Friday, June 08, 2007



Before Ben Windham wrote his horrible description of John McKee's life on Sunday two weeks ago,
I had no idea what a sick puppy we had with this back ward patient Windham IN CHARGE OF OUR PAPER'S EDITORIAL PAGE!

Dat don't bother me 'cause
I will rag HIS
NEW YORK TIMES MONEY GRUBBING ass 'till the cows come home!!!!

Read his "article" about John McKee and then read mine and you figure out who's an American!

THE joker
I wrote my article about John McKee in 1997
I copied this from Ben Windham's column two weeks ago Sunday(May 20, 2007)
& the knucklehead actually wrote this.
Compare it to what I wrote and ask yourself the question,
"Who is anti-American?":
[or even mo' worser]

I am almost certain he inserted the law that made this land a federal reservation into the legislation creating the State of Alabama in 1819. He opened the land office here and he was our first U.S. representative. Most of the veterans around here got their Revolutionary War and War of 1812 pensions through McKee. He was the strongest of all the supporters of the University of Alabama and this is what he gets from Selma native and BSC alum Windham.
It's so sad that Windham's po' ass 'flicted soul ain't got sense enough to ashamed of his SCALAWAG self.
The po' boy needzzzzzzzzzz



Judging people who lived in another century by our standards and values can be a dangerous exercise. Like milk, the notion of goodness can easily curdle and spoil.

Still, it’s hard to see how some historical figures could sleep easily, knowing what they did to other humans.

One of those people was John McKee, whom historian Matt Clinton called Tuscaloosa’s “first citizen who attained national importance."

McKee dedicated most of his life to Indian affairs and politics.

“I … never heard anything from him but the truth," said a Cherokee chief in Tennessee.

But thousands of Choctaws in Alabama and Mississippi probably went to their graves cursing him.[HUH?!!!...ed.]

Born in Virginia, educated in Greek and Latin philosophy, McKee moved in 1821 to Tuscaloosa. By then, he had a quarter-century of experience in dealing with the Cherokees, Chickasaws and Choctaws.

McKee caught Andrew Jackson’s eye during the Creek Indian War in 1812, when he helped persuade the Chickasaws and Choctaws to fight on the side of the white Americans.

It’s a dramatic story.

After the bloody attack by Creek warriors on Fort Mims in south Alabama, Choctaw Chief Pushmataha went to Mobile to offer the services of his tribe to the U.S. Army.

However, the Army commander, Thomas Flournoy, wouldn’t hear of it. Indians serving as United States soldiers? Impossible.

Pushmataha was mortified. He headed home in a huff.

He’d reached St. Stephens, the territorial capital, when a galloping courier overtook him. Flournoy had changed his mind. The Choctaws could have the privilege of serving in the Army, the general decided.

Pushmataha returned to his people. In an eloquent speech to the 5,000 Choctaws camped along the banks of the Tombigbee River, he made the case for war.

Pushmataha called Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, who had recently urged Southern Indians to uproot the whites from their lands, “a bad man."

Tecumseh had convinced the Creeks to attack Ft. Mims. The whites there “were our friends," Pushmataha, his features highlighted by the flickering council fires, told the Choctaws.

“They played ball with us. They sheltered and fed us, whenever we went to Pensacola. Where are they now? Their bodies rot at Sam Mims’ place.

“You are all free men," the Choctaw chief continued. “I dictate to none of you." But he vowed to join the whites at St. Stephens and fight the Creeks.

“If you have a mind to follow me, I will lead you to glory and to victory," he concluded.

There was a brief pause, a silence as the Choctaws drank in his words. Then a warrior stood up and slapped his chest.

“I am a man!" he said. “I am a man. I will follow you!"

The other warriors leaped to their feet and did the same.

Jackson, meanwhile, sent word about Ft. Mims to McKee, who was visiting in Tennessee. The general told the Indian agent to “get out" as many Choctaws as he could to attack a Creek settlement at he falls of the Warrior River.

The Choctaw warriors did as McKee asked. But when they came to the site where Tuscaloosa later would be built, all they found were deserted lodges; the Creeks, forewarned, had escaped.

They burned the empty village, then split forces. Some returned home and the rest -- around 135 -- went to St. Stephens to be mustered into the Army.

Jackson delivered a shattering deathblow to the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend in 1814, ending the war.

For their loyalty and service, the whites rewarded the Choctaws with a knife, slowly twisted, in the back.

In 1820, the year before McKee came to Tuscaloosa, Jackson bullied the tribe into approving the Treaty of Doaks Stand. The Choctaws ceded more than 4 million acres of prime cotton acreage for lands of questionable value in the new “Indian Territory" west of the Mississippi River.

The Indians didn’t want to give up their property. But when they argued with Jackson, the general went into a rage and threatened to exterminate them.

The Choctaws were wary of Jackson and rightly so. He had shown no quarter at Horseshoe Bend. Then he relentlessly pursued renegade Seminoles into Florida. Old Hickory was not a man to be crossed.

Under the terms of the treaty, the Indians lost a third of their ancient tribal property, which stretched from the Tombigbee to the Mississippi River.

A decade later, McKee would help Jackson complete the land grab.

But first there was an interlude in McKee’s new hometown. President James Monroe appointed him as registrar of the Tuscaloosa land office in the spring of 1821.

McKee was what we would call a piece of work. In a town where tippling was one of the main pastimes, he allowed himself exactly one drink a day. Moreover, it had to be at high noon.

He would appear outside of Travis’ saloon at University Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, glancing nervously at his timepiece. If it was a few minutes before noon, he would pace back and forth in front of the saloon until it was precisely 12. Then he would enter, down a drink and leave.

Little boys learned to tell time by watching him.

Despite this eccentricity, he was popular enough with the voters. They elected him to Congress in 1822, 1824 and 1826.

He ran each time as a Jackson Republican. McKee was so enamored of the Indian-fighting general that he carried a walking stick with 13 knots, each carved with a letter of Jackson’s name.

McKee didn’t run in 1828, when Jackson was elected president, but Old Hickory didn’t forget him. In the first few months of his administration, he picked McKee to help broker a treaty to get the Choctaws out of West Alabama and Mississippi for good.

The governor of Mississippi already had decided that leaving “savage tribes of Indians" in possession of fertile land “cannot be tolerated." The Legislature responded with an act giving the state “unlimited sovereignty" over all the land in Mississippi.

The governor feared problems with enforcing the act, however, and he sought Jackson’s help.

The president’s directions to McKee and the others he named to talk to the Choctaws were simple: Make a new treaty to get the governor off his back.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, signed near Macon, Miss., in September 1830, made the draconian Treaty of Doaks Stand look like a walk in the park.

It decreed that the Choctaws would exchange all of their remaining land for reservation property west of the Mississippi -- including land the tribe already had been given in 1820.

Tribal leaders, some of them wooed with promises of land and cash, backed the treaty. But most Choctaws were bitterly opposed.

Seven elderly women who sat near the center of the council ring were especially vocal. When a half-breed chief spoke in favor of the treaty, they shouted him down and one of them threatened him with a butcher knife.

McKee and the other commissioners knew they needed a sweetener. So they added a provision saying that any Choctaw who chose to remain on the ancestral tribal lands could do so.

There were a few catches.

The Indians who remained would be subject to Mississippi property taxes, highway assessments and military conscription. They also had to purchase their home sites.

A reduced price was offered, but most of the Choctaws didn’t begin to have the money. Hunger forced many of them to barter away their government-issued land scripts for a sack of corn or flour to help feed their families.

To make matters worse, the terms delayed for 60 years a “final accounting" of treaty provisions. And the government agent to the Choctaws failed to register many of the land claimants.

As the Indians debated the treaty, a motley rabble of whites, hungry for new property, hung around the council fringes. They set up bars and faro tables. The treaty commissioners didn’t interfere; instead, they went to some lengths to drive away the Christian missionaries who came to help the Indians.

To the federal officials, the presence of the rabble was a form of leverage, a symbolic threat that loomed larger as the talks dragged on. Unless the Indians agreed to the federal treaty, Jackson’s commissioners would pull out and let the Great State of Mississippi and its people do as it pleased with the Choctaws.

Ultimately, the Indians caved. More than 160 chiefs and warriors put their marks on the treaty.

The government didn’t lose much time in getting them out. Half of the tribe was ordered to leave during the falls of 1831 and 1832; the rest would have to follow in the fall of 1833.

Fearful of the future, the Choctaws pleaded to have a representative in Congress. No can do, the treaty commissioners said. That would have to be a decision for people in higher positions. The important thing now was to prepare to move.

McKee, hailed by the whites on the frontier and President Jackson for negotiating such a wise and fair accord, decided it was time to rest on his laurels. He retired to an estate he’d purchased in Boligee and given the fanciful name “Hill of Howth" for a beautiful spot in Ireland.

McKee died in 1832 and was buried in Bethsalem Cemetery.

The Choctaws, meanwhile, stumbled west, through massive swamps, thick forests, dense canebrakes and dangerous streams on a journey of more than 550 miles.

The first wave of 4,000 Choctaws was supposed to have been transported to the reservation, in what is modern Oklahoma, by steamboat and wagons. However, the planning fell apart and the group walked much of the way, enduring a terrible winter with blizzard conditions, illness and starvation. They died by the hundreds.

By the time the second wave of Choctaws left, the government had overspent its Indian removal budget. Rations were cut even further and the tribe had to walk most of the way to Oklahoma. En route, the Indians were hit by a cholera epidemic. Hundreds more died.

Word about the deadly marches west quickly reached the remaining Choctaws; only 800 showed up for the final trek. Some 6,000 decided to stay on their ancestral lands.

Corrupt white officials went to work, bilking many who remained out of their property. The Indians appealed to the federal government; ultimately, it promised a reimbursement, but only for individuals willing to relocate to Oklahoma.

In the end, just 3,000 Choctaws stayed in their old land between the rivers. The once-powerful tribe -- always friendly, always loyal to the whites -- was effectively destroyed.

Hill of Howth is long gone. But on a rainy Wednesday, I visited Boligee in hopes of finding McKee’s grave.

I had a computer map showing Bethsalem Cemetery, but Boligee’s lack of road and street signs made it worthless.

Instead, I followed my instincts down a country road outside of Boligee and pulled up in front of a hillside church.

The lawn was newly mown, but the church seemed long abandoned. Weeds grew at the doorway. There was no sign, nothing saying Bethsalem.

But some of the tombstones in the graveyard looked to be right age, so I got out in the pelting rain and poked around.

I had nothing to guide me except Matt Clinton’s history, long out of print, which says McKee’s grave is in the “fartherest corner" of the cemetery. Which corner, I didn’t have a clue. I wasn’t even sure I was in the right cemetery.

But I’d come too far in the rain to turn around and go home. After an hour of squinting, rubbing and deciphering the old carved stones under the dark skies with the help of a flashlight, I finally found McKee’s grave marker.

It’s in bad shape. Broken in two or three places, it’s partially hidden by undergrowth.

I got on my knees to read it. I couldn’t make out the entire inscription, but it was clearly the stone I’d been seeking. It spoke of McKee’s service as Indian agent and member of Congress, calling him a “prominent citizen" of early Alabama.

I reached for the top of the stone to pull myself up -- only to find it was balanced precariously on its broken bottom half.

So this was the end of Tuscaloosa’s first citizen of national importance, three-term congressman and long-time Indian agent: a broken tombstone in a remote and overgrown corner of an obscure country cemetery on an unmarked road.

Again, it’s dangerous to pass judgment now. But considering the fate of the Choctaws that McKee helped to herd west, it seemed a fitting end.

There was a big controversy in the Alabama Legislature last month over resolutions apologizing for slavery.

Only one opposing argument made any sense to me, however. After slavery, where do the apologies stop?

Reach Editorial Editor Ben Windham at 205-722-0193 or by e-mail at



By Robert Register

The memory of the frontier career of Colonel John McKee, Tuscaloosa's first U.S. Representative, can never be relegated to the shadows of oblivion shared by most of Alabama's pioneers. A mountain of documentation produced by almost forty years of McKee's public service in the old Southwest continue to await the biographer who will someday preserve McKee's memory for posterity.

Colonel McKee would certainly be unconcerned that his life had never been illuminated by American historical research.
Consider the Colonel's own words.
" is the subject of my story, and if they will, God bless them, give me but enough of that they may keep their honors for those who are more ambitious of them."

The grateful citizens of Tuscaloosa certainly spared no expense in honoring Colonel McKee at his retirement party held at the Eagle Hotel on May 19, 1829. The Tuscaloosans were eating high on the hog and they were well aware that Colonel McKee held responsibility for much of their good fortune. For eight years, ever since he opened Tuscaloosa's Land Office and sold the first lots in 1821, John McKee had had his finger in the pie. Some of the men in the audience at this public dinner in the Eagle Hotel had fathers who had received their Revolutionary War & War of 1812 pensions with McKee's help while he served in Washington as their congressman from 1822 to 1828. The property deeds that many of these men held were received from Colonel McKee in 1821. This real estate certainly turned out to be a good investment.

At the time of the dinner, in the spring of 1829, Tuscaloosa had been Alabama's capitol for more than two years.

This party hosted by the men of a grateful city raised their glasses forty-two times for the toasts that preceeded sitting down to have dinner with the Colonel. Toast #11 was drunk to "The University of Alabama- may is indeed become the cradle of genius and the abode of science."

Colonel McKee himself led the congregation at the end of Toast #6. The old colonel raised his cup to "The citizens of Tuscaloosa- may wealth reward their industry and enterprise, and health and happiness surround their firesides."

Tuscaloosa's leaders were reminded of something very important as Colonel McKee stood at the head of the table to address them. This old man in his blue swallowtail coat held himself up with the assistance of a knotted hickory walking stick. Each of the stick's thirteen knots held a silver plate onto which a letter had been engraved. Together the thirteen silver letters spelled "ANDREW JACKSON."

The first year of Jackson's presidency was 1829 and the Tuscaloosans looked forward to seeing Old Hickory put the tariff-loving Yankees in their place. Jackson also promised to fix the "Indian Problem" once and for all.

Three years after his retirement party, McKee's body, weakened by decades of frontier living, gave up the ghost at his plantation home, Hill of Howth, near Boligee in Greene County. In its obituary THE GREENE COUNTY GAZETTE stated: "With the earlier history of Colonel McKee's life we are unacquainted..."

In this newspaper obituary from August of 1832 we begin to find evidence that a collective amnesia concerning their frontier origins had already begun to cloud the thinking of Alabama's citizens. To consider Colonel McKee's earlier career would force Alabama's men to consume a bitter pill of history. Not only would they have to recall the long forgotten memories of abandoned Indian wives and children, they would also have to face the unpleasant fact that the negotiations that produced the civilization they and their fathers had founded, were based on three elements:
alcoholic intoxication, intimidation and bribery.

John McKee knew this better than anyone else. McKee's influence was ubiquitous throughout many affairs of the Southern Indians from 1792 until his death in 1832. Colonel McKee may have been an honorable man, but the frontier world he lived in was anything but honorable. The records of the Colonel are a window into the destruction of every Southern Indian nation; the Cherokee, the Chickasaw, the Choctaw and the Creek. Through his life one can know the complete historical record of the decline of the Southern Indian, yet a comprehensive analysis of the Colonel's life has never been written. The light that this yet unwritten biography would shed upon our forgotten past would certainly be appreciated by an American public that treasures a legacy which has shown the world that self-government is possible. Regardless of the psychic trauma that certain unpleasant details about our origins might produce, this history continues to influence continues to influence us in the present day.

John McKee's life with the Indians began in 1791 during General George Washington's presidency when William Blount, Governor of the territory south of the Ohio, appointed him to survey the Cherokee boundary from Clinch River to Chilhowee Mountain according to the Treaty of Holston, July 2, 1791. Educated at Liberty Hall Academy, now Washington and Lee University, the twenty-year-old McKee began to apply the lessons he learned in this log schoolhouse near the Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington, Virginia. To go along with his surveying skills, McKee began to acquire a mastery of Indian languages by utilizing the most renowned of all foreign language classrooms:
the marriage bed.

According to a written notation made by "E.A." in the margin of page 508 of the book A HISTORY OF ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY VIRGINIA, McKee "...married a half-breed Chicasaw[sic], birth of a daughter Alzira is recorded in a notebook preserved from 1794."

Elizabeth Archibald, in her essay on McKee, states that, "Papers preserved from his days as a Congressman show John McKee burdened with a son, Alexander..." This child was also likely the result of McKee's relationship with an Indian woman. According to THE DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY, McKee "...was said to have been legally married to an Indian wife, and he provided that after his death, his friend and heir, William P. Gould, should make a quarterly payment in gold to his half-breed son." A nineteenth century biographical summary of Colonel McKee indicates that McKee died a bachelor. There's much evidence that McKee himself distanced himself from his Indian family after his entrance into politics in 1821. An example comes from the recollections of George Strother Gaines. Gaines wrote that in the early 1820s McKee mediated a Choctaw conflict a the Choctaw Indian Trading House near Epes in Sumter County. During the negotiations, Greenwood Leflore, Choctaw chief and namesake of Greenwood, Mississippi, told Gaines, "Colonel McKee has become a stranger to the Indians and cannot be expected to feel as much interest in their well doing as you feel."
This occurred thirty years after McKee's entry into Indian affairs.

In February 1793 McKee received his first opportunity to apply his mastery of Indian language when Governor Blount appointed him to head a peace mission to the Cherokees. These negotiations initiated McKee's career as an Indian agent. On page 12 of the first volume of THE CORRESPONDENCE OF ANDREW JACKSON,these words are found in a letter from Jackson to McKee dated January 30, 1793:
"One question I would beg leave to ask, why do we now attempt to hold a Treaty with them [i.e. the Cherokees]; have they attended to the last Treaty; I answer in the negative then why do we attempt to Treat with [a] Savage tribe that will neither adhere to Treaties, nor the law of Nations upon these particulars. I would thank you for your sentiments in your next [letter]."

McKee certainly learned how to "Treat with the Savage Tribe." Over the next thirty years, at one time or another, McKee served as U.S. agent to the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw nations. He applied a persuasive argument in his negotiations with Indian leaders. After lubricating the chiefs' tongues by applying copious amounts of rum, McKee would ply the Indians for information and then ask them this rather pointed question when the Indians began to gripe about losing their land:
"Did you ever know Indians to recover land by war? Have you not observed that war is invariably followed by loss of land?"

With this argument McKee was able to talk the Choctaws and Chickasaws out of joining the Creeks during the War of 1812. In fact, the only action the Chickasaw tribe saw during the entire war was with McKee. They accompanied him on his expedition which destroyed all that remained of Black Warrior's Town located near present-day Tuscaloosa.

In his last years in Tuscaloosa, McKee showed evidence that he had mastered personal control over the demon rum. According to William R. Smith, McKee allowed himself only one drink per day. The occasion of this single daily libation by the Colonel turned into a sort of community ritual. McKee's rule was to take his daily drink at noon in Travis' saloon which was located at the intersection of University Boulevard and 23rd Avenue. Smith described what he saw each day when he was a ten-year-old boy growing up in Tuscaloosa:
"...when he [McKee] reached the steps he would invariably stop, pull out his watch, and go in, or not as the pointers of the watch directed; if it lacked one or more minutes of the exact period, he would walk up and down in front until the time should come...When the Colonel entered the saloon, the boys of the town would yell,'IN HE GOES; IT IS EXACTLY 12!'"

Colonel McKee's plantation home in Boligee stood until the death of John McKee Gould, Jr. in 1944. Timbers from the demolished "Hill of Howth" plantation home were used to build a relative's home between Eutaw and Greensboro. Today nothing remains on the site of McKee's 1816 home, the first house ever built by a U.S. citizen in what is now Greene County. This quiet hill where the Choctaws showed McKee springs that never ran dry has now returned to the forest. The springs at the foot of "Hill of Howth" still flow and the muck that surrounds these flowing waters produces the only evidence of human occupation. Glass bottles, left by one hundred thirty eight years of continuous human occupation, glisten as the visitor washes off the mud that covers them. Maybe someday, like these old bottles, a light will shine once more on the life of one of early Tuscaloosa's most important citizens:


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brief of the Reef: G'day Everyone. I have no clue what day it is. We've been on a 3day 2 night dive cruise in The Great Barrier Reef! I can't describe what an awesome time we had. We snorkeled at different parts of the Reef at least 3 times a day. I saw tons of awesome sea creatures and fish right up close. Sharks and Sea Turtles too! I'm exhausted so I'll wait to give ya'll the details. It was definitely my favorite part of this trip. Anyway, we're off to Brisbane tomorrow morning and then we'll be heading home Tuesday. I hope everything's great in the states.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


BAMA QUEEN & John Rainey's daughter Traci started a myspace MUSIC space for John Rainey Adkins. My site got snuffed so now ya need to check out

In my computer's opinion, we got some dings on the profile but hopefully that will all be ironed out soon. All I can pull up right now is the music and the background page for the profile. Ho hum...

Georgia Pines in on one of the Candymen albums but the cut on the page is Wilbur Walton & THE JAMES GANG's version. John Rainey & Buddy Buie wrote Georgia Pines.



I really appreciate your concern.
I rilly do.

If I had been in charge of this eviction from the git & go, there would have been no problem plus I can help anyone. Who else in town has an entire warehouse full of appliances, furniture, carpet and vinyl that he can give away?
Plus we buy every good appliance that comes into TUSCALOOSA TEMPORARY EMERGENCY SERVICES so we hooked up with the local safety net.

No. This was something that was completely out of control & I was chosen to be THE ENFORCER.

Everybody in this office knows I didn't appreciate it. Some more than others. Lee, my boss, understands how much it hurt me. He understands more than anyone else and that helps.

The saddest thing is that the tenant came in the kitchen while I was bagging her food out of the cabinets and asked me, "Are you throwing my food away?"

I said,"No ma'am, I'm gonna put it on the curb with the rest of your stuff."

"Would you put it next to my car?" she asked.

"I shore will," I replied.


Archie & ME

Archie & Allison

Allison's latest blog about her travels with Archie & Avery in Australia!

G'Day Everybody. The internet access has been limited so I haven't gotten a chance to write. Hopefully in the next day or so I'll be able to fill you in on the South and West coasts. Also, PINK was on our flight to Perth! So if you want to see celebrities take a trip down under.

Day 6: How frustrating! I just wrote two days worth of stuff down and it wouldn't post b/c I didn't change the time zone. Now that we're in Perth is a 13 hour difference from home instead of 15. Ok, so let's back up a bit. On day 6 Dad woke us up at 4 in the morning b/c he couldn't sleep, nightmares of the Melbourne traffic I guess. So when we left Melbourne it was still pitch black outside. He was forgiven for the early wake up b/c when we reached the ocean the sun was just beginning to rise and it was breath-taking! We watched the sunrise and began our drive along the Great Ocean Road. Most of the towns were boarded up b/c it was winter. However, we did see a few surfers. Apparently Quicksilver and Bilabong originate in the area. We came to the 12 Apostles which are giant rocks along the coast. We had to walk about a 1/2 mile in the rain and wind to get to the lookout point. The wind was freakin' strong Aunt Avery was almost blown into the ocean. Later we saw on the news that we were in the middle of Gayle Force winds. There were Koalas in trees but we couldn't see them really well b/c it was raining and they were sleeping way up high in the branches. We ended up in a cute little town called Port Ferry. I went to bed as soon as we walked into our hotel. I'd been sick the last two days in Melbourne and the cold wind didn't help. Dad and Aunt Avery just went to the pub, no surprise there.

Day 7: Ok myspace is pissing me off! This is the third time I've tried to write about day 7. Note: There's an Aussie that Dad and Aunt Avery helped get drunk yelling on the phone in the lobby right next to me. The lobby clerk has tried to keep him quiet. His wife kicked him out of the house and he's trying to get his sister to pick him up at our hotel. He doesn't even have shoes on. Just a little distracting. Ok back to day 7. We left Port Ferry and headed for Adelaide. OMG he's screaming "F*ck this F*ck that, my wife's a cunt!" and trying to get the clerk to talk to someone on the phone for him. He's the drunkest person I've seen besides Aunt Avery and Dad since we've been here. We drove thru the Grampian Mtns and stopped at a huge waterfall. Then it was hours and hours of country towns and farms. WTF the guy started yelling about his wife to me and Dad so I booked it up to the room, then when I saw dad I started to explain that I had to get out of there and as soon as I finished my sentence there was the guy coming into the room behind Aunt Avery. She thinks he's a bum. So great now there's a drunk bum in the room. I'm down stairs in the lobby again b/c I don't want to deal with the drama. I guess they feel guilty b/c they got him drunk. Anyway... in one of the towns there was a park with albino kangaroos. We saw a lot of kangaroos in the country. It was like 9pm when we found a place to stay outside of Adelaide. It was a German town so the Inn had Schnitzel for dinner. We didn't know what the hell that was so we went across the street and had rump steak with a weird vegetable. They call it pumpkin but its more like 1/2 squash 1/2 sweet potato. (The food commentary is for you Tiffany). So mostly driving on day 7.

Day 8: We caught a plane to Perth. Guess who was on our plane. PINK! I didn't notice her and the entourage when we were boarding cuz I was on the phone and laptop up until the last minute. Apparently she performed in Adelaide, Aunt Avery sat in the back of the plane where they were but she had no idea who PINK was. I never saw her, but dad and Aunt Avery did. I just saw this girl with pigtails that was like on crack running around getting pics with people like she was PINK. I don't know who she was, maybe she was "someone" too. Anyway, just another celebrity, on this trip. So we "hired" a car and drove to a cute little town called Mandurah. We met these road worker Aussie's at the motel and Dad and Aunt Avery stayed up drinking with them in the parking lot. They told Dad to go to the Wongian Hills and meet up with a farmer friend of theirs. So the next morning we headed for the hills.

Day 9: The Aussie's gave Aunt Avery their road working jacket as a souvenir and Dad realized that it had a vest inside. So he proudly walked to breakfast wearing a neon yellow vest with bright reflectors. All he needed was a bike helmet and he would have people thinking he was special. Alright, so we left Mandurah and stopped in a town called Toojony for lunch. Dad had to tell his Ernie Dingo story AGAIN and he happened to be telling it this time to Ernie's cousin. Apparently Ernie is from West Australia. So his cousin was really nice and she gave us some traveling tips. Her brother is a musician and he's been working on an album with Willie Nelson. We gave her our number and he might stay with Dad in BF Alabama. On the way to Wongian Hills we passed a field with thousands of hay bales stacked as far as you could see. It was impressive, no joke. So we get to the only hotel in the town and the ownership just turned over the night before. The new owner's were frantically trying to get the rooms together, they did a good job. While we waited for our rooms, we went to the caravan park to do laundry. We were baffled by this thing in the middle of the laundry room that flushed like a toilet, I took a picture. No one else seemed to know what it was either, until this hot surfer/welder told us that it was a mop sink (to clean mops). This guy was HOT! He had dreads so at first we thought he was in his twenties but once we started talking to him we could tell he was in his late 30's. Anyway, dad told him the Dingo story and then passed out his card selling Forkland like it was the Grand Canyon. He's probably passed out at least 15 cards. After the laundry was done we went to the hotel pub. We talked (harassed) some locals and ate. They stayed downstairs to drink and I went and had a real bath! The first bathtub since we've been here. It was heaven.

Day 10: Tonight. So Dad got the name of a farmer in the Wongian Hills from one of the Aussie's at the Mandurah motel. He forgot the Aussie's name and he couldn't get the phone number of the farmer to work so he asked around town and found out where the farmer lived. He drove up there and found the guy and the farmer had know idea what he was talking about and he didn't even recognize the numbers Dad had. The farmer was obviously busy cuz it's seeding time so Dad came back to the hotel and well that was it for the Wongian Hills. At least I got to take a bath. On our way to Perth we stopped by this bakery and they had the best looking sweets I've ever seen. We got into Perth and booked the last two rooms of the Wentworth Plaza, it's a Comfort Inn but it sounds fancy. Aunt Avery and I are sharing a room and we have a code to the hall bathroom. Its kinda like a hostel. Anyway, Aunt Avery and I couldn't figure out how to work the code so finally she asks a maid and we find out that the 4 on the code is actually a y. Well, hours later while I'm on the computer in the lobby and she's had a few with dad in his room, she tries to get into the shower room. She couldn't get it to open so she complains to the manager. He tells her its a y (like the maid) and she insists that the maid told her it was a 4 and that we already tried y. Anyway the manager goes up and shows her its a y and she comes down all upset and tells dad and me that there's something wrong with codes. She tells the story and we're like yeah, YOU told us it was a y 3 hours ago! Anyway, it's not as funny once I write it out. Oh well, back to the Aussie! So I go up to the room and they're heading downstairs for dinner. He eats with us and he's actually pretty entertaining. The Aussie and I were making fun of Dad cuz he was so "stoned" (drunk). It turns out he was Irish with an Aussie accent so that's why it was so hard to understand him. Although, I could understand him better than Dad's mumbling. I ate and then went back upstairs. I guess Dad and Aunt Avery gave him train fare to get rid of him. So he was in a way a bum. Well, it made the night interesting. So now I'm gonna go to bed, we're going to Fremantle in the morning, should be nice. Our flight leaves for Cairnes at 10pm. Cairnes is in the tropics on the East coast. That's where we'll get to see the Great Barrier Reef. I'll try and update ya'll ASAP.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


History of the Chukker

CRIMSON WHITE Issue date: 10/31/03

1956 - The Chukker opens (Bill Thompson, owner)

1968 - Sold (Earl Hillyer)

1974 - Sold (Bob Callahan, Lewis Fitts)

Expanded to two sides - right side (where stage now sits) added

"Sistine Chukker" painted

1980 - Sold (Bruce Hopper)

First to charge cover - money went entirely to bands

Early 1980s - Scheduled up to 200 live performances per year

Indigo Girls, The Replacements play

1989 - Sold (Bill Gipson, Richard Lindsay)

1991 - Sold (Ludovic Goubet, Frannie James, Robert Huffman)

Under Goubet - Sun Ra, Sublime play

Art shows, poetry readings

1995 - Goubet buys out partners

2001 - Chukker closes

May 2002 - Reopens (Will Harris, Brooks Cloud) renovations/restoration

Carl Denson, Hank Williams III, Reverend Horton Heat play

March 1 - City Council imposes ordinance banning alcohol sales after 1:45 a.m.

March 20 - Chukker applies to be membership-only club; application denied

July - City announces downtown renovation plans, including Chukker location

Nov. 1 - Chukker to close


Don't worry about the Sistine Chukker.


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I saw John Davis at Steamers today at lunch and when I told him about my Monday morning eviction the hair stood straight up on my forearm and I showed him.


John Davis in now my lawyer!

Yesterday, I was served a steaming pile of manure by my company.

Evictions to me are like bowel movements.

Can't pay, can't stay!

I've done a million of 'em. I did eight in one day with same deputy I use rite now and he said I set the record.

Well, yestiddy, he & I suffered.

The owner of this steaming pile of you-know-what had set it on us and we didn't know you-know-what.

Before yestiddy, nobody wanted me involved because it would take my time.

They rationalized it as, "Oh, a bunch of crackheads, only using twenty bucks a month in power... Hell, they just storing stuff over there."

That's the story I got.

So first thing Monday morning I got assigned an eviction I didn't even knew existed by people from the office who scoped it out at 20 mph.

I git there early & I banged on the door and nobody showed.

Go back to the office and yell,

"Hell, y'all, her slippers are right by her easy chair IN FRONT OF her TV and her car with an '08 sticker on the tag is in the driveway!


Nobody said anything so I left.

I went back to the eviction and the Sheriff's Deputy banged on both doors yelling "TUSCALOOSA SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT!"

Nothing happened so I busted out the plexiglass in the backdoor and took the screws out of the dead bolt and we got in.

Next thing I know, I'm behind the deputy and this woman in her bedroom is yelling shit about "MY RIGHTS, MY RIGHTS!"

Deputy sed, "Ma'am, it's time to move!"

You cannot imagine the horror.

I was over there this morning with Christopher & I asked him, "Is something the matter son?"

"I'm just stunned."

That's the way it was.

I'll just tell you this.

I came within the diameter of an extremely narrow red cunt hair of taking an important person and cracking his head on the CORNER of a door casing just because he opened his PARTLOW MOUTH!



Monday, June 04, 2007

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Hey y'all:
Y'all remember our old pahdnuh Jerry Henry from Planet Weekly
who done did all them great interviews.
Well now he beeze working fo' Kenny Smitherman at SiteCom Technologies
a need for AV (that is- audio visual) ,
these cats are on the money!

Jerry sent me all the good stuff he printed in the latest issue of Planet Weekly but before we publish here I wanna talk about going into the Chukker

About 3:45 this afternoon , I going down 7th Street & look over at the back door of the Chukker like I always do and saw it was open so I drove down to the intersection with 21st and did a YOUEEEE.

I brought my flashlight and I explored the premises.

Sad. Sad. Sad.

Hopefully the cats who took down the Sistine Chukker are preserving it.

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If you git a chance, pull your car into the parking lot on the north side of the 2100 block of 7th Steet & check out THE RUINS OF THE CHUKKER.

Be sure to take your flashlight.


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Drive-By Truckers song "Sandwiches For The Road" from their 1998 debut CD, Gangstabilly, is based on the life of Eddie Hinton.

Tuscaloosa legend Eddie Hinton was born June 15, 1944 and died July 28, 1995. In those 51 years he made music that made a lot of people famous. Yet few knew him other than musicians and music industry insiders. It seems ironic that a song would be written to remember this unsung hero.

The Hinton's lived where Hamner Real Estate on University Blvd. is now. Eddie played a lot of fraternity parties here in Tuscaloosa with bands like The Spooks and The Five Men-its. He gigged in the Northport clubs and other smoky joints all over the Southeast. He moved to Muscle Shoals where he played lead guitar for Muscle Shoals Sound Rhythm Section from 1967 to 1971. Not only was he a session player but also a songwriter, producer, arranger, and a talented singer as well.

Atlantic Records co-owner and producer, Jerry Wexler, was the man that coined the term "rhythm and blues".

Wexler wrote "He remains unique, a white boy who truly sang and played in the spirit of the great black soul artist he venerated. With Eddie it wasn't imitation; it was totally created, with a fire and fury that was as real as Otis Redding's and Wilson Pickett's."

As a session guitarist, Hinton played on hit records recorded by Wilson Pickett, Arthur Conley, Aretha Franklin, Joe Tex, Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge, The Staple Singers, The Dells, Paul Kelly, Johnny Taylor, Elvis Presley, The Box Tops, R.B. Greaves, Boz Scaggs, Evie Sands, The Looking Glass, Toots Hibbert, and Otis Redding.

He toured as guitarist for R&B greats, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, and Ted Taylor.

His songs have been recorded by artist such as Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Bobby Womack, Cher, Tony Joe White, Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, The Box Tops, The Sweet Inspirations, UB40, The Nighthawks, and many more.

Personally when I think of Eddie, I also think of Johnny Wyker. They were true friends. I remember the party days in Muscle Shoals in the late 60's and early 70's. I remember the Capricorn days. I remember Johnny helping Eddie during the 80's which was a bad period in his life. The 90's brought better times but they also brought the end.

Build Your Own Fire
is a tribute album to Eddie. Build Your Own Fire was conceived by a expert of the R&B era, producer Tallan Ware. He is the one who found these long lost Hinton songs. After a conversation with Muscle Shoals great Clayton Ivey it was decided the only choice for this project had to be Jimmy Hall. They believed it would be a perfect marriage of Jimmy's fantastic voice to Hinton's stellar body of works. They were right.

Only A players were used by Tallan and they became know as the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Collective.

This was Clayton Ivey (Commodores, Hank Williams Jr., The Staple Singers, B.B. and Albert King, Percy Sledge, Etta James, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and many more) on keys,
David Hood (Traffic, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, B.B. and Albert King, Duane & Gregg Allman, Carlos Santana, Bob Seger, and many more) on bass,
Larry Byrom (Steppenwolf, Bobbie Womack, Millie Jackson, and with Neil Young as a pianist) on rhythm guitar,
& Jonathan Dees (son of Nashville studio session guitarist Bruce Dees) on drums.
Then Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters overdubbed the lead guitar parts to create alternative versions of several songs.
He added lead guitar solos and fills that appeals to a younger rock audience.

Jimmy Hall has the 24 karat gold voice.

Jimmy is best remembered as singer and co-founder of the 70's R&B influenced band Wet Willie. Their 1974 #1 hit, "Keep on Smiling" took the band all over the world.He has received Grammy Award nominations. Worked with Jeff Beck, Gregg Allman, and Hank Williams Jr. as a band leader, vocalist, saxophonist and harmonica player. His solo album, Rendezvous with the Blues, is great. I could go on and on about Jimmy Hall's accomplishments but this is article is about Build Your Own Fire.

Age has been kind to Jimmy's voice, it's deeper, like fine bourbon aged in the blues.
Jimmy teams with Delbert McClinton on the hard driving opener "I Still Want to be Your Man". This duet is close to perfect.
Perhaps Eddies finest ballad, "Salty", Kira Small joins Hall for a truly great performance.
"Salty" is reprised later on the CD with a super guitar/lead guitar mix of Greg Martin.

"Poor Old Me" brings out the best in Hall's harp playing and Martin's slide guitar in a 12-bar unstoppable music crush."
Coming After You" is pure swamp blues worthy of the back waters near Fosters. "Cover Me" is another ballad masterpiece.

Build Your Own Fire, it's hard to believe music can get any better than this.

I have gotten a lot of response from my interview with Bill Connell. Since then I received a couple of emails informing me of a May 1 release that includes Bill. Coast 2 Coast was recorded at Capricorn recording studios in Macon GA. in Nov. 1978. It was produced by Bruce Hornsby. The players are Dennis Winters: lead vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, Donnie Winters: vocals, acoustic/electric guitars, Gene Watson: harmony vocals, bass, David "Spig" Davis: Harmony vocals, piano, organ, and Bill Connell: drums, percussion. Guest Musicians: Charlie Daniels:fiddle, acoustic guitar, Toy Caldwell (Marshall Tucker Band): steel guitar, Marty Robbins: dobro, harmony vocals, Don Winters Sr.: harmony vocals. There's a bonus hidden track recorded Jan. 2007.

The Birmingham Sound: the Soul of Neal Hemphill is another release worthy of your had earned bucks. This was recorded at the original Sound of Birmingham and Hemphill Studios in Midfield, AL. This is soul music from the 60's and 70's. Neal Hemphill was a plumber that had a studio in the basement of his plumbing shop. He recorded all types of music, not just soul. Neal put young musicians, singers, and songwriters like Jerry Weaver, Fredrick Knight, Sam Dees, and Roger Hallmark on his staff. The studio received it's first gold record with Fredrick Knight's "I've Been Lonely for So Long" on Stax Records. Business got so good that he built a new studio and equipped it with the 16-track board from Jimi Hendrix's Ladyland Studio. Hemphill suffered a heart attack in 1975 and sold Sound of Birmingham to Don Mosely and he moved it to Homewood. Neal recovered and decided to get back into the recording business and opened Hemphill Studios. He passed away in 1985 leaving a rich legacy of Southern music. There's 23 tracks from the vault of released and unreleased material from Birmingham's best.

Since my interview with Greg Haynes, his book "The Heeey Baby of Beach Music" will receive the independent Publisher's 2006 Bronze medal award for books in Popular Culture. The award will be presented in New York on June 1. Greg's book tied with GONZO by Hunter S. Thompson.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hey y'all:

Today was certainly an enlightening voyage of discovery into cyberspace!

Got up this morning and started reading Barlow's LOOKING UP AT DOWN and decided to start looking up some stuff on T.O.B.A. because Barlow mentions this black theatre circuit in his chapter on Dallas, Houston & Kansas City.
T.O.B.A. or Theatre Owners Booking Association was an agency out of Chattanooga that booked black entertainers for the white owners of vaudeville theaters catering to black audiences back in the twenties and thirties. I'd read about this theater circuit in the lives of all the jazz & blues greats but I knew nothing about the individual venues.

Before starting to investigate T.O.B.A., I decided to see if I could find something on the old theatre building we're about to tear down here in Tuscaloosa. The Elks Theatre has had its entire facade demolished & now stands as the Alta Apartments on the corner of 6th Street & 22nd Avenue but you can still see the stage elevator room up on the roof.

The only act I found on the Internet that included The Elks Theatre in their schedule was the Denishawn Dance Company which performed here on Tuesday February 6, 1923.

The Denishawn Dance Company was founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn , pioneers of modern dance.
I found their tour schedule on a website dedicated to the famous actress Louise Brooks.

Could you imagine the response of the Elks Theatre audience when they saw a bunch of half-naked white women run out on stage and abandon all of the conventions of classical ballet?
That night in 1923, Tuscaloosa was treated to a performance by one of the first modern dance troupes ever to exist!

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Elks Theatre, Tuscaloosa
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The Denishawn Dance Company schedule for the '23 season included one venue I have visited, The Grand Opera House in Meridian but it also includes a few theatres of which we need to learn more- The Walnut Street Theatre in Vicksburg, the Academy of Music in Selma, the Jefferson Theatre in Birmingham and the Springer Opera House in Columbus, Ga.

I always had an idea that the Marx Brothers played the Elks Theatre because of the famous joke Groucho told in The Marx Brothers' second movie ANIMAL CRACKERS

Their second film released in 1930 was also a big hit on Broadway. It stars Groucho as the infamous Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding the African explorer. Chico is musician Signor Emanuel Ravelli. Harpo is the Professor, of what nobody knows. The plot involves a party and a stolen painting.

SPAULDING: As I say, we tried to remove the tusks. But they were embedded so firmly we couldn't budge them. Of course, in Alabama, the Tuscaloosa but that is entirely ir-elephant to what I was talking about.

I found some information about Groucho and his brothers playing the Pastime Theater in Jacksonville, Florida during the month of April in 1909 but the big surprise was the Phd. thesis in which this tidbit was found.

A cat named Peter Dunbaugh Smith completed his thesis last year at FSU & this dude has really done us all a great service. This paper explores black show business in Jacksonville, Florida from 1896- 1916.
Did you know that more movies were made in Jacksonville in 1915 than were made in Hollywood that same year?
Did you know MGM started in Jacksonville?
Did you know that the Silas Green Show from New Orleans ended up making its headquarters in Florida before finally making its headquarters in Macon, Georgia?
(I have been curious about Silas Green ever since I saw that famous Walker Evans photo of one of their posters plastered on a wall in James Agee's LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN. My mother & grandmother both attended Silas Green shows)

Did you know that the Pensacola Opera House did not start segregating audiences until 1901?!!
Did you know that one of the most important events in modern music occurred in the 1890s when New Orleans musicians easily traveled to Jacksonville for the first time because of the opening of the railroad bridge over the Apalachicola at Chattahoochee, Florida?
Did you know that the Johnson brothers from Jacksonville were the only two black charter members of ASCAP?

Well I didn't know any of this stuff until this afternoon so Peter Dunbaugh Smith's ASHLEY STREET BLUES: RACIAL UPLIFT AND THE COMMODIFICATION OF VERNACULAR PERFORMANCE IN LAVILLA, FLORIDA, 1896- 1916 is now enshrined forever in my essential stack of stuff!
Click below to check it out. The references are wonderful.

Now here's the quote from Smith's thesis that rilly gonna get ya goin':

The concept of a regional consortium for booking African-American acts continued to be an active topic of discussion since the Chappelle brothers first expressed the idea. Another Florida theater would play a central role in its development. In late 1910, Mitchell Jacoby, the white owner of Pensacola’s Belmont Theater, met with a small group at the Exchange Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama.
They devised a plan that created the first cooperative circuit of theatrical houses in the region, the Southern Consolidated Circuit. Former Airdome and Globe manager L. D. Joel, who was then manager of the Arcade Theater (later, the 81 Theater) in Atlanta was chosen as the booking manager and treasurer for this enterprise. Only a few months earlier, Joel had been asking theater owners to join him in this endeavor. By January, he was advertising that he could give performers nine to eighteen weeks of “time” without losing a day and that the Southern Circuit had $100,000 in “back of it.” This “combine” became the primary means for booking regional acts into the Belmont. Performers who worked the Southern Consolidated Circuit received an offer of a twelve-week engagement, consisting of three weeks at each of the four theaters on the circuit. Beginning with Joel’s Arcade Theater in Atlanta, their next stop was James Chambers’ Queen Theater in Montgomery, Alabama, then Jacoby’s Belmont in Pensacola, and finally, Charles Lagman’s Theater in Mobile, Alabama. Joel informed his most talented prospects that,
“If you have the goods you can go from Mobile back to Atlanta after playing the 12 weeks, and play 12 weeks more, making 24 consecutive weeks."

The Southern Consolidated Circuit failed but it was replaced in 1920 by

Theater Owners Booking Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theater Owners Booking Association, or T.O.B.A., was the vaudeville circuit for African American performers in the 1920s and 1930s. The theaters all had white owners and collaborated in booking jazz, blues, comedians, and other performers for black audiences. The organization started in 1909 with 31 theaters and had more than 100 theaters at its peak in the 1920s.

Often referred to by the black performers as Tough on Black Artists (Or Asses), the association was generally known as Toby Time (Time was a common term for vaudeville circuits). It booked only black artists into a series of theatres on the East Coast and as far west as Oklahoma. It paid less and generally had worse touring arrangements than the white vaudeville counterpart. But like white vaudeville, T.O.B.A faded from popularity during the Great Depression.

Ethel Waters, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Chick Webb, a young William Basie (before he became a Count) and four-year-old Sammy Davis, Jr., all performed on the T.O.B.A circuit.

The most prestigious black theaters in Harlem, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. were not part of the circuit, booking acts independently; The T.O.B.A. was considered less prestigious. Many black performers, such as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson performed in white vaudeville, often in blackface.

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[Note: This document contains typewritten, handwritten, and printed text.]

[printed text:
Palace Theatre

[typewritten text: July 25th. 1927.
Stein Enterprises.,
Macon, Ga. [Georgia]

Since you have taken over the Douglas at Macon, you may be interested in adding more colored houses to your circuit in the South to strengthen your booking and etc. [et cetera]

We have here the Palace Theatre, which is a new houses [house] completed in August 1926 fully equiped [equipped] with 700 seats, simplex machines, reproduco pipe organ, full stage scenery and equipment, electric sign and in fact everything that you could possibly want for a theatre.

We also play the T. O. B.A. [Theatre Owners Booking Association] circuit running same in conjunction with Bessemer, Ala. [Alabama] They open the show with vaudeville. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and run pictures the last three days and we run pictures [deleted text: [unclear text: days]] [added text: Mondays] Tuesdays and Wednesdays and vaudeville Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays, which makes us split the bill giving the show three days in each town.

This Ensley house is for sale and the Bessemer house could probably be bought also, rent at Ensley is $235.00 a month with a lease of 4 years more and an additional option on 5 more years.

While it is hard to go into detal [detail] over a theatre, I believe if you are interested, we can make you a wonderful proposition on this house and am sure you will find it a money maker, especially if tied in with other theatres.

Will appreciate a line from you or rather still would like for you to come over and look the situation over.

Thanking you for an early reply by return mail, I am.

Yours truly.]
[Signed] [written text: Ben Jaffe]
[typewritten text: Palace Theatre.]

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According to the CHICAGO DEFENDER, T.O.B.A. booked over 50 theatres in 1925 and represented 25 revues and 106 singles, teams and trios. They had an average daily ticket sales of 4500.

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On another site I found an article about Bessie Smith's "BACK-WATER BLUES" by David Evans who teaches at the University of Memphis. His article contains this December 30,1926 ad from page 20 of the Nashville Banner:


Evans also published Monday opening dates for Bessie Smith's itinerary which gives you a good idea of a T.O.B.A. tour.

29 NOVEMBER 1926 no report (probably still booked at 81 Theatre)
6 DECEMBER 1926 no report (probably still booked in Atlanta at the 81 Theatre)

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Cow Cow Davenport

This cat named Nonjohn has produced a compelling argument that Boogie Woogie started in Texas.
Click on the link underneath the images to check out his stuff.

Here's what he says about a couple of Alabamians pioneering boogie woogie:

Cow Cow Davenport Based His "Cow Cow Blues" on "The Cows" Bass Figure He Heard in Texas

Both Charles "Cow Cow" Davenport and Clarence "Pine Top" Smith were both born in Alabama. Charles Davenport was born in Anniston, Alabama in April of 1894. Davenport reports having contact with Clarence “Pine Top” Smith in Pittburgh on the T.O.B.A. circuit. Smith was born in Troy, Alabama, in January of 1904, and later became a traveling performer on the T.O.B.A. circuit.

Davenport spent time in Texas and based his "Cow Cow Blues" on music that he had heard being played in Texas. In the book, "The Story of the Blues," in the chapter, "Struttin' that Thing," (page 89)5 Paul Oliver writes:

“Davenport made his way to Texas where he picked up a theme call The Cows which later he considerably altered to develop a train imitation, the Cow Cow Blues. He worked in mining camps and brothels playing his theme, which earned for him the nickname of ‘Cow Cow’ Davenport.”5

The grace-noted right-hand figures of "Cow Cow Blues" are clearly similar to right hand figures of pieces composed by Hersal and George Thomas. However, the left-hand figures of Cow Cow Blues are the classic Boogie Woogie bass figure known as "the cows." "The cows" represent one of the oldest Boogie Woogie bass figures, and according to Lee Ree Sullivan of Texarkana, "the cows" were also known as "Texas and Pacific Bass."68 Davenport does not swing "the cows" any, if at all. However, Lee Ree Sullivan indicates that "the cows" were being played with inherent swing prior to 1900.68

Davenport's nickname, "Cow Cow," and "the cows" bass figure comes from the "cow catcher," the pointed grill located at the front of steam locomotives. Being named after this part of the steam locomotive creates a powerful metaphor that says, "Get out of the Way! Boogie Woogie coming through!"

As if you didn't already know that you can find just about anything on the Internet, here's Cow Cow Davenport's WWI draft card. Check out the website where I found it. It is filled with other famous musicians draft cards.

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Thank the Lord, my job will interrupt me tomorrow.