by Bob Doran
Every once in a while someone reads a story in the Journal and is inspired. We like it when that happens. An example is this song by former Humboldter Melody Walker, an "Americali" singer/songwriter who now lives in Richmond. (Walker was among those profiled in Herb Childress' cover story from 2011, "Leaving.")
She explained, "My newest song 'Billy the Champ' was inspired by the great piece "Saga of an Ape" by Daniel Mintz in the North Coast Journal about Bill the Chimp at the Sequoia Park Zoo. I used to go to the zoo a lot when I first moved to Humboldt and was especially fond of Bill and his curmudgeonly sass. When he died in 2007 this NCJ article told his life story so well and literally brought me to tears by the end, and I decided he definitely deserved a song."
"It took me five years to write it, i guess, but here it is! We just recorded it for the first time, live at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, and it will be on our upcoming live CD to be released in early 2013."