the world how it was once upon a time down in the bongo Isles.

There could not have been a more fitting finale for our brother Nicky Russell. Thank you to all who made it so.

Nicky was a great eager and optimistic kid and stayed that way ‘til the day he died. We should all be so beautifully blessed. Three beautiful sisters, two beautiful sons, and one no matter what, steadfast wife. He was  loved and accepted and loved (did I mention loved?) all the way through life, right down to the very end. God Blessed and Bless you Little Brother Nicky, we love you long time…

  1. Paige Pepperdine
    August 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this memory of Nicky’s celebration of life. We will all miss Nicky dearly. I sadly was unable to go and you made me feel as if I were there. Thank You for that, if I can re post this on the Virgin Island Bacchanal fb page I would love to share this w/ others.
    Love, Paige

    • scottfagan
      August 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm

      Good to hear from you Paige, and thank you for the kind words. You are welcome to share away.

  2. Merrilyn Russell Lewis
    August 1, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you Scott for such a touching tribute to Nicky… Yes, he was “Loved”…and Special to so many of us… friends and family alike…
    Sorry we didn’t get to Hang out while we were there… seems like I didn’t connedt with many at all, who came to the “Celebration”… s few minutes here, and there, with lots of folks….
    thanks again for everything… Nicky would have loved to have been there, and I know he was ..!!!

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