Sweet Pie is a barrel house piano player from Vermont. He was here recording back around ‘71, and apparently it was right around Easter. He’s also a cartoonist. And a nudist. He’s been called, “The Baron of Bare-Ass Boogie-Woogie.” Google him, you can see him sitting on the piano bench, playing in the flesh.
I’ve mentioned before, the Hudson River is right outside our door. You may think of the Hudson as being wide, but it’s not way up here. Out in front of our house is a narrow gravel road, we get very little traffic. Our studio house is 100 yards or so from the main house, and there’s a path to walk back and forth between the two houses.
Sweet Pie was here for 3 or 4 days while he was recording an album of his barrel house piano. It didn’t bother any of us that he walked around nude. But while he was here, we did notice a car or two slowing way down when Sweet Pie was outside. And since we Zeebers were looking weird enough, we asked Sweet Pie to wear his loin cloth whenever he stepped out.
Well, somehow word got out we had nude women. Believe me, no women here dressed even slightly risqué, let alone nude. It’s a conservative red-neck area (especially back then), so we all wore clothes, indoors and out.
Anyway, we did start to notice cars & pickups creeping past at snail paces. It didn’t take long to figure that some locals probably saw Sweet Pie when he was walking along the path between the houses and thought, “Hot damn! Nude hippy chicks!” Well, whoever it was sure needed glasses, ‘cause Sweet Pie had a big beard, long hair, and a skinny little ass.
So, the short-sighted local probably said to some buddies in a bar that night, “There’s bare ass hippy women runnin’ around on River Road!” And for the next several weeks (in fact, months), there was an awful lot of slow moving traffic out front. They wouldn’t just creep past, they’d turn around down the road, and come sneaking by again.
A few years later, we found out from one of the neighbors, that’s exactly what had happened - someone saw Sweet Pie - but obviously saw him from the back, and maybe just a glimpse - ‘cause if he’d seen Sweets from the front, it’d have been a whole other story.
Well, I’m happy to report, Sweet Pie is alive. Google says he now owns a bookstore in Arizona, out in the desert where their locals call it, “The Naked Man’s Bookstore.” If you watch the videos, you’ll see he’s still got his beard, he’s still skinny, and still naked as a jaybird. Sweet Pie’s a pretty amazing guy, a great sense of humor, and a good piano player too. God bless him!