Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Goodbye Hank Williams My Friend

Uncle Tommy Gabriel passed away last week. The same Uncle Tommy from "When Sinatra Played Juarez." Golden times on the border. The clinking of cocktail glasses. Cheap divorces.
Greyhound races. Jai Alai frontons. The Kingston Trio played in Juarez and sang "Tom Dooley."
Nat King Cole rattled the keyboard and sang "Route 66" and "Mona Lisa." They're killing people over there now inside one of the extended drug wars. I heard the rat a tat tat of tommy guns on the streets outside the Geronimo Bar a few years back. Geronimo would have been right at home. But they shipped him off to Florida. Dave Gahr also died last week. Or this week. He was 85. Photographed Bob Dylan and all the great folk writers. I have a signed book of his called: 'The Faces of Folk." Old Dave was a character among Brooklyn characters. One night Ian Tyson and myself shared a few bottles of wine and staggered over to Dave Gahr's brownstone studio in Park Slope Brooklyn. I was dating a gal named Edie, from Lone Wolf Oklahoma, and she came along for the ride. The photos from that night are wonderful, because Gahr knew how to get a rise out of even the most arrogant and stoic folksinger. He'd laugh at you and say: "Oh, you're such a hard ass. You are a very bad guy. What if Marilyn Monroe was sitting in your lap right now, Mr. Hard guy?" You'd crack up and Dave would snap the photo. He treated everyone that way. From God to Emmy Lou. The passing and the passing and the passing. Like a line from a Tim Hardin song: "Goodbye Hank Williams, my friend. I never knew you, but I've been to places you've been."


Neil Crabtree said...

It would be terrific if you'd post those photos by Mr. Gahr either here or at the website. When sad things happen, it refreshes the mind to celebrate the good times, and share the joy as well as the grief. I'm preaching to the choir, I know. But I just came back from the "We're Not Dead Yet" party my hippie friends have in tampa each year.

Tom Russell said...

saddle tramp is gone. the west is a bleaker place.

editor said...

I'll miss ST. Don't quite get what happened there...

I second the motion on posting the photographs. It is passing strange to me that some photographers have such a knack for portraiture. One of my freelancers has the gift. She captures people's essence, their soul, in a way none of the others, good as they are, can.

It smacks of magic, but I think it has something to do with profound empathy.

dynawebb said...

Sometimes I think I haven't a clue what's happening. Other times I KNOW I don't have aa clue...

Sorry to hear about Uncle Tommy, seems like we're losing so many good people just now, this year especially

Saddle Tramp said...


Add to obit:

Utah Phillips

Jimmy McGriff

Sydney Pollack

All in their early 70's

The Past Did Not Go Anywhere.
Let us hope! Last Rites for Dead Men Walking (not)

-ST ( Paladin )

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tom,
My wife loved the Bukowski print, cheers! We hung it on the wall and sat back enjoying some chivas regal, a proper salute to our own brutal little war come right after 15 years. Tom, your music and words have helped to change our lives. I cannot write with the knowing wisdom of you or ST, but I have paid my dues as well. Kia ora!
Kia ka ha,

Unknown said...

Welcome back Saddle Tramp. Please stay a while.

Tom Russell said...

Saddle Tramp is back. I gotta go to the dump with my man Fidel. At the dump I'll see them building that ugly wife now has two baby geese named Gandria and Lugano. Gandria tried to hang herself yesterday and I saved her. I think she was depressed about The Wall. TR

Tom Russell said...

PS. Thanks for notes about the Bukwoski print. they have a few more and an aztec jazz print at
those prints go for the very large bill on the kitchen and goose food. TR

Unknown said...

More obits: Bo Diddly shuffled off today.

Neil Crabtree said...

I admire Tom's quick and unequivocal defense of SaddleTramp.
Definitely a Western thing, to defend what is, versus what should be, the beauty of the Painted Desert versus how the hell are we gone build condos here.

And thank God two bottles of decent dago red aren't enough to scare off a tough old cowboy.

What I'm hoping will happen, will be SaddleTramp will make a blog and post daily, for everyone to enjoy. He has a lot to say, and I for one will link to his blog when he starts it up, so my readers can find it.

In the meantime, it's perfectly fine if I say something out of line to just say, shut the hell up.
This ain't my first rodeo either.
I like freedom of speech more than I should. But I miss it most when
I don't hear it. ST, ride on down the line.

It must be a cowboy thing. But I'll go on buying the Cds and promoting the artist, since TR's distribution system doesn't reflect
the quality of the product, or the tremendous effort made to produce it.

If I can help with distribution, let me know.
If I could think of a nickname, I'd use it here. Nothing comes to mind.

I have received Borderland and Wounded Heart of America from the new source, and I'm loving it. I want Cowboys and the rest, but will wait and see what's available. I just took a literary journal into distribution for B&N and Borders, and if I can help getting TR there, I'd be glad to do it.

Saddle Tramp said...

TR . . .

To set the record straight and to dismiss any ambivalence about my intentions I say the following. My comments are for and to Tom Russell. I trust that Tom says what he means and means what he says. The Cowboy Way. Secondly, I am not promoting anything but heartfelt and true comment. I am not trying to link up of I would provide the means. I have not. I am only trying to expand on what I feel is Tom's orbit of interests. I am not second guessing his motives or anything else. I am not a dilettante. I am living it. Saddle Tramp is not an alter ego. It is how I live. No Home. I also do not want this to be a distraction to Tom. I also deserve no favor. Public discourse is one thing, but petty backbiting is quite another. Do not however have the courage of the knife without the courage of the blood. Tom you have the final say. Tom, if you feel I am overstepping your interest you can announce your opinion if it is not as you announced previously. Truth can be a most difficult thing as can be freedom. It's your show. However it concludes there will be respect either way. Your work speaks for itself. Thanks Tom.

No Fences
No Badges

-ST Have CDL . . . will travel

From Boise, Idaho with brakes set for the night

Saddle Tramp said...

P.S. For those who want to read about the west I would suggest: Angle of Repose
by Wallace Stegner

Also, contrary to popular belief the west was not won with the six shooter, it was won with the windmill. With gun play there is always a loser.


editor said...

Like that about the windmill. It's true — that and the railroad. Tho' the railroad certainly stirred up its share of trouble, too.

Tom Russell said...

I think we need saddle tramp and neil and anyone else to throw in a passionate "two cents." Blogs and emails all "tend" to sound pissy anyway...which is why I don't do business via email much. I leave it to my manager.It's all healthy here, though.
Things are looking very good with the new label Shout Factory and I'm pleased they were involved with the re-issue of one of my all time favorite records: Jennifer Warnes does Leonard Cohen: "Famous Blue Raincoat." Highly recommended even if you have the old version. Thanks for all hanging in there....windmills and

Saddle Tramp said...

Muchas Gracias TR . . .

I like Leonard's letter regarding Bernadette. Class act. I picked up my copy at Accoustic Sounds when passing through Salina, Kansas in the aftermath of a major ice storm. They were running on portable generators and still took care of me. Home of Blues Heaven Recordig also. Quite a story there.

" If I knew where the songs were, I would go there more often " L. Cohen ( paraphrased )

I also pass along my respects to Neil.

-ST from somewhere along The Oregon Trail