Friday, September 30, 2016

When They Roll






My personal history in the rearview mirror is all written in code. It's not secret but it is archaic to the extent that you might need an interpreter to dig into my past. Maybe it's better that I lived for rock'n'roll than to have lived for nothing. I remember Mike Regar asking me in 1965, "Are you a hippie?"

Yeah, I suppose I am, Mike. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.




Thursday, September 29, 2016

Angst Catchers







Looking back, not much has mattered in my life. On the other hand, I suppose it all mattered. Rock'n'roll hasn't meant a thing. Until recently I would have ranked it at the very top.

Only love has mattered. It's all about love.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Children Of Aleppo







The debate? Miss Piggy? Faulty mics?

Meanwhile the innocents in Aleppo are being orphaned. Starved. Blown to smithereens. Surely we have enough love, collectively, in this old world to end this.

Do me a favor. Do it for all of us. Do it for them.

With love in your heart, drill down. Make it the conversation at the dinner table. Tweet about it. Don't let it be page three news, twice a week, in the New York Times. 

Remind your friends what Dr. King said:

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.






Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Where's Uncle Walter?






When I was a kid I thought we all knew that 'rasslin' was just showbiz. Now I suppose that I can live with the idea that ignorance shades some folks' sensibilities. I have a hard time, however, looking past mean spiritedness and bigotry.

Walter Cronkite came back from Viet Nam and told us that our government was lying to us. Where are our heroes now? 



Monday, September 26, 2016

What If The Good Guys Win?






Over the long haul the mean ones are gonna win. Oh, not every time. Aggressive behavior, though, is blessed by evolution. Psychopaths don't come through the closet door with an axe. Not necessarily. Psychopathy merely means no empathy, no compassion. Psychopaths believe that we're all just like they are. In their eyes they're just smarter. Better at it.

Now assuming that you're not a psychopath, let's consider options for the rest of us.

Why do you suppose that you still get giddy when "Don't Worry, Be Happy" comes on the radio as an oldie? Well, it may keep you from wringing your hands picturing President Trump with his red button  for a minute or two.

Remind yourself that cheaters win. Payola works. Voter fraud determines elections. Human growth hormones will pump you up.

Look at your life. How do you sleep? Love is the secret. Cheating won't help. Here's the party.




Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teaching Shame






It has taken me this long but I think I'm finally beginning to understand the whole garden of Eden thing. Oh, I know that the bible is intended for everyone to understand. All of those books are. That's the point. Turns out that not only am I half-witted, I'm slow-witted, too. Dang!

We're not guilt ridden with shame until we learn what we're supposed to feel guilty about. Look at that, will you? I ended another sentence with a preposition and I feel guilty about it.

Once again the bonobos seem to have it right. Kind natured and gentle, these small great apes, pardon the contradiction in terms, settle dispute with sexual contact. They do pretty much everything with sexual contact. They won't put up with aggressive behavior and that's about it. Oh, I should mention again that bonobo society is dominated by females.

Make love, not war. If bonobos drove cars every Buick would have a bumper sticker.

Me? I want to live like Little Richard or Gandhi. Or the bonobos.



Saturday, September 24, 2016

Memories Fade






Everything I tell you here is true. Except for the stuff I just make up. As I stare into the abyss that we call television, I realize more completely every day how poorly I fit in. On the days of mall shootings and renewed bombing in Aleppo, that's not such a sad thing.

Love's in the air but it's easy to miss.



Friday, September 23, 2016

My Stuff





Rickenbackers, hot rods, Tiffany, first editions, Rock-Olas and Icarts. I've run out of stuff to want. Maybe I should have wanted more, huh? Now at this juncture I recognize that all that ever really mattered was that unconditional love that spoiled me as a kid.

Hardly a world traveller, I have seen much of Europe. I've bodysurfed in Hawaii. I pet stray dogs and laughed with schoolchildren in Havana. That was a long time ago when it was difficult to get there. I realize that there's no place like home. I don't leave my neighborhood unless I have to.

My heart I've given freely. Too often by most measures. Way too often. These days I recognize the void in this world for a bigger love. A universal love. As I watch our nation ripped in half on cable news I'm profoundly aware that all you need is love. Our presidential politics would seem to indicate that we're not moving in that direction.

The most that I can do is give myself to the fight. That love that I received as a kid- it's time to give it back. Life sure is simple when you can see through the fog.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Loaded




Maybe science can save us. We should think about getting behind her. I don't think she chooses sides or plays favorites. You don't suppose that Donald J. Trump ever dreams about living in Aleppo, do you? Nah, I don't either.

Love with all you've got. It all ends too soon.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

She Coulda' Done Better





Women are better than men. Kids are better than adults. Don't get me started on politics, religion, food, art, dogs and cats. Everybody needs somebody to look down on.We all need heroes, someone to look up to.

Who was the best singer in rock'n'roll? Who knows? I'm lucky enough to have seen Sam Cooke, Big Joe Turner and Little Willie John. Here's the only known footage of Willie. That's him on claves from an episode of Route 66.



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blood Red, Ice Cold






Wouldn't life be easy if we didn't make it so hard? I like the happy songs. I seem to write the sad ones. I convince myself that I don't care what anyone thinks of me. Then I'm crushed at a perceived slight, an imaginary cold shoulder.

The sensitive ones wear their hurt feelings like some badge of honor.

Drama has abandoned me over the last couple of years. Oh, I see it swirling all around me but it doesn't light on me these days. Do I miss it? No more than the flu. A flat tire. Ants in the sugar.

Jamaica and Angel and I like our routine. We don't have a schedule. We're just watching life roll by. It could be a Johnny Mercer song. Maybe Hoagy Carmichael.



Monday, September 19, 2016

Half and Half





Half of us now hate the other half. Worse, vice versa. While our condescension towards sunni/shia relations has been glaring we are, once again, a nation divided. While I would love to consider myself apolitical, there is no hole in the sand deep enough to avoid this period in history.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Good Time Losers and Pipe Wrenches





How many of your friends will say, "Oh, yeah. That's my favorite song," if you mention "Rhythm Of The Rain?" Most of them haven't thought about it in years. Lots of them weren't alive when it was a hit.

Have you ever heard anything sadder than "I Wish It Would Rain?" Did you know that Roger Penzebene, the Motown staff writer, had just found out that his wife had been unfaithful when he wrote it. He took his own life in '67. New Year's eve. A week after the Temptations released the record.

What about Dee Clark's "Raindrops?"

Oh, I could go on. And on. It's raining here now.


 

Friday, September 16, 2016

What's A Tisket?





These are the strangest days of my lifetime. On some days I have to remind myself that the joy is all inside. The music swirls around me and no record label owns it. The art is in the trees and the mountains and on the waves. Those gallery owners in SOHO peddle stained canvas if we don't support them. More than ever I waller in my failures.

Never given the offer, you never sell out. Now, let's rock.




Thursday, September 15, 2016

Busy Dreams, Idle Hands




No wonder I can't seem to get a record made around here. My sidelines are keeping me humming at a frantic pace.

First of all, I'm trying to quickly move all of my vehicles to self driving for my GUBER.com venture. I'm thinking that every dollar I save on a driver is a dollar profit. Now George Lindsey's estate is suing me for stenciling Goober's image on the doors of my Vegas.

Now I find that gofundme.com is trying to take down my page where I'm raising funds for my hot new venture, GoFukMe.com, a combination dating/business opportunity site.

I'll get back to you on slinked-in.com and BiTunes.com as well as my newest prize, HeirBnB, a lodging site that allows the visitor to inherit a property if the owner dies while you're staying onsite. The excitement is building here, too, for my online hair styling page and my law business, IllegalZoom.com. I may be needing that one.



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What Would Little Willie John Do?



Oh, if only I had bootstraps. You shoulda' seen me back then. I would lie to you and tell you that I cut quite the dashing figure but you could see right through me. I've selfishly documented every crack in this old heart, every blue dream.

Sometimes the causes just aren't big enough. It seems that someone's always trying to get me to buy the world a Coke while I sit here, scared to death, fretting about world peace.

Send love.






Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Crushed Velvet



When Tiny Tim would wax eloquent about Nick Lucas and Paul and Paula in the same breath I was always fascinated. How could he know so much? Now I tell tales of Mike Bloomfield showing up with his Les Paul and no case. I laugh about Sam the Sham pinching our singer on the butt as we took his place onstage. I laugh about Speedo dragging me to a party in his room so that the young girls might stay.

I don't know much. Most of what little I do know is about rock'n'roll. It's hard to find me the right seat at your dinner party. My manners are okay, though.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Grab The Memories



You've heard the old "what would you grab in a fire" line so many times that you have your list and your script ready. In your head at least. The dog and the cat, the twins, the hamster and the goldfish- they always make the list. After that, the real list always starts with photographs. Family albums. 

These days I suppose that it all comes down to the phone.

It's really just the memories, isn't it? Oh my.



Sunday, September 11, 2016

Godot's Here



All my life I've waited. For what? Depends on when you ask I suppose. The only thing between me and peace of mind has always been this waiting. A longing that lurks just out of my psychological grasp.

Now, at last, here I am. Right where I've always been. I haven't given up on much but a lot has given up on me. If you're gonna feel it all, remember, the sadness is deep and it's dark. Loss is overwhelming on the blue days.

Time? I don't suppose that's got anything much to do with it. It's all just one now waiting for the next one.

I don't mean to boast but I'm the only one of these you've got. They don't make any more of me.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.


                                       

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Value Of Pests



I've spent most of a long life rushing about, flailing my arms, "Don't you see the magic? Don't you see it?"

At this point it's fairly obvious to  me that the only thing that keeps me from being locked up is that I'm harmless. That's alright. I'll take it.

I remember the way the light reflected on the broken glass in the puddles on the city street in Birmingham. We left the Magic City in 1953 so it's been awhile.

The first pictures that I ever saw of Little Richard! I'm still fascinated.

That puppy that I could see a block away, running innocently along the curb on MacDill Avenue. I sprinted for all I was worth only to watch him hit by a Pontiac as I got there. He breathed his last, sweet breath looking into my eyes as I cried. I'm still crying.

My friend, Jimmy Reilly's older cousin, Billy fixed me and him up with "dates." We went on his dad's boat to Egmont Key. Coming back as the sun went down it got cold. Really cold by Florida standards. I gave her my flannel shirt and put my arm around her for the half hour trip home. I'm still smiling.

Of course that reminds me of every broken heart. I've never gotten over one. What's worse is the idea that I ever did some hurting myself.

Advice? Ignore it. That's my advice. If I were you, though, I'd keep an eye on the puddles. You see it, right? You see the magic.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.



Ride Along


Well, sir, the folks at the radio station have decided that we need a show that plays the best of our genre. Of course my inclination is to ignore them completely. As usual. We don't have a genre. Well, okay- "good." 

Now, though, for some reason I'm starting to warm to the idea. Two hours of the bedrock of what I drag out every week. My favorites of my favorites.

One of the problems for me is that I will give you a different answer every time you ask me about my favorite record. A boy has a right to change his mind.

I do know this: nothing excites me more than playing my favorite music for someone who might not have heard it. I don't care if it was Elvis' biggest hit of 1956 or if it was a b side of a Bobby Marchan flop.

As I'm wrapping up a playlist for today's Rhythm Revival I'm looking forward a couple of weeks to this "greatest hits" show. I'm not good at keeping secrets. Here's what I'm thinking.

We've been opening the show for the last several months with a version of Albert Brumley's classic Turn Your Radio On. I suppose I'm gonna have to go with Jerry Lee Lewis' version from 1987. I love so many of them but, as usual, the Killer makes it his own. Stylist, indeed.

Then we might as well get right to Roxy Gordon's "Indians." Pretty much sums up what the show is all about. Roxy and I would have quibbled about some few specifics but it's his record and a perfect one it is, too. 

There are the ones who have become the patron saints of the show. The Reverend and I seem to always see eye to eye on this list. We would get to some Little Willie John, a bit of Wynonie Harris, a touch of Arthur Alexander, Big Joe Turner, and some 5 Royales. Oh yeah, a taste of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, too.  Don't let me leave out the Maddox Brothers and Rose,

There are messages that come through the songs that we're always proud to bring. Tom Russell sums it all up with "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall?" Difficult decisions with the Staples Singers, Chip Taylor and John Trudell.

Some favorites come close to fitting the one hit wonder category. If they had all been hits it would be a better fit. The King Pins, Bobby Moore and the Rhythm Aces, the Showmen.

There are one of a kind characters who each deserve their own genre, Grandpa Jones, Screaming' Jay Hawkins, Ken Nordine, Andre Williams. We could fish from just this hole and fill our two hours.

We haven't even touched on the obvious. Which Fats Domino? Which Little Richard, LaVern Baker, Bill Haley, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Coasters, Drifters? Which Phil Spector records, which Leiber and Stoller?

Oddly, I suppose, my favorite Elvis record is "His Latest Flame." Billy's, too. That's today of course.

Now that I've opened this can of worms, how do I stop this madness? Who puts worms in cans to begin with? I haven't gotten to New Orleans, novelty records, spoken word, Hank Williams, blah, blah, blah.

Two hours won't ever do. I'm warming up today at 3:00. Join me if you can. Turn your radio on.


                                          



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Count The Bridges



Twice a week now I decide to quit this endeavor. At least twice a week. It feels like I go to the same corner in the same park, climb up on the same soapbox and wag my finger. It is the power that I have, though. I tried once for eleven years to save the environment, working for the government. I seem to have failed. It didn't discourage me as an environmentalist. It did turn me against government.

My job is to save the world. I've known that for some time now. My skills are weak, my talent, limited. Oh, I hope that doesn't sound pompous. I think you've got a similar job. Assuming you have better sense, you may not fill out forms listing yourself as "crusader"or "do-gooder."

Yeah, there was a time when most of us identified as something that we did for eight hours a day. Not many of us bolt fenders onto Buicks these days. 

"What do you do?"

"That's my Lexus out there."

"I bought the place on the corner. I'm gonna tear it down and build something like all these others- only bigger."

I surely don't feel superior to the folks that I seem to be making fun of here. We all do the best we can.

As long as the world is full of good folks, though, and it surely is, we shouldn't tolerate war in our name. We should tear down this political process and elect representatives who serve our real interests. While we're at it, let's feed our hungry, fix our tax codes fairly, and patch
 our healthcare system. You know those bad men that Jesus pitched out of the temples? They're b-a-a-a-ck. Scientists should determine science, not greedy cartoon turtles from Kentucky.

Alright. I'm not gonna quit yet but I'm gonna keep threatening.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.







Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Maybe My Race Is Run



The dreams, boys. It's the dreams. Last night Doug Sahm showed up. I think he was campaigning for Hilary Clinton. He was singing and twirling, speaking mostly in Spanish. No sign of Freddy Fender but he brought Sam The Sham along. Dead, live- it didn't seem to matter much. Sombreros, turbans and Stetsons everywhere. What a party!

Ramsay Midwood was there. So was Buddy Richardson.

Maybe politics is okay.




Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Post No Bills





It's easy to be blinded by the beauty. The hypnotic beat can be hard to ignore. Hey, I've got it- let's give in to it all. Call in well. Leave your phone at home. 

Seems I've boasted of loving hard. Maybe it's like talking loud. Maybe it's all about the purity. 

There are so many creatures out there who need your love. I would ask what you have to lose but that line is taken.

I heard a fellow on the radio yesterday reminding us that the people have never declared war or made peace. I think it was Bernie Sanders portraying Eugene V. Debs. Well, let those blowhards fight their damned wars. Me? I'd love to see Cheney and Rumsfeld climb into the ring in black tights and flowing robes. 

Call me when you've got the "good war."

Hey, congress- how high's the water?



Monday, September 5, 2016

Don't Turn Around


All of the elements are available for some pity here. I've always been adequate at feeling sorry for myself. Now I've been under the weather for over a week and here I am alone on a holiday weekend with nothing to do. Oh, I could go up and blow the leaves off the roof. I could do some yard work or finish some songs. The dog could use a bath.

Seismic shifts in the belfry have left me changed. Answers haven't appeared. No apples have hit me on the noggin. While I have been staring at a tiny screen that plays rock'n'roll, romance and drama, ad nauseam, real stuff has surrounded me.

Now the rock'n'roll is sweeter and it's all romance and drama. I'm just on the ride. There's real life and there's cable news. It all flows through me. Yeah, my blood is still too red. It's alright.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Live Streaming



Maybe there was a fever involved. No drugs or alcohol, though, I promise. The revelations in my dreams last night were epic. When I would get up to get the cat some food or let the dog out, it all stayed in perfect form. I would fall back asleep and pick right up where I had been. It was all so very simple and somehow so very profound. I saw the physical lines that separate "me" from "you" dissolve and disappear. Everybody was in the dream. Everybody. Kinda' like the Sergeant Pepper cover. Those hard lines that outline this guy and that house and this tree weren't there. 

Nothing will ever look the same. I'm not sure this is right but I'm sure it's closer.

I yam what he is!



Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's All About Me



Sometimes I have trouble taking my own side. My expectations are too high. My male role models were from Father Knows Best, Ozzie & Harriet, Leave It To Beaver. Now Ward and Ozzie and Jim have gone on to their rewards. I've got DVD's and re-runs, though. 

I wanted to be a juvenile delinquent until I heard about switchblades and zip guns. I got sent to the dean's office regularly in my junior and senior years in high school. I was the only kid in school with"long hair." I suppose I was the only one in town for most of that time. That lasted until the Beatles went on Ed Sullivan.

It was rough for the dean. Worse for the principal. I was no social threat. None of us considered what was coming. Once or twice I dated the principal's daughter. She never had any interest in me. I was just a ride to the Surfers' Club. 

Sometimes I'm right. Sometimes I'm not.


                                         

Worms and Stars and Spiders



Worms, I presume, look around and feel pretty good about themselves. Yeah, I get that. I like worms. Mick Jagger wakes up and wonders when the help will bring his tea. His world is a "gated community" of the truly gifted.

Spiders, now. Man! All spiders are stars. 

It may be the fever.