Oh Tommy Bibey, Where Art Thou You Rascal?
My blog just made a milestone- 15,000 hits. My agent says this is real good for a fiction blog. I’ll be honest, I ain’t got no idea. All I know is I am an over grown doctor country boy who loves to pick bluegrass music and read, and this Internet thing is an endless word candy store.
The blog has grown to the point that a number of folks have e-mailed and asked where to see Neuse River play, so I’m gonna tell you about that today. Betwixt doctoring and music, Tommy Bibey has never has gotten around to a myspace page or such as that. Bluegrass folks are so dadburn spontaneous it is hard to get ‘em to write down a set list, much less a performance schedule, but I will keep you guys posted on the blog.
Here ‘s what I mean. Not long ago the Moose called me. “Hey Bibey, you on call this week-end?”
“Nope. What’s up?”
“Call Jenny (his wife) and tell her you got us a gig at the Beach,” he said.
“I ain’t got us a gig at the beach. What you talking?”
“Yeah you do. We’re gonna open for Chubby Checker at the Pavilion.” Only the Moose is ingenious enough to convince the Pavilion a bluegrass band needs to open for Chubby Checker. “I got us the gig, but she’ll be a whole lot more likely to let me go if you call her.”
And so it goes. I run interference for the boys all the time. In a way I understand. Moose was a bit of a rounder in his day, and Jenny trusts me to keep all the women shooed away from the band. Not that it is needed. After the Moose married Jen, he settled into domestic life just fine and is 100% faithful. I think Jen just wants to be sure if opportunity tries to knock on his door I slam it shut. By the way, we did great at the gig, but Strober K, who subbed for Simpkins on the bass that night tried to steal the alligator they kept in a cage out front and take it home for a pet, so we didn’t get invited back.
Yep, you can count on spontenaeity from these boys. One time we had a show in Virgina, and Stroker got all the way up there and realized he’d left his shoes at home. How do you get to Virgina and not realize you ain’t got your shoes? We had to stop at the Walmarks and get him some brogans. One thing though, he never forgets his guitar- Stroker is a player.
So, I apologize in advance for not being more organized, but you can see what I deal with here. Here’s how to find us, though.
Should you be in Harnett County, stop at the first gas station. The attendant will be a good old boy wearing a blue shirt with his name, Joe, on a white patch over the left front pocket. Roll down your window, and act bluegrass. Say something like, “Y’all pick any bluegrass music in these parts?”
The man will say, “Yep.”
Then say, “You know Dr. Tommy Bibey?”
“He’ll say, “You ain’t from around here, is ya?”
Then deliver your punch line. Say, “You know Jack Lawrence what picks with Doc Watson? He wanted me to bring this here pre-war herringbone for Bibey to check out.” Point to a guitar case in the back seat. ”It rocks.”
Then you must be prepared for his next statement. It will be, “How much ya want fer it?”
Say, “It ain’t fer sale. Jack just wanted him to see it.”
The man will say, “You know where the Burger Barn used to be? Well, you go there and take a right at the light, go two blocks, then left at the tracks. Then go right by the cement block factory take a right at the body shop and you’re there. Can’t miss it.”
Of course, you’ll have to admit you don’t know where the Burger Barn used to be, and he’ll say, “I knowed you warn’t from around here.” He’ll take one last look at you, then say, “Awh, hell, just follow me, I gotta go to town. I drive you right by there.” Folks around here are very accommodating.
The best place to see me is at a gig. I’m the old gray haired guy on the mandolin. I think I may have seen some of y’all before at my shows. You remember the gig at KT’s Archery and Radiator? I think Ms. Amber was there- dark haired slender woman about half my age? She’s got people in N.C. I know. And one time we played up near DC at the Birchmere. I swear there was a lady there who coulda been mrschili- she had a whole little brood of stair step young’uns what favored her. Was that you? I know for a fact the English Professor was in our area once, ’cause they told me he was at the Bomb Shelter and I only missed him a week or so. I don’t think I’ve run into Ms. Pande, but then she lives in dadgum Greenland or somewheres up that way, and we ain’t had a gig that far North. And we’ve not been out to Oklahoma yet, but if we do I hope Ms. Susan will catch our show.
Heck, even right here in N.C. one time the Neuse River converted school bus broke down near a farm, and a dog named Ranger made it clear not to invade his turf. He realized we were bluegrass folks, though, and led us right down a dusty rutted lane to a farm house where Ms. Cindy let us use the telephone.
Maybe the biggest compliment I’ve had to date about my blog was from a bluegrass guy who said Tommy Bibey was the gestalt of bluegrass, almost the durn spirit of it, in that he was everywhere. I hope to tell a lot of people why we love our music so. To me, the music is bigger than all of us. It represents an effort to remain human, all it’s flaws and imperfections non-withstanding, in what can be a mean modern world.
Y’all watch for me on the circuit. You’ll know me by the gray hair. (and the mandolin)
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