Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The passing of Guy Clark has stuck with me.

I have traveled, found comfort, cried, wished and wandered inside his songs.

He ain't going nowhere, he's just leaving.


Thanks Marty for the simple truth!

5 Things That Make A Song Great
Marty Dodson

If you asked 100 people what makes a song great, you’d probably get 100 different kinds of answers, but I believe most of those answers would fall into these categories:

1)It makes me feel something. Great songs make you feel the feeling that the writer(s) had in mind when they wrote it. In fact, they generally make you feel the feeling they felt in the room that day. If it makes you laugh, it probably made them laugh. If it makes you cry, they probably cried while writing it.

2)It communicates a message that is clear. Very few great songs are nonsensical. I would bet that more than 99% of songs that are considered great communicate clearly.

3)It calls me to action. Great songs make you want to laugh, cry, dance, sing along, or even purchase the song. Great songs get us moving in some way.

4)Great songs tend to stand the test of time. Generally, they are not about trendy topics or fads. Instead, they talk about love, life, loss, etc. Those things never go away.

5)They touch on a universal truth or emotion. “Yesterday” by the Beatles touches on the universal emotion of longing for better days from the past. “I Can’t Make You Love Me” touches the universal emotion of being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. “Dust In The Wind” deals with the universal question of “Why am I here?” and “What is the point of life?” Most great songs hit on big universal truths.

When you write, stay conscious of those 5 concepts and see if they improve your songs and get you closer to that “great” song that is inside of you!


My friend John has a new album ready to roll out. I can't wait!

Folks, send him $15 and get your signed copy via USPS.

Help a fellow songwriter.

You will not be disappointed!

I think I am in the million mile club.

Sitin' the last seat and smokein' Winston cigarettes and sippin' from my wrinkled brown paper bag guarding a pint of 100 proof Heaven Hill bourbon.

Just watchin' the world go by.

I Ride Greyhound 
Ellie Schoenfeld

because it’s like being
in a John Steinbeck novel.
Next best thing is the laundromat.
That’s where all people
who would be on the bus if they had the money
hang out. This is my crowd.
Tonight there are cleaning people appalled
at the stupidity of anyone
who would put powder detergent
into the clearly marked LIQUID ONLY slot.
The couple by the vending machine
are fondling each other.
You’d think the orange walls
and fluorescent lights
would dampen that energy
but it doesn’t seem to.
It’s a singles scene here on Saturday nights.
I confide to the fellow next to me
that I suspect I am being taken
in by the triple loader,
maybe it doesn’t hold any more
than the regular machines
but I’m paying an extra fifty cents.
I tell him this meaningfully
holding handfuls of underwear.
He claims the triple loader
gives a better wash.
I don't ask why,
just cruise over to the pop machine,
aware that my selection
may provide a subtle clue.
I choose Wild Berry,
head back to my clothes.

But Walt, the poem was really about Duds & Suds.

I have a million wash belt buckle..................

Same as riding the Greyhound except I had a white dress shirt on with grey trousers and a six pack of Gobel in a wrinkled bag.

Watchin' my everyday stuff spin round and round. Had to wear my good clothes cause my favorites were dirty.

The Legend of the Cedar Tree


A long time ago when the Cherokee people were new upon the earth, they thought that life would be much better if there was never any night. They beseeched the Ouga (Creator) that it might be day all the time and that there would be no darkness.

The Creator heard their voices and made the night cease and it was day all the time. Soon, the forest was thick with heavy growth. It became difficult to walk and to find the path. The people toiled in the gardens many long hours trying to keep the weeds pulled from among the corn and other food plants. It got hot, very hot, and continued that way day after long day. The people began to find it difficult to sleep and became short tempered and argued among themselves.

Not many days had passed before the people realized they had made a mistake and, once again, they beseeched the Creator. "Please," they said, "we have made a mistake in asking that it be day all the time. Now we think that it should be night all the time." The Creator paused at this new request and thought that perhaps the people may be right even though all things were created in twos... representing to us day and night, life and death, good and evil, times of plenty and those times of famine. The Creator loved the people and decided to make it night all the time as they had asked.

The day ceased and night fell upon the earth. Soon, the crops stopped growing and it became very cold. The people spent much of their time gathering wood for the fires. They could not see to hunt meat and with no crops growing it was not long before the people were cold, weak, and very hungry. Many of the people died.

Those that remained still living gathered once again to beseech the Creator. "Help us Creator," they cried! "We have made a terrible mistake. You had made the day and the night perfect, and as it should be, from the beginning. We ask that you forgive us and make the day and night as it was before."

Once again the Creator listened to the request of the people. The day and the night became, as the people had asked, as it had been in the beginning. Each day was divided between light and darkness. The weather became more pleasant, and the crops began to grow again. Game was plentiful and the hunting was good. The people had plenty to eat and there was not much sickness. The people treated each other with compassion and respect. It was good to be alive. The people thanked the Creator for their life and for the food they had to eat. The Creator accepted the gratitude of the people and was glad to see them smiling again. However, during the time of the long days of night, many of the people had died, and the Creator was sorry that they had perished because of the night. The Creator placed their spirits in a newly created tree. This tree was named a-tsi-na tlu-gv {ah-see-na loo-guh} cedar tree.

When you smell the aroma of the cedar tree or gaze upon it standing in the forest, remember that if you are Tsalagi {Cherokee}, you are looking upon your ancestor.

Tradition holds that the wood of the cedar tree holds powerful protective spirits for the Cherokee. Many carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags worn around the neck. It is also placed above the entrances to the house to protect against the entry of evil spirits. A traditional drum would be made from cedar wood.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Guy Clark has died. Such sad news. I posted on May 4th he was in a nursing home. My he rest in peace.

Last Wednesday I ran across this article about Verlon Thompson's new song Sidemans Dream.

No one feels Guys loss as much as Verlon.

Verlon's wife Demetria pays tribute to Guy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This is cool.

Sir Paul wishes Charlie Gracie happy 80th birthday and plays a bit of Fabulous.

Charlie's 1950s version of Fabulous.

Sir Paul's 1950s version of Fabulous.

Fun to look at early influence of superstars.


I agree with Steven King. If you don't hook me in the first couple of pages....

In a 2013 interview, consummate horror writer Stephen King stated that “an opening line should invite the reader to begin the story… it should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” And we agree wholeheartedly. After all, when’s the last time you forged ahead in a book whose opening failed to demand your attention?

King goes on to consider voice, established in the first sentence, and it’s ability to either capture or repel a reader completely: “For me, a good opening sentence really begins with voice. You hear people talk about “voice” a lot, when I think they really just mean ‘style.’ People come to books looking… for thevoice…An appealing voice achieves an intimate connection–a bond much stronger than the kind forged, intellectually, through crafted writing.”

Gawker recently released a list of what they believe are the 50 best first sentences of all time. While we’d never presume to undertake such a task, we are curious to know your thoughts on their choices. Can you really narrow literally billions of first sentences down to the top 50? Read the list below and let us know if any of the voices speak to you as you’ve never been spoken to before.

“The time has come.”
—Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”
—Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

“They shoot the white girl first.”
—Toni Morrison, Paradise

“Dear Anyone Who Finds This, Do not blame the drugs.”
—Lynda Barry, Cruddy

“An abandoned auto cout in the San Berdoo foothills; Buzz Meeks checked in with ninety-four thousand dollars, eighteen pounds of high-grade heroin, a 10-gauge pump, a .38 special, a .45 automatic, and a switchblade he’d bought off a pachuco at the border—right before he spotted the car parked across the line: Mickey Cohen goons in an LAPD unmarked, Tijuana cops standing by to bootsack his goodies, dump his body in the San Ysidro River.”
—James Ellroy, L.A. Confidential

“It was raining in Richmond on Friday, June 6.”
—Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem

“The man who had had the room before, after having slept the sleep of the just for hours on end, oblivious to the worries and unrest of the recent early morning, awoke when the day was well advanced and the sounds of the city completely invaded the air of the half-opened room.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Dialogue with the Mirror”

“Pale freckled eggs.”
—Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
—Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

The 50 Best First Sentences in Fiction

“Don’t look for dignity in public bathrooms.”
—Victor LaValle, Big Machine

“I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station.”
—William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

“The magician’s underwear has just been found in a cardboard suitcase floating in a stagnant pond on the outskirts of Miami.”
—Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction

“You better not never tell nobody but God.”
—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

“I’ve been cordially invited to join the visceral realists.”
—Roberto Bolańo, The Savage Detectives

“Chris Kraus, a 39-year-old experimental filmmaker and Sylvère Lotringer, a 56-year-old college professor from New York, have dinner with Dick _____, a friendly acquaintance of Sylvère’s, at a sushi bar in Pasadena.”
—Chris Kraus, I Love Dick

“See the child.”
—Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”
—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when he describes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartars does continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiosity than he shows any other messenger or explorer of his.”
—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The 50 Best First Sentences in Fiction

“He speaks in your voice, American, and there’s a shine in his eyes that’s halfway hopeful.”
—Don DeLillo, Underworld

“On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide—it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills—the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.”
—Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

“I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said, I don’t think you’re old.”
—Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

“A screaming comes across the sky.”
—Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

“Some real things have happened lately.”
—Joan Didion, The Last Thing He Wanted

“Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon, with an 8-ball of coke in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the back seat.”
—Dennis Lehane, “Until Gwen”

“We wanted more.”
—Justin Torres, We the Animals

“An ice storm, following seven days of snow; the vast fields and drifts of snow turning to sheets of glazed ice that shine and shimmer blue in the moonlight, as if the color is being fabricated not by the bending and absorption of light but by some chemical reaction within the glossy ice; as if the source of all blueness lies somewhere up here in the north—the core of it beneath one of these frozen fields; as if blue is a thing that emerges, in some parts of the world, from the soil itself, after the sun goes down.”
—Rick Bass, “The Hermit’s Story”

“The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida.”
—Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

“Since it’s Sunday and it’s stopped raining, I think I’ll take a bouquet of roses to my grave.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Someone Has Been Disarranging These Roses”

The 50 Best First Sentences in Fiction

“When the blind man arrived in the city, he claimed that he had travelled across a desert of living sand.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, A Brief History of the Dead

“No one saw him disembark in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe sinking into the sacred mud, but within a few days no one was unaware that the silent man came from the South and that his home was one of the infinite villages upstream, on the violent mountainside, where the Zend tongue is not contaminated with Greek and where leprosy is infrequent.”
—Jorge Luis Borges, The Circular Ruins

“In the town there were two mutes, and they were always together.”
—Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

“Her father would say years later that she had dreamed that part of it, that she had never gone out through the kitchen window at two or three in the morning to visit the birds.”
—Edward P. Jones, “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons”

“A cradle won’t hold my baby.”
—Daniel Woodrell, “Uncle”

“My first and favorite task of the day is slaving over the Iliana Evermore Fairy Castle.”
—George Saunders, “Downtrodden Mary’s Failed Campaign of Terror.”

“One September evening when Walter Lasher returned from the city after a hard day’s work and was walking to his car in the station parking lot, a man stepped out from between two cars, walked up to him, and slapped him hard in the face.”
—Stephen Millhauser, “The Slap”

“A woman has written yet another story that is not interesting, though it has a hurricane in it, and a hurricane usually promises to be interesting.”
—Lydia Davis, “The Center of the Story”

“Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo...”
—James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The 50 Best First Sentences in Fiction

“I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.”
—Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

“It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.”
—Paul Auster, City of Glass

“Not everybody knows how I killed old Phillip Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but first it is better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because it was he who first knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle-pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar.”
—Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman

“Unlike the typical bluesy earthy folksy denim-overalls noble-in-the-face-of-cracker-racism aw shucks Pulitzer-Prize-winning protagonist mojo magic black man, I am not the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son.”
—Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle

“Nobody died that year.”
—Renata Adler, Speedboat

“‘You are full of nightmares,’ Harriet tells me.”
—James Baldwin, “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon”

“The cage was finished.”
—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon”

“Here is a weird one for you.”
—David Foster Wallace, “Signifying Nothing”


I read a couple books every week.
Love this poem.

Marching Through a Novel
John Updike

Each morning my characters
greet me with misty faces
willing, though chilled, to muster
for another day’s progress
through dazzling quicksand,
the march of blank paper.
With instant obedience
they change clothes and mannerisms,
drop a speech impediment,
develop a motive backwards
to suit the deed’s done.
They extend skeletal arms
for the handcuffs of contrivance,
slog through docilely
maneuvers of coincidence,
look toward me hopefully,
their general and quartermaster,
for a clearer face, a bigger heart.
I do what l can for them,
but it is not enough.
Forward is my order,
though their bandages unravel
and some have no backbones
and some turn traitor
like heads with two faces
and some fall forgotten
in the trench work of loose threads,
poor puffs of cartoon flak.
Forward. Believe me, I love them
though I march them to finish them off.


Don't think I could process so much. Getting dizzy thinking about it.

Octavia Butler on how she comes up with ideas.

 "I generally have four or five books open around the house—I live alone; I can do this—and they are not books on the same subject. They don’t relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I’ll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another. "

Not really into science fiction but, I am going to read a few of hers. Sounds like an interesting author.


More than the locks have changed
Walt Sample            

More than the locks have changed
More than the locks have changed

‘hundred-watt midnight shades
Silhouettes like razor blades
Bosch & Lomb crystal clear
I’m not the only one who holds you dear

More than the locks have changed
Since you keep dirty dancin’
in the public domain

Turnstile Oak Street glimpses
Poison love with Draino quickness
It’s over red tides turnin’
Bridge of trust is sunk broke and burnin’

More than the locks have changed
Since you keep dirty dancin’
in the public domain

Beauty parlor super star
Your cheatin’ lights up the dark
You give mud a bad name
I can’t believe you like playin’ this shame full game

More than the locks have changed
Since you keep dirty dancin’
in the public domain

More than the locks have changed
More than the locks have changed

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Guy Clark is in a nursing home.

A must read about Guy and Townes.


Water gets way too fast at the end of your stream. More funerals than parties.

Guy sings To Live Is To Fly. One of Townes classics.


    Patrick Phillips

After the biopsy,
after the bonescan,
after the consult and the crying,

for a few hours no one could find them,
not even my sister,
because it turns out

they’d gone to the movies.
Something tragic was playing,
something epic,

and so they went to the comedy
with their popcorn
and their cokes—

the old wife whispering everything twice,
the old husband
cupping a palm to his ear,

as the late sun lit up an orchard
behind the strip mall,
and they sat in the dark holding hands.


Take your songwriting way out on the limb.

Branch out; do something crazy.

Be prepared to fall.

Be prepared to succeed.


Both results are fun.

Fun with animal pictures.
Who needs TV?

I'm fine! Quit watching me. 

Here comes Mom. Remember it's our little secret.
She doesn't have to know everything.

We won't come home late again, Mom. We didn't know boys would be there.



Buck Ram was a great songwriter.