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Norm Hacking's Prose
Race Track Hack:
"For Rick Fielding"



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Taxi News, April 2004, p.15-16
© Norm Hacking 2004

It is an unsympathetic moon tonight, that cares little to hear of our worldly sadness and regret.

We have walked upon that barren lunar dust, cheered such improbable conquest, boasted at our seemingly unquenchable thirst for discovery of that which lies beyond... and beyond.

And yet, tonight the indifference of this cold ancient orb makes me wonder if all that we humans touch must eventually become common and sullied and somehow without magic.

We took our Garden of Paradise and filled its oceans with chemical waste. We congregated in once idyllic surroundings and quickly learned that day to day living was much easier when we turned our world into a giant landfill, not only for a disposable generation, but for a disposable species.

So tonight, Mr. Moon, I will sing you no more love songs. Nor will I share with you any stories.

Nope. Me and these few Taxi News readers who may still be awake, will look inside instead for answers to the infinite, and the mysterious, and the seemingly untouchable. It's the place where dreamers search for one more dream.

Rick Fielding was the type of man who chose to look inside - to his own heart, and into the hearts of his many friends and fellow travelers. He was a discoverer, a creator, and a healer.

He died in March, shortly after the launch of his new CD, "Acoustic Workshop." His beautiful wife Heather had taken to doing Rick's Folk music show on CIUT radio on those occasions when his lingering illness left him too weak to do the show himself.

And so it was on his radio show, with Heather as in-studio host and Rick for a brief time on the phone from home, that they were joined by a who's who of musical friends to celebrate his CD launch, and much more so, the man himself.

I believe those in attendance took their cue from Rick's day to day demeanor.

He was passionate and tireless in the pursuit of excellence in his craft.

They probably haven't invented a stringed instrument he could not play.

Over the years, Rick and I probably played some of the loudest, crumbiest bars imaginable, but also folk festivals and concerts where Rick could truly shine. He was concert caliber in every regard.

He also took immense pride in his music students, who came to his house for lessons, and who would have been richer for the time spent, even if a guitar or a mandolin had never been brought out of its case.

But, as with many of the gifted ones, Rick's self-deprecating and irreverent humor was a great strength and one that the performers at his CD launch drew upon to banish any hint of the sorrowful or maudlin.

Instead, warmth, and celebration, and honest joy filled the airwaves as each guest in turn sang a song, read a poem, or told an amusing story.

My favorite Rick Fielding moments are slightly oddball. He was a walking encyclopedia of baseball and boxing lore, and while I fancied myself quite the trivia buff, I knew I was over my head when he'd preface some impossibly obscure question with, "OK, you'll know this one..."

For years he coached and played on a mixed slo-pitch softball team. I even took in a game or two as a spectator, partly because of Rick, and partly because I had a mild crush on the shortstop.

Some folks who knew Rick only as a musician will be surprised to know that he studied visual art, and some years back even appeared as a cartoonist in Taxi News!

I think if you lumped together all us over-50 baby boomer folksingers, we'd break down into two categories:

a) Those who can still discuss the "music business" as if it has anything whatsoever to do with us, and

b) Those who find a way to somehow carry on with gratitude rather than bitterness; with faith, and hope, and passion, rather than tired resignation.

Rick Fielding found a way to do the latter, and he continued to make a positive difference in this world every day.

Now, his music will continue, because it is strong, and it means something, and it is a gift he has left to us all.

Several years ago a small record label honored me by recording various artists singing my songs in a 2 volume CD entitled, "One Voice." You can imagine how proud I was.

On volume one, Rick graced my song "This One's the Dreamer" by recording it, not only for the compilation tribute CD, but also as the title track of his own CD he was working on at the time.

The night at the Tranzac Club when everyone got up and played my songs for the live recording, I was near tears all night.

Then Rick took to the stage and he played not only the song I'd written, but also one he wrote for and about - me. He called it, "The Poet in the Corner." I felt so very close to my friend as he sang about artists knowing the cost and still being willing to pay that price.

At my request, 3 Flamingos Music will include Rick's song on the second volume of "One Voice." It will be the only song appearing on either CD written by someone other than myself. I will cherish it always.

But I promised myself to end this volume with a joke, Mr. Fielding. I kinda thought you'd like that. You'll have to forgive me, 'cause I just made it up and it probably stinks...

Q:) What's a Folksinger do when his instrument is in the pawn shop, he's being evicted, and Hydro just shut off the lights?

A:) Writes another love song, and sings it to the moon.

See you at the next gig, my friend.

Love, Hack

Webmaster's Notes:

Rick Fielding 1944 -2004 - see Rick's website and Borealis website

See the list of Norm's on-line lyrics, poetry and prose, including other "Race Track Hack" columns for Taxi News.

Taxi News website is with Norm's current monthly column at and a few archived issues in .pdf format at (check the last few pages of each issue). Taxi News is a monthly publication with news and commentary on Toronto's taxi industry and is available by subscription or free at distribution points.


Added to Norm's website March 30, 2004