I first met Eddie Carney in Sacramento in 1964 when he was back from Germany on leave from the US Army.
I was introduced to him by Frank Loscutoff who was the guitar player and lead singer in the band "The Fugitives" I had just joined earlier that summer as a sax player. Eddie had been the bass player prior to his enlistment in the US Army. He was a cool guy from South Sacramento.
Over the years we have remained friends, although there were times I was away from Sacramento and
did not see him for periods of time. Nevertheless, we always remained friends, that was just the way he was.
Eddie had a very outgoing personality, he had "the Gift of Gab" as some would say and he was always attractive to the ladies....like a magnet!
From about 1995 on, we became closer friends and Eddie came up to Lewiston, California in Trinity County during the summers for my family's annual re-unions, he met my parents and siblings and members of our extended family and Eddie soon became "one of us". My dad and Eddie became like buddies over their past military backgrounds and experiences.
In 1998, Frank and Eddie had begun to revive "The Fugitives" after approximately 30 years, practicing on
Sundays at Eddie's house and I rejoined them on the sax. We played some gigs including one on Eddie's
porch on 4th of July (also for Eddie's birthday which is July 3rd). Many people from the neighborhood (the Byrd's, the Marquez's and many others)were there including some of my wife Pauline's sisters who actually went to Woodbine elementary school and knew Eddie from those days. It was a memorable day and I have a lot of pictures, many of which were on display at Eddie's memorial service last Sunday.
Another memorable occasion was a New Years Eve "millennium" party where Eddie, Frank, Arthur Marquez (drums),
and I dressed up in Tuxedos and played for all our friends. At midnight we threw a huge "ice carving of 2000"
into the pool and toasted the beginning of the new millennium...it was truly a timeless moment...once in a thousand years! I swear it will be at least a thousand years before there will ever be another Eddie on this planet...he was truly "one of a kind".
In 2000, I left the "new" Fugitives and went on my own to Las Vegas to play some "jazz". Eddie, Frank and
the Fugitives went on to add some new members including Bonnie (vocalist from Frank and Bonnie days of the 60's)and Barry on drums and I would come back to visit Eddie and even had my trailer parked behind his house for a couple of years, staying in it whenever I was in Sacramento for gigs and/or just to visit.
I always have fond memories of Eddie, Pauline and I having coffee in the morning in his kitchen, he would be up early and listening to music with his "earbuds" and offer a good ole cup of coffee and we would sit around and reminisce about the "good ole days" as various members of the neighborhood would drop by.
By far, my most memorable moment with Eddie was in May of 2007 when he and I went up in the "Collings Foundation" flying restoration project of an old WW II B-24 bomber that my late father flew combat missions in 1944 and 1945. That day, Eddie sat in the waist gunner's position and I sat in my dad's bombardier position in the nose of the aircraft. We flew out of the old Mcclellan AFB flying low over Sacramento and Folsom Lake and returning. I swear that there was a moment when Eddie, My Dad and I were all "together again" in spirit up there in that old aircraft.
I can still hear those 4 big radial piston driven engines roaring as we lumbered down the runway, gaining speed and became airborne. It sounded like a hundred "Harleys" running, something that Eddie remarked about later...he was an avid Harley enthusiast and driver.
Well, I could go on for a couple of hundred more pages about my life and times with my dear pal Eddie Carney, but suffice it to say, it would never be enough to truly express the unique and wonderful guy Eddie was. I truly believe he is in his place in Heaven now...a better place along side his beloved son Ritchie, and we WILL meet again.
Man, I love You!
Jim Phillips and Pauline
Las Vegas Musicians Union Local #369