Sunday, August 07, 2011

Hey y'all~

Already planning my little vacation during the Saturday, Aug. 20th weekend. I've got my backstage pass for the ALS~Lou Gehrig's Disease gig with The Rhythm Section & Joe Billy. Promise I won't bother nobody.
I'll just be passed out in the back of that Bay Limo with the stripper pole. May end up on Dauphin Island before it's all over with. Of course, the only way I'll be able to accomplish that feat will be to submit to constant adult supervision.

This is an excerpt from a pamphlet entitled THE D.U.D. IN LIVINGSTON, ALABAMA published in 1975 by the Livingston, AL Bicentennial Commission. It was written by D.P. Culp, a former President of Livingston State.
Here's the story of how George Fluker, Sr., passed the position of drummer for the annual DUD parade down to his son & my good friend, the late George Fluker, Jr.

Sumter County and the Town of Livingston are populated by people
who have close ties of friendship. It would be difficult to determine whether this holds DUD together, or if the traditional community effort contributes to the closeness of the people in the area. They certainly give serious thought to preparation of their own acts for the coming year, and to the perpetuation of the festival itself.

Many evidences of this serious interest might be cited, but perhaps the feeling with which people accept and promote the custom can best be illustrated by the fact that roles and responsibilities in DUD are handed down from age to youth as an inheritance. For example, many years ago, Mr. W.S. Nichols, President of the Bank of Sumter, was a leading figure in the DUD parade. Because of his position of leadership, he always did much of the word-of-mouth advertising for the parade and invariably appeared at the head of the group as it left Sleepy Hollow and moved out toward the Town of Livingston. He frequently carried, or had someone carry, a drum to beat a marching rhythm. In his later years, he began inviting George Fluker, a young boy of the time, to serve as his assistant. Within a few years, it became evident to everyone that George Fluker had become an assistant to Mr. Nichols as parade leader, and heir to the position of drummer or leader. Evidently, Mr. Nichols had chosen George because he had no son of his own and because George, being a very congenial young fellow, took an interest in the parade and acted the part of drummer very well. Consequently George Fluker became parade drummer, or leader.

In later years, after Mr. Nichols' death and George Fluker's ascendency to head drummer, Jim Williams, whose mother was a niece of Mr. Nichols, was brought in as a very young boy to accompany George Fluker as an assistant, much in the same manner as George Fluker earlier served as assistant to Mr. Nichols. As a result of this, Jim Williams early became known as an assistant to the drummer, or leader of the parade, and still plays this role. In 1964, he came home from his foreign language professorship at Washington and Lee University to serve as a drummer at the head of the parade.

In more recent years, George Fluker's son, GEORGE FLUKER, JR., had served as an assistant drummer, or leader, of the parade. In fact, George, Jr. made his first parade trip at the age of sixteen months and has not missed a march since that time. Consequently, it is anticipated that GEORGE FLUKER, JR. will continue to serve as drummer for the parade throughout his life.

This custom of passing on from father to son, from age to youth, specific leadership positions in the DUD parade, indicates its significance in the community and its prospects for survival in future years.

In any event, DUD is very much a part of the lives of residents in Livingston and Sumter County. It is "what you do on New Year's Eve," in spite of inclement weather or other conditions. On December 31, 1963, fourteen inches of snow stalled traffic and disrupted life generally, but the DUD parade "came off" as scheduled.

DUD in Livingston is a significant New Year's celebration, particularly and peculiarly adapted to the people of Livingston and Sumter County. It began in the days when men traveled on foot or on horseback. Who knows? The time may come when young men will fly home from outer space to take their places in the DUD parade!

George was a great guy and a terrific friend. Here's some more stuff I posted about him back in '09 including a circa 1961 photo of Fluker leading the D.U.D. parade in Livingston.


Front page article in the BIRMINGHAM POST-HERALD, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4,1997

By Steve Joynt
Birmingham Post-Herald

Birmingham police are investigating a multiple stabbing death from last month that has lent new intrigue to the 13-year-old unsolved slaying of a former UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA FOOTBALL PLAYER.

On May 8, 1984, the body of Richard Bryan,33, was found floating in a tributary of the Tombigbee River in Choctaw County.

He had been shot three times with a shotgun: once in each shoulder and once in the back of the head. Bryan's body was wrapped with baling wire and weighted with a logging chain.

Even though no one was ever arrested in connection with the case, Bryan's mother, Cissy Stehl, who has doggedly investigated the killing on her own and offered a reward that has risen to $75,000, filed a wrongful death suit against three men, including another former Tide player.

The suit was dismissed in June of 1990 because authorities, including Choctaw County Sheriff Donald Lolley, refused to turn over information from the investigation, saying the case was still open.

Shortly before 2 a.m. on May 24, one of the three men who had been named as defendents in Mrs. Stehl's suit was found in a Birmingham alley, stabbed 29 times.

The victim, George Franklin Fluker, Jr., 46, of Freeport, Fla., died at University Hospital at 5:45 a.m. that day.

Birmingham police Detective Damian Williams said Fluker's death is a case of many odd circumstances but, as yet, there are no clear answers. The fact that Fluker may have been involved in Bryan's death years ago, Williams said, "probably has no direct bearing on his own death, but it is interesting."

Sheriff Lolley said that his investigators interviewed Fluker years ago,
"more on the witness side of the Bryan case. I would not say that he was a suspect in the actual death."

However, Lolley said he believes that Mrs. Stehl was on the right trail with her lawsuit, " and if Fluker's death might help solve this case, I'll go up to Birmingham myself."

Mr. Stehl said she takes no satisfaction in what happened to Fluker and that she feels for his family.

"No family should have to go through what this family had gone through," she said, "But if his death shakes something loose about what happened to my son, I would welcome that relief."

Fluker was attacked behind 5231 Court Q, directly behind the home of his friend Sherman Crosby, Williams said.

Crosby and his wife were out at the time and did not return until after police responded to a neighbor's call that a man in the alley was screaming for help.

Police found Crosby's home ransacked and the phone lines cut, possibly to disable the alarm system. But, Crosby told police,
nothing was missing from the house.

"The burglary created a lot of questions," Williams said. "I don't know if Fluker rolled up on the burglars or whether something else was going on."

Fluker was still able to talk when help arrived, but he was unable to provide any clues about his attacker, Williams said. He only said,"They got my car." His car was found by police later, abandoned in the 1400 block of 47th Street Ensley.

Police found $1500 in Fluker's wallet, but he may have had more when he was attacked, Williams said.

When Fluker was loaded into an ambulance, police found a .22-caliber pistol that had been lying underneath him. He told police that it was not his gun.

Fluker and his wife were driving from Florida to Tuscaloosa, Williams said, and had stopped in a Hoover hotel for the night. She told police that her husband had called Crosby at Crosby's cellular phone and talked to him for a couple of minutes. Then he said he was going to get some food. That was the last she saw of him.

Crosby has denied that Fluker called his phone and told police he DID NOT EVEN KNOW FLUKER WAS IN TOWN.

"There's a lot of things about this case that don't make a helluva lot of sense right now," Williams said. "If that old murder case from Choctaw County will help shed some light on this, I'd be happy to hear it."

Bryan, a reserve fullback and a defensive tackle for the Tide from 1972 to 1974, was last seen on May 3, 1984. He had just returned to Tuscaloosa from a trip to the Bahamas and Florida when he received an urgent call that he told his girlfriend was from Robin Parkhouse and Edwin Gates, Jr., the other two defendants named in Mrs. Stehl's suit.

He set out to meet them and was never seen alive again.

Eighteen months later, Parkhouse, an All-American defensive end for Alabama and co-captain of the 1971 SEC championship team, was arrested in a Baltimore hotel in possession of three kilograms of cocaine. He was sentenced to seven years in a federal penitentiary.

"I've never really stopped trying to find out who killed my son," Mrs. Stehl said,"He had his problems, but this should never have happened to him."

Mrs. Stehl lives in Port Royal, Va., but she and her youngest son still sometimes travel to Alabama to follow up on leads they receive in the case. To this day, talking about her son Richard's death brings her to tears.

She has accuse Lolley of all kinds of things in connection with the case, from bad police work to purposely misplacing or destroying evidence.

"I certainly sympathize with her," Lolley said," I'd love to take this case to trial, but there has to be some solid evidence to do that."

Bryan had tried for several NFL teams and finally landed a spot with a World Football League team. But the league folded before he could play a single game.

He returned to Tuscaloosa to begin pre-med classes at Alabama, looking toward a career in sports medicine.

When she heard about Fluker's death, Mrs. Stehl said, "Everything just came up into my throat. I don't know what this is going to mean, but I feel like something's got to happen now."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thank you for responding. George was a card in school. The music and guitar was his passion. This is so sad to hear. What a talent. I would like to know more about his history like head of the D.U.D.and what else went on in his life . he was such a great friend when we were at Marion. It is like Stevie Ray, what a waste of talent. What more you can tell me would be appreciated.
I also remedmber seeing Rubber Band at the Old Dutch in P.C. plus the Magnicificent Seven and of course The Tyn Tymes, from here in Gadsden,(still playing and are great) after 30 some odd years.
Thanks again for your reply
P.S. I listen to this great SOUL music all day (Sanford Townsend Band etc.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My name is Jim L. and I live in Gadsden, AL. I have been reading about Tippy Armstrong on your great blog site. What brought me to your site is my search for The Late Great George Fluker. George and I both attended Marion Military Institute back in the late sixties. As a matter of fact we lived in the same barracks on the same floor so I saw him every day for quite a while. I also had the great honor and pleasure of playing guitar in a band along with George. Man how George could play. I thought I was pretty good but George was light years ahead of me. Here at age 59 I am still trying to catch up. We really had some great times together. Anyway, I have often wondered what has happened to George. I wanted to ask if you had any information. I can't seem to find much.
Once again, enjoying your site and would appreciate any info you have
Thanks again

Group Picture from Capn Dean's Wedding:
Tippy is third from left,followed by his wife,Nancy Derrington,Fluker, THE NOTORIOUS Crockett Roberts and Eve Owen
[photo courtesy of Dean White]

Left to Right:

[image courtesy of Captain Dean White]

D.U.D. Parade

December 31st

In Livingston, Alabama the New Year’s Eve celebration, or parade, known locally as DUD is a highlight of the year. This celebration for the changing of the year has become a tradition in Livingston and in Sumter County. The local residents have apparently given very little attention to the origin of the custom, but they consider it an important part of their civic and social life. From one year to the next, people quietly plan their acts and costumes for the DUD parade on the evening of December 31st.

According to History of the Town of Livingston, Alabama, prepared in 1928 by Dr Robert D.Spratt, the DUD Parade originated in 1857 by Colonel T.B. Wetmore, Ben B. Little, and Mr. John McDaniel. By the time this was recorded in 1928 no one really knew how the DUD got started. It is believed to have been a custom carried over from England and Scotland.

In the older days, the maskers called themselves the "Indomitables." There was a march of the maskers at night and a parade on horseback in daytime. The custom almost passed out during the Civil War, but was revived some years afterward and has continued to the present day. The older name "Indomitables" passed out of use in the late 1800's when "some stupendous wit began to call the maskers ‘Damned Ugly Devils’ and so we have the D.U.D."

above text courtesy of

from the December 29, 1971 issue of Livingston, Alabama's HOME RECORD:


George F. Fluker Jr. , of Livingston, a senior at the University of Alabama, expects to see the Crimson Tide play Nebraska in the Orange Bowl New Year's night.
But he has to be in Livingston some 24 hours earlier.

Plane seats for Miami being as scarce as they are for this greatest-ever game, George may or may not make it to the Orange Bowl by game time. Be that as it may, he intends to be in Livingston Friday night, New Year's Eve. He will be here because he has a job to do, a tradition to uphold, a trust to fulfill.

That job and that trust is to lead the annual D.U.D. parade, the ancient and colorful event which takes place in Livingston and nowhere else in the world. George will march at the head of the line of costumed and disguised men and boys, beating a drum and leading them through the streets to the neighborhood of the Courthouse Square, where judging and general frolicking takes place.

It is no overstatement to say that this job of leading the line is a tradition for the 21-year-old Fluker. He participated in his first D.U.D. parade at the age of five months, and he has been in every one since. His grandfather, C.R. Moon, transported the baby, in his first parade, in a little red wagon. The little fellow's father, George Sr., was with them, performing his customary job of beating the drum and leading the line.

For, you see, it was George Jr.'s father who got him started on this D.U.D. tradition, a tradition that the father himself had been a part of since he was five years old. It was way back in 1913 when W. S. Nichols, who then was the regular leader of the D.U.D. parade, invited the little Fluker boy to march with him in the big shindig. The boy was delighted and continued to take part, shouldering the main responsibility after Mr. Nichols could no longer perform.

Through the years, George Sr. missed only one D.U.D. parade, as well as anyone can remember. That one came during World War II when he just couldn't make it home from his Army duty.

George Sr. won't make it to the parade this year----not in the flesh.
He died August 11 of this year following a severe heart attack.

But he will be very much present in spirit and in the hearts of his wife, Mrs. Martha M. Fluker, his daughter, Mrs. Susan Howze, his mother-in-law, Mrs. C. R. Moon and many, many others.

And int he heart of his son, George Jr., who will carry on without his dad for the first time. The young man's heart will be full and it will be heavy. But he will march and he will beat his drum and he will lead the line. Ty Cobb, his friend who now is employed in Birmingham, expects to be here to march with him.

"I've got to have some moral support," George said.

"I didn't mention it to Boy," Mrs. Fluker said. ("Boy" being the name often used by the young man's parents as he has grown to manhood). "I wanted him to do what he was able to do. One night he came in and said, 'Well, Mama, I'm going to march in Daddy's place.' "

And so he will be out there Friday night, with his friend and his costume and his drum. No one will know just how he feels as he leads the way along the route which he so often covered in the company of his beloved father.

But few will doubt that as the shadowy figures come out of the darkness and frolic their way toward the Square, with Boy leading the way, Boy's father will know and be glad.

----John Neel


It all started way back in 1857...
114 years ago...
and has been going on every year since that time.
This year, as in years past, on New Year's Eve, the DUD's will march again.

Livingston Mayor Drayton Pruitt, following the tradition set at a time no one remembers,
has issued the proclamation which sets aside December 31 as DUD night and has ordered
"each and every able bodied male resident of said town to set aside all duties and cares of his
ordinary life and dress himself in costume and disguise and proceed to Sleepy Hollow where he shall be joined by all other male residents of said town."

And thus is has been, that each year on December 31, all the men of the town, rich and poor, friends and enemies, forget their cares and join together "to march, deport and exhibit themselves in a foolish and frivolous manner upon and throughout the streets of Livingston."
This year will be no different from the other 113.
On Friday night at 7 p.m. the men will gather in Sleepy Hollow and the parade will begin.

The parade will end at the Bored Well pavilion and the awarding of prizes will culminate much hard work...
mostly by wives and mothers who came up with the ingenious costumes and disguises.
The "Dressed Up Dudes" or , if you prefer,
"Damn Ugly Devils"
prance and cavort around the pavilion to the amusement to all except maybe a few small
frightened children, while awaiting the decision of the judges.

The DUD parade has been held each year including one December 31 several years ago when a heavy snow covered the town. Granted, there were few marchers and fewer spectators but the parade was held and tradition kept alive.
Tradition will continue Friday night.

Who will be the winners?
No one knows.
You will just have to come out and see for yourself, but one thing is certain...
there will be a parade and there will be a winner.

Following the parade of "Dudes" and "Devils"
another tradition will take place when the Masquers Club holds its annual New Year's Eve Masquers Ball.

Although not as old as the DUD's (this will be the 20th ball)
the Masquers have set quite a tradition of their own and each year come up with elaborate costumes and decorations.