Bonus Track and Sample in Honor of Monterey Pop Festival Anniversary

Hi, everyone.  On this day in 1967, the three-day Monterey Pop Festival kicked off in that county’s fairgrounds.  One of the short pieces in It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories, “Down on the Corner of Love,” has a crucial scene that takes place there.  Here is a snippet, along with a bonus track of Janis Joplin doing “Ball and Chain” at the event.  Enjoy!

I had never seen so many beautiful people in one place. The Monterey Fair Grounds was full of young people, dressed in colorful clothes, sharing food, drink and yes, if one were so inclined, drugs … all waiting to hear the music over the next few days. I was glad that we had Jo’s VW bus to sleep in; others were sleeping on the ground. I was never a good camper, even as a kid, so having shelter and actual mattresses would make a huge difference.

The weather was beautiful; just a little cool when the sun went down. We were comfortable with our shawls and wraps.

And the music! There were groups I knew, like the Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin’s band, from home. But there were people from all over on that stage: The Who, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix. They were all mind-blowing.

After the show on the first day, Jo and I went back to the camper and slept. The next morning, we were ready for more.

I danced and danced, with anyone and everyone around me. I flirted, I laughed … I don’t think I’d ever had a better time than I did that day. Joe MacDonald even came over and danced with me, and told me he thought I looked very pretty in my embroidered blouse and painted jeans.


Sample Saturday: Untitled WIP, with Bonus Track

Hi, everyone. As you may recall, I realized that It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories needed to be taken apart and used differently.  The result of this is that I’ve started two new novels, neither of them titled as of yet.  They feature two of Amos Boudreaux’s (Bayou Fire) brothers, Riley and Harmon.  Here’s a little bit of Riley, with a bonus track so you can hear what they were singing.  As always with works in progress, the final version may be somewhat different. Enjoy!

Laurie got to the café late one day; her car wouldn’t start and she took the bus across town. She started to apologize to Miss Julie, who merely waved her off.

“Girl, sometimes those things happen. Now, take a minute to calm yourself and listen to the music; I’ve got the tables covered.”

Indeed, there was music. Amos was sitting with another man and both of them were playing guitar. The second man had dark hair and blue eyes; there was a distinct family resemblance between the two. He was singing an old Dorsey Burnette song about how he fell in love in Texas, and the two … brothers, Laurie supposed … were grinning from ear to ear and clearly enjoying themselves. After the song was over, Laurie joined the customer and staff in their applause.

And then a penny dropped for her.

As Amos was putting away his guitar, she approached him.

“I’ll get to work in just a second, I promise. But I need to ask you something. You were the singer for Big Muddy back in the day, weren’t you?”

“Guilty as charged,” he smiled. “That was a long time ago.”

“I loved your band. I’m sure I still have a tape somewhere.”

“Amos,” the other man interrupted, “are you going to introduce me to this lovely lady?”

“Laurie, this is my brother Riley. Well-known gad-about and rolling stone, trifling man, and fatal charmer. Watch yourself.”

Riley winked at Laurie. “He always says the nicest things about me.”

I chose the Roger Miller cover of “Ain’t That Fine” to share with you all today, because I like the guitar parts.


Blogging from A to Z: Reflections on the 2018 Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]Technically, this reflection post is not supposed to happen until tomorrow.  However, I have the time and inclination to do it today … and I don’t think anyone will condemn me.

This was my second year participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Last year, I did it on a whim — and with no real plan.  I wound up doing some general posts and a healthy dose of Facts from My Fiction.  This year, I had a plan:  The Music of David Bowie.  I presented 26 Bowie songs (okay, 25 … and one by Angie Bowie because there was no X song), trivia, and album information.  I not only shared the hits, but also some deep cuts with which many readers were unfamiliar but still enjoyed.

funny-pictures-exhausted-cat-alphabetized-cdsEngagement was down 30 percent this year during the challenge.  Frankly, I don’t know quite why that is.  People were perhaps less interested in my theme, or maybe (as was the case for me) found having to register their post on one list and go to one or more other lists to find posts to visit time-consuming and a little bothersome.  Personally, I preferred putting the post link in a comments list where I could readily find other blogs and see what the subject was rather than trying to guess it on the daily letter list or match it up with the master theme reveal list to see whether it was interesting to me.  So, I also commented on fewer blogs than I did in the past.  Still, I did find some interesting new blogs to follow.

Astute observers of this year’s challenge will notice that I didn’t include any of the songs from Bowie’s brilliant final album, Blackstar.  Honestly, I’m still not ready.  I’ve been a fan since I was 12 years old, and that was a long time ago.  Losing David Bowie was, for me, like losing a family member … and Blackstar (particularly “Lazarus”) is an album that shows us Bowie knew his time was short and that he wanted to give us one last gift of music.

From the beginning of this year’s challenge, I knew what song and performance I would use to bring the whole thing full circle at the end.  David Bowie’s first major hit was “Space Oddity,” in 1969.  The song influenced later hits “Ashes to Ashes” (from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)) and “Hallo Spaceboy” (from 1. Outside).  It was this song that Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! sang after Bowie’s passing, in the rotunda of Art Gallery of Ontario where I saw the David Bowie Is … exhibit in 2013.  There could be no more fitting send-off.

If you missed any of this year’s A to Z Challenge posts, you will find them at this link.  Thank you, as always, for reading.




Rockabilly Road Trip Redux – Part 2

Narvel Felts (Photo by author)

Hi, everyone.  I promised I’d write a bit more about my adventures during Viva Las Vegas 21, so here we are!


The main reason I attended this event was to see some of the old stars of Sun Records, some of whom are mentioned in It Happened in Memphis and Other Stories, my current work in progress.  I wanted to see these folks in action while I still could.  Remember, I’m all about the primary source research!

To that end, my main focus was on the Sun Records Showcase and Saturday’s performance by Jerry Lee Lewis during the car show.  I was particularly excited to see Narvel Felts.

I have to tell you, I had no idea I would have so much fun.  Along with the aforementioned two gentlemen, I saw Carl Mann, Alton & Jimmy, Johnny Powers (the only person to record for both Sun and Motown), Rudy “Tutti” Grayzell, and drummers W.S. “Fluke” Holland (who played for the Million Dollar Quartet and many others) and Jimmy Van Eaton.  My only regret was that I was just too damn tired to stay up any later for the legendary Pacers, who have been recording together for more than 60 years.

Carl Mann (seated) (Photo by author)

One of the most fun things about this event was meeting people from all over the world.  I chatted with a 67-year-old lady from Edmonton, Alberta, who said she’d been waiting her whole life to see Carl Mann perform.  She was recently diagnosed with cancer, and decided she was going to make that dream come true, no matter how much it cost, and so she was there at VLV for the Sun Records Showcase.  Isn’t that amazing?


In that lady’s honor, here is a bonus track for you: Carl Mann’s performance of his big hit, “Mona Lisa,” from VLV17.  Enjoy!