Thursday, January 31, 2008

HI Robert,
I hope everything is well with you. I continue to enjoy reading your blog postings, Please keep up the good work. I wanted to let you know that we have posted a Wilbur Walton Jr. song from 1973 recorded at Playground, called "Eternity" on our Playground MySpace. Like most WW Jr. songs, it is a work of art. You can get to our myspace at . We have been rotating songs on our myspace about once every week to week and a half.
In the last rotation we posted an early 70's TV radio AD for a Dothan nightclub called the Flamingo.

image courtesy of BAMA QUEEN

image courtesy of BAMA QUEEN
It featured Beaverteeth playing a short song especially written for the commercial with Gabby Bruce doing the voice over. We also had Beaverteeth doing "Georgia Pines" posted.
Every time we rotate, I try to include something that relates to the Dothan Music scene since Dothan played such a integral part of the Playground Sound. Just thought I'd let you know.. Keep up the good work

I really enjoyed hearing Wilbur sing ETERNITY!

WILBUR may also be heard singing 24 HOURS OF LONELINESS on the NORTHERN SOUL jukebox below:

Click above to hear Wilbur sing "24 Hours of Loneliness"

Over time we've accumulated a lot of Wilbur images so we're gonna use this opportunity to blast 'em out to the public!


image courtesy of Robin Rainer & Dothan Magazine


Fred Guarino's wedding- image courtesy of Jimmy Dean
l. to r. - Bubba Lathem, Jimmy Dean, Fred Guarino, John Rainey Adkins, Wilbur Walton Jr.

DOTHAN MAGAZINE Reception for the DOTHAN MAGAZINE Article About Buddy
l. to r. Jimmy Dean, Buddy Buie, Bill J. Moody, Wilbur Walton Jr.

James Gang Reunion
Wilbur Walton Jr., Buddy Buie, James "Bubba" Lathem, Paul Cochran
Jimmy Dean, Fred Guarino

Pretty sure I got this image from Jim Hodges

image from Jimmy Dean

Pretty sure this came from Jim Hodges or maybe Jeff Lemlich

Jimmy Dean, Fred Guarino, Johnny Mulkey, Bubba Lathem & Wilbur!
image courtesy of Jimmy Dean


Bubba Lathem, Jimmy Dean, Wilbur Walton Jr., Fred Guarino, Johnny Mulkey
image courtesy of Jimmy Dean

Bubba Lathem, Fred Guarino, Jimmy Dean, Wilbur Walton Jr., Johnny Mulkey
image courtesy of Jimmy Dean

Wilbur Faces Temptation!
image courtesy of Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean, Greg Haynes, Wilbur Walton Jr.
image courtesy of

Wilbur Walton Jr. & Jimmy Dean with Mr. & Mrs. Percy Sledge
image courtesy of

Jimmy Dean, Robert Register, Wilbur Walton Jr.
image courtesy of


Wilbur Walton Jr. and Jimmy Dean
image courtesy of Robin Rainer & DOTHAN MAGAZINE

Bubba Lathem, Jimmy Dean, Wilbur Walton Jr., Fred Guarino, Johnny Mulkey

Japanese cover courtesy of Jim Hodges

Japanese liner notes courtesy of Jim Hodges

Wilbur Walton Jr. & The James Gang performing at Ft. Brandon Armory in Tuscaloosa.
photo courtesy of WTBC

photo by Michael E. Palmer

photo by Michael E. Palmer

photo by Michael E. Palmer

Our old buddy Michael E.Palmer at the Tuscaloosa News has been doing some good work this week. For the 40th Anniversary of the Tet Offensive, he wrote a superb article about his father's experience & also posted this wonderful video

Jack D. Palmer is seen here in a picture taken in Vietnam in 1968.
Photo Courtesy of Jack Palmer
Vietnam's Turning Point Still Remains Vivid After 40 Years

On Jan. 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive. I don’t know much about the Vietnam War, but my dad does. Jack Palmer was there from September 1967 to July 1968. He was a member of the 557th Military Police Company stationed in Long Binh, 25 miles northeast of Saigon. Long Binh was the United States’ command and control center for the Vietnam theater. Tet was the turning point in the Vietnam War.

I’ve seen the History Channel documentaries on the war. I’ve seen the archival footage and movies depicting the war in Vietnam. I’ve seen the work of the great photographers of that war: Larry Burrows, Eddie Adams and Philip Jones Griffiths.

I’ve heard how television news reporters

conveyed the grim reality of the Vietnam War, a reality far different from the official military line.

I’ve heard how this changed America’s view of the war and brought about its end.

Tet is short for Tet Nguyen Dan, the Vietnamese lunar new year, one of the most important holidays for Vietnamese people. It is celebrated by paying respect to ancestors and the elders. Families come together for food, gift giving and fireworks. It’s a time of celebration and joy, but, in 1968, Tet became synonymous with death, destruction and the waning of war in Southeast Asia.

The armies of North Vietnam timed their offensive to start on the Tet holiday. The offensive was designed to bring the war out of the jungles and into the American-occupied urban centers of South Vietnam. North Vietnam wanted to create a general uprising in the south and end the war in one fell swoop.

During the first phase of the offensive, 80,000 communist troops attacked 100 towns and cities in South Vietnam, including the U.S. embassy in the capital of Saigon. Street battles raged from house to house and building to building. It was the largest campaign by either side during the entire war.

My dad was in Long Binh as part of a military police company protecting the command center and an ammo depot inside the perimeter.

At the time, Long Binh, which included the ammo depot, was the largest military installation in the world. My dad describes it as “nine square miles of ammo; the largest ammo dump in the free world.” Pallets of ammunition were stacked in piles protected by berms 100 yards apart. The distance protected the ammo from a chain reaction in case a mortar round hit one of the pallets. On Jan. 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese attacked Long Binh, including the ammo depot.

During the attack, my dad saw a large orange mushroom cloud rolling silently into the sky. The North Vietnamese had landed a mortar onto one of the pallets. Others around him stood up in awe of the sight. But my dad did something different. He dived behind a wall. He knew a shock wave would soon follow. At that time, mortar rounds began falling around the men and mass confusion ensued.

During the bedlam a lieutenant began asking men if they were married or not. The lieutenant was choosing men to go to the perimeter where the heaviest fighting was taking place. My dad wasn’t married at the time, so he and about 10 other men ran a mile to the perimeter and arrived in time to witness a heavy gun battle. As they flattened themselves on the ground facing the perimeter, the sergeant began launching flares to illuminate the enemy. But the flares, caught in the breeze, returned and exposed the American soldiers.

“We wanted to shoot that lieutenant more than anyone else,” my dad joked.

The gun battle lasted through the night. “We fired enough rounds to kill everybody in North Vietnam,” my dad said.

As the tracers and bullets flew overhead, my dad said he still remembers what his 20 year-old mind was thinking at the time: “This is just like a John Wayne movie, but this is for real, and I’m the star.”

But unlike in a movie, the heavy mortar rounds kept exploding, and my dad lay there all night in the hot, dry dirt, “praying I didn’t get my ass blown off.”

He was there until daylight broke, and a group of soldiers with their dogs moved up. The dogs were pointers to indicate if an enemy sat beyond the perimeter. In the early morning silence my dad said he heard a voice far off in the distance. It was the voice of an American soldier. The words broke the tense silence. “Gravy train!” someone yelled, repeating the famous refrain from a television dog food commercial. Laughter rippled up and down the line of soldiers. The enemy had vanished and “we were like rats crawling out of the dirt.”

My dad stood up and discovered he was covered with mud. The mud was from the dry dirt mixing with his sweat and tears.

The next day, Feb. 1, 1968, my dad turned 21.

Michael Palmer is a staff photographer. He can be reached at 205-722-0232 or

image courtesy
Go to the site above and hear The Amazing Javier Batiz - GODFATHER OF TIJUANA ROCK & ROLL sing OH, CHARLENA!

ZERO, NORTHWEST FLORIDA ex-pat Lance Miccio's got a Hollywood premiere coming up on the fifteenth of this month!


Film Premiere Of Rock N Roll Made In Mexico: from Evolution to Revolution

Happy Trailers HD LLC and Heat Drum Productions are pleased to announce that their new epic Mexican rock documentary will be screening at the FINE ART THEATRE on Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA on February 15, 2008 at 7:30 PM.

Rock N Roll Made in Mexico, from Evolution to Revolution is directed by intrepid filmmaker Lance Miccio and produced by Rock Icon Fito de la Parra (Los Sparks ,Los Hooligans, Los Sinners, Javier Batiz Band, Canned Heat).

The film tells the untold story of Rock and Roll in Mexico through those who lived it, including Mexican rock icons and legends that include Javier Batiz (who influenced Carlos Santana's unique style), Alex Lora and Lalo Toral from El Tri, Jonny Ortega of Los Hooligans and many others. The story covers the early innocent days of Cafés and yard parties, through the severe oppression that plagued the Mexican Rockers and the country, eventually resulting in illegalization of Rock and Roll after the notorious Avandaro Concert (known as the Mexican Woodstock). It wasn't until 1985 when Rock was made legal once again.

The amazing untold story of Mexican Rock and Roll will no longer remain so. Miccio brings this epic struggle of art against authority full circle from the beginning to today, where contemporary Mexican Rockers now thrive on the world stage.

The film will be followed by an onstage music jam.

© Happy Trailers HD LLC 2008 -

A message from IGOR:
If you’re out there in deep space, you’ll want to be tuning in at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, Feb. 4 (plus however long it takes electromagnetic radiation to reach you from Earth doing the 186,000-miles-a-second speed limit).

That’s when NASA will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first space mission ­ the launch of the Explorer 1 satellite ­ by using the system of huge antennas that usually listen for inbound signals from space to send one outbound instead: the Beatles’ song “Across the Universe,” which as it happens was mostly recorded exactly 40 years earlier, on Feb. 4, 1968.

William Alford

Great idea! I enjoyed reading Scotty Kirkland's research on Dothan
and was pleased as punch that you found info that took me that far back to where I am from. Good job!
You will make an incredible writer on Devil Make a Third part 2....get started!

Yo, Robert:

DJ Underwood and I were wondering if you've heard any
word about this milestone year. 1968-2008!
Feelin' old yet?

Can you find out if a reunion is being organized? Thanks.

Like your blog.


Frank(ie) Stephenson
btw: Jerry Keel, of our class, has just moved to Tuscaloosa from
Demopolis. Don't know if you remember him or not. He was a great
pal o' mine for many of those years---still is.

Frank Stephenson
Director, Research Communications
Editor, Research in Review Magazine
Florida State University

Hey y'all:

Got some shots from Burke
of the Little Feat concert at the Civic Center where Spoonful James


Ain't gonna get it tuned up tonight but it'll happen 'bout Friday night.

I had to have some labor today so I hired this young Brazilian kid.
He had kinky hair but green eyes.
I was trying not to be prejudiced.

I asked him where he was from & he said Brazil but that he'd lived here all his life.


We kept talking & I found out his Daddy had been a spook down in South America for a long time & that his Daddy met his Mamma at a USIA liberry somewhere down there.

Ummm Hmmm...

So I'm thinking,
"Man, this cat's Daddy knew the late Philip Agee & hooked up with this Brazilian teacher who was teaching English to the secretaries at some U.S. Information Agency Library."

Boy was I wrong.

He was adopted & not only that, when he told me his story he had an INCREDIBLE FREUDIAN SLIP!!!

He told me, "Yeah, in Brazil it's common for them to have abortions, uh, I mean, adoptions."

The Brazilian cat worked hard and he's gonna work some more.

or somethin' like dat
fo' sho'

Something that really hit me today.
I see two big SWOOPS
in my Mama & Daddy'Z lives.

February 14, 1942 when everybody in Dothan got drafted &

V-J Day when WWII Veteran influence at Napier Field & Camp Rucker wiped out
THE RATION SYSTEM MAFIA on sugar , gas, etc.
& took over commerce in Dothan.

Billy Bob Thornton's coming to Florence in March. Check it out at



Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I've decided to exert a little creative energy to a project of upgrading DEVIL MAKE A THIRD

to post-WWII Aven & replacing Buck Bannon with a Charles Woods character.

Think about it while you check out this link...

Thought you'd like to be the first to know seeing as how you got your Daddy's first edition copy of DEVIL MAKE A THIRD.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hey y'all:
It's the end of the month so once again I gotta do the impossible. Gotta have a house ready tomorrow, another one on Thursday and then annudder'n on Friday. Add to that the first of the month with work orders out the yin-yang, evictions with folks movin' on down the line
& ya get an idea of my immediate future.

Looking forward to Monday and the premiere of HONEYDRIPPERS at the Bama Theatre.


news update!
    - Honeydripper Film Premiere
    - 2008 After-School Blues Camp
    - Great Blues at Little Willie's

It's Blue Monday at the Bama Theatre!



Nominated for 2 NAACP Image Awards:
Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film
Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture

Monday, February 4th
Honeydripper Film Premiere
and ABP Benefit

Call (205) 752 6263 for more information!

In 2006, the ABP was very excited to hear that director John Sayles (Lone Star, Eight Men Out, Matewan) and producer Maggie Renzi had chosen Alabama as the location of their new film, Honeydripper. The blues and the deep south are the themes of this thought-provoking movie, which includes lots of great music. Featured musicians include Keb' Mo', Dr. Mable John, Eddie Shaw and Jerry Portnoy among many others.

The ABP is thankful that more and more people are realizing that Alabama has a rich blues culture and now Honeydripper can only help to spread the word. The film was shot in the southern Alabama towns of Greenville, Georgiana, Anniston and Midway in the late summer and early fall of 2006. It is interesting to note that part of Greenville's blues history includes being the home of 1920/30s blues harmonica player and recording artist Ed Bell, who was also known as ?Barefoot Bill.?

We were very happy to be asked to assist in finding possible musician extras for the film and Tuscaloosa-based veteran keyboard player Henderson Huggins and young Birmingham based drummer Stephan Hudley got parts!

As part of Black History Month celebrations, on Monday, February 4th, 2008, Tuscaloosa?s beautiful and historic Bama Theater will be hosting the Tuscaloosa Honeydripper premier and the proceeds of the evening will go to benefit the Alabama Blues Project! A reception will be held prior to the screening and a blues band will entertain, including Henderson Huggins, Stephan Hundley and Carroline Shines, plus guest spots by some of our best blues camp students! The very big attraction of the evening is that the film's director, the great John Sayles and the talented producer Maggie Renzi will be present for a panel Q and A session with the public!

Honeydripper takes us back to the genesis of rock 'n' roll - namely the '50s rural blues of the Deep South. The story depicts a second chance for an aging bluesman, a kickoff to a young guitar slinger's career and the rise of rock 'n' roll itself.

The movie features an all-star cast including Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Stacy Keach, Mary Steenburgen, Yaya DeCosta and Sean Patrick Thomas. Featured musicians include Keb' Mo', Dr. Mable John, Eddie Shaw and Jerry Portnoy among many others. The music supervisor was Tim Bernett, with original music composed by Mason Daring.

Honeydripper Official Web Site



article courtesy of THE DOTHAN EAGLE
By Linnea McClellan

Dothan natives Wynn Christian and Quinn Borland joke that they knew Taylor Hicks
before he had gray hair.

“It’s going to be a real treat,” Borland said of their return to Dothan as the opening act for his Aug. 23 concert.
Christian and Borland played together in local bands off and on through high school, staying in contact after graduating in 1993 from Northview High School and Houston Academy. They met Hicks at Auburn University, forming an all-star band called Fletch Lives. One of their favorite places to play was the popular Flora Bama in Gulf Shores.

If you go
>Spoonful James
with Dothan natives Wynn Christian and Quinn Borland open for Taylor Hicks in concert Aug. 23, 7 p.m., at the Dothan Civic Center. For tickets, call 615-3175.

Hicks mentions their early days together in his new book, “Heart Full of Soul.”
Christian leads the band on vocals and guitar. Borland plays bass and backup vocals in the four-piece band once described by a reviewer as “Southern fried rock-n-roll.”
Patrick Lunceford plays drums and Eric Baath recently joined them as keyboardist.
Through the years the group has played with such artists as The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Buddy Miles and the Jerry Garcia Band.
Their breakthrough album, “Seven Mile Breakdown” was recorded for Possum Den Records by Johnny Sandlin of Duck Tape Music.The album is available at and

TAYLOR HICKS performing with SPOONFUL JAMES at the Dothan Civic Center back in August
image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Here's a trailer for MULLET MEN, the first film produced by Possum Den Productions.
Possum Den's new feature is called SKIPTRACERS.

image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Charles Woods 1921-2004

The other day I mentioned that I went to the '72 Mardi Gras in New Orleans with Don Thomley and Johnny Woods. Johnny was one of Charles Woods ten children and he had all kinds of great stories about growing up in his strange family.

Here's one Johnny told me about Governor George Wallace.

When Wallace was shot in the summer of '72, Charles Woods invited him to recover from his wounds at Woods' home in Miami Beach. Wallace continued to serve as Governor of Alabama while living in Miami Beach. He commuted from Miami to Montgomery in Woods' jet.

One day Cornelia came up to Mrs. Woods and told her that George wanted to meet Bebe Rebozo, Nixon's pal.

image courtesy of

Mrs. Woods was friends with Mrs. Rebozo so she set up the meeting.

When Rebozo showed up at the house, Wallace asked his valet to push his wheelchair out to end of the boat dock so he could meet with Rebozo without fear of being bugged.

Unknown to Rebozo and Wallace was that one of Johnny's brothers was down below cleaning a cabin cruiser docked at the estate. When the Woods' son heard Rebozo & Wallace coming down the dock he got quiet and hid so he could overhear their conversation.

All of this took place in '72 before the Watergate hearings blew the lid off of everything.

Wallace asked Rebozo, "What in the world were y'all thinking when you hired that team of Cubans to burglarize the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate? That's absolutely crazy!"

Rebozo replied,"Governor Wallace, what you don't understand is we were looking for proof that Senator McGovern is a PAID AGENT OF HO CHI MINH!"

Wallace was delighted to get that information. It really got him excited. He said something like,"I've been telling y'all for years that they're a bunch of Communists!"