And on the Next Day God Created Lowen & Navarro…
The title for this post was ripped from johnnypee in the comments section on the following video by Lowen & Navarro, recorded in California, from 1989. It features a song from their debut album, Walking on a Wire, called ‘Oh Mary’. I don’t usually notice youtube comments, but L&N weren’t all that well known so there were only a couple of them. A west-coast male duo with really sweet, pretty harmonies, they caught the crest of the neo-folk revolution of the late 80’s and early 90’s, and arrived on my radar via Nashville’s alternative radio station which is surprisingly good. They looked about like this when I saw them perform in both 1993 and 1994 in an eerily similar and small venue on lower Broadway.
Needless to say, my 24-yr-old self was beyond enthralled. I can only echo the rest of johnnypee’s comment when he adds “I used to see these guys everytime they were in the area. Some of the best concerts I have ever seen. Every song a masterpiece, so much talent. It was so kool to hear these songs come to life a few feet away from the table.”
Although the tall one, Eric Lowen, is singing lead on this song, Dan Navarro has a sexy sounding baritone, despite the fact that he must not have been taller than 5’5″. So I thought BruceKap440’s comment on this video was pretty cute too; “God, you guys sound great! Still got that black Guild, Eric? Who’s that guy next to you playing guitar? A young Cilantro sprout?”
Lowen & Navarro are best known for penning a much earlier hit sung by Pat Benatar, which anyone born before 1972 ought to remember as being in the Top Ten during 1984. In the songwriter’s version, Navarro’s voice is clearly audible where he sings the 2nd verse in Spanish.
Just as much as watching the ‘Oh Mary’ video above is like peering back through time, there’s been other occasions I had a look at what some of my favorite old acts are doing now, and what they look like, thanks to the boundless resource that is youtube. The first time that I saw someone, I won’t say who, that I remembered as youthful and sprightly and bouncy who now appears jowly and pudgy and stooped I got the surreal sense of blinking my eyes, turning my back for only the briefest moment, and almost two decades have passed, like Rip Van Winkle or something!
So while Dan Navarro is clearly a matured Cilantro plant by now, I was caught off guard with how saddened I was to learn that Eric Lowen now suffers from
ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease and can no longer sing or play. When I said hello to them way back then they were both friendly but Dan seemed to play up the smouldery gypsy act (even though I was towering over him), and Eric was far warmer with a broad, sunny smile. Dan now bravely soldiers on solo, but whoever else is he going to sing like this with now?? Really, we all lose out this time, for they made a heavenly sound together indeed… I had forgotten all about that first time I saw them, just like johnnypee, a few feet away, and being immediately transfixed by their own magic sound. I’m sure they made all the girls in the audience feel like they were singing to them.
Before Eric lost all of his mobility and voice, they recorded a swansong, Learning to Fall. In 2007 they gathered a chorus of supporters to sing along on the title track, shown on this last video. So I’d really like to tip my (imaginary)hat to such a portrait in courage as that of Eric Lowen.
Basically everyone who commented on that first video spoke for me before I thought it, including this one from 100downwiththat posted only 1 year ago.
“I love these guys – can’t say enough good things about them. Their music will always live in my heart.”