• Morgan Fagg

Playing a Player Piano

Play us a song you're the piano man, play us a song tonight,

well we're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright.


While visiting the village of El Muyo in Segovia, I met a local man called Raul who stopped by my coffee shop table to say hello when he heard me speaking English. Raul was staying in his village and helping to repair a roof but he actually lives in England.


Raul was incredibly friendly with strangers and equally helpful assisting at the bar, helping to carry out beers and orders as he took a break from fixing the roof. He kindly invited my friends and me to call to his house later and I made sure we called before saying goodbye to El Muyo.


I disturbed him on the roof where he quickly climbed down and invited us to have some drinks and to see around the beautiful old house made of slate walls.

He quite literally welcomed us with open arms and showed us inside the house and then demonstrated an old pianola which is a self-playing piano probably a century old. With rolls of paper with perforated holes similar to the raised bumps used in braille, Raul loaded the roll of sheet music like you might line up paper on a typewriter.


I was reminded of the lyrics to Billy Joel's Piano Man,

"Sing us a song you're the piano man, sing us a song tonight,

well we're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright."


Raul impressed me with his openness and friendliness and his ability to bring an old piano back to life while working on an ancient roof. He admitted of course that there is much work in maintaining such houses and I can imagine that it is a difficult job juggling repairs while living outside of Spain.


There isn't much life in El Muyo and I am sure many of the residents live in Madrid and only stay at the weekend or during the summer. During the winter months, there is a ski slope nearby and I am sure El Muyo is very cold when the snow comes down.


The old houses are beautiful and my friend's house actually had a room with shutters but no glass.


Music must have been magic in El Muyo long ago as I imagine village life must have been very tough by modern standards and I was surprised to find a pianola in someone's house. I had helped my friend Carlos to bring some furniture to the village from Madrid, as well as a CD player and a gramophone.


The music continues in El Muyo as an echo to the past as we focus on SoundCloud and Instagram.



Piano Man by Billy Joel


It's nine o'clock on a Saturday

The regular crowd shuffles in

There's an old man sitting next to me

Making love to his tonic and gin


He says, "Son can you play me a memory

I'm not really sure how it goes

But it's sad and it's sweet

And I knew it complete

When I wore a younger man's clothes."


Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright


Now John at the bar is a friend of mine

He gets me my drinks for free

And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke

But there's someplace that he'd rather be


He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me."

As a smile ran away from his face

"Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star

If I could get out of this place."

Now Paul is a real estate novelist

Who never had time for a wife

And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy

And probably will be for life


And the waitress is practicing politics

As the businessmen slowly get stoned

Yes they're sharing a drink they call "Loneliness"

But it's better than drinking alone

Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright


It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday

And the manager gives me a smile

'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see

To forget about life for a while


And the piano it sounds like a carnival

And the microphone smells like a beer

And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar

And say, "Man, what are you doing here?"


Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright

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© 2018 by Morgan Fagg.