Friday, January 30, 2015

Pardon Me

Well, the conflict never ends, does it? I worry that I show off for a living. Sometimes I begin to feel that I blog to demand your attention. Then I quit and I feel that I'm a bad friend, not keeping in touch. Well, I'm starting a new project. My pal, Rebekah, and I are gonna make a record. A good one, too. As long as I've got stuff to share with you I'll be here. Wham! 

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Save Your Dough

Maybe it's time to give it a rest. I'll get back to you when I have something worthy of your time. I have a heart that just won't do right and I'm not anxious to put it off on you. Meantime, pray for peace and search for truth. Love just as hard as you can.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sometimes The Stars Align

Yeah, Diz and Bird and Miles in a band. Together. That "Million Dollar Quartet" session with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee and Carl Perkins still raises the hair on the arm of anyone with a pulse. How about Howlin' Wolf starting a group with Little Junior Parker? Everybody from my generation has marveled at the very idea of all of the fab four playing in one little rock'n'roll band. Again, together. Thanks to K Paul for reminding me of this clip from the Johnny Cash Show. Great goodness!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cars and Girls and Dogs

For the first time in twenty years I've moved. No, I mean I wiggle around a bit every now and then but I have just packed up and moved myself, along with Jamaica and the Angel and all our worldly belongings to a new house. New for us. It was built in 1964. It's way on the "other side of town."

We had only been here for a day or two when I saw an old man pushing a lawn mower next door. I went out and waited for him to stop for a break, walked over, stuck out my hand and said, "I'm Ronny Elliott. I'm your new neighbor."

He shook my hand and drawled, "Donald Engleberger. Glad to know you."

I asked, "Donald Engleberger? Did your folks used to own a nursery near here?"

"Still do- or I do," he replied.

"I bought a 1930 Ford from you when I was fourteen years old."

"You bought my Ruptured Duck?," he gasped.

Yeah, this guy that I met once fifty three years ago for about fifteen minutes is my new next door neighbor. How about the idea that I remembered him? Nicest guy in the world. Tell me that it's not a small world.

By the way, this wasn't my first car. By the time I was old enough to drive legally I was on my third hot rod. A '32 Ford three window coupe with a Corvette engine. I'm not gonna say that my mother spoiled me. You be the judge. You women in my life are disqualified.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We're Number One

It's not really so much that we're all in this together as much as it is that we're all this together. There are no boundaries between you and me, the earth and the planets, the dark and the light. It's all God or love or whatever you want to call it. You'll do alright. I haven't just seen the light. We are the light.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All Love, All Peace

The beauty and the peace all around me overwhelms my senses. Recently a friend opined, "You're not bipolar. You're not depressed. You're just too sensitive."

It wasn't meant as any kind of compliment. I understand. Consciously I choose to dwell on the positive. Oh, that I could work to help make the world a better place while keeping my mind on all that is good.

It's not in my nature, though. Jamaica and I passed an abandoned dog on the street yesterday. He had mange and a bad eye. The fear in his one good eye will be my focus for a long time. A very long time. I don't want to get al anthropomorphic on you but it sure seems to have knocked Jamaica for a loop, too.

Without wasting your time and mine worrying about whether or not I had any options to help the poor boy out, let me say that my point is really this. There's not enough that I can do to help all the creatures who need help.

As I've said before, I've been to Cuba. I look forward to going again. Peace between this country and our beautiful neighbor seems possible once again. Nobody told me about the dogs, though. Nobody mentioned the dogs.

There is, of course, no way to undo any unkind act. I hope to eventually have the opportunity to make up for all of mine with love.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Goin' Back

Maybe all the great philosophers work for t shirt companies these days. Clever ideas about adulthood not working out catch my eye. It seems to me that I made a much better kid than I do any kind of grownup. All I need is for someone to hold my hand to cross the street. Somebody to rock me to sleep at night. I need someone to love me all the time, no matter how naughty I've been. I suppose we all do.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Small and Insignificant

As I'm sitting here starting this little piece about Tom T. Hall, word comes in that his wife of forty six years has just passed away. "Miss Dixie" was a force in her own right. She had written with plenty of fine tunesmiths in addition to her husband. One was her friend, Mother Maybelle Carter. She was an animal rights' activist as well as a pioneer in the bluegrass music scene. Miss Dixie was British by birth but American by choice.

Oh, we'll all miss her. Even those of us who didn't know her. My tears and my prayers, though, are for Tom T. If you want to know sad, put on a Tom T. Hall record.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What's So Sad About Lonely?

Why do we fret when it's all in a minor key? Buck up! Times are tough. You just keep getting' through it 'til you don't, that's all. If you have everything you've ever wanted and you cry yourself to sleep, you might be spoiled. Or crazy. You may be spoiled and crazy.

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Put On The Coffee Pot, Jeanie...

...I'm coming home."

That quote means something to you if you lived in this bay area and your family owned a television in the mid-fifties.

Ernie Lee moved to this area in 1954 from Cincinnati and began showing up regularly on Channel 38, WSUN, the only station that we had. In 1958 he moved to WTVT, Channel 13 in Tampa, our CBS affiliate. 

Ernie had recorded sides for MGM and RCA among other big time labels. He made some of the first hillbilly records with strings. He was, to put it mildly, the real deal. He drew some of his old sidekicks to the area including Barefoot Brownie Williams and Herb and Kay Adams who had produced some great hillbilly sides on King Records.
Barefoot Brownie

In the beginning Ernie signed on at 7:00 am. I always got up early enough to get ready for school while I watched him. Hillbilly music had started it all for me. It was all I knew until my mom started to bring me Wynonie Harris and Elvis records in 1955.

Of course I would never have told the other kids at school that I watched Ernie and the gang. In fact I hid my hillbilly association until a year or two into my music career when we took our band, Your Local Bear, down to the Channel 13 studios in downtown Tampa to play Ernie's show. Mr. Lee was a real gentleman and a true inspiration. Right about then we played our first big show. Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa with Jimi Hendrix.

Ernie's been gone for a long time now. Jimi, too. I'm a lucky guy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Broken Glass, Broken Heart

My advice to you would be, "Don't take advice from people like me." 

Now with that disclaimer let me say this: when your heart tells you one thing and the brain tells you another, go with the heart. Every time.

All the secrets are in the music. I don't always know the answers. In fact, I usually don't. If I were a woman they would declare me blond. I do know that nothing matters but love. Maybe all of the planet's problems can't be solved with love but let me tell you this- none of them can be solved without love. You can quote me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

You Can't Catch It

It's all one piece, isn't it? Without math, there's no music. Really? Tell the mockingbird. So, then math is just a language from an attempt to communicate nature?  

Don't work at music, play. Don't work at love, love. Oh, you can do better than that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here's Your Change, Sir

On a regular basis I decide to quit writing this stuff. To tell you the truth, I still don't understand what a blog is. As I remember it I was trying to subscribe to some esoteric website and the screen asked me, "Do you want to start your own blog?"

"Well, sure," I thought. Next thing you know I've done this stuff about a thousand times and I'm pretty sure that I've written the same few ideas down, two or three hundred times each.

Let's see, I whine about my broken heart and then I reminisce about some rock'n'roll show from decades back. Peace and love always seem to work their way into the dribble and, for that, I'm okay.

I'm pretty sure that what keeps me rolling is my tendency to change my mind. You know, the definition of liberal is merely maintaining an open mind. Well, sir, it don't get much more liberal than old George Ronald Elliott.

For the last day or two I've been fretting that there is no such thing as romance. Maybe it's just a concept to sell books to adolescent girls who wouldn't read without this myth. Me? Well, maybe they just don't tell me like they don't ever level with mentally challenged kids about Santa and the Easter bunny. Maybe I'm better off. Falling hurts. 

One thing I know: this has given me the opportunity to tell lots of folks that I love them and I do. I know that it's naive but this is the most important thing I do. I love you.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Designed By Women

Well sir, the story goes that the designers and engineers at Chrysler came up with the PT Cruiser to peddle to women. Most of the women of the world despised the little thing. Chrysler ended up selling a blue gazillion of the things to middle aged men who no longer buy little red sports cars.

A therapist once said to me, "Women like you. Women like men who have been raised by women."

Yeah, unfortunately she finished her sentence but not the paragraph. After a string of broken hearts following that therapy session I stumbled across some renowned psychiatrist on NPR explaining that men raised by women tend to be passive and fail in personal relationships.

Seems I'm okay for a movie and maybe a bite on the way home. After that I fall into the brussel sprouts, Chartreuse, polka category. 

Call me if you wanna go see a movie.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


So I get my chance to facilitate my showoff tendencies and play my favorite stuff on the radio. Man, I've been trying to get someone to sit and listen to these tunes since I was eleven or twelve years old. The beauty of community radio is that they can't fire me. I mean they don't have to invite me back but they can't pull in from the ether what I've put out there.

Wonderful, sweet folks call and e-mail kind, encouraging messages. One guy called twice, though, to say that he loved the show and the music but that it was certainly sad and depressing. Believe me, you don't want to hear my depressing show. I could lead a conga line right up to the Kool Aid stand.

This is my happy. For me this is positive. My dog loves me and my cat needs me. Tell everyone you love how you feel. They need to know. They need to hear it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Are My Options?

For a long time now I've noticed that a room typically gets quiet when I start to play. It was the manager at the Borderline in London who first mentioned it to me. I had already noticed but I thought maybe that it was a particularly polite crowd. This past week my pal, Brett, at the Ale & Witch mentioned it. I was already aware of it this time, too. I know this sounds crazy but I think that maybe the folks are scared of me. I don't know- I seem pretty harmless to me. Seems funny because I'm not one of those sensitive "artists" who expects such a thing.

Love. That's the stuff that flows through my veins.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How Hip?

It's a fine line between the truly hip and the wondrously square, isn't it? I don't claim to be any judge but it has always seemed to me that the ones who set the fashion usually could care less about fashion. Oh, you've got your Oscar Wildes and your Gloria Vanderbilts who work at it because it's fun but I'll tell you what a punk is. It's a white kid in Memphis going downtown in pink, pegged pants and a black lace shirt in 1954. With sideburns!

Nobody ever accused me of being hip. For that I am thankful. You think that maybe I don't realize how childish it is to preach this stuff about peace and love? Harrumph. Pray for peace. Love, love, love.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Don't Wash The Car

Know how it always seems to rain as soon as you wash the car? Or put the wash on line? Or leave the umbrella in the trunk?

Well, I'm a little bit concerned that I'm feeling so good. You know, peaceful. For maybe the first time in my life, I'm satisfied. Oh, I'm pretty much always aware of my good fortune. I've always had it easy, even when I thought otherwise.

Yeah, I have all the usual regrets but I don't have any illusions that I could have done anything that would have brought better results.

With peace in my heart and rock'n'roll on my mind, life seems pretty wonderful. I do the best I can. Nothing but love matters a bit. Really.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Here's All I've Got

Think before you speak. Yeah, I suppose I've heard that all my life. Probably make someone a really fine new year's resolution. Not much thought goes into anything that I say or do. Oh, I'm not bragging here and I surely hope that I never hurt anyone by blurting out something dumb.

Here's my take on all this. No, I mean all this. If you could back up enough, you would see all of us bouncing off each other like atoms do with one another. Every single action that you take, or don't, affects every other living being on the planet. I'm not sure if this makes me feel uncomfortable with my power or insignificant in my situation.

Yoko Ono ran another of her famous full page ads in the New York Times again on Sunday. How can it be that the most rational thoughts out there seem to come from this woman who so much of the world has vilified? She points out, again, that all of our power rests in our ability to have love and peace in our own being. That's how we save the world.

Get busy. Love. Come on- you can do better than that.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Just Wow

Do you remember what it felt like when you first heard the music that would change your life? Elvis on the radio just fascinated me. It reached parts of me that I didn't know were there.

The Beatles literally sent a chill up my spine. Sometimes I can hear the beginning of Please Please Me or I Want To Hold Your Hand and it starts everything all over. Those stories are my life. I do want to hold her hand.

Yeah, rock'n'roll is the soundtrack for my life. Either I came along at exactly the right time or it did.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stop This Train

There have been times where I thought that I was driving this spiritual vehicle. Of course I realize that, all in all, I'm just onboard for the journey. Oh, I suppose that I make a decision here and there. It's always fairly obvious that I shouldn't be trusted with any of it.

Music chose me. Success didn't. Okay.

Somehow I'm unable to talk about romance today. It's always on my mind. Those are the failures that haunt me.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Great Goodness

Let me just say right here, right now- I've heard the finest music in the last couple of months that I've ever heard. Plenty of it has been from really young kids, too. Oh, I've been knocked off my feet by geezers, too. Who cares that the music business is nothing but smoldering ashes? Those old crooks are mostly gone and they took the cash to hell with them.

With parallel tracks running from The Voice and Taylor Swift to Sugar Ransom and The Anderson Brothers, we've all got plenty to choose from. Great goggly moogly, it ain't over yet!

Okay, so the music's okay. Now we've got a planet to save. We'll do it with love. It's kinda' like the cosmic duct tape. You can fix anything with it. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Okay, Happy

The only way to guarantee my happiness is to put a guitar in my hands and put me on a stage. Maybe this year should be all about the music for me. It's time to start a new record and my friend, Steve Connelly, is chomping at the bit.

Believe me, I know that you're tired of me bellyaching about my broken heart and my failures at romance. Me, too! Oh, I may write about it from time to time but it's past time for me to write about fixing the world and the love that makes it all worthwhile. We're all sitting around waiting to die. Might as well do something in the meantime.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Have I Told You This One?

When the ball dropped at midnight and the gray ghost of Dick Clark arose from the depths of hell and all of the well-paid bunnies jumped out of the cake and sang Auld Lang Syne in perfect four part harmony I called the love of my life to wish her a happy new year and went back to snorting powder and guzzling Cristal with my important friends.

Well, that's not exactly accurate. I've told you before, I just can't lie. No, I'll toast this one to the lonely, the losers, the passive, the ones with the broken hearts. We've all got 364 days to forge a new plan. That next one- that's our year, boy. That's our year. 

Are We There Yet?

The music is perfect. So is the weather. Everything is beautiful. Uh oh. This isn't the end is it? Happy New Year. Love.