I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.
Can ye’ sang the blues, have ye’ paid ye’ dues, can ye’ bend them guitar strangs . . .?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~David Allan Coe
I Remember The Year
like it was last Friday. I do not write this remembering of (that) one memory as a fluke or some mysterious hidden powers that lie beyond our universe, I guess it all comes down to watching one pitiful, sorrowful, hungry young singer in Nashville who gave it all and his amateur stylings brought me to tears.
I do not know his name although the emcee said it very clearly over the club P.A., maybe it was Jim or Larry, I do not know. His name didn’t matter. Neither did his tunes not because of his lack of talent, but the origin of them. This was 1985, Post-Beatles, Pro-John Denver. Lyrics were something of honor then. I cannot tell you why most of them faded away.
The Nashville Singer was braver than any soldier on the battlefield. Truth be told, when I heard him, I wasn’t in any club, but an open air establishment where people walking in and around the main part of Nashville—talking, looking at the various artists’ vendors and this establishment that I first thought was a bar, but found out that although alcohol was sold there, the main draw was the Nashville Singer, and oh what a difference that he made in my life.
To Pay Him Due Diligence
as well as to my wife, Pam, who was my wife in 1985 as she still is in 2019, thank God, and in 1985 our only daughter, Angie was with us and we were on vacation—a week from my work in a weekly newspaper and I wanted to do, eat, and see everything. I was much younger then.
What an humble atmosphere was inside of this club-like meeting place. People could sit inside or outside, drink beer or mixed drinks, and just listen to the various Non-Famous Celebrities who were visibly-starving for lack of big money for being “stars” and their names a household word. I’m sure that if the guy whom I called the Nashville Singer stuck with it in 1985, he went on for greener pastures in the music business—due to the fact that this place was very near to 16th Avenue, where the music publishing businesses are located, and where most of the Nashville celebrities—Ernest Tubb; Faron Young; Porter Wagoner and Patsy Cline, to name a few, lived and worked.
The Nashville Singer stood tall on the wooden stage. He was also very humble and grateful as he walked to the wooden stool where he sat strumming his guitar that sounded so good that I almost cried and truth be told: when I drank beer, crying was the furthest thing from my mind. But at the time of stopping by to hear Nashville Singer, I had only drank two “cold ones” while we walked along the sidewalk. I paid five-dollars for my two beers. Plus tax. In 2019, if I were still into alcohol consumption, five-dollars might get me some low-grade beer that is brewed for celebration, not drinking for people who are down on their luck.
As I sat near where this young guy was singing, the thought ran through my mind: I wonder if he drinks before he puts on a show, you know, to settle his nerves. Most big celebrities did that—and probably still do in our current year, and yes, some even let booze take their lives, families, and hope clean away from them while they are traveling to some smelly dark alley off of the main street. Not upscale beer. No, sir. Budweiser or Miller, are brands that I drank because they were brands that the American working man drank after his 12-hour shifts. I wanted to walk in his footsteps.
Nashville Singer, Truth be Told
Nashville Singer, Truth be Told
was every bit the good singer. Even cordial. At the end of each of his songs, he gave such complimentary thank you’s that I almost cried. His voice was humble and I thought that he must be somewhere not of this world. I didn’t tell anyone this thinking, because you know how people (who like to drink beer) like to blow-up each thing that comes from their mouth. I kept my thinking about Nashville Singer to myself.
He introduced one of his songs about his first few days in Nashville about how tough it was while he was “paying his dues” on the way upward to stardom—bright lights, big city. I am not knocking him, but his introduction went on and on and on to where I thought severely about buying myself another Bud, but (that time) I was strong and just stayed sat down on the wooden seats with my wife and daughter--listening to Nashville Singer. I couldn’t help but notice a couple sitting near us who began to squirm around because of the sun (87 degrees) who I told my wife that this middle-aged couple must be on vacation (too) from somewhere from the upper United States—in Michigan, I had to think. I also thought that they too were growing impatient with Nashville Singer—and we wondered if a song was in his future.
No sooner than those thoughts exited from my mind when Nashville Singer strummed his guitar, smiled, and start off one of his own songs and began to sway to the right and left. I give him loads of credit because his personal lyrics were awful. They hardly rhymed. They made some sense and I do not pretend to be a Music Critic, but if he was shopping his personally-written songs, it would not shock me if he starved to death.
“You get the peanut butter –and Pete’ll get the meat . . .
I’ll get the jelly and bread!
Keep the car’a runnin’
Cos’ we gonna eat good tonight . . .”
(Those were just a sample of one of Nashville Singer’s songs) that he said when he was paying is dues and even sleeping in his car.
A Bit About
Mick Foley, ex-WWE wrestler and author shared a similar humble life prior to catching WWE owner, Vince Macmahon’s eye and putting him into the ring. He too said in an interview of sleeping in his car before he was a well-know wrestler who made it the squared circle.
What bothers me now is: Nashville Singer is still sleeping in his car?
February 7, 2019__________________
Ken Avery on February 14, 2019:
MH . . .hey! Thanks for the input. I worked on 12-hour shifts when the newspaper where I worked would have us publish a special section that required more work, but I had those great 9-hour shifts--with Coffee around the clock. NO Bud or Miller or Bush, I love the play on words there. And thank God, my drinking days are over--too expensive and cause too much trouble when the right kind of party starts----I was blessed to get out of town when those started.
Let me advise again, of why don't you write a book about your life? I cannot get any plainer than this.
God bless and be safe.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on February 07, 2019:
"Budweiser or Miller, are brands that I drank" - I used to like Budweiser too in my drinking days. Then, Bush the Second invaded Iraq and I began my boycott of American products. Budweiser became a target too so, ya ... that was the end of Budweiser for me, haha!
"American working man drank after his 12-hour shifts" - Who was the genius who came-up with 12 hour shifts?! I would like to travel back in time and have a word with that piece of work. 12 $%^&ing hours? Are You mad? I wouldn't put a horse, or a dog, or any living creature to work for 12 hours. And why would people accept this? Why isn't everyone up in arms about this? It boggles my mind.
You know, maybe one day I'll visit Nashville. Something tells me that it would be beneficial. I mean, none of these name say absolutely anything to me: "Ernest Tubb; Faron Young; Porter Wagoner and Patsy Cline" but I don't judge like that. They're decent names/labels and still think Nashville has something to tell me.
Other than that it's eleven o'clock (at night) and I think I gotta try to go to bed soon. The owl schedule that I've been on for some time now has to end.
Before I go, I'll say that the NashvilleSinger is not sleeping in his car. He's in a small house. He's not rich but he's alright and it doesn't look like he's singing for money.
Alrighty, I'm outta here! Cheers!