Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pistols Carved Out Of Soap

Back on the road. At least 60 in a row. This is my terrain. Querencia. We began in Tucson at the Congress Hotel; stayed there at the historic old railroad palace. The Congress bar is called the Tap Room; a bronc rider named Pete Martinez used to trade drawings for drinks. The drawings are still on the wall. Bony broncs and rank steers. Cowboys with cigarette butts in their mouths. Some nights the drinks are still a dollar a piece. The Margaritas are very excellant. Pete Martinez reminds me of the story of Guy Welch, the Picasso of the western saloon and whorehouse, who drove up and down the 1940's West, from Mexicali to Calgary, painting cowboy murals on saloon walls, in exchange for beer and a bed, and the odd dollar. Back in the Congress Hotel, John Dillinger was fleeing with the other guests during a fire... Dillinger bribed a fireman to go back up and retrieve the bags. Machine guns and stolen money fell to the street and Dillinger was caught. He later broke out of jail with a gun carved out of soap.
Onward we went to Las Cruces and the Rio Grande Theatre, which was full to capacity. And then to Santa Fe, where the streets are full of Indian Santos carved for the Indian Market. It feels good to be back on the road; trying out new songs. As Townes said "Living on the road my friend, is bound to keep you free and clean. Now you wear your skin like iron, and your breath's as strong as kerosene..." Or as Lowell George might say: "I'm still Willin'." Next stop Edmonton Folk Festival, and please check out the new face of our website at www.tomrussell.com with new art work. We're going for a more user-friendly approach. Now we're off to a gig at a detox center. With that in mind, might I recommend one of the best music books ever written: Art Pepper's "Straight Life." You might enjoy that journey, and it was a rough one. Adios....TR

5 comments:

editor said...

New Web site is excellent. Much improved.

Guess we'll have to head down to California this winter to catch you.

Saddle Tramp said...

Judas in a Red Dress

TR . . . A " very excellent " post. I was eyeing Visalia on your schedule as I had just taken a load from Visalia (where The End of the Trail once was before they moved it). If the stars line up I'll be there. Yes, and then Dillinger betrayed by that infamous red dress, was gunned down and the G-Man responsible later was driven to suicide by his boss that vainglorious G-Man ( Edgar The Terrible ).
Another good jazz book is " Bird Lives " The high life and hard times of Charlie . . . by Ross Russell. You get your yardbird with this one as well.

-ST

Rawlins, WY Frontier Prison and a two headed Cadillac.
On the trail to Portland and hopefully a trip to Powells Books between loads. Art Pepper is on the list. I will also be looking for " Savage Art " the biography of Jim Thompson. Have you read it? If so, do you recommend it? The author also edited a couple of crime novel anthologies. So many books, so few dollars. Thanks for the recommend. Always appreciated. Always valued.

editor said...

ST:

Greetings from Oregon (Central Oregon, that is).

Savage Art is really, really good. I read it many years ago when I was working at a book store, but it sticks with me. Gives a wonderful sense of the times of Thompson's growing up as well as an understanding of his "savage art."

One thing I got a kick out of was his attitude toward Louis L'Amour, whom he knew as a young man in Oklahoma. L'Amour was aMarxist back then — wonder if Reagan knew that when he gave him the Medal of Freedom. Thompson thought he was a complete phony.

Get the book; you'll like it.

Saddle Tramp said...

Made it to Powell's Books but unfortunately struck out on both Arts, Pepper and Savage. I'll get em' tho'. However, one can never go to the Powell's ( 10th & W. Burnside location) and not be tempted beyond your pocketbook. I found solace with "Escaping The Delta" by Elijah Wald. I chose the cheaper paperback which also included a CD. Dave Alvin leads out with the praises on the inside of the paperback version and gets on the back of the hardcover as well. Also picked up "Tau" by Phillip Lamantia and "Journey To The End" by John Huffman in the Pocket Poets Series. Several other gems to boot. A trip through the small press section, but did not gamble. A cab ride back Franz Bakery and that neon loaf of bread rotating in the Portland night having taken TR's advice and am now armed with literature. The Arts will have to wait . . .

-ST
Portland, OR City of books, bridges, bikes and bumper stickers.

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