Brytheville , Nebraska. Between Scottsbluff and Columbus . A town out of nowhere , on U.S. 127. Rolling hills , wood trusses , green fields and copses . Monotonous , when you are driving miles for three days with the same horizon. Sparse traffic, nearly no trucks, pick- ups, some old Oldsmobile or Chevy tired .
From San Francisco, I went through Utah and joining Chicago. I’ve got all my spare time. Heartland , almost a dream . On the radio, muted, some Country music, interspersed with commercials for convenience stores or vendors of secondhand cars of the area. The radio in my lease Honda reports : KBOJ , 101.7 . The disc jockey , male and reassuring voice , not pounding posts , announces the titles without the usual fake excitement. He also takes his time .5 PM or so. Panels pub, the colors a little tired and screaming drawings succeed slowly. I am in the town itself before even entering into . At the traffic lights , the classic pattern : main street off the secondary . When I look back , I saw on the left the local church. Few people with the old canvas stetson , good women in shorts. Everyone is running toward his destiny .
After the fire, I park right in front of the local bar. Same old faded cars, and battered pick- ups . Neon barely visible, I have the sun setting in the back . Lighting showcase : Budweiser, stop-and -go , chicken- and-chips , 8AM to 12PM . I am hungry, thirsty, and want to attend people.
Inside, tired furniture, brown banquettes and tables. Few customers : a chubby guy perched on a stool , his eyes in the vague. Two old guys in overalls guffawing , probably at their memories as recruits in a Kansas U.S. Army fort . Ruddy bartender , good faced. Country music muted.
« Hi », it is simple to greet . « Hi » I launched him. » One Bud, please , » » ‘kay . » What is this station? That of the area , he replied . Does he know the DJ ? – ‘course, everyone knows that old Jim , from the time he’s jabbering into the mike and spreads that damn music out. I sip my Bud. Is it cool , at least ; It is rather for the rite of beer that I enjoy , next to good guys who have finished their day’s work and scour the dust of their language ; I share with them the time they take , flowing though slowly and it is just the value of life .
The bartender wipes his glasses, working behind the counter and polishes the taps. He takes a jaded look at the customers, his sales will be poor tonight. And always in the background this soothing calm voiced strong accent , announcing song titles and putting advertisements. I recognize along the way George Jones , Marty Brown, BR5 -49 , among other less famous, this DJ has a preference for the honky -tonk square and chooses very few ballads, in any case no soap . Myself being radio d.j., I want to meet him.
» Where is the station ? » I asked the bartender. . » Just throw Lassalle Street Right after the fire, you can not miss it , it is written on the front , but what do you want him to Jim – . ? Nothing special, I answer . His music I like , and I like the radio , too, here in Europe, I want to meet a colleague. » Old folks laugh again, but have ears perked up , looking at me with their faded blue eyes. Their jaw keep the crease of laughter, their eyes are asking , I thought they had booze since they stopped their pick -up at the bar , and that they drank anything other than Budweiser . The VRP raised his head and gave me a sideways look , nothing aggressive . « Well , someone is interested in us and our area , moreover a guy out off Europe? It is true that his accent felt the school. What can the well stop here ? » I smiled , and try to feel close to them, then go outside the bar.
Milky sky, light winds. Under my feet , the cement sidewalk . Left after three barracks , road framed by some scrub oak . Opposite ,the bay window of the laundry , three figures sitting on the orange seats and chrome sparkle vaguely giant washing machines . I cross the street and go on Lassalle .
Fifty meters stands the little white church identified earlier . Between a junk shop and a tiny house , here : on the front , daubed in white carefully « KBOJ , your local radio station ». I guess the light at the back. Ordinary door : I rang . Time for a pub and a big guy opens an inquiring eye, the hand on the handle. I go with a beautiful smile and quickly explains who I am and why I want to meet the DJ. It’s him, he replied , holding my hand and opening the door wide . The room is in a huge mess , with a pale ceiling : two shelves along the walls crumbling under two hundred disks at least , archive boxes , concert posters lining the ceiling … But the guy plants me already there asking to wait then joining in three strides the glass back door topped by the traditional red bulb , it was ‘on the air ‘ and returns to change discs , leaving the door open. Invitation to join him? I plunged into a tiny studio still fuller than the antechamber.
The DJ sitting behind the console in front of me , he’s gazing to a sheet hanging by a thread from the ceiling A glance at me , » Well , that’s ole ‘ Jim is KBOJ , One -O -One -Point- Three, good evening ev’rybody – ‘ twas Jann Browne , It only hurts when I laugh – Stay tuned to One -o -One- point -three , ’till Seven Pee- Am – for good ole’ Country music – an ‘ now should you appreciate ‘ nother sleeper … Love lyin ‘ down , by Miss Heather Myles and her Cadillac Cowboys … » Boom- boom-boom -a- boom « I know the title, and gives a thumbs up , he smiles , lowers the microphone slider , and rises. Checkered shirt , burly , fifties looking , black belt, thick hair pulled back , long legs. « Let’s chat between songs » , he introduced me to the antenna, and invites me to empty a beer at the lounge just hours after the radio show , then resumes his program.
I return to the front room , a nosing about albums and come away . Quiet street, a fishing tackle shop, a few houses faded before the church, an elderly couple who slowly going nowhere – go here ? I locate my car when the night’s slowly falling , four lamps flank the junction. What else ? The lounge attracts me. More numerous silhouettes are gently agitated . Further flash – green, white, blue, red – garland local Ford dealer , and those of the windows daubed supermarket promotions. Some breaks go slowly , no babies in the back , you feel the area is bled .
I go to the bar , conversation volume down , they look at me, amused. They had to talk about me , I greet with a smile, order a beer and go sitting at a small table next to the bar . Men , two women mature , resume their exciting stories , they burst out laughing . What did it ever happen to them today so irresistible? A woman makes her entrance, oil jacket , black pants pirate , ballerinas, long blond hair, she’s searching the eyes widen open barely illuminated by the purple Budweiser pub above the bar, and is welcoming the lean barman with a smile. Everyone knows the bartender answer in a grimace of his wrinkles .
Enter Jim. Hell ! Jim , come over here, your guest waiting for you. OK , he gives me a large paw on the shoulder and introduces me up . That’s Xavier , a French guy, who loves Country music . C’mon boy , Have a beer . Rumors in my back , the bartender cracks a genuine smile . Jim turns to the woman, Martha , who wants me welcome . We drink in silence, sympathy is tangible. Do you want to dinner with us, she offers me , you will talk to us about France , I dream of Paris and never went further than Chicago. Jim smiled , mysterious, light eyes. Myself I think I’ll have to do my best in the conversation, although I hate clichés for Yankee tourists : Versailles , Dior, bohemian and red balloons . And croissants , and the July 14 parade . Well, if it pleases to them …
After « ’till tomorrow » around them , « Jim bye , bye Martha « , and a final half- amused, half – envious look towards me , we are out. Where’s your car ? you follow us, it’s close by . Their old Chevrolet leaves the parking lot, travels three hundred meters after the Ford garage, flashing left and pulls a clump of trees . A narrow alley , a bungalow with attached in the headlights Garage all seems dull and anonymous. We leave the car .
The living room, two sofas facing the TV, a coffee table. Pictures on the right wall. « You ‘ re welcome , utteres Martha from out her kitchen. « Do you have children « ? Jim shows on the wall the picture of a young Lady , Nancy , married to an insurer out of of Des Moines , he says , and that of a baseball player wearing a helmet , Myron , his university team worked well, he works in chemistry in Sioux Falls, SD . « – And about you? My three children from two marriages, two seniors their age . You have a wife ? Martha starts from the kitchen , where she prepares pancakes with bacon. No, my teaching job , my business , my friends, that’s too much for me now to spend a couple’s life . Jim offered me another beer . Musician? he asked . Just a little piano. And him? He was in a semi -professional band when he was young, just out of college , before hanging up. What did he play ? Rockabilly, with three friends , him on vocals and lead guitar . Is there still a trace of that time? He points to a small photo on the wall, I approach . Four guys are standing on the scene of a dancing , shiny and crinkled eyes, their mouth grinning , false wild attitudes : drummer drumsticks in the air , bassist stuck to his instrument , the shy eyes rhythm guitarist looking elsewhere, and Jim , very young, triumphant , aggressive smile, waving his Gretsch , one foot forward . All four have ducktails and black clothes , closed by a lace shirt , feet creepers thick crepe sole.
Have you recorded an album ? Yes … no … not really. So far from everything . No record label in the area. We had two faces cut on the radio one night, after the show , we returned from a commitment near Sioux City, dead beat , we were really smashed. The next day we sent the tape to a box of Nashville , which published the amateur orchestras , we emptied our pockets and our parents typed for the 200 dollars needed , we had not even thought about the logo and were offered ‘ Rambler ‘ as a label . The parcel containg 99 copies returned a few weeks later, we had even forgotten .
When it was opened at the station, « This is our record , look out ! » we were like kids. I was damn proud – « Jim Carmody and his Rocking Ramblers . » The Rockabilly side was often played on local radio , it was called ‘ Sally Mae’ , I wrote this thing having in mind my girlfriend , the disc was sold at our gigs , people bought it to make us happy , but did not take us seriously . We were just a bunch of crazy youngsters , it was fun for a year or two , then we hung up , each one looking for a job and getting married , and now …
I was called to serve two years in Fort Laramie , sort of meshing the G.I. outfits. When I got back , everything had changed, I got hired at a garage in Knightsbridge , 25 miles from here. I have attended musicians of the area, but what they were playing was pop, which disgsuted me and I stopped everything .
– Do you have a copy of your disk? Jim laughs , it’s been so long …
Could be , but where? Well , maybe in the garage , come , we will look , it will enjoy me to stir the memories in.
Do not linger , so yelled launched Martha when we got out, I set the table .
Indescribable disorder , a towed car rear axle removed , a bucket stinks gasoil , wooden crates full of heterogeneous materials, large bags of all kinds, jute, craft paper, plastic – fertilizer , seed , topsoil ? A thick used board established all along the wall is cluttered with tools , metal shelves in front , a mattress rolled dusty cartons, cans, a huge freezer. The car has to sleep outside all year .
Jim, head tilted backwards, contemplate the shelves , and then will move one or two boxes overflowing with worn clothes to bring to the neon light a gray cardboard box . « There it is « , I tend to put the boxes in place. Glance faded label also mentions » Starday Records / Custom Service » and a post office box in Nashville , all addressed to ‘Jim Carmody, c / o KBOJ Lassalle St., Brytheville , Nebraska » , no zip code , it did not yet exist. The board does not very heavy weight, two pounds at most. « Come , we’ll see better in the living room . »
We sit down to eat in the kitchen. Pancakes , bacon , fruit juice, grated carrots. Vacuum interspersed with questions by Martha . In which area of France I live , is it far from Paris , why the French seem so cold – Martha may have seen a movie with Catherine Deneuve ? Are the children also rude as they say , do the brand fragrance cost as much as here , farmers have they still clogs, and all that foam perennial commonplace among people who know France from the clichés and documentaries.
I have fun , I endeavor to clarify , correct , find anecdotes. Jim is interested in politics and was surprised , in a somewhat fixed smile , we have a friendly president , ‘ Mister Chee-wak ‘ forced to govern with the Communists. Obviously , the fall of the Berlin Wall did not smashing echo here by. My love for Country music reassures him, yet I see myself in their attitude as carrying dangerous germs , a kind of sleeping on HIV-positive anthrax spores. Martha and recovery, is that Paris City really dirty, with pigeons, sidewalks covered in dog shit , its bums – I appreciate the succession of nuisances . Here, she said to me , we do not have bums . You amaze me , we do not see them in Lozère either.
Their American poise and their certainties are chilly and smooth moving , as if to justify their narrow and unambitious way of life by the supposed defects of others. The France fascinates and disturbs them, which resists Coca-Cola and McDonalds. They ignore José Bové, and yet they see us as kind of traditionalists clinging to our antiquated and naïve traditions , which at bottom they envy .
Speaking of tradition , Jim returns to the music. How you discovered country music ? For us, you have Yves Montand and Mireille Mathieu ( he murdured ‘ Mireille ‘ in ‘Marvel ‘) and the Country does not mean anything for you. I summarize it, the 60s , U.S. bases close by , Rock’n’Roll , the extraordinary call of the ocean that represented America for us, in a small too stuffy French old world.
A next-door neighbor in my building had an American brother-in-law. I can still see the lanky taciturn cut brush G.I., a glass of milk in hand, astride the kitchen window, watching them kids playing two floors below in my housing estate . And played for hours on automatic change low-budget record player Teppaz : Hank Williams, Johnny Cash , Buck Owens, Hank Snow. He slowly went back empty his leg , pivoted on one buttock , and jumped nimbly to go renew the stock of ten forty-five rounds.
And myself sitting on the floor , I let me be lulled by a so familiar and although foreign real music without conventions and weak tremolo songs by Dario Moreno and french crooner Marcel Amont . Then the GI’s bistros , where jukeboxes poured the James Browns of Presleys or the Monkees’ , with their sprawled Black men extending their long legs , who smiled silently when we were trying to enter into conversation with our rudimentary English , and answered by monosyllables or short phrases, » Yeah » or » Fuck it , man « , they seemed to consider us all little boys , and we, we watched them as benevolent giants still unable to fulfill our wishes , as if their magic power had no effect away from home .
Jim and Martha listen to me , fascinated and seized by my story . They have not experienced these giants and their childish eternal soul is strangled by the nostalgia for an unreal world .
And then you discovered Rock’n’Roll ? Jim wakes up bright eyes .
I tell them my life by fragments of fleeting impressions , 40 years later. The late ’60s , the French Army for me , the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds , Buddy Guy . The ’70s musical desert when Rock was drowned in pop . Some concerts , records not easy to find ,the maze orders to U.S. wholesalers, collectors fraternities across France , fan clubs , Eddie Cochran , Jerry Lee Lewis.
Then the rebels based in Europe , Gene Vincent , Memphis Slim – I mime ‘ All by myself ‘ played by Slim on karate on his piano . He showed us warm , and at the same time was stingy on the sale of his concert programs .
Finally , cut me Jim , you were rebels as we were in ’56. Dean Martin , handsome in his films , his songs made ??me puke.
Silence, Martha dreams.
And you, Jim and Martha , what did you like to listen to then?
– We plugged on Canadian stations Saskatchewan , Canada, late at night, I remember the DJ . Doctor Demento and his » Moondawg » program on shortwaves . He played Elvis , Carl Perkins, Marty Robbins, and all the black groups, The Clovers , The Dominoes . Three or four guys , the more addicted we met with our friends in the room of one or the other . On Saturday , instead of the baseball field , we found ourselves in our parents’ garage with cheap instruments : me, my Sears guitar offered by my parents for my fifteen years. His bass, Billy had recovered it from a former classical musician uncle . Dean ‘s parents employed at the restaurant one Black who played overseas in the shows » Here’s to Veterans » and had kept his drum kit. He learned Dean the basics , the afterbeat , the New Orleans jazz stuff . Lenny taught classical guitar and followed us to look like in the game , but by dint of listening to Lefty Frizzell , he had developed a sacred energy to the rhythm .
– Wow ! were they the Ramblers ? I turn and leigned looking – And if we listened to your 45!
No , man, sorry, we do not even have a record player here . Come tomorrow after 10 A.M. at the station, you will meet the boss, Mr. Sheldon Brown, and you can play it .
Seeing my disappointment , « Do not worry , man , we’ll open the parcel . » He announced , with downcast eyes, a theatrical tone and a little disillusioned , breaking the adhesive from the top of the box, » Jim Carmody and the Rocking Ramblers . » Martha joined us , anxious eyes . She also discovers that the man of her life was once a hot young guy and enterprising, she suspected, but he is so little talkative. A smile raised his lips. Jim feels something happy, while fixing content the open cardboard between his legs and suddenly he puts his hand , thumb forward, rubbing the plastic and spread out some records on his hand. Cover paper white, sunshine yellow label . He raises his arm with a provocative delighted gaze , and repeats « Jim Carmody and the Rocking Ramblers ‘
It was not bad , of course, a small group of young angry rednecks , but we had the know-how and knew how to shape a Rockabilly .
Martha and I are surrounding him, softened , moved , we exchange a glance of complicity. With a sharp gesture Jim handed us each a disc , and is lost, with vacant eyes , in the memory of a concert in the fall of 1956 in the hall of Charles City, North Dakota. The colors, the lettering on the disc are intact. The » Rambler » black mark , such as titles , » Sally Mae » and » When you’re gone » and the name of the orchestra. Semicircle around the label » Starday Custom Service – Nashville , Tennessee . » I’m searching the recesses of my memory , I know enough about Rock’n’Roll including regional records, I have never heard of this disc by any fanatical collectors and completists Europe or the United States.
It is Martha who breaks the silence : compelling , she takes Jim ‘s arm, « Honey, you could sing us your disk ? – Oh no, it ‘s been so long , I almost forgot the words … – Just a verse , I ‘d love to hear you . Jim sighs , folds his body, is recovering and will look for a guitar put in the dark at the corner of the living room. « Jim, may I register ? » I’ve pulled out my mini -disc and microphone of my pocket. » Man , this is horrible , forget it . » Martha relays me . Yes, Jim , give me this pleasure , sing and let ‘ Za- viour ‘ keep the track . I would love … He smiled a little sadly , as someone who is unable to deny that violence , approach a chair, hold his leg on the board, there lays his guitar and begins to play . The instrument was not cherished for a long time . We look happy as kids , while I set the record , seeking the best location for my microphone : finally , a knee, two meters from Jim, who now clears his throat , hums . His silhouette grows gambling, hardens, and the voice breaks , voice loud and clear baritone, the first guitar chords.
» She’s sweet sixteen, she’s my queen , she’s the girl that I love best , Sally Mae , yeah , Sally Mae , wooh – everybody ‘s there looking at her , Sally Mae , she’s my rocking queen » Jim has not lost the sense of tempo , his voice is syncopated , he tries hiccups, his guitar is energetic, he is now embarking on a short picking solo, with a distant and proud look , no doubt, resentment and trick are intact.
Second verse, Jim tangling striking two chords , staring at the ceiling , resumes , stops and whispers , » Mmm, you’re so beautiful … No, really , sorry , I forgot , » he looks down, his whole body settles, he sighs and strikes slowly, culminating in a final chord. We are applauding, Martha’s face is illuminated , » Oh ! Jim , it was wonderful , you were a true artist – Yes, I was … I could .
He chews memories, Saturday dances in misfit towns , talks in tiny radio stations where he and his friends were invited to talk about themselves between two ads – the local attraction of the week , recovered by traders and the mayor presented the scene of a shabby room parties to get elected by the parents of the young people he flattered .
» It was nice to be hard working and true to our values ??: family, honor , America, we like what our youngsters do, even if it is a little , um, sometimes noisy. They applauded loudly , OK boys , this is your turn! »
The next day the » Patriot » regional paper devoted their grandiloquent and false critical admiration by presenting them as the pride of the state, able to compete with the stars of Nashville or Chicago …
Jim put his guitar against the back of the chair , approaching a sideboard , squats and pulls out a canvas wallet , discards ribbons and spread clippings on the table. Yellowed photographs , items in two columns, sometimes the width of a page, all ten . He had the honors of the press , failing to break . His grin is bitter when he slowly unfolds a page, the photo shows disjointed silhouettes harshly lit : there are bass, Jim on the front, the Googly mouth, enraptured gaze . Beautiful scene photo , is it can be entrusted to me , that I do copy tomorrow. He listens to me, barely nods perhaps something else. Martha joined him , took him by the shoulders. « Come on, honey, you’re tired, OK ? Za- viour , take the room on the right, I hope you will not miss anything , do not hesitate to ask . » It leads Jim as groggy , turns , » Goodnight . »
This for me alone in the living room . Tired, confused , excited. I mentally am replaying the film . For three days I was daydreaming on the dusty roads of the northern regions, and wham ! without warning, falls on me one of these « Unknown » , the thousands of non – grade , a local artist and resigned , and his little band . All that remains for him : a few vinyl records and clipped out pictures .
We’ll see tomorrow at the station. I do not expect a musical wonder : the kind of band that Jim conduced produced crude , unadorned Rock’n’roll, the ‘ Garage ‘ sound, but in fact, the roughness and wrong notes were largely offset by rage and accuracy tone. Young guys do explode and give everything they have in the guts .
Come to my mind great records , ignored at the time because they were poorly distributed or simply too wild to be broadcasted : Harold Shutters and » Honey bunny » on Goldenrod, Arkansas, Brien Fisher, » It’s Love » on Spangle, Indiana, Floyd Lee, »Go boy » on Enterprise, Texas. Jim has cut their disc ‘custom’ – editing at the author – by Starday it’s more valued.
And here I am dreaming , proud to have discovered something where nobody would find, as a Sumerian or Etruscan archaeological site : everything else is in front of me, in this tired and slightly dented box. With all that Jim told me , the stratums of time are indicated and numbered , and I won’t teach from him much more ; however I have enough material to revive his short career . It will be an interesting article for » Know dig that » , the English Rock’n’Roll specialist magazine, even if the disc does not break anything . Neither Cees Garrett nor Phil Triqueur unearthed it , not further the Ritons , Froghero or Shespring .
The next day, 8 hours past. I slept with a strange dream , large green or pink Chevrolet parked in a parking lot ; it is night , people whine in the dark, low block, neon screaming , » The Silver Dome « , a box , a honky tonk out of nowhere . As I approached , I spot at the entrance of tattooed rockers , signs posted , » To- nite, Rock and Roll Show » , music escapes from the swinging doors , everyone laughs loudly , girls in long wide skirts , platinum hair and crimson lips upturned . Inside, the same atmosphere, the music is stronger. On stage a group of four blacks in blue sky suit whispers a sweet romance with slow gestures . The floor is full of couples. On the sides of the tables where people are drinking, screaming , the bar is out of the way. The quattuor disappears without a reminder. I sail up the crowd, as if in search of familiar faces , it makes me shake a bruiser . The next band set up his equipment, small amps taken on two chairs at the table under the stage. The four musicians – tight gray jacket , fuchsia pink pants , yellow shirt, they joke as casually , without concern for the public who hails , they tune on the string-bass : sounds strange , wild chords , tremoloes . The drummer tries to bearings, fixing his cymbals . This little world seems to move on stage to late all night .
Tension mounts in the room, a battle’s start in the hall. Neons drop in intensity Advertiser jumps on stage, does his hair with fingers, holds his breath, and screams » And now , Ladies and Gentlemen , are you ready for the star time ? » The audience boos, bellows , stamps his feet , beer cans flying , the guy twists to avoid them ; behind him , guys are laughing a little tense, » here they are , Jim Carmody and the Ro- ooo- cking Ra -aaa- mblers » the advertiser is glued to the microphone, Googly mouth as a drummer began rolling increasingly noisy and guitar explodes, and he disappears suddenly. Then Jim enters, eyes bulging, clear and strong voiced » We- eeelll , git out those pots , hot dishes and plates , » the orchestra explodes, it turns, delirium, pitching room , and I woke up.
Noise in the house. Fast toilet in the suite . I meeting Jim in the hall » ‘d morning , boy , did you sleep well? « I He seems peaceful , a glass of orange juice in hand, television broadcasts muted. « Sorry about last night , » I reassured him it was an unusual time. He smiled , extended memory, the eyes in the wave peak. He suddenly points finger out at me.
Can you can tell about me in Europe? That night , I dreamed , a magazine devoted an article to me , » Maybe it’s not too late for Jim Carmody , » it related my short career , I was expected on European stages . Curious dream … And why not? Well – he took the 45s cardboard , take them , go to the station . If you like the thing , keep them all , and if you write about me , send me a copy of the magazine. I go to work , I repair any engine , even until six hours with my old friend Jerry , who holds the Ford Garage you saw before coming here . If you want to review before hitting the road , you know where to find me . – And Martha ? – Oh, she’s already in her nursery. Eat what you want , help yourself , bye, the door has slammed .
On the table , I found the box and beside the clippings aligned for me I guess. I wear it all carefully back to my car at Brytheville , the sky is overcast, I park in front of the lounge. « Hi », this time the bartender greets me with a big smile. Where is a photographer over there ? There’s Benny , who reports to the » Chronicle » , but he certainly not owns the material for professional photos . I told him , Jim told me clippings , and must stick to it. » Do not worry, man – carry them home, and returns to him when it’s over. » I sip my coffee as lean traffic outside . Peter’s Customers have finished their breakfast , I am almost alone .
I put back the discs on the front seat and remember my friend Jack . Bob Caraway had gven him the last copies in his possession of the Crest 1065 ( Ballin ‘ keen ) : he got rid of the rear window , and the sun was hitting … Naturally , he found the 45s warped .
En route to the station. The street is still deserted. My ring does not move anyone , yet the light is lit at the studio . Finally the door opens on a young guy, smiling , thirties, advanced already balding , short-sleeved shirt , dark pants clips , inquiring eyebrows , I do quote Jim.
Oo- kaaay enter , I’m Sheldon Brown, owner of this fuckin ‘ station . So this old ganache Jim told you his life , right? – That is, he gave me his record, can I listen to it here ? – Sure , the studio is open in the morning on satellite broadcasts, the regional program , I only have a news bulletin every half hour . So Jim made ??a record ? My parents ran the drugstore on South Street in Linville , 20 miles away , and told me about it . They had never seen this disc , but Jim was quite popular in the area, it’s been a 40 years ago. Come , we’ll go , this disc , ‘this record here ‘ – he has southerners’ expressions. He leads me in the studio closet , I still have the box under his arm.
Type based on a built- in wall red button in a taped » On air » label , the studio is cut back . Here , it is quiet , it means me a turntable , you do? OK ! I put the box down, undo the adhesive that I patched up this morning , get carefully a disc from its case and position it on the deck. The playhead in place, speed dial , it’s gone .
No scratch , normal, the disc is ‘ mint +’ . Rolling drums, guitar hums and place an arpeggio , voice, clear and strong, explodes – bang! a great garage rock , perfectly recorded , there are more than forty years , in the same studio! The soloist provides very successfully two solos, the bass has his, and Jim explodes , screams, moans … A great record . Sheldon Brown is listening , amused , it is clearly not his cup of tea, but he has a fondness for Jim. I put the disc in its case and thanked the guy . We chat a while on the radio , its joys and sorrows, nani – nanaire , and I take my leave . Crushed, overwhelmed by my find .
So it was true ? Phil Trichard claimed there a mere fifteen years ago that in the systematic search of the great unknown Rock’n’Roll records, we were about not to scratch the tip of the iceberg . And I just found the greatest chance of a nugget ! Better: I met the guy who had cut it .
Outside, I returned to my car, carefully puts back in its place the disks parcel, and seeks the Ford garage to go thank Jim. An old red-faced man in a white suit, means my feet protruding from under a big Chevy, » Hey , Jim, someone over there is asking for you , » Jim extract squirming and recognizes me with a broad smile , wiped his hands with a cloth , and introduced me to the boss as a great DJ from Europe . The old man smiled doubtfully . Myself embarrassed, I cut effusions – Jim took me by the shoulder – in the warmly thanking his home , and told him my amazement the quality of its disk.
– And that thought Mr. Brown?
Oh, he loved it, I tell him . Could we be photographed together ? He laughs in his black sludgy jumpsuit . I give to my little Minolta to the old scrap and asks him to catch us from different angles .
– Ok , Zaviour , thank you for being back. I have to get back to repair, the customer wants it before ‘noon. Write me when you get back in Europe , bye . » And he is already back below the car. Myself I’m thinking I got funny emotions , and that the conversations lounge will roll a few days : Jim Carmody audience , former Rock’n’Roller of the country ‘s radio, will surely rise. If I could have a computer , I would do it on a copy of the disk on CD, we will probably ask him to distribute .
11am. Engine running, wide look at the small town of Brytheville, en route to Iowa, Illinois. I’ll try to fly to Europe tomorrow in Chicago.
Fifteen days later. Arrived at the Saint Exupery airport in Lyon , I was not proud at the idea of ??declaring customs Jim discs , fortunately , it was Sunday , no custom . I set to work immediately . I did microfilm clippings from a photo lab , wrote to » Now dig that » and offered them an article with photos on the discovery of Jim Carmody . On the computer, I scanned a master of the two songs. From the master , I made ??copies on CD that I sent to Jim himself and a dozen European collectors.
The answers start coming : Who’s this guy? Where does it come from? Comments are complimentary about the music , frankly envious towards those who discovered it . Record labels Charly , Ace , Bear Family , Hydra also received the CD , as well as two or three concert organizers and the proposals may shove. .
And I’m glad , because one thing is certain: I hold the last copies of a published there 45 years ago record , nobody has ever heard the disk. Whoever cut it cares a little, and yet with what he told me , I can give him a new life by creating interest on him through his record : if he wants to tour Europe , earn some money and have fun, finally be enjoyed on stage, he can realize with 40 years behind the dream of his youth. Does he even want to?
© 2002 Xavier Maire