God is invisible to the ignorant, and can't be seen by the knowledgeable.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Posted by Nasrudin at 6:46 PM
Marketing: Letting the right people know, so they can let the wrong people know too.
Posted by Nasrudin at 5:51 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Posted by Nasrudin at 1:05 PM
"It's really quite large-ish, i'nnit?"
Monday, January 5, 2009
The record cover showed a big black man with a big grey beard playing a big dreadnought acoustic guitar. He had a pink short-sleeve shirt on, and the background was a powerful construction of planes of color, white walls and barred windows, bisected by dark shadows and sun, and a bright raw triangle of blue, of blue sky. It was artful and direct and pure.
There was a terrific story connected to the record too, and the liner notes by the distinguished Peter Guralnick sketched it in roughly. Ted Hawkins had been singing on the streets of Los Angeles in 1971 when a young blues fan named Bruce Bromberg heard him. Bromberg had produced a few bluesmen in the past and so now he recorded Hawkins. But the problem was that these tunes weren't blues, and Bromberg didn't exactly know what to do with them, although one song, "Sweet Baby," even got played a few times on a local R&B station.
A dozen years later, 500 miles away, by sheer accident, I heard it on the radio too. I couldn't tell you if it ever got played again — I couldn't prove to you it ever got played in the first place. It begins: "Sha la la la lala la la . . ." in a blasting burst of joy so solid words won't stick to it. But then words gather:
"Sweet baby, you know
That no one can love you the way I do
And I just proved it . . . "
and then the words race across a mind exposed in love and fear and ferocious pride, bragging, begging for praise, flirting, flattering, starting a jealous argument just for the sweet sake of smoothing all those ruffled feathers, rolling and tumbling in a bed of laughter, swearing true strong love on a stack of Bibles, and then offering up one of the largest and purest lies a lover can ever deliver:
"Don't worry, darlin'
I'll do nothin' at all
That would cause your teardrops to fall . . ."
before raking it all back under again with another burst of "Sha la la la . . . " just to remind you what a pack of liars we all are.
[see the beginning of this piece, "Watch Your Step; Ted Hawkins and me," below somewhere, and other Ted Hawkins documents]
Over time, Ted sent me a number of versions of his life-story. In the music business, you'd call it a "bio," but the fact is that Ted was only just barely in the music business when he wrote these, and nobody who's really in the music business ever writes their own bio. Generally, they just hire somebody like Robert Hilburn, the "Pop Music Critic for the LA Times," and he or one of his cub scouts writes it anonymously and then, later, they get the privilege of quoting from it when they write a feature or a review or something. It's really kind of a charming music business tradition in its way. And Ted, had he known, would loved to have participated. But he didn't know. Of course. He didn't know. He couldn't know. Did you?
Friday, January 2, 2009
Here's a little Ted Hawkins tale for you. We're in the visitors' room of Vacaville of a Saturday afternoon, with all the chaos and formality that takes place on Saturday visits to any decent prison. Amidst our talk, one of the things I want to know is whether he's got a guitar. Well, no, in fact. "But Charlie Manson used to lend me his. I think my songs really touched his heart."
Booking No 6872-844
Los Angeles CA 90054
This will acknowledge receipt of the literature you sent me dated February 28, 1983. Thank you for the Mention you gave me in your year-end review listing. If that doesn't Make Me look good, nothing else Will. Especially the part where you put Me Up With Mr. Bruce Springsteen; that caused the people here to look at Me With their Mouth hung open, in surprise. I haven't had the pleasure of hearing Mr Springsteen sing before, however I've been told Many times that he is a great big super star. And is one of the best singers in the World. Are you sure you didn't Mean to Tie Me With some one else? Am I really that good? I remain humble.
I've got a private lawyer thanks to My Wife's begging, pleading and crying, she talked a private lawyer into excepting a retainer fee for $75.oo. The fee in full is $500.oo. He will allow us to pay him on time. I am very optimistic about the Outcome of the Whole thing now. All I need is an agent to assist Me in Causing the Album to become a periodical publication. The public is not buying the record fast because they haven't heard it. No Matter how good a record sound, if there's No one to push and permote it, It's going nowhere. Any agent knows that in Order to sell the Artist's records, One first has to sell the Artists. Thats the agents job. And I know Not the Whereabouts of such a person. I would perfer a femail for an agent rather than a Mail. I can relate to a Woman better then I can a Man, in Any Circumstances. I am More incline to take their advice quicker. During your daily Activities, if you stumble across one please inform Me.
Thank you for investigating regards to the lone that I asked from Rounder. But I don't need them now. I'll take care of it. I can't wait to read about Myself in Mother Jones. Thanks for sending the press clips. It Mean So Much to Me, to know that people are reading about Me in some parts of the World.
Very Truly Yours,
Theodore Hawkins, Jr.
The story I have to tell here scares me. It's a long story because it has to be, and I'm in it because I've never been able to find a way out. I don't know if the ending is happy or not. Although it was for Ted. I do know that — for Ted it was. I know that for sure, for certain. And for me? Well, I don't yet know. I don't know yet. I don't know.
In the summer of 1982, I received Ted Hawkins' album Watch Your Step in the mail. I always got lots of albums in the mail. I can remember the day, the afternoon, the shape of the room and the color of the walls, what the weather was like outside when I played that record for the first time.
The first thing to hear on that record is Ted Hawkins shouting, hollering:
"Watch your step!
Before you stumble and fall..."
and even though I listened to that record over and over and over again, a thousand times, and then a thousand times more, I still managed to miss the warning.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
My new copain, compadre, comrade, Julian from Columbia, tauromaquier, polyoptician, brilliant illuminator of bordels et bordellos, acolyte of Jodo, laid it out in the Marseilles way. "I love painting," he told me, "but tarot is my passion." The array arrived entirely as major arcana, and none reversed, despite a thorough shuffling of the complete deck. If you know tarot, you might doubt that this is real. It's real. C'est vrai.
(oh, and feel free, preferrably privately, maybe, to offer your own interpretations)