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The Carriage Driver 4 - Peter Tork

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the-carriage-driver-4-peter-tork

“Knee high air guitar is only going to get you so far. I was a day dream believer and a home coming queen. We were The Monkees and people said we monkeed around.” The young man in the back of the carriage leaned back.

With a slight movement of the reins Griffin signaled Nuelle to stop. He climbed down and walked to her. Placing his hands on her cheeks, he said, “You are going to have to help me with this. I recognize the words are English, but I have no idea what this young man is saying.” Nuelle twitched her head and Griffin climbed back into the carriage.

Still leaning against the backrest he began to talk again. “As things go, I was famous for about a minute. I fell into a job with some other guys; we played musicians on a television show. Just the day before we were out of work actors. Though we had a following, it was the sixties, and there were musical rock stars such as the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They defined the big leagues.”

The young man made himself comfortable. He watched as the surroundings changed to otherworldly images. “I held many jobs after that. Teaching was very rewarding, not glamorous but rewarding. Of course one of the subjects was music. With lots of practice my skills became adequate. Fame could not shield me from the fact that many students became far better musicians than I had hoped to be.”

He sat transfixed by his surroundings. Notes swirled down staff lines, and notes escaped clef symbols, as if garaged, at the starting line for a musical marathon. Notes raced down their lines, they turned into colorful balloons that drifted upward then became evaporating droplets once played, sending puffs of misty glitter into the universe. “Teaching teenagers with language that included words like machine head and solfeggio could be entertaining. Half the boys wanted to be drummers, the other half wanted to play bass guitar. Half the girls wanted to be lead singer in a band, the other half wanted to date drummers.” Pastel-paisley patterns flickered by.

“Over the years I thought that my music was prophetic with titles like Tear the top right off my head, Merry Go Round, and I’m a Believer. I convinced myself over and over again that the lyrics from I’m a Believer could come true. Love is a mystery. It’s the exploration of the mystery that makes life sweet. Fame intensives the human condition. Suffering alone in the human condition in private is tough enough; fumbling along in public is a hell, often referred to as art.”

The carriage guided by Nuelle was now following a rolling road paved as staff lines. Octaves and ornaments jumped in the air as each hoof taped the psychedelic pavers.

Peter leaned forward, “There was money, and drugs and booze. Before my moments of fame, I played music on the streets of the Village for coins. After the fame, for a time, I played on the streets for coins. I never strayed far from the music. I formed a small band we called it Shoe Suede Blues, of course we played the blues. There were small clubs and small theaters, small engagements where I connected to people. They seemed to forgive me for the fame and we shared our blues.”

Nuelle turned down Sostenuto Pedal Lane, crowds of applauding, energetic fans appeared and returned to vapor as Nuelle passed. Peter took a deep breath and sighed. The carriage slipped off the staff lines as Nuelle stopped in front of a club named Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Griffin climbed down and went to Nuelle. He reached into his jacket pocket and produced an apple. Nuelle and Griffin shared pieces of apple.

Peter stood; Griffin walked over and extended his hand. “This is the place?” Peter asked.

“You will find your elusive contentment here,” Griffin offered as Peter took his hand and stepped down.

Peter walked towards the doors as Griffin climbed back into the carriage. The double doors swung open Jimmy Griffin, a member of Bread walked though as part of the greeting party, he was followed by Dave Brown, of Santana fame, he was carrying a Fender Mustang guitar. Gram Parson a member of The Byrds stood in the doorway. On a ladder changing the marquee was Robert Popwell from The Young Rascals. The marquee read, “Appearing here for the first time, Peter Tork.”

the-carriage-driver-4-peter-tork

A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You - The Monkees.

The Monkees - (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone

The Last Train to Clarksville

© 2019 mckbirdbks

Comments

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 02, 2019:

Hello John - Thanks, I am not posting much these days. I have a notebook filled with one or two lines of an idea, just have not been able to sit and put something together.

The Monkees, if I recall correctly, many months out sold The Beatles with their records. That amazed me.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on May 02, 2019:

I am late reading this Mike, sorry. I was a true Monkees fan and admit it. I too remembered Mickey Dolenz from his early part as Corky in Circus Boy. I never heard of Peter Tork's passing, so I am glad I read this. Excellent writing as always.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 03, 2019:

Hello Genna - The Monkees to my perception always seemed innocent. Or maybe represented themselves that way. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones deemed more mature, yet all those guys were roughly the same age. The Monkees appealed to a broader spectrum, even youngsters loved them.

All the reservations are booked. No time limit, you all take your time.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on March 03, 2019:

Such a joy to read your work again, Mike! This one made my day. The Monkees were such fun! RIP, dear Peter. And I have to agree with Mar and Shauna about putting in my reservation. "I'll meet you at the station." ;-)

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Hello Patty - I vaguely remember Circus Boy and while researching this, I found the Monkees were actors first musicians after. Their music was playful and the show was whimsical. They were more loved than my memory recalls. The old 45's and LP's don't get much play anymore, but still sorry your collection went missing.

Thank you for stopping by to take a look at my latest contribution to this series.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 02, 2019:

It is more eerie every day as musicians I saw come into popularity in my youth pass away. I used to have all of the Monkees' recordings and somehow during one time I moved to a new place, they disappeared. "Last Train to Clarksville" was my favorite.

Micky Dolenz was my favorite Monkee, because I saw him star as Corky in "Circus Boy" on TV and reruns. I can see the Carriage one day taking him to the circus where many musicians perform.

Thanks for this tribute to Peter.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Hello mar and Shauna - No hurry on this particular trip. The members of the band will wait to play their tunes.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Hello Peg - Yes, Peg, it could be true none of us would mind finding a place called Pleasant Valley Sunday. Thanks for the tip, as to how a tribute to Peter Tork would fit into The Carriage Driver series.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 02, 2019:

I agree with Mar. I'd like to put in my reservation with Griffin and Nuelle. Destination: Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on March 02, 2019:

This is truly poetic, "Notes raced down their lines, they turned into colorful balloons that drifted upward then became evaporating droplets once played, sending puffs of misty glitter into the universe." Oh my, a place called "Pleasant Valley Sunday." How cool. Wonderful to find this wonderful tribute here today. Smiling.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Hi Bill - The research on this showed me they were much more popular than I thought. The band was a packaged marketing strategy that was successful. You are right, I, also am a believer. Thanks

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 02, 2019:

I thought they were a joke when the band first formed. Then I started enjoying their music...then I really liked their tv show....and now I'm a believer!!!! RIP Peter! And welcome back, Mike! You've been missed.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Good morning mar. It was hinted to me that Peter Tork would fit the ‘terms’ of the contract of Griffin and Nuelle. I guess I did not realize just how much they were loved. You ladies were star struck. Seems Davy Jones caught many a sideway glance and shy smiles.

It took some research to find Sostenuto Pedal Lane. You certainly know the way because of your musical proclivity. I found Peter Tork’s history after his fame as interesting as his time with the band.

Of the portfolio of The Monkees’ work, ‘I’m Not Your Steppin Stone’ stands out.

Happy weekend to you. Here it is raining which makes me lazy – like I needed an excuse. hugs

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 02, 2019:

Hello Verlie – Good to know that the Monkees were popular in Canada. If memory serves Canada was very popular with many young American males around this time in history.

Well, I certainly should not complain about day after day of rain, when others have snow and freezing temperatures. Probably good weather for writing.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on March 02, 2019:

Good morning, Mike,

What a treat to see this installment of The Carriage Driver series.

I join my Hub Sistas in admitting my childhood love of The Monkees - yes, especially Davy Jones (just like Marcia in The Brady Bunch!!) I would have had difficulty washing my hand as well, Sha - what a memory of a lifetime!

"When" the time comes, I hope to take my own carriage ride with Griffin and Nuelle down Sostenuto Pedal Lane to get to Pleasant Valley Sunday. Now I'm off to check out Peter Tork's Shoe Suede Blues work - thanks for this informative and reminiscent story.

LOVE the song choices...especially "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'm Not Your Steppin; Stone" ... my hairbrush microphone got a work out on that one for sure ... :)

Happy weekend, Mike! Thanks for the memories. Hugs, mar

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on March 01, 2019:

Oh yeah, they made it into the Canadian scene big time. Just listening now, I am surprised how many songs I knew. Thanks for this Mike.

Our winter is hanging on, there's snow in the forecast for Sunday, and temperatures below freezing for weeks now, and more to come. I sure hope this is not the new normal. Hope you're making it through the rainy season...

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 01, 2019:

Hello Verlie - Thanks. I have no idea if The Monkees made it onto the Canadian scene. They must have, the marketing was massive. Davy Jones seemed to be the most loved. I am hoping you are seeing some signs of spring. Southern California has seen weeks of rain. Yes, a nostalgic tribute, my forte.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 01, 2019:

Hello Paula – It seems a common thread we share is the culture of our collective past. I did not know any of the details of this group until I put this piece together. I do remember what and where I was during the course of their short Monkees career. This is a very short piece of writing. It took a couple of days to put together rather than the couple of hours or so I usually take. Likewise I hope you are well.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 01, 2019:

Hello Sha – The youth of America fell in love with the Monkees. One interviewer I watched said at one point The Monkees out sold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined. No way for me to check that information, but it is quite a statement none the less. Hopefully you have washed your hand y now – oh, my humor. And no I had no idea that Mike Nesbith’d mother invented wite out. That is a cash flow stream that is pretty much gone.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on March 01, 2019:

Oh gosh, sweet nostalgic tribute, so very poetic. The last train to Clarksville indeed!

Suzie from Carson City on March 01, 2019:

Mike....The Monkees...! Huge blast from the past. Another sad occasion of bidding Farewell to another old friend. Peter and his group sang to us when we were much younger. It's only fair that you share this finale with your readers...Thank you, Mike.

This wonderful series of yours, never ceases to stir memories galore.

Hope you are well, dear friend. Peace. Paula

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 01, 2019:

I was so dramatic at that age (and still am, I guess). I was in love with Davy Jones (what little girl wasn't?). I actually touched him! I walked home (the station wasn't far from our house and it was safe for little girls to walk several blocks in those days) crying, clutching my right hand, sobbing "I'll never wash this hand again!" All my mom could say was, "Shauna Lynn, you're so dramatic!"

By the way, did you know Mike Nesbith's mother invented Wite Out?

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 01, 2019:

Hello Sha - How fun to have seen the Monkees and it was at the perfect age. Seems rock was still in an innocent age when the Monkees were at the height of their popularity. I listened to a couple of Peter Tork's selections of blues. You may enjoy that also.

The carriage driver has been on the road a long time now. It was tough to imbue this story with the proper creative flare.

I appreciate your visit and fine comment.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 01, 2019:

Wow, Mike. I didn't know Peter Tork died! I saw the Monkees (in Philly) when they guested on a local TV show when I was in 6th grade. The emcee of the show was my neighbor, so I had free tickets and took one of my classmates. The nuns allowed us to leave school early as long as we wore our uniforms to the show. Sheesh!

I didn't know Peter Tork formed a blues band. Love the name - very creative.

Another wonderful carriage installation, Mike. It's sad that it always takes a death for the carriage to move forward. But on the other hand, you do a wonderful job of immortalizing Griffins passengers.