Remember When Charlie Sheen Was?

Perhaps it is just another story of success leading to excess, however there are some folks in my generation who still want Charlie to win. Nobody has forgotten his spectacular 2011 meltdown departure from Two and a Half Men (on Today, Sheen attributed his behavior to “roid rage”). Most insiders believe the odds of a major network like CBS or FX casting Sheen on a scripted series, or a studio putting him into a major film, are very slim. Next came disturbing headlines highlighting sex, drugs, alcohol and HIV and his flight to Mexico for a experimental treatment regimen which failed. Of late, he is fighting both AIDS and court battles here in the US.

cadence_cover_image

My favorite Sheen movie is Cadence, a 1990 release in which both Charlie and father Martin Sheen stared. In today’s heated landscape, this film has much to offer. One of the awesome things about film is the rare discovery of a piece of music or a scene that resonates with some chapters of my life.

This song from the film is one example. It is written and preformed by an unknown artist, Harry Stewart, who’s own story is amazing if not sketchy. Yeah, Charlie Sheen is in the film, however it’s very easy to forget that Charlie was once a very talented actor.

So here is the rest of the story as told by Martin Sheen in 1991 while in Philadelphia to promote his new independent picture, Cadence. He directed and stared in the film. In 1989, Sheen, a part-time social activist, met Stewart in New York while the two were being hustled off by police after a demonstration against the Star Wars defense system.

Mr. Sheen gave this account – “There were so many arrested we ran out of police vans. They commandeered a city bus, and police put me on the bus. Harry sat down next to me; he’d been arrested just after I was. He looked down at me and said, ‘Martin, are there any jobs for me out there?’

Sheen, who was casting the movie at the time, created a role specifically for Stewart on the spot. At this juncture of Stewart’s life, he wrote and performed music with a group of New York homeless people known as the Emmaus Group. Sheen gave Stewart the role of a soldier who sings during Army church services, one of several black soldiers who befriends the character played by Martin’s son, Charlie.

“He had never seen a movie camera in his life, but he was magnificent,” Martin Sheen said. In the movie, Smith’s character (Sweetbread) Crane plays the piano at a military church service and sings “End of My Journey”. The longer rendition is at the end of the film (this clip) and is played over the credits. Harry Stewart’s singing voice is truly touching and brings a layer of emotion and heart to the film that is quite unexpected. It is a rare collectible these days selling on Amazon for over $60.00.

Harry Stewart’s life seems to have taken a turn for the worse after making this film. There are reports that he remained homeless for the most part. So many people seem to be touched by the song and Harry’s voice that it seems amazing that there has been no commercial release of it. Some people have questioned the fact that there may be some copyright issues with some of the lines being used in a Johnny Cash song. Surely there could be a percentage agreement on profits and let this mans voice reach a wider audience, It seems such a waste when so many from all walks of life have been so moved by this song. There are 3 cut outs from the movie on YouTube, and the hundreds of comments verify that this piece means so much to so many. It breaks me down when I am brave enough to go there.

harry_smith_sweetbread

Lord, you know that I’ve been bad
So, there’s no use in lying to myself
Heavenly Father, please forgive me
I really don’t want to destroy myself

Oh, when I come to the end of my journey
Weary of life; the battle is won
Carry my staff; the cross of redemption
We’ll understand it better by and by

Lord, sometimes I feel like Samson
You know, the world has so many Delilahs
Almighty God, give me just a little more time
To right all the wrong that I have done

Oh, when I come to the end of my journey
Weary of life; the battle is won
Carry my staff; the cross of redemption
And we’ll understand it better by and by

We’ll understand it better by and by and by
We’ll understand it better by and by
We’ll understand it better by and by and by and by
We’ll understand it better by and by

Oh, when I come to the end of my journey
Weary of life; the battle is won
Carry my staff; the cross of redemption
We’ll understand it better by and by

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About Old Bent Nail

Observer, Baby-boomer, Old Dog learning new tricks! My interests are few but varied, from my crafty, precious wife, to Beekeeping, Photography, Home & Garden, Drag Racing and Veterans Affairs.
This entry was posted in Film, Music Appreciation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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