Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sawdust, Egos and Diamonds

I guess I believe in magic. I believe it's all magic. It's easy when you're young. Suddenly it's all coming to me in my dreams.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

One Night Of Sin

Yeah, it's easy to scare a kid. Throw a sheet over you, leap out of a closet and yell, " Boo!"

It should be harder to terrify a mature individual. I remember in junior high school worrying about the breakdown of society in case anarchy reared its head.

Now they seem to have pacified the "middle class" with Netflix and satellite radio. Seems they forgot to deal with the truly disenfranchised. Minorities and undocumented immigrants have nothing much to lose.

Do you suppose that this could be the start of some new "revolution?"

If there's a "good side" it will fight with love. The dignity of man is always on the line. Serve as an example. Peace and love are in your heart. Pay attention. I love you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Waiting On A Bus And Mother's Day

There's a reason that most cliches exist. I don't know how "peace" got tied up with "love" and "rock'n'roll" for you but I surely know how it happened for me. My mom brought me home rock'n'roll records. Good ones. Really good ones- Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, LaVern Baker, Nervous Norvus. Those were my lullabies once I was too old for her to actually sing me to sleep at night.

Grandma taught me to pray and what began with, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." ended with, "Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. Amen."

Love? I'm one spoiled man. Oh, if only every kid could be loved like I was. I'm about the luckiest man who ever lived. If you need it, I've got plenty.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

How Long?

They told me life was short. It's not that I didn't believe them. It just didn't seem to matter. Then pets died. They killed my heroes. War raged. When my grandmother passed away it all began to really mean something to me. My mom left me a couple of years ago and now I'm obsessed with just how brief the whole ride is. And that's from me- an old guy who has already lived a long life.

What about the love that you bungled, the hurt that you caused? What about everything that you started and never finished?

As usual, I should have listened.

Love with all your heart, every chance you get.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cry To Me

If I could only make everyone happy. Undo the hurt. No wonder we want so desperately to believe in some kind of heaven. Babies, it seems to me, are our greatest gift. Let me throw in puppies and kittens, too. To hear a baby cry reminds me that there is suffering everywhere. Sometimes I think that I was intended for another reality. Love won't fix it all but it's a fine start.

Friday, April 24, 2015

From Me To You

Maybe I should be ashamed of being so hokey, such a cornball. I'm not. It's one thing to understand that you're out of step with fashion. Not any part of any in crowd. It's altogether something else to flaunt your outsider status.

Unburdened by talent, I write, I play, I sing. Knowing as much about theater as I do music I work on screenplays. I'm not gonna play around with brain surgery or rocket science because, honestly, they bore me. Plus, somebody could get hurt.

Today I'll play music that I love on the radio. I don't know anything about radio. Oh, you know, I do in that I grew up with the radio shaping my taste, my personality, my character. What I mean is that I have no real background in radio.

The fact that I get to share this stuff with folks out there thrills me. I am truly honored and humbled for the opportunity. I don't search for the obscure. I play the stuff I love. Some of it comes from hit records. Some of it was never released when it was recorded.

I still remember my record producer, Phil Gernhard, telling us, "Wait until you have your first hit on the radio. It is the most exciting, thrilling thing on earth. It only happens once."

Well, sir, after more than fifty years of doing this, it has never happened. Does that make me sad? See, I went into this business like every other fool, to pick up girls. That never happened either.

I wouldn't trade places with anybody. I love you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cheaters And Rumors

In my cyclonic thought pattern all paths lately have spiraled down the distribution of wealth trail. It occurs to me that times are really pretty good for counterfeiters. Computer and printer technology would seem to indicate plenty of opportunities. The ruling class hopes that we will be discouraged with laws and threats of homosexual, brutal rape in prisons. Meanwhile, hedge fund traders who insist on playing outside of the laws that their pals have paid for don't worry much about getting caught. There seems to be little shame in getting caught in that game. No wonder JC didn't much like the bankers.

Alabama has an infant mortality rate of 8.7 babies per 1000 born. If my home state was a country it wouldn't be doing well as a third world power. Those folks will continue to vote Republican, praying every Sunday that their numbers will come in.

No wonder that rock'n'roll posed such a threat in 1956. Of course the government panicked when the newspapers reported aliens were landing in 1947.

Now, of course, we have I watches and next season's Netflix season and cheap produce at Wal Mart. They took over the rock'n'roll. They let us have a Black president. Well, half Black. They have successfully prevented him from doing much, knowing that we won't be going there again soon.

This season they tempt us with- wait for it- you know- a woman. Well, not to be disrespectful, kind of a woman. In fact, the most hawkish Democrat around. Oh, they won't have her tugging at her crotch and spitting on the floor on the campaign trail. They're already making her image of the cuddly grandmother, just strong enough to protect our borders. You know, those lines on the map drawn by God giving us the middle of the North American continent.

My, how I've rambled. I'll curb myself here and say that my point is that cheaters do win. It's in our DNA. The peaceful indians lose their land. They end up in Patagonia and freeze the first year that their crops fail. They don't get much play in the history books because they don't write them.

I surely wouldn't want this rant to imply that I want you to cheat or lie or manage a hedge fund. Search for truth. Work for peace. Settle for love. You don't have to play with them at all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Letting Go vs. Giving Up

Once I figured out that broken 7 Up bottles are as beautiful as precious emeralds, I settled in for the rest of the journey. Oh, I'm a rich 'un as Jett would say. I learn a little something about love and loyalty every day from Jamaica. What I don't have can't really be had, I suppose.

We all know that it's a waste of time and energy to fret about the past. The future, too. Combine them into the "what ifs" and you're really on thin ice.

Could I have done everything differently? Well, only if I were someone else.

Could I have been kinder and more patient? Yeah, you bet.

Money? It's like religion. It's just a tool to keep us playing. Love? Now, there sir, is the real currency.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Royal Blue

The seismic shift- did you feel it? Everything's changed. It seems to have started about 10:25 last night. Maybe everything was already perfect and I just noticed. Still, a big change.

All things happen once. Every moment is unique. Every thought is original. Time, real time, moves in all directions. Wham!

I'm not cool. Never was. I've always claimed that I didn't care. I probably did. I am perfect, though. We all are. That's a better deal. The pressure's off.

I'll love whom I want. It's not really any of my business to tell you what to do, but you should probably love anybody that you want, too. Lots of folks and critters out there need it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New York- Hey, Hey

Funny thing about death... oh, wait. There's nothing funny about it, is there? I suppose we're all scared of anything that we don't understand. My pal, Rodney Justo and I kept kidding around the other night about pictures taken of us together. We had been sorting through old photos of each of us with rock'n'rollers from our past. In most of them either of us was the only surviving subject from the picture. Seemed like a good idea to keep anyone from taking one of us together. Of course it happened anyway. Eventually one of us will croak. Mark my word!

This is the only recording of the two of us together. Our studio time at Decca in New York was scheduled for 9:00 am. Noah's Ark had played the previous evening at the Scene on a bill with the Candymen, Tiny Tim, Blood Sweat & Tears and Van Morrison. Rodney had gotten us booked for the show. The Candymen were the darlings of the hip set in Manhattan at that time. Rodney had promised that he would get Dean Daughtery for our session to sing some high harmony. When he failed to get Dean up for the early session, he came to sing, himself.

Fine with me. I think Rodney is about the best singer in the world. He does, too.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

If You're Waiting On Me

I think that maybe I have it in me to become the person that I want to be. We all wrestle with the concept. The big hurdle, I'm pretty sure, is trying to live up to someone else's idea of who you should be.

I was up last night looking through boxes of photographs. I never lived up to anyone's expectations. My future was always in another person's hands and I never understood at the time.

Now I sit and meditate. I meditate while I walk. As soon as I let it go on cruise control, it's those same three syllables and, again, I'm not in control.

Well, they tell me that it's all about time and I think I finally understand. Enough time goes by and eventually you die. It ends.

Funny thing is it's a good day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Buy Me A Coke

Breathe in. Breathe out. I've calculated how many times I will cut my nails before I'm done here on this planet. This is surely not my century, boys. Neither was that last one. I try to believe in heaven. I really do. It's funny, I'm usually pretty easily fooled.

The here and now have me buffaloed. This is heaven. Pay attention. I've got a soundtrack to finish. It's in four/four mostly.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ask Me

A man with no mystique, I've always told anybody anything. Oh, I can keep a secret. You have to tell me that it's a secret, though.

The rest of this piece was just edited. Censored. By me.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Foxhole Diamonds

Everything I've ever wanted is right here. There is literally nothing, nothing in this world that I am left longing for. There are things that I wanted and got. Now some of them are gone. Sometimes I talk to my heart. I try to reason with the old thing. It's never paid much attention to me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fragility Dance

Let's be honest here. (As you know, that phrase is usually a setup for dishonesty. In this case I have no such intentions). My dog doesn't much care what you or I think of her. She's not out to win us over. She went through puppy training three times and struggled to graduate then. She's a good girl, though. Oh, she does naughty things. Often. She's a good girl, though.

I'm starting to care less what anyone thinks of me. I've decided that I'd rather do the right thing than to look like I'm doing the right thing. They tried to teach me that lesson with an episode of Father Knows Best where Bud anonymously put  the money that he had saved for a fan belt in the Sunday School collection plate. I've told you that I'm a slow learner. That one took almost sixty years to sink in.

Here's more big news for you. Sixty Minutes has let the cat out of the bag. There are cyberterrorists all over the planet ready, willing and able to bring our culture to its knees. Only a relatively few countries can play in the major leagues with nuclear weapons. Any kid can learn to dismantle water treatment plants, hack into bank accounts and lay waste to traffic lights.

Government's not going out of business any time soon. There's plenty to fear.

Here's my advice. Use your love and fix things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Gimme Five, Hotshot

As with most things, I'm terribly conflicted with the concept of celebrity culture. I suppose my own worship probably got a kickstart when my mom held me up so that I could shake Roy Rogers' hand on the tour bus.

Of course, as I've written here so many times, since then:

Elvis offered to teach me karate. Don Garlits took me to lunch and offered me a job. I had to hold up Jimi's Marshall amps during his show.

It's a long, weird list and it's dumb. Really dumb.

My idea today of a hero is someone who brings love to the desperate. It's that police officer who climbs down a storm sewer to rescue a stray duckling. Maybe it's the third grade teacher who notices that the little girl in the back is hungry and scared and sees that she gets something to eat and some affection and plenty of respect and dignity.

We're all really, really special and we're all stars in this universe. We all need love. The real heroes help it happen. Sometimes they're on the cover of Vanity Fair. Usually not.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sticking With The Union

When I was a kid I had to join the American Federation of Musicians to play anywhere. Those old geezers despised us. All of the officers were left over from big band days and we rock'n'rollers were the only ones working. Our annual dues and our work dues were pretty much the foundation of the finances for the union.

Like most other unions it eventually collapsed and failed. Maybe it's a coincidence; musicians around here work for about the same amount today that we made in 1965. Plumbers don't.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Not Good Enough

Well, I suppose I've heard rock'n'roll all over the world. The stuff that comes from my hometown is as good as it gets. It's always been that way. For some reason the folks around here have never figured it out. Our community seems to have an inferiority complex that carries over into our musical set.

Our own Benny Joy is worshipped in that weird world that prays at the rockabilly altar. He always had trouble working around home.

Oh, I've heard all the cliches about your own hometown. At the same time I've visited places that were proud of their heroes. The community radio station here had the poor taste to put on a "Lone Star Music Festival" ten or twelve years back. Don't misunderstand me, I love most of the acts that they booked. In fact some of those folks are good friends of mine. The very idea, though, that a publicly funded radio station would bring in a day full of musical acts from another state bugged me badly. Free beer supplied for the station to sell in the 98 degree heat saved the event from economic disaster. Supplied, I should add, by a local brewery. It was a fine show. I just kept thinking of going to Austin and finding a "Florida Music Festival" taking place.

At this point in life I can't kick. If I hadn't loved this place I would have left it. Next time I see a wildly talented, young musician around here, I hope he or she's mobbed. We need our hometown heroes.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Windex Memories

Poking through guitars and posters and books and photographs I'm reminded that all of my memories have to do with music and love. Finally it dawns on me that true love never ends. Quarrels end relationships, not love.

It's a beautiful world. Get busy. We've got a planet to save. Don't let that love go to waste.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Who's That Singing?

Every day I start over. With every breath I'm a different person. If I believe in a collective consciousness, then everything else changes, too. I broke my arm once. Broke my nose once, too. I've broken my heart a hundred times and it could happen again I suppose.

Write what you know. That's what they tell you. Well, of course you write what you know. It would be an even dumber waste of time for me to write about astrophysics... in Italian.

I wrote about my broken nose once. Seems that I'm doing it again.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Ones With The Guns

With God on our side, right? Well, maybe. Seems to me, the ones with the guns win. The ones with the bombs, the drones, the terrorists. The ones with the blankets infected with smallpox.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, right? Who said that? Jesus? Buddha? No, I'm afraid that it was some hack from Roger Ailes' staff on behalf of the Koch brothers.

Maybe it's time to redefine the word, "winning." Charlie Sheen thought that it applied to him when he hit a sad bottom. We chanted, "U.S.A., U.S.A.!" as our troops marched into Iraq. Shock and awe!

There are no good wars. There are no good fights. Fight when you must with love. Fight hard.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Comes And Goes

Love comes, love goes. That's what they say. Heartache moves in and has no plans of leaving. Ever. That much I know.

"What are you crying about? Is that just drunk crying? Are you afraid that I'll hurt you? I will never hurt you."

You know the rest.

Don't you ever give up. Ever. We're all doing the best we can. Love is powerful and love is pure and it doesn't play favorites. Those songs? They come from the heart. It's true. It's all soul music somewhere, to somebody.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Texas Or Outer Space

"Your pal, Butch Hancock, thinks Buddy Holly was an alien," Dave Marsh once told me.


"Well, it sure the fuck didn't come from Lubbock, Texas!"

I asked Butch about his beliefs some time later. He just laughed. He did show me pictures on his phone of a flying saucer that he took from his back porch.

When I look back at Fats Domino, Little Richard, Elvis and most of my early heroes I am truly amazed. Nothing had ever sounded like that and nothing had ever looked like that.

I'm back on the radio Friday with my invisible friend, Bev. I hope it sounds like I'm completely swept away by the music because I am. Believe me, I am.

Monday, April 6, 2015

What's My Line?

This rock'n'roll doesn't define me. It's just a soundtrack to a life so far. It has allowed me to be reasonably fashionable for short stints a couple of times over the years. That's okay.

What Einstein called energy, I refer to as love. Seems he was some little bit brighter than I am but I know what I know. What everybody else does with their love is none of my business. Heck, I don't seem to be able to deal with mine.

It's all I have in any measure though and luckily for me it can't be wasted.

Pray for peace. Search for truth. Settle for love.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rock'n'Roll Hearts

The critics have always been really kind to me. Sometimes I think that maybe they're a bit proud to stand up for a true "nobody." You know, I'm kind of an inside secret, a private joke. That's okay. I'll take it. Everybody needs some little validation.

Now it begins to occur to me that I've started the process of dying. Oh, I'm not sick. I suppose it started right after birth. The other side of that lucky coin is that I'm in the middle of wild renewal, too. My fingernails grow. My hair really grows. My heart grows, too.

Plan for peace and love hard.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

To The Grave

You really have no way of knowing if your work will go on after you're gone. Do it all with love. You know- just in case.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Yesterday's News

When folks attempt to compliment me on my "encyclopedic knowledge" of rock'n'roll I find myself blushing and shuffling. Honestly I'm not good with compliments anyway but in this particular case it's just wrong. Oh, I can rattle off Elvis' army serial number, ( US 53310761 ), and I can tell you about Little Richard's "girlfriend." What I can't do is give you the matrix number off the 78 rpm pressing of Rock Around The Clock. I don't know when the Sex Pistols broke up.

I'm not one of those guys. When I play the music that I love on the radio I'm playing the stuff that I care about. For the most part it's the same stuff that my mom brought home to me. I know about this music because it has been my life. I've never bothered filling up my gyrus and my sulcus with important information. There's very little intellectual data stored in there. Sit next to me at a dinner party and you're gonna get Big Joe Turner stories.

The love and the rock'n'roll run together for me. I love you.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Freezin' Over

You do what you can. You reason with your subconscious. It's hard to ignore the picture that was never put away, the house key that stays on the table. 

Everything works out exactly like it's supposed to work out.

Some folks say that there's a plan. Who am I to argue?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Aweigh With Words

They call it the loneliest profession. Well, do lonely people write or does writing make you lonely?

A way with words? That and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

Away with words. I shoulda' been a dancer or something.