Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Painted Ladies

I’m headed off to be with my painting buddies today. We decided to call ourselves the Painted Ladies. It reminds me of Willis Alan Ramsey’s song, which I mentioned years ago on this post called "Precious Moments."

I found Willis Alan on MySpace and listened to a few of his songs – it certainly brought back some memories. The first time I ever heard Willis Alan was in Red River back in about 1972. He came to town to play at the Outpost. I had never heard of him, but all the other music fans in RR were excited about him. I guess he had quite the cult following around Austin. There was a band playing at the Motherlode that summer, but I don’t remember their name. I do remember having a crush on one of the musicians, and I managed to be sitting with him at the Outpost when Willis Alan was playing that night. After the first song, I remember thinking, "What a horrible voice - kind of scratchy." But the musician I was sitting with was awed, "Isn’t he great!" In my mind I thought, "Not really," but my mouth said, "Why yes, he is." Okay, I was trying to impress the guy. After listening to the rest of Willis Alan Ramsay’s concert that night and listening to his album the rest of the summer, I learned to appreciate him much more. Everyone seemed to be "in to" Willis that summer and played his album over and over. That is the way the kids were in RR – everyone following the fad. That may have been the same summer everyone was drinking Olympia beer.

Several years later, Red River put on a bluegrass music festival and invited WAR to play - along with some other popular bands. Since I worked nights at TR’s, I had my days free to work at the music festival taking tickets, which was a story itself. I was working with Judy Miller, a good friend of my mom’s and very interesting lady, when some serious bikers came through the gate. We took their tickets and stamped their hands to show that they had paid for the day, but the ink was dry (after all it was a hot summer day). Judy kept trying to get the inkpad to work, but it was dry. She seemed flustered. A big biker dude snatched it away from her and then hauled off and spit in it. He worked the spit into the ink, stamped himself, and handed it all back to Judy. I still remember the look on her face as she took the inkpad and stamp.

That was a side trip. Now I will get back to WAR. The music festival was held at Powder Puff Ski Area. The audience sat on the side of the hill to watch the bands below. I had made my way to the audience to hear WAR, but he was late – very late. Eventually, Wayne Kidd, the emcee came on and announced that WAR would be coming on shortly, but because WAR was being such a jerk we might all want to go take a break and not listen to him. It seems that Mr. Ramsey had gotten a bit difficult to deal with – maybe a bit arrogant. That may have been the summer everyone was drinking gin and tonics with a twist of lime.

I had not heard WAR for years, but my big brother, who has a "in" with lots of Austin musicians, brought me a WAR t-shirt a few years back. I wear it all the time. People ask me, "Who is Willis Alan Ramsey?" And I reply, "Do you remember the song, Muskrat Love sung by Captain and Tennille? Well, he wrote it."

11 comments:

Mrs. Bear said...

Olympia beer...that would be the summer of 1975 and 1976...brought back cases of it to Texas Tech for our enjoyment...does that make me a "bootlegger"? Ah the days of Three Faces West, Tz Wright, Willis Alan and smokey nights at the Cotton Club...Days when bars were called by their Correct Name...The Red Onion, The D Bar D, Lazy H and Kate and Gary's...and breakfast at Woodies and lunch at the Dairy Bar and dinner at Jack and Edna's with apple pie and rum sauce.

Buck said...

There's lots of Willis on YouTube (here he is doing Painted Lady). Forgive me, but he sounds like nearly any given country singer to me... in that interchangeable sorta way. I much prefer Gary P. Nunn or Robert Earl Keen if we're gonna talk about Austin musicians. And Lord knows there are more, too.

Apropos of nothing... I got a little confused when you started referring to him as "WAR" later on in the post. The old funk/fusion band War is playing somewhere south of us this weekend, and I thought you were talking about them for the longest time... until it dawned on me: initials. My "D'Oh!" moment for the day...

Have fun with the Painted Ladies!

Jo Castillo said...

Those LBB/Texas Tech memories are scary. Ha. I think Mr. Ramsey would have to grow on you/me. Great story and I hope you have fun painting, too.

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

That's funny...i thought she was talking about WAR too...then i was thinking 'oh...i didn't realize that WAR was his initials...

then the bigger light came on...

Becky said...

I guess I'm the pup here. I've never heard of either Willis Alan Ramsey or Olympia beer. Now, for a scratchy voice, I love Kenny Rogers.

Mrs. Bear said...

Ok I love the Ramsye music makes me think of early days of "love"and good friends. Friendships that have stood the test of time...lucky, lucky us!!!!

AirmanMom said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a kind comment. I'll be back to read you again soon!
~AM

Bag Blog said...

Buck and Piper,
Sorry about the confusion. I just got tired of typing out Willis Alan Ramsey and decided to go with WAR instead - not knowing about any other musicians.

Anny, thinking about Olympia beer did bring back some memories.

Jo, some of those Lubbock memories are a bit scary - my first date with Toby was to the Cotton Club to hear Joe Ely.

Airman Mom, I do hope you drop back by. My posts are not usually about our military, but I have been a Soldiers' Angel and followed Milblogs for years now.

Becky, You are just a babe.

Anonymous said...

.... AND he wrote "The Ballad of Spider John".... which is one of my favorite songs..... the Missus likes it too!....

Eric

Bag Blog said...

Eric, You are right - that is one of my husband's favorite songs too.

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

HE wrote Spider John? Wow...now THAT'S a cool song...