I want you to buy Marshal Hagler's photographs.
All of them.
If you can't afford to do it yourself, get some on your well-heeled daytrading buds to pool some bucks and make the acquisition. Barring that, I call upon Richard Scrushy to uphold the rock 'n roll tradition he used to espouse by peeling off some pocket change to obtain for his personal enjoyment a fabulous trove of Alabama's musical heritage.
Back when alternative journalism really was alternative, Marshal Hagler was a sultan of snapshooting in these parts. Though he often put on light shows at Tuscaloosa concerts, he was better known as a photographer of musicians.
In October of '65, Marshal shot The Kingston Trio performing at Foster Auditorium, and from then through the mid-80s, there was scarcely a name act blowing through North Alabama he did not capture on film.
He shot with a degree of craftsmanship that could have gotten him into Rolling Stone or Creem, but Marshal's work customarily wound up in periodicals with circulation more anemic than Strom Thurmond's. I first worked with Marshal on a monthly called HIGH GUAGE whose staff had much more idealism than journalism; Marshal's shot of Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers and The Band were always the best part of the paper.
We worked together subsequently on Barry Whitcomb's BOLL WEEVIL and Ben Burford's SOUTHERN STYLE, when Marshal was shooting at venues whose names evoke the era of classic rock: The Wooden Nickel, Brother's, The Old Town Music Hall, the late lamented Louie Louie and Tuscaloosa's Chukker, a bar with patrons so clannish they call themselves CHUKKER NATION and kept up with each other years later through a newsletter Marshal edited.
Marshal snapped cult favorites like Steve Young, Randy Newman and Karla Bonhoff. He caught marquee names at their apex:The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Springsteen, Led Zeppelin. He got everybody from Buffett to Yes and he still has the negatives, 8500 in all, plus maybe 300 color slides. The list of artists and performances represents not just a Who's Who but a When's When of rock 'n roll.
This goody bag is up for grabs because its creator can't heft the Hasselblad anymore. I received email recently from Uncle Marsh- he's not my uncle; that's his screen name- and the tidings were not so good. Apparantly, adult onset diabetes has stove him up and tapped the till, provoking this photographic warehouse clearance. He has shopped his holdings to some of the larger photo houses in the trade but serious offers have not been forthcoming. Which is why I mention all this to you.
I was thinking about pop history even before I heard from Marshal, because last week I heard that nefarious natural causes had claimed two other fringe heroes of Tuscaloosa's recent past:
Joe Whigham and Ron Norris. Don't bother searching the chronicles for this pair. Joe Whigham was a cinamatographer, a professionn being made anachronistic at this moment by modern digital methods of putting pictures on a screen. Videotapers are a dime a dull dozen, but when you wanted to shoot big-screen Panavision with an auteur as quirky as they come, Joe was, I believe, the only Alabamian ever to be on a first-name basis with Elaine. Or to want to be.
When the '60s came down to continental divide-Establishment versus anti-establishment- Ron Norris was precisely poised between. A short-haired engineering student, he found his friends among the freaks and imperceptibly his life path veered off the straight and narrow into the wild and trammeled landscape of the counterculture.
If his life had been a TV movie, Ron would have wound up back in the corporate world after his dalliance, chastened and nostalgic. In real life, Ron turned his blown mind to computer way ahead of the PC curve and wound up a top-flight consultant living on the Gulf Coast and driving a much better car than he would have ever rated in the straight life he forsook.
Joe Whigham and Ron Norris had good heart which just quit beating. I mention them now because history will not. I remember them in the crowds at many of the concerts Marshal Hagler photographed and, just as a photo holds a musician timeless in its grasp, I recollect Joe and Ron in a decade more hopeful than this one.I trust Marshal will be able to sell his archives.
We are learning, as has every generation passing before us, that memories gain value when those who make them leave us.
The House Faye Dunaway Was Brought Up In In Bascom
Mr. Bill versus ARMAN!
Me & Christopher in '99 after getting the award from the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame
A Wasp Nest Attached to a Praying Mantis Egg Case
62 Inch Mean Old Hateful Baby From Cape San Blas
I don't care ha about your past
I just want ho our love to last dee
I don't care darlin' about your faults huh
I just want to satisfy your pulse
When you kiss me
When you mess me
Hold my hand
Make me understand
I break out - in a cold sweat
Ho! Uh! Ho!
I don't care about your wants
I just wanna ha! tell ya about the do's and don't's
I don't care about the way you treat me darlin' ha!
I just want huh! to understand me honey
When you kiss me
And ya miss me
You hold me tight
Make everything all right
I break out - in a cold sweat heh!
put it, put it where it's at now
Let him have it