Songs from a Long Time Ago
This CD was recorded by country artist Mel Besher as a tribute to the songwriting team of Rick Cooper and George Jeffrey. Cooper and Jeffrey never had a hit song, but some very talented players performed on the handful of their songs that were commercially released--players including multi-Grammy winners Bela Fleck and Mark O'Connor. The 10 tracks on this CD were written by Cooper & Jeffrey in the 1970s. George Jeffrey died in 1993, and the demos, recorded on reel to reel tape, were in storage for many years. A chance reunion between Rick Cooper and country artist Mel Besher, a long-time friend of both Cooper and Jeffrey, led to the creation of this CD. Here are comments about the CD from one of the songwriters and the artist. Rick Cooper: I met George Jeffrey in 1975. I was a poet and George was a guitar player, and within a few months we were a songwriting team. George and I spent many late nights in bars filled with lonely souls, and we saw the powerful effect that a voice, guitar, and lyrics from the heart can have on people. We tried to capture that feeling and put it into every song we wrote. From '75 to '80 we combined to write over 200 songs and spent countless hours together, scheming and dreaming of leaving our mark on Nashville...which we did, if you count graffiti on a wall at the Ryman. We were always on the verge of success--our songs were turned down by some of the biggest names in country music--but we never got that one big break. George is gone but our songs live on, and I was honored when our mutual good friend, the very talented singer/songwriter Mel Besher, agreed to record a CD of our songs in the style in which they were written. He captured the essence of the demos that George recorded a long time ago, and added that special touch that only Mel has. This one's for George. Rick Cooper Mel Besher: One of the first people I met when I moved to Nashville in the mid-'80s was George Jeffrey. George was truly a gifted songwriter, and he became a one of a kind friend to me. One night in a crowded bar a gunshot went off, and he picked me up by my coat collar and carried me out before I even knew what was happening. That's the kind of friend he was. George passed away in 1993, and I miss him dearly. The first person George said that I needed to meet was Rick Cooper, George's songwriting partner and longtime friend. Rick's advice and help to me throughout the years also goes beyond words. It has been many years now since George's passing, and I was honored when Rick asked me to record, with just "voice and a guitar," some of the old songs that he and George had written together. I hope you enjoy the simplicity and sincerity of the performances. Be clever, Mel.