The LuLac Edition #121, Dec. 31, 2006
PICTURE INDEX: JAMES BROWN, THE KING OF SOUL, WILK TALK SHOW HOST KEVIN LYNN AND HANK WILLIAMS SENIOR.
LYNN TO P.R. POST?
So I roll out of bed this Sunday morning and turn on the TV. Scrambling to get my bearings, I turn on the TV, get myself ready for the day and grab myself a TAB out of the fridge to jumpstart a day of company, NFL and bringing in the New Year. As I rumble down the hall, I hear a voice saying that "WILK talk show host Kevin Lynn will be relocating to Hazleton where we will become good friends. I will then name him Public Relations Director for the city of Hazleton". HUH??????? As I got to the living room, I looked at the TV and the voice turned out to be Mayor Lou Barletta making his annual tongue in cheek predictions for WLYN TV 35's "Viewpoint-Year In Review-Year Ahead" show. I was both happy and sad that I wasn't dreaming. Happy because I believe we've had enough surreal politics for this year already but sad because if it were true, man would that be interesting. Barletta also predicted he'd be making side trips to Iowa and New Hampshire to test the waters for a higher office bid.
James Brown died last week and was honored in a series of ceremonies this week. Brown took soul music to the mainstream and in a way inflicted it on many unsuspecting citizens of the United States. He was an outstanding entertainer. Although I never saw one of his shows, those who did said it was a high energy act. Regular contributor Pete Cassidy sent this e mail regarding James Brown:
How many people do ya know who ever saw James Brown live. Kathy did when she was 14 at the Cleveland Arena. No small thing for a little white Cleveland chick in 1965. Imagine how she stood out in the crowd!
HANK WILLIAMS SENIOR
Pete Cassidy and I generally have long political discussions which morph into music debates. He recently told me a story about the circumstances and the mysterious time line surrounding Hank Williams' Senior's death.
1952 or 53
Sometime around midnight on the last day of the old year,
or the first day of the new year,
somewhere between Knoxville, Tennessee and Oak Hill, West Virginia,
the passenger in the back seat of the baby blue, fifty two Cadillac convertible
Exactly where and when will always be a mystery.
What we do know is that it was cold and lonesome out on the highway that night and it was most likely snowing.
A kid named Carr was at the wheel, Charles Carr, hired in Montgomery, Alabama two days past. It had been a long forty eight hours for the seventeen year old Auburn University freshman. Forty eight hours he’s never yet spoken much about and most likely never will.
The passenger was Hank Williams, already a legend literally on the road to becoming a myth. Dead on the way to a New Years day matinee in Ohio. A date he couldn’t afford to miss a long way from home. One thing for certain, Hanks back finally stopped hurtin’ and he was a no show in Canton next day.
Hank Williams had just turned twenty nine in September. Born with great talent and a severe congenital back condition, he was never a stranger to pain. His star burned white hot for a few short years and it seems he lived at the speed of light. He set the standard for all the hard livin’, self destructive young rockers to follow and he set the bar high! His life was a complicated mess! His music was simple. He captured feelings with words. Happy, sad, and especially lonesome, when Hank sang ‘em, you could feel ‘em. He was the first singer/songwriter star and he’s been lookin over the shoulder of every would be tunesmith who’s picked up a guitar and taken pen in hand for over half a century now. That’s a long shadow.
The Cadillac is in the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Hanks buried not far away.
Here’s what I think went down. Hank viewed the trip as a potential bender and got started early way back in Montgomery. Couple a pills, shot of morphine and a whiskey chaser for the road. More pills, more booze and two more shots of morphine in Knoxville. Prob’ly a heart attack at the Andrew Johnson Hotel and back on the road dead or near dead before he got out of town. A scared seventeen year old kid at the wheel. A kid who should have taken Hank straight to the Knoxville Hospital, but a kid who shouldn’t have been in this predicament in the first place! Somebody in Montgomery had to know that the last place on earth Hank needed to be was on the road . Some adult who cared enough to stop this ride before it ever started. One doctor with any sense at all, and Hank saw at least three during his final forty eight hours. One person who loved him, but maybe by then he’d run them all off. Hank Williams last ride was just the final stage in his suicide, but did it hafta’ be so damn lonely?