Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Red Scares

We would all like to think that those terrible days of fear mongering are behind us, that we have matured as a society and that we can all accept the ones who are different than us. Look around. Fear remains the number one tool of the fascist. It's not the commies any more. We moved on to welfare queens, fags, latinos, and today's number one menace: TERRORISTS.

We need to take back our government at all levels. We need a Department Of Peace and we desperately need to take care of our people. We are number 27 in infant mortality at this point. That's not right.

                                                          We're better than this.    

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Hay Out Of Jack

I suppose that I can take or leave Jack Kerouac in the big picture. When it comes to snappy quotes, however, he is, line by line, my favorite. He seems to have summed up most of my basic philosophies and given me plenty of titles to work with. For that he has my undying, pardon the pun, gratitude.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Good Guys

Hey! If the better translation of Jesus' claim is really, "I am a son of God," then he was pretty much talking the company line that the Buddha had laid down much earlier. Nothing in the bible says that he was married. Nothing says that he wasn't. He hung around with Mary Magdalene and he may have married her. Turns out that there is no evidence that she was a working girl. That was a different Mary. Popular name.

We do know that he didn't much care for the bankers of the day. He didn't think much of the rich folks who didn't take care of the poor, either. If any of the narrative attributed to him is close to accurate, then we might expect that if he showed up today that we might catch a glimpse on a local newscast of him sharing loaves and wine at a peaceful Occupy event. I truly doubt that he would have any interest in politics but I am sure that he would not approve of our infant mortality rate in this country or the profits made from war.

Be nice and help others, especially the ones who can't take proper care of themselves. It's not rocket science.

Woody Guthrie recognized the link between the historic Jesus and the social movements of his day. Things haven't changed much. Maybe they have and they've changed back. This was at the Woody Guthrie Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma, four or five years back. Let's change it again. Let's fix it.

Monday, February 20, 2012


"Folk music. Remember when that crap almost caught on?" Probably my all-time favorite Martin Mull quote. As a kid I was always scared to death of folk music. The media was always working to make fools like me worry that rock'n'roll might be replaced at any moment. They worked it with calypso, too, so I was never much of a Harry Belafonte fan.

Now I find that after forty eight or forty nine years of playing my beloved rock'n'roll that I'm a folksinger. I don't want to offend anyone here. Not everyone agrees with that. I do whatever it is that I do, whatever it is that I've always done. Unlike all those sensitive artists who don't want to be pigeonholed, stereotyped or classified, I'm always anxious to be a part of anything. Unlike Groucho Marx, I'm dying to join any group.

I'm off to Memphis this week to play Folk Alliance. I can't wait. I walk up to those little huddles in the hallways and blunder into all of the,"What model Taylor is that?" Nobody has to tell me that I don't fit here. These are nice folks, however, and honestly, I don't fit anywhere.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hillbilly Music Comes Back To Tampa

In 1966 I tried my best to put together a real rhythm and blues band. I wanted horns, keyboards, girls in short dresses and somebody who could do a split at the crash of a cymbal. First a piano player would quit then none of the girls would show up. I finally ended up with three drummers and me, a bass player. Fortunately one of the drummers could play guitar and he taught another one a little bit. Voila, a band. Obviously we couldn't play the r&b that I had hoped for so we began to write hillbilly songs. I mean, let's face it, I had always been writing hillbilly songs.

We named that band Your Local Bear and one of our first shows was on a bill with Jimi Hendrix. Timing is everything in the music business and I'm something of a wizard at it. The Byrds were yet to record Sweetheart Of The Rodeo and the Eagles weren't even a grain of cocaine on the counter top.

That band failed spectacularly but I loved it. The smoking remains morphed into something that we called Duckbutter. It was full of magic and sweetness and bad taste. Folks around here still have their favorite Duckbutter stories. The myth out shadows the band here. So what? Here's some of that stuff with some of the Wally Watson Band onboard.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mud From The Bottom Of Barges

My wonderful friend, Rebekah Pulley, needed a story for a classroom assignment. She turned on her camera and this is the first one that came to my mind.

 If you need a dumb story, call me. I've got a million of them. I love you all very much.
The Raveons return to Tampa from the Bahamas, 1965.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Box Of Chocolates

My mom took me around to the back of the armory in Birmingham and I shook Roy Rogers' hand through the tour bus window. Charlie Louvin offered to share his styrofoam cup of coffee with me. Jackie Wilson showed me the scars on his chest and belly where he had been stabbed. Brenda Lee strolled up to me and asked me the time. After playing our set at Curtis Hixon, I had to stand behind Jimi Hendrix's Marshall cabinets and hold them up in case he whacked them. Owsley Stanley offered me an apple backstage at a Grateful Dead show. Later I sat and listened to the band discuss warning the kids in the audience that the cops were busting folks all through the audience. The Lone Ranger shook my hand and gave me a mask at an air show in Birmingham. Tiny Tim told me that he would see me in heaven and, if there is a heaven, I believe he might. Elvis offered to teach me karate. Don Garlits called and invited me to lunch. He stopped on the way and asked if I would mind if we went by and picked up Connie Swingle on the way. A friend took me into Pop Staple's dressing room and introduced me and left us alone, saying,"You two will have a lot to talk about." We had nothing but it was a thrill being there with him. Janis Joplin changed her clothes in front of me just before going out onstage and getting herself arrested after a fantastic show. Eric Clapton gave me his Coricidin bottle, thinking that it was mine after playing my National Duolian. I was trying to sell it to him. He offered to buy it for Duane Allman but Duane declined. Ernie Lee let me play his J-200. B.B. King invited us to come up to his hotel room the day after a show for a visit.

I grumble about our celebrity culture all the time. I have little patience for Madonna's comeback or Lady Gaga's interview. I have always provided some truth to the theory that some god provides for fools and won't let the helpless starve or freeze. I have just stood there and some spirit has brought my heroes around to me, too.

Did I mention that Tom Waits strolled up and introduced himself once as I stood in the wings and watched Frank Zappa sound checking? He seemed like a nice guy.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The ectoplasm reeks with hilarity and good cheer. Man, it feels so good to feel good. As I barrel through giddiness I glance in my soul's rear view mirror and I can't begin to figure out where life crossed the shoulder. I've blamed other folks and, as you are painfully aware, I have whined and called foul. The truth is always that we are in charge of our own game plan. I'm back and I am elated to be alive. I possess new songs and new spirit.

At this stage in life I can't afford to call in a show. Every opportunity to perform is holy. I cherish the folks that I get to play for and I want to make them happy.

I'm full of love and I'm packed with gratitude for all of the wonderful friends who put up with me for a long time.