Gig at the Park

        The City Park decided to revive their tradition of local entertainment.  Before T.V. got so big, and long before the days of the Internet, all we had was the radio, the local movie house, and the Park as our sources of entertainment.  I remember when Dolly Parton came through and stood on a short stack of Co-Cola crates to sing into the mic.  We had groups like the Tams and the Shakers, and Jimmy Dean sung one called “Big Bad John.”

        So, when they contacted us start up the shows again, we were enthusiastic in spite of the fact the place still has a faint odor of musty sweat socks and gym shorts.  We are old gym rats anyway, so we didn’t care.  Besides, how often do you get to warm in old rasslin’ star Haystack Calhoun’s dressing room?  And it ain’t every day you get to grace the stage of an early Billy Graham crusade.  We were honored.

        Even though the Warbler (our lead singer) is just a young’un, he is a history major, and he understood the significance. It put him in the mind of old school, so we did a number of standards mixed in with some of our original material.  He got on a Larry Sparks kick and we did a few we had not rehearsed like “Blue Virgina Blue” and “John Deere Tractor.”  We did “Richmond” right off the top of our heads, and I threw in some trick mandolin licks I’d picked up from my teacher Ben.  The boys took notice and Moose told the audience I’d been back to school.  In music, like doctoring, you have to if you want to stay current.

        We only got tangled up once.  Warb told the crowd we were gonna do “Memphis” and I didn’t hear him.  I turned and asked him what we were gonna do next, and he said, “Poet With Wings.”  Then he told the crowd we were gonna do a Tom T. Hall number.  I was confused ’cause Pete Goble wrote “Poet.”  Anyway, I kicked it off and the boys expected “Memphis,” but they fell right in and no one knew the difference.  You gotta think on your feet in bluegrass.

        All in all, it was a fine gig, and at four bucks a ticket we drew quite a crowd.  You get what you pay for.  The Park only lost eighty-seven bucks, which was good for a first time festival, and they went ahead and booked us for next year.  It is good to add a few new ones on the schedule; Doc has to get out and play to be satisfied.

        And if history is any guide, maybe someday the kids who came to our show will say, “I remember when we used to have those shows at the Park.  Old Doc Bibey was there with Neuse River and…..”

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “Gig at the Park”

  1. Amber Says:

    What a lovely sweet memory. I used to love going to the Blues Fest held every 4th of July in Portland, OR. I will miss it. Something about Blues under the night sky…. its magic.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    I like the blues too. Bluegrass has a lot of the blues in it. I always say playing the blues chases ‘em away.

    Dr. B

  3. pandemonic Says:

    Sounds like a good time. Where’s the video? :-)

  4. Cindy Carter Says:

    When you read what you write, you can surely tell where your heart is. You really paint a picture! I can see you all going in and taking a deep sniff of the air. I can also see your fingers flying across the string on that instrument of yours. One of these days, maybe I will get to see it in person.

  5. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    I feel like the Park shot some footage, but I don’t know for sure. Will try to find out for you.

    Dr. B

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    My agent has asked me to to start thinking about what I would do if I needed to do a book tour in support of the project. If my book does much I may get out on a limited tour in a few years, either with my band or some variation thereof. My guys are all younger than me, and might not to be able to get out and go, but at least one touring band has said I could do some guest spots with them, so that might be an option.

    I have three years left on my full time contract with my employer, and plan to honor that 100%. After that I might get out some.

    However, I also love family, home, and medicine. I plan to re-sign on my medical gig, but perhaps with a lighter schedule. I am lucky in that I work with an organization that has hospitalists and I can do that safely.

    I am too old to go full tilt like I used to, but at the same time I love my patients and like to believe no one else would tend to them the way I would. So unless health problems intervene, I hope to continue on as 80% Doc and 20% artist.

    Dr. B

  7. Smitty Pres. of Neuse River Fan Club Mississippi Says:

    Doc, that smell is in my truck seat where I use to take guys home from football practice in the early nineties. My wife will comment on the odor just about everytime she is honored to sit in the passenger side of my vehicle. When one performs, one loves to notice the stage area and all the particulars of the building. We were performing in a concrete block building a couple of months ago with a painted U.S. flag on the stage floor. A single bulb above our music stand. The fun part of the whole story was the Christmas lights that really set off the background of the area. We have all performed in these places. God Bless the U.S.A.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Amen brother Smitty. Ain’t bluegrass a great American institution?!

    Dr. B

  9. Susan Shay Says:

    I remember Big Bad John. I loved the way that one guy’s voice would go really deep and gravelly while he sang. Sent shivers down my spine.
    Susan

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    Someone recently brought a picture of Jimmy Dean and his band to my office. It must have been from the early to mid 50s. I dug Big Bad John too.

    Look for my post tonight or in the am on a patient encounter. Your husband will enjoy it- I am sure he has had patients like this one too.

    Dr. B


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