Saturday, May 31, 2014

Loves The Lightning

So few pearls, Lord, so few pearls. Here I sit, still wondering why they write all the sad songs about the rain. If I had known that some of those folks were going to end up legends I would have paid more attention.

Do the pretty girls still dance at the hoochie coochie shows at the fair? When I was thirteen I didn't consider that those sweet, innocent young girls from the midwest were anybody's victims. I assumed that they loved the attention and were happy in showbiz, seeing the world. I figured they made a lot of money. If I had any myself I would have given it all to them. Heck, I still would.

It's clouding up for a big storm now. Jamaica won't leave my side. Sometimes it's just all sad songs.

You can't lose by loving. Be careful that you don't waste any by hoarding it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pieces Missing

It becomes more clear to me as time goes by that folks around me see me differently than I do. I suppose we all begin to realize that. We can all agree that I'm missing some important parts. We just don't seem to agree on whether it's parts for the brain or parts for the heart. There is further disagreement on whether I came this way from the factory or was damaged by misuse.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Working and Dreaming

So the important literary critics hate Tom Robbins, huh? Well, I'm so excited that he has a new book coming out that it is moving my life to the happy lane. He wrote once that green Kool-Aid contained the secret of the universe. I have always said that. Really. Now, according to the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Mr. Robbins loves mayonnaise. Sometimes I think that Tom Robbins may be the only guy on the earth who gets it.

Sometimes genius is just about having the time to dream properly. I lump John Lennon and Einstein together as dreamers who got good press.

Love today, love tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Better Than The Rest

Maybe I've never fought hard enough for what I've wanted. I've been left for losers, liars and deadbeats. I've been abandoned by folks that I have loved and people I have tried to help. 

Truth is I've never wanted to be settled for. If I'm not the best man for the job, get the one who is.

I've told you before, I don't make good records. I like to think I don't make bad records. I make Ronny Elliott records. I'm not particularly interested in the New York Times best seller list as long as I've not finished the little that J.P. Donleavy has written.

Bob Dylan mentioned in Chronicles that he reads newspapers, just not new ones. I like that guy.

Oh, I'll work for you. I'll love you, too. This really is who I am. I'm not like the rest.

You're not too busy to love. You can do that while you watch TV, wash the car, practice brain surgery or hula hoop. Tell 'em I sent you.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Too Long, Too Hard

Is there symmetry anywhere in nature or do we just find patterns because of the way our brains function? Thanks to Owsley lots of us notice a lot more of those patterns than we did before.

Here's today's dilemma: I can't face starting again and I can't carry on like this. I need a new radiator, the plumbing under the house needs to be replaced and I should have a dental implant.

Now, I have loftier things to contemplate. I've got this play to finish and a dozen books I'm reading. I need to mop my floors and the dog needs a bath.

If I go out and play rock'n'roll none of this other stuff matters. I could have avoided lots of pain and heartache if I just played more. What is it that they say about hindsight? Oh yeah, I should have loved better, too.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I Smell A Mystery

Life should be easy. There's a reason for all those Garden Of Eden stories. Why don't we feed everyone? Why isn't medical care available for all? Why do we discriminate based on wealth, skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference? What's up with clothes? Why aren't we taking care of the planet?

Let's put everyone to work. Let's replace the war industry with environmental crews and real education. Let's send crews out to feed and take care of the elderly. We have robots for the truly bad jobs. Short work weeks and work days, too.

Maybe we should encourage lifelong education. If I can come up with these as I sit here, wouldn't it be easy for the smart folks in charge to fix it up a bit? I'm a hillbilly songwriter!

Love. That's what the revolution runs on. Love.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Birds Do It...

Friends are falling faster than they're being replaced. Uncle Reid was the closest thing I ever had to a father figure. When we had lunch together three or four years ago his hands shook. He moved on to the next level a week or two ago. Now my hands shake.

Dale Wilson passed on two days ago. He was crazy. He was wonderful. He showed me that mildew is always around  if you know to look for it.

By the way, Uncle Reid taught me to distinguish '32 Fords from '34 Chevys. I learned when he brought 'round the big guys to love turnip greens, too. 

Elvis died when he went in the army. John told us that. Let's all go to the lobby- Ronny reminded us of that. Love, love, love. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Shake It Up

The sad ones have always moved me. Otis crying These Arms Of Mine or Hank singing I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. Of course the dog songs finish me off. I can't even play Elvis' version of Old Shep. Larry Murray's Buglar makes me cry just talking about it.

Maybe these sad ones make the happy ones brighter for me. Maybe that's the role of rock'n'roll. Just sorta' mirrors life doesn't it? I'll still be wiping the tears from my eyes when Lonzo and Oscar come on with I'm My Own Grandpa. Well sir, now the tears will really flow. This time I'm in danger of wetting my pants, too.

Nobody's ever called me bipolar but I sure swerve all over the emotional highway. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Love for all you're worth.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Move Over

Still searching. For my place. On the planet. This is not my century and neither was the last. Therapists like me. I tell them everything. I'll tell anybody everything.

Yesterday was Sun Ra's birthday and I find myself relating to him as much as I do Johnny Cash or any other hero who has swayed my thinking.

 "I'm just like the birds. They sing. Those who like can listen and those who don't, don't have to."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bless Us All

Well, I know I'm getting older and I'm pretty sure I'm not getting wiser. One thing is getting more clear for me, though. Every person who has passed through my life has had a positive influence on me. For some reason beyond my understanding, folks from my past are showing up. In some cases literally. I'm hoping, of course, that this isn't some form of life passing before my eyes at the end.

The love that I feel for the people that I have known is almost overwhelming. Oh, I remember differences and I can recite dialogue from fights and feuds. That's different from having bad feelings about anyone, though. I would listen to any argument that puts all blame for differences at my feet. After all, I'm more different than most of them.

I don't suppose that I could have loved more. I wish I had loved better. I regret not having given everything for the love. That's where truth and peace and rock'n'roll intersect.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You Can't Lose Nothing

You can't really play if you don't know what you want. I lose sleep worrying about dogs and cats without homes, hungry children, war for profit and empty souls. Somehow, though, I remain a happy person.

Maybe we all have friends who have "settled for" something. Or someone.

When I see any of those sad, creepy photos of Bonnie and Clyde I'm reminded of what I want. What I've always wanted. No wonder it made a good movie. Aren't we all dying to be so deeply in love that reality is shifted? I guess that what I truly long for is to be perfect for another soul, another heart. Oh, I'm well aware of my imperfections, my shortcomings my inadequacies and my annoying habits. I'm not blind. Dumb. I see in the mirror the gray hair, the crooked nose from the fight in Birmingham, the spare tire. I'm pretty poor and they tell me I'm stubborn. They all tell me. Really stubborn.

It seems that Clyde and Bonnie may have had some quirks, too. Maybe if fate hadn't caught up with them the fire would have simmered. Who knows? Who cares?

I guess all of the love stories are sad. All of the stories without love are sadder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Well, I Did Know Diddley

In case you hadn't noticed I tend to write the same things over and over. I'm kidding. I mean I do write the same things over and over but if you read much of this drivel you're well aware of that.

In the case of rock'n'roll, one of my limited subjects, it suddenly dawns on me that I am so totally out of touch that I'm writing for a handful of old coots who can't much hear the radio any longer anyway. Oh, this new self discovery probably won't change anything. Not much. In 1955 I used to take my 45's down to the playground in the evening where we would take turns spinning our favorites. I was often sent packing with mine. They wanted the Royal Teens and Pat Boone. They did not want Wynonie Harris or Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

We'll see how well I hold up on my other subjects of expertise: broken hearts, old dogs, peace, hot rods and hoochie coochie dancers. Don't be surprised if I'm ranting about Gene Vincent or the Coasters by the end of the week. I don't seem to change much.

Love just as hard as you can go. You'll never regret it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Do Better

It occurs to me that some of the folks that I have been unkind to over time have probably been the ones who most needed my kindness. Anger and hurt and resentment justify our mean behavior. There is never any reason to hurt another person.

How much time is on my meter? Well, who knows? I can't afford to dwell on everything that I've done wrong. I'll use the time left to love. Everybody needs it.

My heart's full of the rock'n'roll and overflowing with the love. Look around. Don't wait 'til it's too late.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Calling In Well

Guess I'll head over to St. Pete to hang out at the Flamingo, Kerouac's old haunt. Not sure that I believe in ghosts but the place reeks with heartache. The thing is, you can share your loneliness with a bunch of other miserable souls.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nature Abhors A Vacuum- So Does A Dog

Sad can't handle happy. Misery seeks to level the field. That's why rock'n'roll is so very subversive. There are no sad rockers. Well, truthfully, there is Van Morrison but he's a separate genre, isn't he?

Love is all about the joy. Live it up.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A New Golden Age

You know how animals act when a hurricane is coming or a volcano is about to erupt? Well, I'm kicking in the stall. Rock'n'roll is clawing its way from the grave. Rick Rubin and Clive Davis and all those fine fellows can rob the coffers and choke the life from the rhythm but they can't kill it off completely. 

I don't know where it's coming from and I don't know who'll be behind it but it's coming. You can feel it in the air. Welcome back.

Use your love. You don't have to be wise about it. Give it away.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Where It's Buried

Well, I suppose the joy's only hidden in a few places, huh? It's in the kiss or it's in the rock'n'roll. Einstein knew it. Physics, rock'n'roll- it's all the same. Either nothing in nature is perfect or everything is perfect. Depends on your point of view.

Hell is "down at the end of Lonely Street." Heaven is in the eyes of the one you love. Oh, you can make it on your own, I guess, but is that really living?

Don't ever, ever withhold love. Waste it. Spill it all over the joint.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Needles and Pens

Well, I had my annual physical exam the other day. Turns out I'm healthier than a year ago. Dying doesn't seem to be in the cards for me just now. I credit it all to rock'n'roll. While the music business has never embraced me it seems to be actively attempting to retire me now. I won't go!

I have figured out that every show could be the grand finale at this point. Every bit of soul that I have will go into every song that I play from this point forward. There may be some bad Ronny Elliott shows and some lame Ronny Elliott songs but there won't be any boring ones. That's my money- back guarantee.

If you're out there loving, love harder. Somebody needs it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Who's Gonna Take Care Of It?

My tolerance for romance is low. Well, that doesn't really explain it. Harry says that I fall fast and I fall hard. I guess that better describes my situation. Funny thing is, I don't seem to ever get over it. Once I'm smitten it seems to stay with me forever.

I'm something.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ingredients For Sad

What is it that breaks your heart when "Over The Rainbow" plays? Oh, I can understand that listening to "Old Shep" can  bring a grown man to his knees but some melodies don't require a sad story to rip your heart out. It's just there in the melody.

I suppose we're all looking for happy but I need to hear those weepers from time to time. Maybe we all do.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Half The Man

Well, by now we've all seen the posters about praying to be half the man that our dogs think we are. Yeah, that still holds for me. Mostly, though, I hope to someday be half the man that my mom thought I was.

In her eyes I was always the smartest kid in my class; no, wait, the smartest kid in my school. I never did anything wrong in her eyes. No teacher would ever present any evidence to make my mom think that I ever screwed up at all.

She could never see me as a failure. When I failed in romance, it must have been the woman. If the music business overlooked me it was obviously their shortsightedness. She thought I was famous. She thought I sang prettier than anybody, ever. Well, maybe not better than Elvis.

Funny thing is, she wasn't hard of hearing. In fact she had great taste. She introduced me to most music that I still hold dear. It was just that she saw me with an aura that was only visible to her. Well, her and Grandma.They listened to my music through some kind of "auto-tuned in heaven" filter.

We were poor. They did without necessities to spoil me with luxuries. They spoiled me with love, too.

I miss them every day. I may never be the man they thought I was but I'm surely a lot finer man than I would have been without all that love. I'm trying.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Easy To Forget, Easy To Miss

How much beauty and light have I missed worrying about the past? How often have I missed the music playing worrying about it ending? I never enjoyed the fair as much as I should have. I was always worrying about going home.

How do you make the love stay?

Friday, May 9, 2014


Pretty sure I've told you most of this story before. Don't stop me. For compromise, I will leave out the weird details and just start right in by explaining that I was promoting a series of smaller concerts in Tampa for the Russian mafia.

For some reason Tampa and St. Pete have always held a special spot in their common geographical heart for the Kinks. That's the kind of quirkiness that has kept me here for most of my life.

I was putting on a show at the armory with the Kinks and Dion. Pretty fair show, eh? I had just read in Billboard or Cashbox that Ray Davies was beginning to produce other acts. This must be destiny, right?

The boys had managed to get in trouble the night before our show involving a food fight in the Feed Bag in Coconut Grove. 

Early in the afternoon I walked out of the armory box-office and almost ran into the Boss Kink. I looked into those kaleidoscope eyes and couldn't bring myself to speak at all. We both smiled and nodded. I would not be asking about production services.

The show that evening was spectacular. Tampa had waited a long time for their Musswell hillbillies. They took the stage and Ray began prancing back and forth his mic, one hand on his hip in his tailored white suit. Every time he passed you could hear some part of la la la la Lola. He had a cheap Fender acoustic hung from his shoulder that still had the price tag dangling. Now that's class!

They tore through a magnificent set of rock'n'roll and the crowd was ecstatic. For me the highlight of the show was a rowdy version of "Alcohol." Ray drank from a can of brew while he spilled it all over the white suit and new guitar. It was out and out vaudeville.

They came backstage while the crowd screamed for an encore. Honestly at this point in their careers I don't think that encores were usually a consideration. Out of their little huddle I overheard, "Apeman, yeah, Apeman!"

Ray was the last one in the room. He waved his arm and called, "Louie, Louie."

The other four whined and he repeated, Louie, Louie!'

They climbed the stairs and finished off the crowd with "Louie, Louie."

The station is doing a Kinks tribute next month and I noticed that "Alcohol" was not claimed when they invited me for the show. I plan to spill some beer in my own little tribute.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Trading Muses

No reason to suffer for art. Not that I can see. Do you suppose that I've blundered through this mire of heartache so that I might have something to write about?

Well, I've sailed a steamer to South America to find a lover who doesn't want me and I've hacked up women of the evening on the streets and in the alleys of Victorian London. I've played polo with Idi Amin's kid and I've talked to Elvis in heaven from a pay phone.

Yeah, I've got Tuesday Weld and Haystacks Calhoun and Daffy Duck. Do I really need folks in my life who don't want to be around me? That's a rhetorical question, pal.

Keep an eye on me; I'm busting at the seams with love.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

All The Saints In The Family

The roadblocks are so very obvious if I just step back a little. You know, the ones to my happiness. Maybe I feel guilty about everything being so perfect. Still, is that any reason to keep mixing in the bad ingredients?

I suppose that May 7th is an odd time for resolutions but I'm changing it all. Here. Now. Today. Watch me shine here, won't you.

Don't scrimp on love. There's plenty more where that came from.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bisexual, Bipolar Bicycle

My blues and my ecstasy pass each other on the neural highways at a blinding speed. Should I hang myself or have another cocktail? Am I pounding this gibberish on a daily basis to nourish an underfed ego or is it a primitive attempt to communicate a message of love?

At least I don't take myself seriously. I don't take anything very seriously, come to think of it. If we could just settle on love as a currency, I'm pretty sure that laughter would be the change.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Shot Through

Well, you know the story about Snoopy And The Red Baron. Our producer, Phil Gernhard, had been telling us about this great Johnny Horton-style story song about a World War I pilot. He had finally tracked down his old pal, Dick Holler, in New Orleans and was on his way there for his honeymoon. He was going to bring back the song and we would get right into the studio with it. 

First problem was that Phil wrote in the crap about Snoopy when he got together with Dick. Second one was that our band unraveled due to the draft while he was gone.

That's okay. We wouldn't have touched a novelty tune. We were sure that we were far too hip for any such thing.

The good news is that Dick Holler moved here when the Royal Guardsmen had a big hit with the song and he became one of my best friends. We both worked for Phil.

He was always trying to persuade us to record a song that he had done earlier with his group, Dick Holler and the Holidays. He didn't have a copy of the 45 so he would just hum it to us. Before we got around to considering it seriously the version by the Swinging Medallions came out and was a hit. The K-Otics released it at about the same time. We didn't really care for either version.

It was years later that I finally heard the Holidays' record. Dick casually mentioned that the subject was oral sex. I barely knew what he was talking about but I suddenly loved that song. It will always be the one that got away. Well, one of them.

We'll talk about Abraham, Martin and John another day.

It wasn't wine I had too much of, it was a double shot of my baby's love.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Time

What if I've run out of excuses? Maybe there are no obstacles left. It's always been easy to zig when I was supposed to zag and then blame circumstances or luck for my failures.

Maybe it's time to get to work. If I write those songs that I've planned to write, the ones with melodies with a beauty to melt the stars, I may find myself catapulted into something that might be considered success.

Oh, it's not fame and fortune. That's never interested me all that much. I've really just run out of time. Either I write my masterpiece now or I go out wondering if I really had it in me. It's not ego that I'm pampering. I believe that every human being has all of the beauty of creation inside. Most just never tap into it. You'll be the first to know, I suppose.

It's all about the love, isn't it? It always is.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

When Men Cry

Tough guys seem to be about a dime a dozen, don't they? I don't know; maybe I'm the wrong one to ask. Seems to me, though, that there is always pent up demand for the sensitive ones. Let's face it, James Dean only starred in three movies. He really played the same character in different circumstances in all three.

Humphrey Bogart was always the rough, tough guy on the exterior but you knew for sure that he wasn't gonna let anything happen to Walter Brennan.

If you ever see me thumping my chest or hear me boasting about my prowess, I'm bluffing. Oh, I'll step outside with the bully to defend your honor but, let's be honest, I hope it doesn't come to that.

I may not be a lover but I have good intentions.

Friday, May 2, 2014

With My Boots On

You've read all those interviews with the old-timers who insist that they want to eventually croak onstage. I don't mean that they want to warble off key a bit; they hope to come to their glory while doing whatever it is that they do while performing. It's always seemed a bit selfish and really weird to me. I'm starting to become one of them.

Of course I'm hoping that it's not coming soon. Not while I have food in the refrigerator. In the meantime, pray for peace and search for truth. Don't turn right like Dale.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

True Romance

Yeah, well I've been thinking and no good can come of it. You know that old saw, "There's somebody for everybody?"

Well, what if there's an odd number of us? I think I may be the odd man out, pardon the pun. I obsess over romance. I shoulda' been a fourteen year old girl.

I missed punk completely. I miss decades at a time of music and pop culture. You may need me on your team for trivia night but only as a ringer for the oddball things that interest me. Don't ask me about any matrix numbers on Monkees 45's.

Sid and Nancy, though, that's different. They were our Romeo and Juliet, weren't they? I told you before, all I ever wanted was love. All I ever had was rock'n'roll.