Eggs over easy, plate of hash browns
Take my hand momma, we’re goin’ to town
Oh what a wonderful thing to do
Eggs over easy, hash browns, and you
It was the late Seventies, a spring day. I was free, happy, and hungry. I smelled breakfast, and I was thinking of my sweetie and me, and then, in a flash, there was “Angelo’s,” shimmering and fully formed, hovering before me … a simple, happy, transporting song, just born … a seeming gift from the universe … a shiny apple, a hip, swingin’ paean to love, food, and the music of Louis Jordan, one of my songwriting heroes, a man who appreciated, among other things, the confluence of jump blues and good food …
In those days Ann Arbor was brimming with live music venues and already iconic hometown bands. The scene was rich and intense … great music, great musicians. I had emerged into it from my college days at U-M. I discovered I could write my own songs, and I dove in.
I was hitting my songwriting stride by the time I moved to Delhi, a tiny community tucked into a bend of the Huron River about five miles upstream from Ann Arbor.
Delhi was the prettiest place I ever lived. I rented a small house there with some friends and had the large bedroom upstairs. From the south window I could see the railroad tracks no more than forty feet away, and beyond them, a field of high grass. The grass merged with sumac bushes and fall trees as they followed the river. I sat at that window for hours and hours playing my guitar … practicing, listening, inventing. I was always on the lookout for something new.
And then, it happened.
A spring day, a train rushing by, the aroma of breakfast cooking downstairs. I was at the window, playing through some swing chord changes in G, relieved that a song I’d been trying to wrestle into existence for the past three days had finally let go of me, and out of the ether pops “Eggs over easy, hash browns, and you!”
What a delicious proposition! What a perfect lyric! Not only did it immediately rhyme itself with “Oh what a wonderful thing to do,” but in less than half an hour it pulled an entire song into being:
Angelo’s, the place really hops
Angelo’s, the service is tops
Angelo’s, we’ll be lickin’ our chops
Momma, we’ll pull out the stops.
“Angelo’s” quickly became a crowd favorite. When Snap!, my first album, came out in 1980, “Angelo’s” was the second song, side one. Carey Carlson heard it a few years later and chose it to be the theme song for her OverEasy show on WCSX. Carey played “Angelo’s” twice a weekend for the next thirteen years. When Pam Rossi became the new OverEasy host, she kept “Angelo’s” right where it was. You can still hear it on her show every Sunday morning.
One evening I was coming back from a gig in Canada and the U.S. customs guy wanted to know about the box of new CDs in my suitcase, I said, “Well, that’s my CD … I’m selling them. See, it’s got me on the cover!”
I could tell he was still not convinced. Then he took one out of the box and looked at the song list on the back. “‘Angelo’s’?!! … is that that song about the eggs over easy?”
“Yup!” I said, sensing a turn in my favor. “It certainly is. You know that song?” And to my amazement he started singing it!
That’s how it’s been. “Angelo’s” gathers good feeling around it.
It gathers a lot of stories too … good stories … happy stories … silver-lining stories like for my friend Steve who told me he was listening to the song when he got into a car accident. Good thing was, it made him realize “that cars come and go, but people who love you hope you’ll stick around for a while!”
I guess that goes for songs too. Happy anniversary, “Angelo’s!” Thirty-five years and still making new friends.
Siegel performs at the Ark on December 5 (see Nightspots). He promises to play “Angelo’s.”