RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Saturday, March 19

L.E.o.R. - Spring '11 - Day Five - 70 to 40

It's a beautiful warm Friday afternoon, I've got the outside speaker - as water damaged and dry-rotted as ever but made of indestructible 1970s stereophonic craftsmanship - pumping it up from its perch on top of a blue milk crate, sitting at the picnic table, finger poking my madness into a laptop with a hot battery that feels like it'll burn my shit up one day. Alice Cooper is playing on the music box, "I'm a boy and I'm a man" blaring through the universe that is the compound back yard right about now. I'm feeling pretty swelled up with pride in my southside roots, my DNA a lot like that damned speaker I got five years ago from underneath the "To Good To Throw Away" carport at the Fluvanna County landfill. I get messed up and uglier the more I get left out unprotected in the elements, but somehow I keep doing what I'm supposed to do, and do it better than most new-fangled bullshit meant to replace me. Alpha-to-omega mindframe, in full effect. So the criteria I'm gonna use today is thinking back on those southside roots, crazy fuckers standing around the bed of a pick-up truck, passing joints, reaching into various coolers, wrapping a hot shot of Jim Beam with a pre- and post-swig of ginger ale, and telling stories, based on reality usually, but always extraordinary. That's how I got to talk the stories I talk at the world, from wanting to be all those dudes when I grew up. So the criteria today is who of the match-ups could handle leaning on the back of a '72 Silverado or '76 Ram or whatever, and survive the conversation.
Day two (1 to 0, Snyder): Gaylord Perry is a baseball player, which is most closely resembled in our modern southern society by the travelling salesman. They do okay in more structured environments, like bars or cookouts with pop-ups. They don't fare so well in the naked realms of pick-up truck philosophy sessions. And for as pretentious and cultural elite as Gary Snyder can come off as sometimes, he still slummed it up with lumberjacks for a long ass time, and has prided himself on being in touch with working class folks. You can't even try to pull that off without splitting some Olympias over top the back end of a Chevrolet. Advantage: Gary Snyder, he done won.
Day two (1 to 0, Ghostface): I hate to break it down this way, because it comes down to race, but Ghost is a black dude who probably would be wearing very clean clothes, that maybe had never been worn before. Godwin is a piece of white trash from California who somehow ended up being involved in running cocaine from central America as a fugitive from the law. Both would distrust the back of your average southside pick-up truck, but Godwin would make easier friends. Advantage: Glen Stewart Godwin, tied 1-1.
Day two (1 to 0, Caz): This is even tougher because Stiles is a carnival freak who refuses to be in a carnival, and Caz is a pioneer rapper who never got his proper cultural daps. Still though, being old school, Caz has hung with all types of folks by now, and you get them old dudes together with a joint, black and white, city and country, and they bond over the simple things like Otis Redding or how bad angel dust used to be or Mexican pussy or something. A carnival freak is always gonna be a carnival freak, no matter where you put them, unless it's Gibsonton, Florida. Advantage: Grandmaster Caz, he done won.
Day two (1 to 0, Crews): Shit man, Harry Crews in his prime got most of his stories from leaning around the back end of pick-up trucks in scenarios exactly like I'm describing. Advantage: Harry Crews, he done won.
Day one: Not really a fair fight because a Mexican drug lord is not gonna trust a bunch of southside Virginia rednecks, nor want to be around them at all. Henry Fulcher is a southside Virginia AM radio bluegrass DJ, and old as fuck, so he probably wouldn't be comfortable around all those good ole boys either, but they'd at least be more tolerant of him, hiding their joints until he left, and toning down the conversation. Once he got back in his Buick and drove off though, they'd be blazing up for lost time. Advantage: Henry Fulcher, 1 to 0.
Day one: Jack Chick makes up Jesus comics for retarded Christians. Jackie Tyson is actually one of those southside Virginia dudes I remember seeing growing up. I need to get by and see that old dude once I can start driving again. Which reminds me I need to get a new battery and two new tires for my truck. Somebody used the truck to take our trash to the landfill, and the cargo light got left on, so the battery is dead. No matter how much I try to escape it, I'm still country as fuck. It's like a stain on my soul. Advantage: Jackie Tyson, 1 to 0.
Day one: This is actually the best battle, between an old and crazy, somewhat racist rockabilly legend, and a dude who became somewhat famous for being one of the more fearless barehanded catfishers (aka noodler, or grabbler) that there ever was. In fact, this is the only match-up I'm writing about under the back-of-the-truck talk criteria that would move beyond the initial phase, because both of these dudes would probably survive the initial conversation. But after a few hours of talking about catching catfish with your bare hands, or throwing dynamite into ponds, or whatever, you run out of things to talk about. When you're an old crazy fucker who does not mind doing speed even slightly, you are bound to last longer around the truckbed, probably late into the night, until the conversation moves into the shed under lights. Advantage: Jerry Lee Lewis, 1 to 0.
Day one: Again, Jim Brown is a somewhat proud black dude former football player. Jesco White is a tapdancing hillbilly from West Virginia. Jesco would easily survive better, but he also seems full of himself after his documented fame, and would probably get his ass kicked before the night was over. Advantage: Jesco White, 1 to 0.
Day one: Actually, this one would probably move past the first phase too, as you have David Lee Roth prototype lead singer of Black Oak Arkansas who parlayed being an Ozark wildman into a long musical career where he still has weekly gigs in Memphis, Tennessee. John Force is a wacky California-style redneck guy who races funny cars really well. Again, like the Catfish Rider/Jerry Lee Lewis thing, after you talk cars for a long ass time, which would probably take the early lead around the truck bed, what's left? And I doubt Force would get all fucked up, as he doesn't seem the type. Jim Dandy would probably make it until under the shed lights as well. Advantage: Jim "Dandy", 1 to 0.
Day one: Sorry, a homosexual filmmaker into kitschy art, as awesome as he is, is not gonna compare to a former bootlegger turned Nascar hero who got out of Nascar when it got too fucking stupid and corporate and sold pork products instead but now also sells small batches of handmade liquor. Not even close. Advantage: Junior Johnson, 1 to 0.


Steph said...

Every time you mention Henry Fulcher I laugh my ass off because it's all so true.

Raven Mack said...

every time we happen to be driving within radio range on a weekday morning, I force my family to listen to WFLO AM, and explain why Henry Fulcher is so awesome, and how there is nothing like him anymore and with the internet and all, there never will be again.