Wednesday, February 15, 2006

February 15, 2006
Shades of my errant honkytonk past! Yesterday I was talking to Old West collector, plumber, and friend, Kevin Mulkins down in The Old Pueblo and he asked me if remembered the Lewallen Brothers and I told him, "Boy Howdy!"

The Lewallen Brothers band were the Kings of Tucson when I arrived for college in the fall of 1965. They had that brother harmony that is golden. One time (1967?) they opened for the Turtles in an empty department store on East Speedway and the Lewallen Brothers actually had the huevos to play “Good Vibrations” as part of their set. I remember Floyd and Eddie came out to do their set and proclaimed the boys as better than the Beach Boys themselves. A high complement from some guys who knew harmony themselves on a first-name basis.

In the summer of 1967, the band I was in, Faye Shaw and the Generation came in second at the annual Battle of the Bands at Hi Corbet Field, mainly because in the middle of “My Girl” the PA went out and Cliff Feldman went to the front of the stage and yelled out the lyrics to the delight of the crowd and the judges. Still, it was only good enough for second place because no one could touch the Lewallen Brothers.

This morning, the guy that was standing next to me at the Turtles show, Charlie Waters, forwarded me this:

Lewallens Made name Plumbin', Strummin'

“They may know their way around a pipe wrench. But it's their way with a guitar chord that Tucsonans of a certain age remember. Heck, you may have danced to their tunes at the old Sunset Rollerama or Hi-Ho Club. Their name was, and is, Lewallen. As in the Lewallen Brothers. . .”

Emma Weighs In On Tombstone Spinnin'
“Do that cup-spinning article, and my pal Steve Brust will be in your debt; he taught himself to roll a silver dollar across his knuckles as soon as he walked out of the theater, practically. Drives his friends crazy.

“I think Alan Huffines is right about the Yankees (term used flexibly) in cases like Phoenix. But Tombstone seems to be struggling with the other side of the problem. Tombstone's the physical, adobe-and-wood-frame representation of the conflict between the myth of the West and the history of the West that you talked about on the blog a while ago. I don't think Yankees can be held entirely accountable for that one, can they?”
—Emma Bull

Well, I do know that most of the people who live outside Tombstone are fond of dismissing everyone in town as being from New Jersey. I think what I'm really bemoaning is change. Which is inevitable, but I keep thinking of Spain where their towns are hundreds of years older than ours and they have retained a cultural identity or style that is intact. We seem so disposable oriented here, but I don't know what the answer is, or who exactly is to blame. I just hate to see it all evaporate, which it definitely is doing. I suppose there are oldtimers in Spain grumbling, “These towns today are crap. When I was a nino. . .”

And Huffines Votes, Cops to It
“I just voted yes in the drug poll, and was in the minority--again. Since it
was legal and OTC [over the counter?], I had to assume it was more prevalent. Ever seen the ads in the papers? All those cures for ladies' hysteria and so forth. That stuff wasn't cough syrup. Me thinks folks associate drug-use/abuse with seedy characters in an alley somewhere or selling the stuff to school children. When in reality it was our GGPs [gol-darned government persons?] walking in and purchasing some cannabis or opiates in an apothecary shop. There is a fantastic photograph of a Confederate Veteran sitting on a porch next to a large cannabis plant. Hemp, it's not just for lynching anymore. And don't even get me started on booze. How many of our favorite gunfights involved distilled spirits? {more than I’d like to admit] We get upset about the amounts of illegal drugs available today, when they don't even compare with the quantities of alcohol abused.”
—Alan Huffines

Man, Oh Man, Is Brokeback Infecting the Culture, Or What?
Fifteen people forwarded me this today: Willie Nelson Releases Gay Cowboy Song

Country music outlaw Willie Nelson sang "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" and "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" more than 25 years ago. He released a very different sort of cowboy anthem this Valentine's Day.

"Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)" may be the first gay cowboy song by a major recording artist. But it was written long before this year's Oscar-nominated "Brokeback Mountain" made gay cowboys a hot topic.

Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson's deadpan delivery of lines like, "What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?" and "Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out."

The song, which debuted Tuesday on Howard Stern's satellite radio show, was written by Texas-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette in 1981. Sublette said he wrote it during the "Urban Cowboy" craze and always imagined Nelson singing it.

Someone passed a copy of the song to Nelson back in the late 1980s and, according to Nelson's record label, Lost Highway, he recorded it last year at his Pedernales studio in Texas.

Nelson has appeared in several Western movies and sings "He Was a Friend of Mine" on the "Brokeback Mountain" soundtrack.

Now, I get this:

Fishing Buddies
"So, what did you think?" my wife asked as we exited the theater.

"Kind of brings a whole new meaning to the word cowpoke," I said.

She tried again: "Seriously, what did you think?"

"Seriously? Seriously, I think it's going to put a huge dent in the fishing industry."

"Let me guess, because now men will be reluctant to go fishing together because they'll be worried someone might think they're gay?"

"Bingo," I said, "particularly if they're fly-fishermen."

"You're not kidding, are you?"

"Absolutely not. You mention fly-fishing from now on, and the first image men are going to see is a zipper."

"Men are pathetic."

"Look, guys will still call one another fishing buddies, and they will still go on fishing trips; the only thing that will be different now is that they will be chaperoned."

"Let me ask you something. Why is it that men don't mind watching women kiss?"

"Because they don't see that as being homosexual."

"Really, what do they see that as being?"

"A warm-up."

"For what?"

"For them."

"Beyond pathetic."

"I'll tell you another thing..."

"I can hardly wait."

"`Brokeback' is going to have people re-evaluating the whole Western genre."

"Why's that?"

"Think about some of the classic cowboy relationships from the classic television shows. Here were these middle-aged guys who just kind of roamed around the West together! , had romantic campfires and seemed totally disinterested in women ."


"I mean the Lone Ranger and Tonto? He wears a jumpsuit, shoots nothing but silver bullets, and never takes his mask off? And Tonto is decked out in buckskin and fringe. I'll tell you the only way that relationship makes sense is if `kemo sabe' means sweet cheeks."

"Or how about `Wild Bill Hickock' and his partner, Jingles. Jingles?"

"Or how about 'Gunsmoke'? Isn't it obvious that Chester had a thing for Mr. Dillon, and Mr. Dillon didn't have a thing for Miss Kitty?"

"All right. All right. So getting back to my original question: Did you like the movie?"

"I did."

"Thank you."

"But don't tell anyone."

"Those who have succeeded at anything and don't mention luck are kidding themselves."
—Larry King

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