|| Buffalo Zone
Sunday, 26 February 2012
I am still kind of numb. A week ago today I got the word that one of my best friends from high school had suffered a stroke and was severely bleeding inside his brain. Then by Thursday, his family made the extremely difficult decision to turn off the machines that were keeping his body alive. His mind was gone from the moment of the stroke, so there was no one there any longer.
Tony Marvin Pearson. Wow. The end of an era. I first met Tony when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, SC. We hit it off immediately due to our musical bond. We were both rabid music and comedy fans. We both collected albums and 45’s. We both wanted to be disc jockeys, so we were in the Byrnes Broadcasting Association and the Junior Achievement Radio Club. In both organizations, he and I were the only two left after a few weeks and some disillusioned would be radio people dropped out. Well, a few
more hung in at J.A., but not in the B.B.A.
On Saturday morning we would broadcast live from WORD radio in Spartanburg, under the watchful eye of Steve McCoy. Then after that we would tape our B.B.A. show at WSPA downtown with Mel Black.
In those days, getting a radio broadcast license was much harder than it is now. Tony and I went to Atlanta and took tests at the FCC as we made our way up from third class, to second class operators. We didn’t do first class, because that was for tech guys and repair men. We just wanted to talk and spin records.
We used to make cassette tapes of air checks at home for one another. Talking and playing just the beginning and end of the songs, doing commercials, etc. We eventually got hired by a real radio station. Tony got in first at WBBR in Traveler’s Rest, SC, and then recommended me to the boss, so he actually got me my first radio job.
From there, we both worked at stations all over the Carolinas. Eventually, I moved to writing and started working for newspapers an magazines, but Tony, sometimes known as Geoff Lynne, continued in radio and did very well with it for many years.
Back at Byrnes, we took classes together. We planned it that way. Harold “My God people!” McManus’ history class. Art class was fun. A class in furniture refinishing. Shop class. Food for dudes. Chorus. We both worked for the school paper and yearbook. Anything creative. Along with our friend Bill Hudson, we did comedy skits in the school talent show. Sadly, Bill passed away from a stroke much like Tony just over a year ago. I like to think they are together now, laughing and sharing stories.
I have so many memories. One that really stands out is he and I double dating to the Piedmont Interstate Fair. I took a girl I was crushing on something fierce named Judy Lawhon. She was a sweetheart. (RIP Judy) Tony took her friend Kim Jones, another beautiful and sweet girl. We had a blast that night, riding the Hemilaya and all these other rides, playing games and winning teddy bears for our dates. I think we both grew up a lot that night in 1975.
Another thing we did for about a year was gospel singing. Yes, it’s true. We played in churches. Most of the time this female friend of his played piano. I can’t remember her name. And I played bass guitar. We both sang good ol’ southern gospel.
Years after high school, Tony married his second wife, and when they broke up and divorced, I ended up seeing her, and eventually married her. Then when we got divorced, he married her again! Eventually they divorced and he and I both later remarried, but for a while it as a little like Days of Our Lives.
Today, as I prepare to attend my old friend’s memorial service, I think about him a lot. The thing that rises to the top each time is music. So many songs that will always remind me of Tony. Songs like: Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Candle in the Wind,” and “The Bitch is Back;” Billy Joel’s whole “Glass Houses” LP; KISS “Destroyer” LP; “Hey Paula” Paul & Paula; “Don’t Go Breakin My Heart” Elton John & Kiki Dee; “Farewell Party” Gene Watson; “The Lighthouse” Rusty Goodman; “Looking for a City” Johnny Cook; the debut album from Klaatu; “Rose Colored Glasses” John Conelee; The Marshall Tucker Band’s first album; “Hungry Heart” Bruce Springsteen; “Bloody Bess” Karla Devito; "Lady" Kenny Rogers; “Laughter in the Rain” Neil Sedaka; anything by Electric Light Orchestra. There are others, but I just can’t recall them all right now.
Tony and I went through heaven and hell together. We had our ups and downs, but the thing I will remember most is all the fun we had when we were the kings of the rock and roll party at Byrnes High School, driving all over in my ‘65 Ford Galaxy with a case full of 8-Track tapes and just plain living. Yeah. Those were the days. I will miss you, old friend.
- Michael Buffalo Smith
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
I am always playing music in the office. I mean ALWAYS. Below is a list of my most played CDs at present. It’s just another blatant attempt at influencing your musical tastes. Some of the discs are new, some old. Hey, you gotta mix it up, right? That said, I hope you will write in the comments below and tell me if you also dig any of these, or turn me onto your personal favorites. Thanks.
1. Brothers & Sisters Thomas Wynn & The Believers
2. The Swing House Sessions Pearl Aday
3. Short Stories from a Long Road Swampdawamp
4. 21 Adele
5. Grey Ghost Henry Paul Band
6. Abbey Road The Beatles
7. Johnny Zvolensky Johnny Zvolensky
8. What’s In It For Me Bekka Bramlett
9. Roots Johnny Winter
10. 50 Words for Snow Kate Bush
11. Low Country Blues Gregg Allman
12. Wish You Were Here (Deluxe) Pink Floyd
13. Motel Shot Delaney & Bonnie
14. A New Life Marshall Tucker Band
15. Layla and Other Love Songs Derek & The Dominos
Monday, 13 February 2012
Man oh man. I must be dreaming. That was the best Grammy Awards show in at least ten years. Over the past few years I have come to the conclusion that the Grammys were all about rap, hip hop, and all the music the 16 year olds are listening to. I am happy to say that last night turned all of that around. Sure, there were a couple of performances that didn’t appeal to this middle ages writer, but there were many that did. Not the least of which was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, opening the festivities full tilt boogie with his new song “We Take Care of Our Own.” Now that’s the way to kick off a party. It was truly cool to see Paul McCartney on the front row rocking out to The Boss. The only sad part was the missing man. I’m talking about The Big Man. Do I have to say his name?
Clarence Clemons. When we lost Clarence we lost a musical giant.
Now, the media , of course, jumped on Springsteen for opening the song by screaming “America, are you alive out there?” They claimed that it was inappropriate due to the passing of Whitney Houston the day before. What they don’t understand is that Bruce starts shows with that line all the time, from the lyrics of his song “Radio Nowhere.” See. It’s things like this that make me hate
the media. I can say that because I was a newspaper and radio reporter for over 25 years. They love to look for the negative. I never did. I guess that' why I'm not doing newspapers for a living.
Case in point. The late Whitney Houston. The media is treating her death like such an unexpected tragedy. It was by no means a surprise to me. Ever since she hooked up with Bobby Brown years ago she has had a drug addiction problem, one that threatened to take her life several times over the years. Like so many, I prayed that she would be able to shake the addiction demons, but in the end, it appears they won out. So sad. And what about the fact that Whitney is being praised as one of the greatest singers of all time by the same
people who ripped her to shreds over the years because of that addiction? What’s wrong with this picture? They did the same thing with Michael Jackson. Two faced bastards.
The beautiful voice that was Whitney Houston was paid tribute several times during the evening, with host L.L. Cool J opening with a prayer. Pretty classy. And Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was so beautiful I had my eyes well up with tears.
Speaking of tributes, I was very happy to see the great Etta James remembered in song by Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys. Good stuff.
Foo Fighters simply rocked it out, and the Beach Boys tribute was fantastic, especially when the real deal showed up to deliver “Good Vibrations.” At nearly 70, Mike Love, Brian Wilson and the boys were harmonizing like solid gold.
The tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Glen Campbell was nice, with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, leading up to Glen himself bringing the house to its feet with “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Still sounding great while fighting Alzheimer's. What a great singer/songwriter and guitar player.
Katie Perry went Gaga on us and Taylor Swift came off as a second rate bluegrass picker, although she did sing well. There were some stellar moments during the show, including the biggest winner of the night, Adele. Now, I really like this girl. She makes singing look effortless, and her voice is strong and pure, her songs are all
great. I was so happy to see a real person win so big, a girl that is not the typical skinny rock star; a girl who actually used the word “snot” during her acceptance speech for album of the year. Adele is the real deal.
Of course, the greatest moment of the evening came via Paul McCartney. Having already wowed everyone with a song, accompanied by Joe Walsh and Diana Krall, Sir Paul closed out the show with a rocking Beatles medley, “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” that sent cold chills up the backs of everyone, especially us middle aged folk. The song ended with an all out guitar jam, with Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl just rocking out. It may have been the greatest Grammy moment I have personally ever seen.
The single biggest disappointment for me was not having The Allman Brothers Band
accept their Lifetime Achievement Awards. Rumors had been raging that not only would they be
there, but that they would be performing once again with Dickey Betts. I found out later that the Brothers had accepted their award during the pre-Grammy show the night before. Thanks to Relix Magazine
, we are happy to include that video below. No band deserves the award more.
Even with no Allman, I applaud The Grammys for an overall rocking show. Maybe there is still hope for the music world.
- Michael Buffalo Smith
The Allman Brothers Band receive Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Thursday, 02 February 2012
This Saturday, February 4, on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country (Channel 60), there will be a radio special that is certain to go down in the history books. Recorded in front of a live studio audience at the SiriusXM Music City Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, the all-star celebration of Waylon Jennings
features the outlaw’s songs and stories from Hank Williams Jr., Jessi Colter, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson
, and Josh Thompson
(all of whom share the stage together, accompanied by guitar legend Reggie Young
and wife Jenny
on cello), as well as audience members Billy Joe Shaver, Cowboy Jack Clement
, and Jennings’ longtime drummer/producer, Richie Albright.
The hour-long special, hosted by Outlaw Country’s Hillbilly Jim,
features songs from WAYLON: The Music Inside,
a three-volume collection of songs dedicated to Jennings’ music... Yes, the Rock Legends Cruise
will return! The second sailing is set for January 10, 2013! The Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchet,
and The Artimus Pyle Band
are already booked. Watch this space for details and band listings as they become available... The Wanee
lineup has been announced.The Allman Brothers Band
will play 2 nights - April 20 and 21, 2012. Furthur
- play 2 nights, April 20 and 21. Other artists include Gov't Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Buddy Guy, Bruce Hornsby, Mickey Hart Band, Hot Tuna Electric, Ray Manzarek & Roy Rogers Band, Leftover Salmon, North Mississippi Allstars, Trigger Hippy, Soja, Conspirator, Eoto, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Particle, Devon Allman's Honeytribe, Zach Deputy, Matt Schofield, Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Big Sams Funky Nation, Charles Bradley, Bonerama, Jacob Jeffries Band, The Yeti Trio, Bonnie Blue.
Tickets on sale now. Music starts April 19 at 2:30pm. Check the Wanee website for full details... The Allman Brothers Band
will perform ten shows beginning Friday, March 9, 2012 at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. Tickets on sale now. Dates, March 9, 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25... Though he never actually retired from touring—as he claimed a few years ago—Dickey Betts
has limited his nights on the road recently. But the guitarist will tour in 2012. Dickey Betts & Great Southern
will pay select dates in March, April and June, with the possibility that additional shows will be added in the coming months. In the final few months of 2011, Betts performed with both onetime Great Southern/Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dan Toler
and Gregg Allman’s son Devon.
In other news, Betts has confirmed that he will attend the 2012 Grammy Awards, where the Allman Brothers Band will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. A note on the guitarist’s Facebook page says, “We are very proud and excited to announce that the Allman Brothers Band was been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented to the band at the 2012 Grammy Awards, taking place on Sunday, February 12. Dickey Betts will be on hand to accept the award along with the other members of the band. This will be an exciting and historic moment that you do not want to miss!
” There is no word yet as to whether Betts will perform with his former band. •