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A Friend Of Mine Is Going Blind

May 28, 2020

Today’s post takes me way back to 1975. I was a budding song writer who had just had his first commercial success. I was hungry and looking for inspiration to propel my career. Late nights and early mornings would find me thinking, writing and playing guitar.

I rarely write “shout-outs” but this one is for fellow songwriter John Dawson Read. His 1975 song A Friend of Mine is Going Blind was a major inspiration to my own writing. I like to give credit where it is due, so here goes.

Four and one half decades ago, I was enchanted and moved my John’s song. I found the chord structure haunting and the lyrics open and honest. It was the uncomplicated stuff that I wrote myself but like his own lyrics stated, he wrote “so much better than me.” Somewhere in its structure and contents I found some songwriting gems to call my own. One of those was to be writing publicly about very personal subjects straightforwardly and without embarrassment. That proved a key to my success with such songs as Three A.M., Cotton Candy Dreams and Be Kind To Yourselff among many others. Today, I wanted to give John a big public thank you for the help he unknowingly provided me nearly a half century ago: John, thanks – Grazie – Vielen Dank!

Here is the cut-down biography for John from Wikipedia:

“John Dawson Read is an English singer-songwriter.

Born in Wokingham, Berkshire, England, Read first came to prominence in 1975 with his debut album A Friend of Mine Is Going Blind, released on Chrysalis Records. The album’s title song was written by Read for a friend of his who suffered from muscular dystrophy. Read credits his friend with having been a writing inspiration for years, as well as being responsible for his debut album, having sent Read’s songs to publishers.

Read’s second album, Read On, was released in 1976, again on Chrysalis. After this release Read seemed to disappear from the music business. Fans had little success finding information on Read until singer-songwriter Michael Johnson put an MP3 of “A Friend of Mine Is Going Blind” on his website. Many Read fans began communicating through the site, and this was one factor which encouraged Read to re-enter the music world after spending most of the time between 1976 and 2005 in a business partnership in marketing.

Read credits his discovery of Pristine Audio as being “the second most influential factor in ‘getting back into it.’” Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio remastered A Friend of Mine Is Going Blind and Read On.

In 2005, Read released his third CD after a nearly 30 year absence from the music world. This CD, entitled Now…Where Were We? begins with “Days of Sweet Remembrance (reprise)” from the album Read On.”

People are so much more than biographies. The best I probably can do here is present his moving song. Please give it a listen and let me know if it makes you stop and thank – and about what?

Here are the lyrics for those like me that feel they are important. BTW – The chord progression I referred to begins with A flat – F minor – B flat minor – B flat minor 7 – Eflat

A friend of mine is going blind
But through the dimness
He sees so much better than me
And how he cherishes each new thing that he sees
They are locked in his head he will save them for when
He’s in darkness again

He can’t read books
And he can’t paint pretty pictures
But he understands so much clearer than I
For he knows that all he’s missing with his eyes
Is more vivid in the mind of the man who’s going blind
And that’s why he doesn’t mind.

Won’t you sing Tommy Davidson of
Things that you have seen
Sing of winter’s bite and summer nights
And places you have been
Of dew drops and forget-me-nots and
Silver silky sheen
Lain across the morning meadow on the hillside

And this friend of mine, he plays guitar
And he sings so much better than I
He can sing you any pictures in your mind
He will sketch them out in rhyme draw the details in the lines
And he’ll color it in time

And oh how he loves his guitar
And it loves him
And they play much sweeter than I
As if to say that come the day that he can’t see
He will have at his command so much beauty in his hands
That the loss won’t come so hard

Won’t you sing Tommy Davidson of
Things that you have done
Sing of silver seagulls sailing into evening’s golden sun
Sing of city streets and villages and people on the run
Tell the people how you know it
Tommy Davidson

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From → History, Music, Poetry, Writing

  1. Hi Allen. Lovely tribute and song which I must admit is new to me. Thanks! I ‘learned something today in hearing something I had never heard before.

    I was blind for a time. And now I see.

    Each year I celebrate my own Cinco de Mayo.

    Best from Florida.


  2. I didn’t know this song


  3. What a terrific song. Sad, inspiring, lovely melody. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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