Comet Haraldson was a lawyer by trade; in his heart he was a musician! Sister Corky:
I loved that we sang at the bowling alley in Pierre on weekends. Terry Ree, Comet & I were too young to be there because they served wine & beer so Mom or Dad had to chaperone us. It was fun & they even paid us! When we had company we were asked to sing. Dad made sure we sang in the family car on our trips. He had removed every car radio but didn’t tell us until years later. We three kids sat in the backseat & harmonized with Dad’s melody ! Brother Steve:
Comet had a great ear and was wonderful singing lead vocals or harmony. He was an excellent guitarist and taught himself to be an even better bass player. He taught himself to be a good piano and harmonica player as well. Comet could listen to a song once or twice and then be able to teach the harmony parts and the guitar chords. He could play any style: country, rock, bluegrass, church hymns, anything. I was lucky enough to have played with Comet as a duo, and as a trio with Nick Schwebach, and later, with Brian Wirt on the piano.
Our trio, Dakota Morning, once played in the back dining room of a roadside bar in Trent SD so small that we had to set our huge Altec Lansing PA columns on top of the chest freezer. When a pizza was ordered, we were forced to take a break in the set because the columns had to be moved. We dreaded the words from the waitress barking at the barkeep "Need a large pepperoni pizza to go!” Rest in Peace, Comet. Terry Ree:
Comet was so much better than I was. I was so honored to be his friend. We drove together to Sioux Falls for our first concert—The Rascals and The Buckinghams. Comet was a “Rock Star” to me. The CCR song “Satisfied Man” described him to a T. Dale and Marilyn Barcellos:
Comet always struck us as having one foot ankle deep in his next adventure and the other firmly planted deep in the soil of his native South Dakota. We traveled together for a year and and a half packed tightly in a silver dodge maxi-van making some of the best music of our long career. This version of our band, called the “Great Wizard”, had none of the drum heavy bombast we had made our stock and trade. We were having too much fun lost in our silky harmonies and those great musical stories so well told by our tall gentle friend whose cheeks always wore that rosy blush of the prairie wind.
You kept those light brown boots shiny and fit year after resoled year, and we can still hear you munching on those pizza crusts as we rolled along with you laying in the back bunk of that two wheel drive long silver van dressed in California street tires; the one you drove without stopping and without chains over Smoot Pass in that midnight Wyoming blizzard so long ago. Thank you Comet for NEVER letting go of us.
We will love you for as long as we live. Nick Schwebach:
“Dakota Morning” travelled throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Comet, his brother Steve, and I spent three wonderful years playing Copper Mountain and Vale (free skiing) and Teton Village from our Jackson Hole home base. Comet was so charming: tall and good-looking. Girls would swoon at his love songs and I would watch in amazement. Comet was the “Golden Boy.” Arlie Brende (from Arlie’s AllStars)
: For the many decades that I’ve known Comet, it’s apparent that singing came as easy to him as breathing comes to the rest of us. He is sorely missed. John Mogen (from Mogen’s Heroes)
: Comet and I played Freshmen Basketball together at USD in 1967. He was a talented athlete, and an even better musician. From our twenty years together with Arlie’s AllStars, he often filled the guitar slot with Mogen’s Heroes. What a singer he was. At the celebration of Comet’s life we sang Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” The lyric that stands out to me is “I’d love to see the angels’ faces when they hear that sweet voice sing.”
I love that man.
2019Spirit of the Music Award