Maybe we all become butterflies, someday when we die, just float around, all over, caught up in the endless cycle of life. Now doesn’t that sound nice! What I’m noticing here, is whenever I’m confronted with death, what I mean is, the death of a close friend, the death of an old friend, regardless, I’m left feeling sort of empty, I feel loss. This all goes far beyond, whatever sadness I’m carrying around, over never getting to see this person again. Empty is a bad description, what I feel, is the whip of a thread, as it’s cut, a thread, that tied me down to so much more, than just the memory of that one friend. So here I go again, I found out, just this week, that an old friend passed, James Luther Dickinson. I hung out with Jim, time to time, over the course of a year, more than thirty years back, now I feel this thread blowing in the wind, I think I need to tie it down to something! Craig Stull, my childhood friend, died a year and a half back, today, I notice, that had me feeling the same way, thinking back, that thread snapped back hard! So where am I going with this, well, I remember without a second thought, without even knowing what I was doing, I got in touch with another kid, from the old neighborhood, Glenn Clark, couldn’t really even explain to him, what my call was all about, I didn’t know it then, but all that, was all about, lashing that thread down to something! So flash forward, no, I mean, flash backward, I first met Jim in Memphis, I was living in Nashville, started driving west towards Memphis around 7 or 8 pm, getting to the Unobskys’ around midnight or so. Mary Unobsky was another songwriter, another part of that Memphis plume, the talent that was rising up through the 70s’, her mother, was an ex Ziegfeld follies girl, who proudly testified, to giving up a career in show business, choosing instead, to raise her family. Mary got Jim on the phone, I think all these Memphis People went to high school together, Jim I think, had just got back in town, had copies with him of his new album.
“James Luther Dickinson”
So let me try to set this up a little, Mrs. Unobsky, “Tilly”, would never come out in the daylight, she’d make an entrance, after dark, dressed in a gown, full theater makeup, and sunglasses. She loved throwing on the spot parties, she always had a freezer full of food. The first time I had duck, was at one of those AM dinner parties, Tilly was always up to throw, complete with duck gravy, very difficult, from what I understand to make, I’ve never had that kind of gravy again. So there’s a knock at the door, Mary let’s Jim in, he’d been at some session, that night, went right over to Mary’s spinet piano, started playing some song he’d just heard, locking it down in his repertoire. Tilly had been out, off in the kitchen fixing food, she had a cook, Azzia, all day long, Azzia cooked food, froze it, stocked the freezer, we always praised Tilly for being such a talented cook, hell we were eating Gourmet, 3am, we all knew, Azzia was the Chef. He’d set a brief case, off to the side, as he came in, dressed in a t-shirt, leather jacket, and jeans, billy holly glasses I think, seeing this, for me, was a strange mix, visually, I saw a conflict! He certainly got hold of my attention, Tilly came in, and told us all to sit down, that the food was ready, Chili and Ribs, hmm! Jim starts in on his stories, he’s telling stories about Sam Phillips, stories of Mary’s older brother Butch. We all ate, listened, this guy fascinated me, the stories he was telling, he knew everyone in the business, there were those superstition stories, stories of recording studios in Memphis, where at certain times, certain things would happen, good things, most times, in the middle of the night. He reaches over for the brief case, cracks it open, along with copies of his album, he’s got boxes of tapes, Mary, sets him up on her tape machine, and he begins going through the boxes, all stuff going on, all around Memphis. He never played his album that night for us, maybe a couple of tunes off it, live, just him and a guitar, come to think of it, I can’t remember him ever playing an album, I read his mantra was “World Boogie Is Coming” All the time I knew him, I thought it was,”"Making Records”"!!! Wait one minute, I do recall him playing records one night, out on his farm one night he got into his stacks of 78s’. So if I’ve peaked, any of your interest, over this, just all around good guy, you can check out his Music at www.zebraranch.com
To me, it just wouldn’t make sense, listening to Jims music, as just a series of dashes and dots, how you’d say, zeros and ones, better to get a record, much better, getting it fresh off the farm!!! On to other things, I have grown some interest in Chinese Astrology, I’m fascinated by it, and I find it good fodder for conversation, let’s face it, when I ask some hot young babe, what’s your sign, what they view before them, is some burnt out hippie looking dude, hair down around his shoulders, all caught up, back in the Sixties. When I say no, I’m speaking of the Chinese Zodiac, it surprises them, gets them a little off guard, and with my blackberry in hand, I’m prepared to tell them, whatever they may want to hear. I’m a Dragon, I like the way that sounds, a noble beast, especially within asian culture. The philosophy Yin and Yang figures heavy into this, the Dragon, the only sign, always Yang, it is in the Dragons nature, to reveal, what has been obscured, an existence, out from under shadow. On the other hand, the Snake, is the only symbol in the Chinese Zodiac that is always Yin, one thought on this Chinese Astrology, before I go on, from all I read, its all good, the Snake, stays within the shadows, its all about the balance of opposing, but complimentary force. We are coming into year of the Tiger, this phase, the Tiger is Yang. Hold on to that thought, the Tiger has big teeth, in this coming phase, he is of the light, to reveal, what has been obscured. Jim Dickinsons Music has big teeth, I checked back, looking to find his Chinese Astrological sign, Jim was a Snake, it was in his nature, to mostly stay, work within the shadows, born November 15, 1941— August 15, 2009.
So here we are, year of the Tiger, a Yang Year, we’re working with some light here, how about, let’s shine a little light up on Jim! I’ll be watching tonight, hoping, they’ll be toasting this man, at the Grammies
Tags: 78s', chili and ribs, craig stull, cycle, dragon, duck gravy, fresh, glenn clark, grammies, high school, james luther dickinson, jim dickinson, making records, mary unobsky, memphis, sam phillips, snake, studios, thread, tiger, YANG, YIN, ziegfeld, zodiac