What's Up

 

First Pals

 

The handsome guy to my left in the pic to your right I have known longer than I can remember, and I mean ... really. We were born but a few months apart and spent our wee years living right across the street from one another. His name is Willie Bryant, and when I hark back as far as I can go, Willie is there: been there since the crib. He is literally the first pal I ever had in this world. As he has put it, "Man - we were embryos together."

 

About the time we started school we moved apart, but our families remained friends and visited back and forth. On one of those visits, age 12 maybe, Willie was packin' an e-lectric guitar. E-lectric, I say. Packin' and pickin'. Wow. I was way impressed, and inspired to learn my way around one of those things myself. And I did, more or less, but Willie came to be one of the quintessential California honky-tonkers, my favorite kind, of course. He has spent his whole life involved in bona-fide C&W music and not only is he second to none in the field, he is flat out first in my book. In case you have not seen some of the worthy contenders, check it out here.

 


 

New Pals

 

I spent a fine evening with a fine songman recently, a So-Cal fella by way of Virginia, and by name, Mike Stinson. We have a mutual pal in Charlie McGovern, a mighty good recording engineer from the ol' hometown, Salinas, CA. Those two have produced a pair of hot CDs, one called "Jack Of All Heartaches", the other "Last Fool At The Bar". I've been listening to, and singing Mike's tunes for some while now, but it's good to actually get to know the cat.

 

We all got together at a stu-with-a-view in beautiful downtown Montara, CA, population 3655, for a night of palsy song-swapping and I thought I'd post this clickable pic of the artists at work. It was taken by Pete Rosenzweig, man of many skills, one of which is an ability to organize an egg-scramble at 3 AM.

 

Anyway, Mike is, bleeve me, a gooood songwriter primarily from the country-rock school, which is not to say the Country-Rock Primary School. Nay. This guy is post-grad all the way. You can, and I certainly recommend that you do, check him out at mikestinson.net. You are quite welcome.

 


 

Old Pals

 

Folks, I love the Internet. The fella in this first pic, circa 1962, is Jim Foster, ol' pal #1 from my high school days. We lost track of each other for some 30-plus years, but recently were "found" via the www. Cool as he is - and you can see that he is way cool - it is that '55, 2-door post 210 Chevy that was the true star in those days. For years we practically lived in that car and we weren't even homeless. Ah, 25 cent gas... My ride was this Model A Ford, pictured here on the only snowy day I've ever known in Salinas, CA.

 

Our life as Main Street Guys was nigh exactly like the one depicted by Modesto's George Lucas in his "American Graffiti" film, right down to the Mel's Valley In The Sky drive-in. To spare you some 3,000 words, I say just give 'em all the basic Click & Grin maneuver for a good look.

 

                                                                                                     

 

 


 

Now, I consider the '55 Chevy to be THE car of the 20th century, so in honor of Jim's machine and all others like it (in particular, our ol' pal Jimmy Hallum's), here are the lyrics to a tune of mine.

 

FIRST PLACE IN THE RACE

Larry Hosford

1984 On Fire Music

 

He used to drive a fifty-five Chevy back in school,

Hed build it up and hed tear it down when he wasnt shootin pool,

He swore he could do a hundred in reverse,

He loved to race, and the thrill of being first.

 

He loved to speed, he did indeed, it made him feel alive,

Where you and med take a little walk, hed take a little drive,

Go find a Ford to challenge and deface,

He loved being first place in the race.

 

First place in the race, a winner at the wheel,

First place in the race, pulling away,

First place in the race, a leader in his field,

I wonder what hes doing today?

 

His car was worn, and beat and torn, but he didnt give a damn,

Where you and med buy wilder wheels hed buy a wilder cam,

Go wind it past some poor old beat up Merc,

He loved to race and the thrill of being first.

 

He was the first to get a Hurst to better shift his gears,

And to better burn his gasoline he added something weird,

I think it came from a Nike missile base,

He loved being first place in the race.

 

First place in the race, a winner at the wheel,

First place in the race, pulling away,

First place in the race, a leader in his field,

I wonder what hes doing today?

 

I bet hes raising greyhounds, I bet hes flying jets,

Or maybe hes a racer yet, still picking on Corvettes,

I hope he found his proper time and place,

He loved being first place in the race.

 

First place in the race, a winner at the wheel,

First place in the race, pulling away,

First place in the race, a leader in his field,

I wonder what hes doing today?

 


 

Off The Road Again

 

I am back from a two-part run which carried me to Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Here are some pertinent pix for you to admire. As usual, you can click 'em up for a better look.

 

This friendly fella holding me up straight is Texas musician Rex "Wrecks" Bell (see art below). A fine performer in his own right, Wrecks worked for years with Lightning Hopkins and Townes Van Zandt, and plays the title role in Townes' tune "Rex's Blues". He these days runs The Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston, and I popped in to sing a few one cheery night. Meeting people like Wrecks is one reason guys like me consider themselves well-paid.

 

I wentLarry Monroe.jpg (124526 bytes) to Austin next and spent a pleasurable hour or two on the air talking music with DJ Larry Monroe, a long time institution at KUT radio there. When I went to Nashville a short while afterwards, he also showed up there with the lovely and talented, as they say, Josie Kuhn, for a get together with some local hot licksters at a place called The Radio Cafe.

 

That function was arranged by multi-fabled Skip Litz, the RC sound man. The idea was to convene with some cyber-palsRuester.jpg (35380 bytes) that I had never met in the flesh, such as this one, Danny "Ruester" Rowland. Ruester, an excellent guitarist, has worked with Townes and with Guy Clark as well, and I have come to know him fairly well via the Internet. His long list of credentials includes - indeed, is to me capped by - a stint with one of my all time favorite country boys, Billy Edd Wheeler.

 

The Ruestermon drove to Music City from Murray, Kentucky for this occasion and we wound up onstage picking with the delightful Sergio Webb, who was just in from a European tour with Gail Davies. Here's a pic to prove it.  Sergio and I, as it turned out, have some mutual acquaintances in this big, wide world, and we spent a goodly portion of the night congratulating ourselves on the company we keep.

 

The born-too-late flower child over there is Todd Snider, yet another pal who came by to brighten up the wingding. Todd, who I had met a few times back in California, is one of the more sterling members of the Nashville scene, and his busy presence at the RC is an indication of just how serendipitous this occasion was. Lisa Carver, Annie Mosher, Thomm Jutz, and many other music makers were on hand to fill all ears with the good stuff, and y'know, I must say I made more friends in Nashville on this particular occasion than I did in a year and a half of actually living there. For my Charlotte and me, thanks to one and all who helped make our day. 

 


 

Who Is This Guy?

 

I will happily fork over 15 cents: no, double that - 30 cents - I will happily fork over 30 cents to the first astute sojourner here as can correctly identify the subject of this amazing piece of art to the left.

 

I will furthermore award, for I am not penurious, an additional like sum: that's another 30 cents, folks - 60 big Li'l Abes - to that cyber-traveler as can name the name of the artist. Hah!  Hint: it is, impressively enough, a first effort.

 


 

I am obliged (and happy) to announce that Ellen Skagerberg, aka Harriet The Spy, has cracked the code. She correctly identified the amazing piece of art as being a portrait of Wrecks Bell, by Townes Van Zandt's #2 son, Will.  It's all a matter of genetic research. If you don't know who Wrecks is, I am not impressed. Try Google. Wise up.

 


 

George Harrison

 

Beatles Unlimited, the official Dutch Fan Club, has linked me up at http://utopia.knoware.nl/users/beatlunl/ , this in connection with the recordings George Harrison did with me in 1975. I can be found in the Discography of artists with Beatles connections section. They have also linked up to a short piece I have written about the occasion, called "Famous Night".  If you'd like to read it, it's been published at Sisyphus Tracks, Mike Westerfield's double-cool web radio site in Tennessee. Just click this: http://sisyphustracks.com/lorenzo_famousnight.htm.

 


 

The E-Types

 

Speaking of Beatles, in my tyro picker days I was associated with a California garage/British invasion band called The E-Types, often referred to as the Salinas Beatles. We had all grown up neighbors and school pals, and for some 3 years they were extremely popular out here. I wrote several songs for the group, and eventually wound up onstage as the bass man. I came across this item, circa 1967, just recently: 'bout the only known photo of the E-Types with Larry Hosford inclusive. This was near the end of the run for this band, so what appears to be a sinking ship just behind us is symbolically apropos. Give it a click.

 

 

Larry Hosford, Reggie Shaffer, Jody Wence, Don Shephard, Bob Wence

 

For more info about the E-Types, take a look-see here at allmusic.com and you can easily search them up. Me too, for that matter. Or even easier, click here to read an interview I did about this band for Lance Monthly, a site dedicated to great "garage bands" everywhere. 

 


 

 Sorry to say that Don Shephard has shuffled off this mortal coil. E-type Lead guitarist, musical director, and life long friend, Don died during the past Thanksgiving holiday in San Diego, California while awaiting a liver transplant. Cause of death was listed as Hepatitis C, a disease which had plagued him since the mid-1960's.

 

Don was the musical light in the E-Types, and when he fell victim to hepatitis it pretty much marked the beginning of the end for the group. Unfortunately saddled with a contemporarily insalubrious environment to which he fell victim, Don was nonetheless an extremely humorous and happy cat. A big ol' shy guy in public, he was a leader "off the court," and we all loved him very much - I don't know anyone who didn't.

 

Rest In Peace, foelix infortunatus.

 


    

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