Here's to all those guys who taught me how to pick back in the 60s. Habitues of honkey-tonks and taverns -- Chet and Travis disciples each and every one. Wonderful and supremely gifted cover artists who made "Under the Double Eagle" and "Memphis" come alive, and who inspired countless couples to make babies simply by playing "Last Date" just before the 11:15 break.
They could all play "House of the Rising Sun" with grace and integrity -- and, sometimes, even with a straight face.
And each was capable of suffering through interminable versions of "Wooly Bully" three or four nights a week, before and after grueling and low-paid day jobs.
The guys I came up with could blast through a nine-to-one gig like Clapton on a good night and make all the aging high school honeys cry and wail when they soloed. And then they would climb out of bed at 6 a.m. and punch in at the factory for the morning shift.
So here's to Bubby Terry and Clydus Meeker and Tony Schafer. And, most of all, here's to my Pop, who upon watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show playing "All My Loving," remarked: "Shoot, that Harrison kid is just some British guy who likes Carl Perkins." And the next day, at third-grade recess, I was so proud that I had the only dad in town who could care less about their haircuts.
So far as I know there wasn't a single record contract among the bunch of my teachers and mentors, but God bless them all. And if we don't think about those old 60s guys, who played back when a couple of Fender Twins was a "really good PA system," and cry a little bit every time "Memphis" gets broadcast on an oldies channel, we're not doing our job.