Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Old Five and Dimers Like Me"
Barriers are like hedgerows. They are not impenetrable, but can be “sticky” to break down. As time passes the foliage gets thicker and taller and time can accentuate the isolation. From an earlier post, I mentioned barriers being within the music industry.
Dallas Texas actually has a higher annual average velocity of wind speed than Chicago. Add 95 percent humidity and thirty three ( 33 ) degrees, and you have the Webster’s definition of “discomfort”. The owner of the club owed the band back wages for two night’s performances. The fact the band was supposed to play that night was of little consequence when we found that the building was locked up. Phone calls were unanswered. Another club across the street, “We Three” did not cater to clientele of our musical genre, with no disrespect to their patrons. A couple of solid kicks with my Tony Lama’s (cowboy boots) and the entry to “our” club was achieved. We were freezing our butts off.
The closing was unannounced so people were showing up to hear the music we opened the front door and just let them in. The booze had all been hauled out. The owner had left to escape the people that he owed. The power and furnishings, which were mainly homemade pick nick tables, were there. The patrons left and went to the beer store and just brought their drinks in. We were going to play anyway. We did. Took up a collection and had a good time.
During one of the breaks, I went out to the street to get some fresh air. I notice this dude shyly peeking through the front door.
“Come on in. Gene has skipped town, but we’re playing anyway.”
“Naw, I can’t. I am late leaving for Nashville, Gene ain’t henauh?”
“Nope. Looks like he flew the coop. We were booked to play tonight. Hell, he already owes us money, but we’re gonna play for the folks anyway. They came out in this crap, so we figure to take up collection. Come on in”
“Sumbich owes me money too. I was trying to catch ‘im. I guess I’ll try agin some other time. I ‘preciate you invit’n me in though. “
The denim clad stranger turned and started to leave.
“Man, I sure like your new album.” He stopped and turned around. He stuck out his right hand, minus two fingers, with a lope sided grin.
“You don’t know how much I ‘preciate that. Thanks. If I had one of‘em with me I’d give it to ya”
“Hell, I already got one.”
He grinned and just nodded an affirmative gesture. He pulled his brown felt cowboy hat down tight and strolled on down the side walk.
Little did I know that thirty some odd years later, that would still be one of my favorite albums. “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” was Billy Joe Shaver’s initial album. It still sells today and a CD of it is outside in my pickup as I type this. Billy Joe Shaver has fought and overcome a lot of these barriers but many are left unconquered. Not unlike a lot of song writers, his music has been recorded, and been hits, by many and varied artist without being a giant “hit maker” himself.
I will not try to be a music critic or a biographer here, but to just try to bring to light a writer of songs that has taken, not the road less traveled, but probably one of the hardest roads. His writing is like soft cotton, but the presentation can be like washing you face with LAVA soap. A little bit abrasive but leaves one with a refreshing feeling.
If you have a few minutes Google “Billy Joe Shaver” and see what ya think. There are lots of articles and videos. It’s kinda like cheap wine, all of it you might not like, but maybe there is something that will be new and refreshing. Kinda like washing your face with LAVA soap.
Click on Lind to Go To "Billy Joe Shaver"