The Grateful Dead and Little Richard

The Grateful Dead and Little Richard

Little Richard died last week at the age of 87. The world became a lot less flamboyant with his passing. But the music we hear today, and the music a lot of us enjoy known as Rock and Roll would not only be different without his influence, it probably wouldn’t exist.

One of the best Little Richard sighting stories comes from me of my best friend’s wives, who’s from Knoxville:

I am so saddened by this news. Saw him in his Escalade in Nashville when he was living at the Hilton. Said to Miles “I think that’s Little Richard” Little Richard then yelled and waved across the parking lot “It’s me baby. It’s me!”

Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, were highly influential in their styles, both musically and in their attitudes. Little Richard is tame by today’s standards of fringe wildness and musically infused sexuality.  Or should I say “sexually infused musicality?” But back in his day, he was new and transformational. And the budding young rock and rollers of the 60’s and 70’s took notice. Everyone wanted to be like them in their uninhibited vocal stylings, which was the embryonic stage for what became Rock and Roll. Even Elvis and The Beatles took close notes from them.

Little Richard was from Macon, Georgia, the home of the Allman Brothers as well, and birthplace of my own father. I was born down the road in Atlanta, and my mother was born over near Savannah in Brunswick. She and my Dad grew up in Albany, Georgia. But Little Richard heard and saw Esquerita, who was from South Carolina, where I’m from, and took his stylings from him. Small world. James Brown was from SC as well. And Don’ forget Jerry Lee Lewis.

And one of the biggest influences in Jerry Garcia’s playing was Chuck Berry. He played Johnny B. Goode at the ending of many shows, often as an encore, and one that he would shred in playing his guitar. It was a crescendo to make the night of music memorable and a song Jerry knew well.

Jerry went on to direct the Grateful Dead Movie, which was made available for free on YouTube. I uploaded there myself and it’s still there, amazingly, but I think YouTube made it private, to ensure I wasn’t making money from ads or anything from it. In any case, here it is:

Moving

Moving

As I sat to write this, The String Cheese Incident began singing the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place(Naive Melody).” Apropos.

I abhor moving. There’s no undertaking I like less, period. Although I’ve never been catheterized(Thanks be to God), I would rather be catheterized with a cactus than move. Yet here I go again.

I’ve probably moved twenty times in my proceedingly long life, which I’m growing more grateful for with each Sunrise. Back when I was 20, and even 30 moving was no problem. I didn’t have a lot of stuff. I thought I did, but I didn’t know what I was talking about. Now that I’m 50, I’ve picked up a few things along the way, including a beautiful little girl, who has her own set of belongings. So I happily add that to the equation.

As a sentimentalist, and collector of detria and interesting bits and bobs, and curator of the family items that were handed down from prior generations, I have a lot of stuff. Add to that my hobbies of playing guitar and tinkering and woodworking and all that and I have an interminable list of items that have to go from A to B. Every time I turn around, there’s something else that needs to go. It’s amazing. It’s like magic: “The suddenly appearing thing!”

The craziest thing is how much I’ve sold off and still have to move. My last move, which was compelled by a sudden separation/divorce, forced me to move an entire 4 bedroom house, with garage and yard and patio things elsewhere. I still don’t know how I pulled that off. My ex-wife left everything (but the daughters) and just ghosted in the middle of the night.

After living in that house, which was both a Godsend and a curse, for 3-1/2 years, I’m moving again. 3-1/2 emotionally turbulent years. I got divorced in that house. I lost my beloved dog Annie in that house. I got a great job and left a great job in that house. But the house was awesome for me and Cecelia. Plenty of room to roam and breathe and play and a creek across the street. A back deck and big basement and tiered front yard with river rocks bolstering each tier and creating a series of walls. Which was a nightmare to mow. I’ve mowed a lot of grass in my day, but that yar was the hardest to mow by far. Here’s a street shot. There are 3 tiers, down to the road.

Indian Hills house

What I have should represent the essentials. And a few “nice to have’s.” I sold 100% of my “nice to have’s” and what I’m left with is still a mountain of items.

Transferring the utilities and the internet was easy and pain-free. The movers, however, didn’t show up at their SCHEDULED time and rescheduled me for 3 days later without notice. Talk about bad form. So I have my bed and a couple of heavy/big items in the old house, another house full of boxed items and things that need to find a place to be kept, and a storage unit full of furniture and rugs. And some guy named Eli who has the rest, like my lawnmower and tools(hopefully) thanks to my ex-wife.  My old landlord is tapping his foot for me to get out of the place, and rightfully so. But: reality.

So that gives me time to set things up at the new place and find out where I’m going to cram everything. It’s a considerable downsize. No basement, whereas the last house had a basement the size of Soldier Field with a fireplace and kitchen. Perfect for Cecelia to exercise in. Her exercise at the new house will be going up and down the stairs I guess. No more “tag” with marathon laps through the old rancher. I have copious photos to remember the place by. Really I just want to remember the time I had there with Cecelia.

She’s going to love this new house The neighborhood is ridden with children. And rabbits, who we have living in our back yard.

watership down