Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Mama's Boy

Day five of this cold or flu or sinus infection or whatever runs this show here right now. I went to bed at eight pm again but woke up at nine coughing. Of course I'm pretty sure I'm dying but that's only because I'm never sick and don't know much about it.

Let's just get right down to business here. I miss my mom. I miss my grandmother. 

My mother always told me I was the smartest kid in school. The most handsome. She didn't lie to me. That's what she thought. She went without common necessities so that I could have anything I wanted. Anything. 

Okay, alright it's a common story. A young, single mother devotes everything with big, blind love to her kid. I look around me and I see cases of it now.

When I add in my grandmother's role, the tale of this little Alabama whippersnapper becomes epic. Now Lottie was good at love. That's what she did. She raised those five beautiful babies on her own when my grandfather died, having to substitute love for grocery items.

None of them ever missed that I was her favorite. It was always a love battle between Mom and Grandma. Me? I won.

Really, it wouldn't be fair to feel sorry for myself because I miss them. I had them both for a very long time. If I hadn't lived it I wouldn't believe that there was such love. They broke all records.

My heart has been busted so many times that it should probably have been thrown out a long time ago. I've got all this love, though. It has made more sense to just glue the pieces around the love.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Loose Ends

Maybe I'n just lucky. If there had been bucket lists when I was a young man, mine would have been over-filled a long time ago. It's all come to me, little effort on my part. Outside of world peace, living forever and seeing the ones I've loved once more, I've got nothing that I'm longing for. 

Regrets? That's another chapter. I'm so very sorry that I've ever hurt anyone. Maybe I can keep from doing that again. Oh, I wish that I had loved more. Harder. Better. I wish I had cuddled the older dogs and the kittens longer. I'll cut this part short to keep from making you uncomfortable and me cry.

I've done my best and I know that doesn't mean that I've done all that well. It would be great to hint around here that I've got it down now and that you can count on me from here on out. Neither one of us is gonna fall for that.

Mostly I've got good intentions. I admit to lust in my heart and an active imagination.

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


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Loose Women, Loose Change

It doesn't strain my self-awareness to realize that I'm only happy when I'm playing. These days I don't play all that much. Uh oh.

I've never really looked for work. Seems tacky. 

Sometimes I find myself fantasizing about playing in a rhythm and blues band six nights a week, five hours a night. I'm aware that the fantasy only holds up if we could play different songs every night. You're starting to understand my self-imposed dilemma here, aren't you?

Other "necessities" have dropped off my list. I'm gonna spare you the whining about love and romance. 

It's getting all zen around here. I haven't given up much but a lot has given up on me.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Don't Eat Worms

Some of us just feel more. That's the blessing. That's the curse. I've never gotten over anything. They all come to see me in my dreams. I lost another dear friend this week. He wasn't allowed to play with me over the last fifteen or twenty years. We would make plans to get together surreptitiously whenever we ran into each other. We both knew it wouldn't happen. Now he will show up in the movies that play in my head when the lights go out.

I hope I'm in somebody's dreams.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cuban Heels

If it doesn't make the hair on my arm stand up, I don't want to play it on the radio. As long as there is music that causes my heart to jump, why would anyone play mediocre stuff. Oh, you don't want to get me started on payola. I'm about as outspoken on peer pressure, charts, program directors and bad taste.

You won't catch me defending my own taste. I will always play what I like regardless of fashion. There are only two types of music as far as I can tell. Good and bad. I try to only play one type. I'm the opposite of payola.

Here's the weirdest part of my radio role: I'm crushed when someone doesn't like something that I play. You can probably guess that I'm over the moon when anyone likes any of it. It's not my ego. I didn't make these records! Any fool might question why anyone volunteers their time to program a radio show without compensation. I do.

In case it hasn't occurred to you, there's no paycheck for this blog, either.

I digress. 

Somehow, in my pea brain, I communicate with a sliver of humanity right through the ether via the radio waves. It's my social life, my love life. Really. Hey, I know cornball when I see it. If I can make you dance for a minute, if I can make you cry or blush, if I can make you laugh 'til milk runs out of your nose, I'm well paid. When I tell you on air that I love you, I love you.

Remind me to tell you about my day job sometime. 

Turn your radio on.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bars On The Windows

The stealing started as soon as Pythagoras showed us the scale. I know, I know. Your heroes don't steal. Mine, either. Ol' Bob never saw Little Richard, never heard Woody, never mimicked Gorgeous George, right? It's good art when you steal the good stuff, isn't it?

Life is art. It's holding mirrors up to mirrors. You can start a new language if you think it's a good idea but I don't know who you're gonna talk to. The reason that Sun Ra sold as many records as he did was the purple lame'. 

Sing about love. Talk about peace. Take the good stuff and roll it up together. Voila! Art.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Absolute Power, Absolute Corruption

Who on earth would consider a run for the office of president? Does anyone ever do it for the right reason? Does it matter? Could any person with "good intentions" stand up to this congress? If we got rid of the rotten lobbyists would they be replaced with other rotten lobbyists? Should we step up the war in Syria in order to protect innocent children?

Oh, I could go on and on without all the annoying question marks.

When folks suffer I admit that I don't much understand religion. I do believe in science, though. Full time. Maybe climate change is nature's way of getting rid of man. You know- enough rope.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Kids and the Animals

Oh, look! The women are after my money. Oh, wait. I don't have any money. Oh well, no women, either.

Sixty years ago my mom took me to Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in Tampa to see what was billed as "The Biggest Rock'n'Roll Show of '56." Bill Haley & The Comets, LaVern Baker, Bo Diddley, Big Joe Turner, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, the Platters, the Drifters and the Teen Queens. Oh, yeah- Clyde McPhatter showed up in uniform to sing with his pals, the Drifters. He was home on leave.

Nothing was ever the same for me after that.

Now my mom's gone and of course so are most of my heroes. I eventually worked with Bo Diddley and Bill Haley. I played shows at the armory over the years with Chuck Berry, the Allman Brothers, Michael Bloomfield and plenty who don't come to mind. I promoted concerts there with the Byrds, the Kinks, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.

Of course this will come as a shock to those second amendment folks but we don't need much of a militia these days. The city has given the armory building to the Jewish Foundation and it is being rehabbed as the new Jewish Community Center.

In these dreams I shake my snow globe and Chuck Berry duckwalks back and forth to Johnny B. Goode. Hail, hail, boys. Hail, hail.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Humps and Heaves

When my pal, Ed Brown, couldn't pull himself together he went to the doctor for some help. When the doc asked him to describe his feelings Ed explained,"I feel like my dog died and I don't have a dog."

Some days are just hard.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

String Becomes Rope

So I'm sitting here worrying about whether I should give a man enough rope or teach him to fish. Summertime and the living is easy. No, really. I've run out of obligations. I have a date. I suppose that's my big news. It's a month away so I should probably start to get ready.

Practice up on your love in case you ever need it. Somebody needs it.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

All That's Left

Better offers? Really, I should have known. Will I know better next time? I seriously doubt it. I hope not. Hope still springs eternal, right? Sometimes you have to remind yourself that your heart's important but only to you. Let it roll. There's no drama that you don't make.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The First Thing To Go

There's a power in old age and there's a sweetness in the wet air. Life has really never been better. I hear things on those Little Willie John records that I never heard before. I understand stories from decades ago for the first time. I've no interest in nostalgia but I surely waller in sentimentality.

Beautiful melodies are just waiting to be assembled and stories line up like Delta jets on the tarmac in Atlanta. Rock'n'roll requires no effort, only passion. All your passion.

My rewards are staggering and I hope that I've never taken them for granted. Oh, nobody's ever paid me much and there have never been women waiting at the end of the show. Not for me. The critics have always been good to me. It occurred to me a long time ago that my appeal to them is based primarily on my obscurity. I'll take it.

Pay attention, boy. Pay attention. It's all about the love. Everything else is just a distraction. When you're lucky enough to know that, to understand that, you don't need to explain it to anyone else. Just love.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Coaster Brakes

Maybe I've retired. If I did I didn't mean to. As I poke through the calendar I realize that it seems to be devoid of any shows, any bookings. The new record that I keep planning hasn't been started. I was just starting to get the hang of it all. Dang!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No Splash In The Gene Pool

Hey! Only one left! When I'm gone, it's over. Unless you're a member of some royal family, that's not something you worry about. I don't. I'm gonna try to be good for goodness' sake. Watch me pivot!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

This Side Up

Some stories don't have two sides. Those children in Aleppo, like all children the world over, are innocent. There is no excuse based on patriotism. Go to hell, boys. Go to hell.

The ideas of capital punishment, animal cruelty, medical care and medications withheld due to lack of financial means...

Obviously I could go on. And on.

Don't we still have tar? Feathers? I'm looking at you Aetna. Morgan Stanley. Tyson Foods.

Come on heroes, sing. Louder!

Monday, August 15, 2016

That First Turn

Life's too short to waste any on the humdrum. Oh, sadness is okay. Wasting time isn't really "wasting time," either. I nap. I talk to the dog and the cat. Green Acres reruns can make my day. Everything I see is a song. Sometimes the news rhymes. Good!

Looking back, I'm grateful to have spent a little time in the dark. Thanks, girls. Of course I'm thrilled to be back, too. Thanks, friends. Thanks, Mr. Rodney.

Flat on your back, the stars in the sky will show you the way.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It Ain't What It Ain't

On the days when I don't have to remind myself that it's all gonna be alright, life is perfect. A dog's love is perfect. That girl has no interest in pleasing me. Fine.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

I'll Settle For More But I Won't Take Less

Here are some things I know and I wish I didn't:

 The meek shall not inherit the earth. It's a pretty sentiment, though, isn't it?

Cheaters win. Naturally I'm tempted to start to start ranting about Donald J. Trump here but I won't.

Lots of women are drawn to "bad boys."

Oh, I could go on. And on. Evolution's not good to kindness, gentility. Oh, goodness and righteousness aren't left out altogether. Even ants need to socialize and team up to move that leaf.

Love is its own reward. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Man Who Has Trouble Saying No To Women

Everything's alright, but then, everything's always been alright. Nothing is permanent. You've heard it for a long time. Believe it. You can struggle if you think you need to struggle. Shine your love light on everything in your path.

None of it's gonna go the way you think it is. I promise.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Used Car Dealers and Relative Obscurity

Well, sir, the boys and girls drooling and scrumming for "power" in the beltway are managing to make everybody else look classy. These are not leaders, mine or anybody else's.

I'm so proud to be a hillbilly singer.

Those nuts who live to find the next impossibly rare 78 prefer the blues singers from the '20's who never sold diddly. Oh, they loved Robert Johnson until Columbia rounded up all of the material and packaged it for the masses. Once Eric Clapton and the stratocaster boys went on down to the crossroads, that was it. They went back to Mississippi looking for some blind street singer who left behind one record that sold in single digits. They needed a new altar.

Pardon my bragging here but don't I have a bright future ahead of me? I seem to remember that it was my pal, Sylvie, who first suggested death as a career move. As distasteful as I find the subject, I'm aware that I move closer every day.

For over fifty years I've been making records and none of them have ever sold. Dang. Keep and eye on me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Get Out From Here Now, Sir

Never hip. I was never gonna be hip. I knew what the labels were but I would get distracted when it was time to shop for new school clothes. My mom didn't help during the years when she would take me. 

I remember going downtown getting ready for the seventh grade. Junior high. We left home with visions of button-down, oxford cloth shirts in yellow, blue and white. Oh yeah, burgundy was the big new shade that year.

Well, there it was in the boy's department- the most spectacular garment I had ever laid my eyes on. Boatneck. 3/4 sleeves. Alternating diamond shaped, woven patches about half inch in olive green and purple. Oh yeah, there was a pocket divided in two halves in a kangaroo pouch position.

What kind of idiot would settle for a burgundy button-down.

Well, that shirt didn't last the school year. Those knit diamonds didn't tolerate the laundry well. Not for long. I never got over it. This is true: it has been less than a month since I last searched eBay for "Mens 3/4 sleeve boatneck."

You've never heard me talk about a gig, have you? I've never described anything as cool. Well, maybe the other side of the pillow but you know what I mean.

This is probably starting to sound arrogant or haughty. I hope not. I've always been fascinated with the hip ones. I know the lingo. It just doesn't work for me. I feel like a fraud in the oxford shirts. I'm just not hip. Let me add that it kills me to use the word hip.

Socially awkward but I know who I am.


Monday, August 8, 2016

No Dark Side

Trying to understand the beautiful nature of the bonobo in a follow up piece on 60 Minutes last night  Anderson Cooper asked, "So they have no dark side?"

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? We learn in biology class that man has this so called dark side. We accept it. Most of us aspire not to be the one who pulls the handgun from the glovebox when the guy cuts too closely into our lane. We hope not to rant about the loon on the screen when Fox News plays on the screen in the bar. Not with uncontrolled cursing.

Somehow, though, we are taught to accept aggressive behavior. Even embrace it in some cases. We train young men and women to kill for patriotism. We fret when a number of them come home and find it impossible to fit back in. When they shoot cops. When they wander the streets, homeless. When they take their own lives.

Oh, we can accept a few gentle souls as cultural icons. Just don't take them too seriously. Mr. Rogers. Tiny Tim. We can't take Edmund Muskie for a candidate, though. He cried. Don't get me started on Jimmy Carter.

It begins to occur to me that it's no coincidence that so many of these folks are my heroes. I'm reminded of my great preference of women over men as leaders.

Is E.O. Wilson right? Are we just wired for this darkness? Is it just genetic?

"Mr. Wilson, allow me to introduce the Dali Lama."

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lucky Sperm Club

"Leave it alone," I remind myself. 

"Just don't touch them."

When I see those two smirking faces though, I just can't help myself.

Oh, I hear Mika and Joe gush about how you just can't "fake family." You know as well as I do that Joe just wishes that he had been born into royalty himself. 

Smart, too. I mean we all realized immediately that Obama was plagiarizing Don, Jr. in his speech at the DNC. Fortunately Don was discreet and polite enough not to make a big deal of it like those pesky Democrats.

Of course beside their good jobs and straight teeth they have their big game achievements. If it can be paid for, they've killed it. We've seen Uday and Qusay, er- Don, Jr. and Eric with the casual carcasses of an elephant, a crocodile and a leopard. We'll just have to wait and see what this current trip to Alaska yields. That Trump family's not gonna starve!

Somehow the concept of revolution makes more sense to me now than it did in high school history class. Pass the cake, please.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Don't Look Back, Don't Look Down

All my time is bonus time. I'm very fortunate to know it. If you think that maybe it has been presumptuous for me to offer advice here for the last six or seven years, I agree. You tell me what to do. Oh, I probably won't do it but I'll listen and I'll consider it.

Funny thing is, with a little discretion I might have gone somewhere. Funnier yet, I like it here. 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

All The Lonely People

Why do we always blame it on the heart? Why do we write all the sad songs about the rain? Turns out, those weren't the best of times, the worst of times- these are. 

I've never much liked fireworks. When I would hear a murmur about the grand finale, it always cheered me up. Now I'm watching cable news and it's apparently the grand finale.

I've never had more fun.

It's all about love. Always was, always will be.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Dear Sam

Most of a life ahead of you, most of one behind me. Who would I be to offer advice to such a bright, beautiful star? I know better. No, I'm here to point out your perfection. As I watch the ups and downs from the sidelines, I recognize familiar patterns. A spiritual and idealogical search that will eventually, inevitably lead to a perfect, pure heart. Take care of it. I sensed it immediately. Oh, it will be broken a few more times and it hurts me to tell you that. Part of the price you pay for seeing truth. I wish you peace and I wish you love. Wisdom will be the bonus.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take The One On The Bottom

Don't worry. Nobody's paying much attention to you. They're all worried that you're judging them.You're not, are you? We all want to fit in.We all want to stand out. We're a neurotic bunch, aren't we?

Me? I'm your average pervert, your everyday eccentric, your common misfit. I've got good intentions for the most part. There's a lot of hurt out there. Love.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Cleanup, Aisle Nine, Please

With psychopathy all the rage, shouldn't we have a better soundtrack? Who's in charge here? One side's all in earth tones and the other is sporting crushed velvet in shades of fuchsia and chartreuse. My needs are considerably more modest than I knew and I was authentic long before it was fashionable.

They seem to have all left me here on my own and maybe I'm better off. 

If I could talk to the animals...

Wait! I do.