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"It must have been the summer of the following year, or so - with lots of rainfall, so I was forced to stay indoors for quite some time -, that I borrowed a songbook from my elder brother, a compilation of the most popular folk songs. I thumbed it through for a song that would be easy to play, just two or three chords, and eventually decided on what was to become the 'first song I ever (sang and) played on the guitar', the popular standard The Dying Cowboy ('As I went out in the streets of Laredo, …').

I would sing it for hours, if not for days, testing all kinds of different versions of renderings both in accompaniment and singing, downright driving everybody else out of the room. Yes, I really must have gotten on many a person's nerves then …"

Copyright © Michael Phillips 2007