I have lived every music fan's fantasy. I have also lived the nightmare. And I did them both on the same day.
I have already told the story on this blog about how I sent a fan letter to a honky tonk band out of Flint, Michigan and how less than 2 years later Whitey Morgan and the 78's were on my doorstep. And they even came back.
This is the music fan's dream. You fall in love with a band. You learn all their music. You send them a fan letter. They respond. They come to stay with you and tell you that you are marvelous. They are even better live than you had hoped. Then I go to Brooklyn to see them and Whitey picks me up with one arm and growls, "Hey, girl! How's the family?"
I guess that last part is just my thing and I didn't dream it because, at close to 6 ft. tall, the idea of someone lifting me is preposterous even in fantasy. But that did happen. And it was really cool. You short gals have all the fun.
Where was I? Ah, yes. Dreams come true. Then comes the nightmare part. I hesitate to even write this because somehow, some day Nick Hornby is going to find this blog post and he is going to die of embarrassment on my behalf. I don't want Nick Hornby to die. He hasn't written enough yet.
Nick Hornby has written six books that are pretty integral to my life. One is Juliet Naked which tells that fan dream story I have lived and another is High Fidelity. If you have not read High Fidelity, shame on you. It is the book that decodes the complete insanity that comes with being a music fanatic. And it will help you understand why I nearly ruptured a brain vessel when Whitey Morgan sat on my couch and started idly flipping through my CD rack.
(Just imagine me in the interview room of a cop show. I look sort of normal on the outside but as I recount my version of events it rapidly becomes clear that I am criminally insane.)
The cd's were not in order, you see. He was sitting right there. And the cd's. THEY WERE NOT IN ORDER. I don't listen to those cd's now. The children have knocked them down so many times. I don't even know what is up there. No. No. Those aren't the ones. Those might not even be mine. I had to kill him. Don't you see? He didn't see the real stuff I listen to! He might have told the rest of the band. I couldn't let Jeremy the bass player know about my Annie Lennox phase. I was just curious about 3rd Bass in 1992, but he wouldn't understand that. I should have given that away years ago. What if Travis the drummer found out about my Daft Punk or Billy Idol? Dear God, Tamineh the fiddler might have seen my Greatest Hits of Garth Brooks. Don't you get it? She would have told Brett and Stubby and it would have brought about the honky tonk apocalypse. Don't you see? He had to die. Yes. It was the only way. So I slipped a Koko Taylor disc in his bbq sandwich. He went peacefully. I did not disrespect him. I kept my Randy Travis to myself, officer. Koko is a great way, an honorable way to go. He knew I loved him.
So that is not how it went down. But my husband did think I was going to cry.
"You did not enjoy that, did you?" he asked today.
NO! This is my band and they are rifling through my husband's Doobie Brothers, my opera cd's. It just doesn't make any sense. As a fan, you want to show your musical idols what you are made of. It is not necessarily a kissup. I don't listen to that much honky tonk. But I do listen to its distant musical cousins that make for some good conversations.
Fans and musicians are people who sit around and wonder what would have happened if Jim Morrison lived, if the Smiths had not broken up, if Hank Jr. and Dolly Parton had a baby (it would be Whitey Morgan), if Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye had a baby (sadly it would be Amy Winehouse.)
This is the band with whom I belted Dale Watson's (love child of Hank Sr. and Frank Sinatra) "Whiskey or God" in a van as we crossed a snowy bridge across the mighty James River. We bond through music and my uncle's Wagner cd's that I listen to annually are not going to further bonding.
So I am rewriting the nightmare. This is how it should have gone down. If they ever come back, these are the cd's that will be on the top shelf in random order, of course. I'm not OCD. I'm just fanatical.
This is my music, what I listen to. No one has to die. Just stick with this list and no one gets hurt.
Prince - (any of my 23 cd's)
Billy Ray Hatley and the Showdogs - More Years Than I Got, Deuce, Cryin' Shame
Lucero (any of 6)
Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears - Tell 'Em What Your Name Is
John Mellencamp - Life, Death, Love, and Freedom
Aretha Franklin - Queen of Soul
Delbert McClinton - Acquired Taste
The Gourds - Shinebox
Cedric Burnside and Malcolm Lightning - Two Man Wrecking Crew
Temple of the Dog - self titled
Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 - (all)
Gladys Knight and the Pips - Greatest Hits
The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
Mary J. Blige - What's the 411?
John Paul Keith and the 145's - Spills and Thrills
Allman Brothers - Eat a Peach
Independent Music Awards '09, '10 - Now Hear This
Whitey Morgan and the 78's - Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels, and self titled
Koko Taylor - The Earthshaker, Old School
Should the band never come back to my house, I would welcome some time on a bar stool with a similarly minded fanatic or two as we consider what would happen if Hank III converted to Judaism. Or the possible radical transformation of Richmond bluegrass if Jim Skelding of the Slack Family quit with the home repairs and devoted the bulk of his immense energy and talent to that fiddle of his. Or even who would you rather be stuck in a canoe with for two days: Waylon Jennings, June Carter Cash, or Elvis?
You buy first round.