Tuesday, May 17, 2016
One of Those 6 Degree Things
[Photo by Chris Felver/Getty Images]
One of the last gigs I played with the Red Clay Ramblers was down in Wilmington, NC, at the branch of UNC they got there. We opened for Emmylou Harris, which we all felt was a pretty big deal. We played well, her show was excellent. This was back when Rodney Crowell was in her band. A long time later on I studied up on Townes Van Zandt, and like anybody with brains I was blown away by how good a writer he was. In the process of reading about him I realized that I'd seen him once, at a little joint out at the edge of Chapel Hill called the Star Point. I think he might have been pretty wasted, and I might have actually walked out on the show. I've seen film of him at a place we played quite a bit, the Down Home Pickin' Parlor in Johnson City, TN. He was sure drunk that show. The big break he got was Hag and Nelson covering "Pancho and Lefty," which is one of a whole lot of great songs he wrote. He'd introduce "Pancho and Lefty" by saying, "now here's a medley of my hit."
One of Townes great friends was Guy Clark. There's some good film of Guy talking about Townes, in a very good documentary about Townes' too short life. Another musician we ran into off and on back in the road days was Jay Unger. He's a terrific fiddler, and I'd lobbied for him to replace me in the Ramblers when I left, in '81. Nothing against the guy who ended up with the job, Clay Buckner. He's done a real good job riding the rails with the "Blurs, Inc." I never met Guy. Wish I had.
I read just a little while ago that Guy Clark has died. Lawyers Guns and Money blog was on the story immediately, and posted a video of Clark playing "The Randall Knife." I went over to youtube and found this one--a duet with Emmylou, plus Jay Unger playing fiddle. The song is "about" Rodney Crowell's father. These guys are dropping like flies this year.
For more: http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/he-aint-going-nowhere/