I was in such a hurry to finish last night’s blog post that I left a huge chunk of copy in the copy/paste realm. I wanted to be in front of the tv for the third segment of Ken Burn’s Country show. So far we have survived Peter Coyote’s deadening narration and we are really enjoying the show. I found it surprising that right from the start people like The Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers were going after an old timey sound. I always thought they were the old timey sound. The current Americana fixation is as old as the hills. Of course genre busting artists like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and George Jones are in their own league.
In 1973 I was living with Peggi in a small rented house on the outskirts of town. We set up our bedroom on the porch. It was enclosed with wrap-around windows. We converted the bedroom to a band room and I was playing drums in there one night when someone knocked on the door. I opened the door and three guys were standing there. I was in my early twenties and these guys were old, well into their thirties. I was certain they were there to complain about the noise but they said they’d been outside listening and they wanted me to join their band. Apparently “Frank Canada” (listed on the card) had left the band and these guys were desperate. They had two gigs coming up that week.
This was Bloomington, Indiana I could tell by looking at them that they were talking about a kind of music I knew nothing about. I tried my best to talk my way out of this but a few days later I found myself out in the country, rehearsing in the living room of a trailer. Black velvet paintings on the wall and strange people sitting in the living room while we played songs I had never heard of. They kept asking, “You know that song called such and such?” and I would go, “No.”
Somehow we got through the gigs and rehearsed the next week in the bass player’s barn without the lead singer. Turns out the bass player, who had a sweet voice, and the rhythm guitar player, who loved Waylon Jennings, were conspiring to give Butch Miller (the cad) the boot and start their own band. They found a young guitar player with slicked back hair who worked at the Bloomington hospital and sang just like Johnny Cash. The three of them traded songs and we were booked every weekend and holiday for the next year and half in Eagles, Elks, Moose Clubs, American Legions, VFWs, coon hunts and anywhere cigarettes were smoked and Falstaff Beer was served.
I fell in love with the stuff, Classic Country by today’s definition. I recommended Dave Mahoney for the band when we left town and I think they changed their name to “The Breakers.”