WHEN SIN STOPS – excerpts only
© 2014 Word Wrestler
ONE: Passion Trove – excerpts only
Some offerings advertised by the station were outrageously comical, including 100 baby chickens for $3.95 and a miracle bug killer consisting of only two small wooden blocks.
The music pouring from that little radio changed my life although I can’t know if my life would have been better or worse had I not built the crystal radio in Mr. Brown’s shop class and connected the roof antenna to the Zenith radio allowing me to discover the Louisiana Hayride and the blues show on KWKH. But I do know my life would have been very different.
The following morning the headline of an article on an inner page of the Amarillo Daily News queried, “Why Buy a Cow When You Can Get Milk Through the Fence”—Elvis’ cheeky response to the question “Do you plan to ever get married?”
It was Chuck Berry collecting the admission money that most likely was his fee to play the gig.
Backstage after the performance [Roy] Orbison was asked, ‘How’re you doing, Roy?’ to which he replied, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I think I’m losing it.”
Little Richard’s entrance was wild. Wild as in “wild animal”—one finally released from its cage for the sole purpose that its inordinate pent-up anxiety would ignite an explosion of his fans’ primal passions.
Electricity filled the air and raced through my entire being as we played and sang our hearts out. It was a blast—a rocket blast into a teenage deep-space time warp as we took our friends along for the ride.
[Buddy] Holly played the single root bass note to each chord with his left index finger and the three-note chords with three fingers of his right hand, not using his thumb or little finger.
Waylon [Jennings] began laughing and explained that in 1967 his success as a country recording artist was so tenuous he felt it not in his best interest to be part of a discussion regarding what he described as an ‘awful recording’ of “When Sin Stops” produced by Buddy Holly.
…but I never would have pictured Bill Justis, the recording artist, as a bald-headed old man in his 40s. But he was very polite and showed no hint at all of superstar egotism.
TWO: University Daze – excerpts only
The motorcycle slowly spun 180 degrees, allowing me a most memorable view of Janet gliding along a dampened Enfield Road with her butt and both feet in contact with the pavement as though she were hurling down a playground slide.
Our eyes met and immediately locked on like wildcats to their prey. We stopped dead in our tracks—mesmerized, frozen still. Our expressions morphed from total surprise to disbelief, then on to certain recognition. We stood transfixed as the silent wheels of wonderment furiously spun round and round. Then with a jolt—one surely emotional, possibly even physical—we disengaged and routinely proceeded our separate ways.
If today I received a $4,000 bill for cocktails at a private nightclub for one of my children attending college, I’d certainly have serious questions regarding the true nature of their college curriculum.
Now that must be hormones flowing at the speed of light—something I have never quite experienced.
As my energy exploded in the described maneuver, something large, white and airborne flew in our direction. Suddenly, I was standing alone in the doorway and Mr. LCB man was lying on the barroom floor.
It wasn’t unusual for Ken to drive fast, and from my slumped-down-in-the-seat position my concern was mild until I raised up high enough to observe the blinding snowstorm we were barreling through. It was blinding to the nth degree with visibility reduced to tens of yards.
Suddenly we were engulfed by thick, dark clouds where loud thunder claps consistently boomed and fierce, rapidly repeating lightning flashed. The sound of the thunder came from no particular direction informing us we were at its epicenter—a terrifying circumstance.
THREE: A Bite of the Big Apple – excerpts only
The excitement of suddenly and unexpectedly producing a string overdub session at the well-known Manhattan recording studio created my own nirvana experience like that expressed in the song, “Walking In Memphis.”
Doc [Pomus] was a sweet man, a really good soul. I was proud to have collaborated with him but Petty refused to pay the cost of making a demo recording even though as publisher he owned rights to 50% of any income earned.
…and sang the vocal and harmony for the demo recording of “Good Lovin’s So Hard To Find,” which [Norman] Petty recorded with The Cinders, an Amarillo band that included singer/songwriter John David Souther.
In what was most likely an instinctive reaction, Gilby [Jimmy Gilmer] continued running as hard and as fast as he possibly could.
Their [Jerry Goldstein and Richie Gottehrer] friend was outlandishly entertaining us with his rendering to the telephone operator…my unforgettable introduction to Seymour Stein.
Paul Leka and lyricist Shelly Pinz showed up unannounced one day and played three songs: “I Need Someone (The Painter),” “Pink Lemonade,” and “Green Tambourine.”
I used the same musicians previously used on most of the demos I produced for United Artists: Frank Owens – piano, Hugh McCracken – electric guitar, Bobby Gregg – drums, and Joe Macho – bass.
I played it for Leonard Korobkin, previously an attorney at United Artists who had joined the prestigious music business law firm of Paul Marshall and Johan Vigoda. I asked Len to play the demo for Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records and on hearing it Wexler asked where the demo had been recorded and found it difficult to believe Len’s story that it was recorded in Manhattan. Wexler suggested Len play it for Bert Berns at Bang Records…
…the next unfortunate event was Huey Meaux’s imprisonment…and in his absence Shelby Singleton managed Huey’s business affairs.
Lester Maddox is the most colorful man to ever occupy Georgia’s governorship. He rode his bicycle backwards, toured Georgia with a black man he had pardoned [Bobby Lee Fears] in a stage act known as “the Governor and the Dishwasher.”
Christiane and I were mesmerized—in part because Bob Dylan had granted us a private performance but mostly because we realized the merits of the song he had crafted.
Robin McBride left us with [Tom] Wilson and [Roy] Hallee, and Dylan and friends for about an hour of a recording session that is documented to have lasted six.
Carol [Bayer Sager] had cordial relationships with many music business folks—some of them important people like Bette Midler whom she introduced me to. [She] also introduced me to Carole Pincus [Childs] [who worked] for a successful Hollywood record producer.
Danny [DiMinno] surrendered the gun he carried on him, but exited the truck rapidly firing the other—killing one cop and seriously wounding the other. The charge of capital murder of an officer of the law carried with it certain penalty of death by electrocution but through mob connections a judge was bribed and Danny received a sentence of life imprisonment—serving time from 1929 until 1945 when at the end of World War II many inmates were released as a result of the social and political euphoria generated by the U.S. having won the war.
FOUR: Hollyweird – excerpts only
I appreciated Bob’s jabbing humor since I am keenly aware of my limitations as both musician and vocalist. “So Bob, who was this guy?” “Prince.”
I positioned myself on the 18th fairway where both tee shots would likely play and before the golfers [Al Bennett and Jimmy Bowen] could arrive for their second shots I replaced Bennett’s ball with the “trick” ball. With a bet of $5,000 (about $32,000 in 2014) hanging in the balance, each drunken golfer was serious in the extreme about winning the bet.
…I realized my own politeness was being directed toward John Wayne, a large man who seemed even larger in person.
After inquiring who sent the note Ahmet [Ertegun] motioned me to his table where I explained my knowledge of his songwriter’s alias.
Kenny [Young] was a riot. I would light up, pass it to him, and be rewarded by a few hours of continuous laughter.
I explained the situation to the young singer [eventually famous artist] and offered to pay him $100 if he would sing the lead vocal on two demo tracks I had recorded.
But we had heard the rumors of [Phil] Spector imprisoning someone in his home…
“Van, thanks for recording my song ‘Don’t Change On Me’.” “Are you still writing songs?” Van [Morrison] asked.
He wrote ‘‘Me too” at the bottom of the napkin and signed it “Kenny Rogers Jr.”
“Craig, the recording artist is prepared and I’ve confirmed Larry Carlton,” I informed co-producer Craig Doerge.”
“Great Eddie. I’ve confirmed Leon Russell.”
“Craig, I thought you were playing keyboards.”
“Don’t we have Lee Sklar on bass and Russ Kunkel on drums?”
Jimmy [Holiday], who was standing near the couch in his beloved cowboy boots, stepped onto the couch with one boot and in a very long, high second-step planted his other boot in the middle of the sound console. Then with his other boot Jimmy perfectly executed a karate kick to the engineer’s solar plexus.
They [Jackie DeShannon and Jimmy Holiday] finally connected and “Put a Little Love In Your Heart” was the second or third song they completed.
Ray [Charles] would say, “I – I – I’m a simple man. I – I – I – I just want a-a simple one-page contract, just a one-page letter. Now – now – now don’t give me one of those long company contracts.
Johnny [Musso] called about a week later. “Eddie, come out to my office. I need to have a meeting with you.” When the Sonny & Cher recording of “All I Ever Need Is You” began playing, my reaction was completely negative. I could only think, “They’ve ruined our song.”
Mac [Davis] led me to a small office where he played “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” and as it played I couldn’t help but notice the focused intensity with which Mac observed me…
…but I do know that…Billy Joel was familiar with our song.
Soon Alex [Harvey] came into the living room singing the first verse of “Rings”…
Meanwhile, Bob Hamilton played the acetate of “Rings” for Marty Lacker, a former member of Elvis’ so-called “Memphis Mafia” entourage. Marty was employed by Chips Moman, a Memphis record producer with many hits to his credit who for months had been searching for a hit song to record with Cymarron, a vocal backing group working at his American Recording Studio.
As Alex walked back toward the beach house cradling the volleyball net in his arms, the beach crowd’s laughter surfed the rippling waves of his beach-bikini fantasy before crashing upon reality’s shore and evaporating in the warm, moist salty-sea air.
NOBODY in the MIDDLE – excerpt
Whole dang country now it seems
Adoptin’ dogma of extremes
Half free-loadin’ socialitst
The rest God-blessed survivalists
Now we’re strung up by the balls
Clean up to the hilt
Building taller, thicker walls
‘Round walls already built.
The new executives apologized for what happened with Kim [Carnes] and Dave [Ellingson] and claimed they would have renewed the contract…
FIVE: Nashville Cats – excerpts only
But he was unflappable—serene and above petty machinations even when used as a manipulative wedge. Jim Ed [Norman] was busy doing the work of a visionary.
One peculiarity is that if one finds a credible, believable way to refer to one’s creativity as creative genius, then immediately following such praise it is possible a two or three-minute window of opportunity will materialize during which the creative person will believe almost anything that is said. This discovery may suit Mark [Wright] less well than most of us, but I thought it worth a try on my zany friend.
T.Tom [Tom Collins] hollered, “Eddie, come back in here” and I re-entered his office… We burst with laughter as the British journalist again begged to know, “What the hell is going on?”
Bill [Denny] introduced me to the flourishing of wrinkled brows of these city fathers—some whose family names were well-known names of Nashville city streets. I could feel an onslaught of stern blue-blooded judgment drill down into the depths of my unsophisticated social mores while in reply I had nothing to immediately offer but my radiant pinkish-orange hair—a future movie-scene fit to be engraved upon the collective conscience of pop culture.
Could another bank adopt the name of The Third Fifth Bank? If so, Third Fifth Bank and Fifth Third Bank might create confusion…
Although Chet [Atkins] is not a talkative person, he does talk. Billy Edd [Wheeler] claimed he got the feeling that Chet just didn’t feel like talking…
I’d like a replay on this one so I can tell Johnny Cash all about that cool, black “Johnny Cash shirt” my mom so lovingly made for me.
When the moderator asked John Prine for his definition of success, John’s demeanor seemed to ask, “Now how am I gonna answer a question like this?”
And it would be the last thing he [Bobby Darin] ever said to her—words that surely caused a flood of emotions and memories—some then and more for years to come.
…causing it to be especially ironic that the last two words [Buddy] Rich spoke during his life were “country music.”
Dwight’s personal manager and tour manager, indeed Dwight [Yoakam] himself, would now be prepared for this fans—those who loved him, and those who decided to throw rocks. The jackets were a big hit, even with `the “hillbilly cat” himself.
Twenty-nine years later at the BMI country songwriter awards dinner in Nashville, Billy Burnett introduced me to Bekka [Bramlett] who was now age 29. She was a beautiful young lady and I told her, “We have previously met.”
SIX: Goodbye Ol’ Paint – excerpts only
“…For this time warp tonight Bob is as right for the ear as a ’55 Chevy would be for the eye. He picks and frets his way to the right place on the anxious edge of late and looking, each chord and note in his lead breaks arriving like the almost too equivocal groom at the instant to allow the wedding without a hitch.” –Buck Ramsey
“…Was that drum flourish of Mike’s random as hailstones on a roof or was it just what he meant? Sometimes the spirit should take hold like a holy-roller woman with the Holy Ghost. He does move the song and fill it up. Mike can come off addled as Ensign Pulver, yet he is a clever and deliberate courtroom tactician much admired. During the second break Bob came over, cool cucumber pickled on the music, and said, ‘If you have Mike you don’t need much more to have a rock and roll band.’” –Buck Ramsey
Two policemen began dragging us from the vehicle to lead us away, but Bob and I didn’t move. "Let's just stay here," we agreed, but after the car doors closed the insanity of the crowd refocused on the two remaining culprits. Immediately the shouting and the pounding renewed and the car began to rock wildly.
As his last word faded the plant broke loose from the rocky soil and Bob was left dangerously balancing on a very small foothold—one only large enough to support a portion of one foot. A large wave washed over us when the rock crashed into the ocean a few hundred feet below and that plant broke loose—a wave of stark fear.
During a poker game on an upper floor of the old Capitol Hotel in Amarillo some badass guys thought Buzz was cheating them so they grabbed him by his ankles and hung him out the hotel window.
SEVEN: Before the Music – excerpts only
I remember hearing “Blue Skies” and “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral” by Bing Crosby. A black comedian described the latter song as the origin of “white scat singing!”
Several seconds of silence followed as I sat frozen with fear on my sleeping-porch bed. My paralysis that had blocked all senses but an acute focus on the sound and direction of those footsteps was suddenly interrupted by loud explosions one after another—the sound of my very own heartbeats.
Like a crossfade of movie scenes the final note of the Lubbock High School song dissolved into E. J. [Holub] grabbing my throat and hoisting me straight up into the air where I dangled while, as Jim has reported, “E. J. contemplated the amount of force required to stuff me down Jim’s throat.”
When the wrestler’s face turned deep blue I feared Ted might kill him.
But unlike some young men from the Texas Panhandle whose interest in rock ‘n roll and the business of music propelled them along the same westward route those Cadillac tail fins sailed, I instead headed east on the Mother Road to Oklahoma City and on to New York City where the emergence of rock ‘n roll music was helping foster the final breaths of Tin Pan Alley.
EIGHT: Meanwhile…I Was Thinkin’ – excerpts only
From there the journey of scientific discovery as described by Virginia Trimble has continued to now include the truth that “the circumference of the universe is nowhere and the center of it is everywhere.”
Suddenly a blinding flash of light that completely engulfed and shocked my senses broke the serenity of the eerie landscape. In reflex my foot lifted from the accelerator as I looked skyward for the source of a bolt of lightning I guessed had struck the car or at least nearby. But the nighttime sky was completely clear save the moon and the twinkling of the many stars.
Fifty-seven children? Perhaps Screamin’ Jay’s [Hawkins] “spell” worked just a little too well.
This Earth globe will be painted the usual Earth-globe colors to represent oceans, landmass, mountains, lowlands, plateaus, rivers, and lakes but the uniqueness of the Inverse Earth globe is that the continents and the oceans are inversed so that all landmasses become oceans and all oceans become landmasses.
NINE: Meanwhile…I Was Still Thinkin’ – excerpts only
Now that the Neanderthal genome has been sequenced and the worldwide DNA study has produced good information, scientists have determined that each living person has between 2% and 4% Neanderthal DNA in their own genome. After much thought and careful observation I’ve concluded that with certainty I can differentiate between those of us with only 2% and those of us with 4%.
When the sun punctured the horizon we walked back to the viewing area as warmth began radiating down upon the Arizona desert—warmth causing the fog to quickly evaporate as though God was staging the unveiling of His grand artistic sculpture to transform our previous disappointment into reverent awe.
At the final moment I stepped aside while making a beautiful pass to the shout of "Ole" from the gathering crowd. Bob removed his shirt for a like performance to another crowd pleasing, “Ole.” I'm not sure how many times our “graceful passes” were repeated, but we continued until the drunken fellow could no longer get to his feet. Maybe Ernest Hemmingway would have been amused.
“Don’t make a sudden move or you’re a dead man. Put your hands where I can see them.” I obeyed and the deputy carefully opened the driver’s side door. With his gun still pointed directly at me he ordered, “Slowly exit the car,” after which I was frisked and handcuffed.
“We need a taxi,” I pleaded and his reply was more frightening than what we had just experienced. “I hope we find one before it’s too late.” Wow! His great concern markedly increased our anxiety but to our good fortune an available cab quickly appeared to whisk us away amid more yelling and shouting from the hostel group that continued gathering.
If this plane ride was a 10 on a scale of 10, then compared to it the best amusement park ride I’ve experienced is about a 3.
More people gathered on the beach to observe a battle between human energy and strong ocean current. If I missed the outer point of the bay I would certainly be swept out to sea where only a boat or helicopter could save me.
This depressing death toll of 22,000 children per day is the equivalent of 42 Boeing 747 passenger planes crashing each day (747 capacity = 524 passengers). Imagine world outrage if 42 jumbo jets crashed in one day . . . or for two days in a row . . . or three days . . . or one week . . . or one month. But the death of the world’s children continues at this horrific rate 365 days each year and continues year after year although the numbers are slowly declining.
© 2014 Word Wrestler