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songs of a coal miner’s son 1

July 4, 2013

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songs of a coal miner’s son 1
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A BLOG FOR MUSIC-LOVERS

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, USA! WE ARE LAUNCHING OUR NEW BLOG ON THE GREATEST OF ALL DAYS IN 2013 — INDEPENDENCE DAY!

AND NEVER FORGET – – STAY BOSTON STRONG !!

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IF YOU SHOULD HAPPEN TO BE IN PITTSFIELD, IN THE BEAUTIFUL BERKSHIRES, TODAY — LOOK FOR THE DOSSERS, RICKY, BILL & GENE ON THEIR FLOAT IN THE 4TH OF JULY PARADE, SINGING AND PLAYING THEIR HEARTS OUT FOR AMERICA !!!

THIS BLOG is Dedicated to Rodney MacDow

(who gave me the idea . . . )

Have a listen!

Rock n Roll Rock n Roll

ROCK n ROLL ROCK n ROLL! And cast your vote here__!

episode one . .

THE DOSSERS_!  RICKY, GENE & BILLY__!

THE DOSSERS_! RICKY, GENE & BILLY__!

Wrote a song this morning. Guess that makes it a good day. But actually, I said to myself when I got out of bed today—I’m gonna make this a great day! So, from good things—come good things. It’s actually the third song this week—and all of them, pretty good, if I do say so.

Guess I better introduce myself. I’m Gene Christy. I am a musician, so, naturally, it’s not my real name. But it does fit better on a card or a handbill than my own.

My dad was Mel Smargie. That’s not his real name, either. That got mangled passing through Ellis Island, on the way to the coal fields from Eastern Europe. My dad passed away last November, at the age of 95. May he rest in peace. He was a WWII veteran, US Navy enlisted man, and the Navy sent an honor guard on the day we buried him—for that I thank them, because he finally got his due. But before he was in the Navy, my dad was a coal miner in Buckeye No.1, in Nemacolin, PA, near the West Virginia line, on the banks of the Monongahela, in Fayette County, where the county seat is Uniontown—close to where both Rolling Rock Beer and the Master’s Champion Arnold Palmer come from, in Latrobe, PA.

Well– I believe my dad was doubly qualified to be considered a member of the greatest generation, because before he was in the Navy, he had left school, in the sixth grade, to help out his family, by going to work—in a coal mine. At the age of twelve. In 1929. The year of the Crash.

I have written a song about that, with music by Perry Daniels, and I believe we’ll get to that—but we have a lot of songs to get to, and each one has a story to it—what they call, on TV, the backstory.

GOOD-LOOKIN' RICKY!

GOOD-LOOKIN’ RICKY!

So this will be a blog of songs and stories and hopefully, you, kind reader, and listener, will tune in each week for the latest song and story.

THE OLD EXCELSIOR_!

THE OLD EXCELSIOR_!

My dad used to refer back to the days of what he called “King Coal” often enough—but was I paying attention? Sometimes. Or maybe I didn’t know that I was absorbing—bits and pieces of this and that and here and there in a roundabout way over the mountain and down the valley and back again. It had to be that way, because I grew up far from the scenes of his childhood—such as it was, spent in a cold, dark place. And my life was very different than his—probably in every possible way. Of course, many a coal mining family has produced doctors, lawyers, company presidents, elected leaders, pro football players—and even country music stars.

My love of country music, and in fact, all music, began in the cellar with my dad playing Hank Williams on the radio in his carpentry workshop while I sat on a tub of compound—when my legs couldn’t reach the floor—and listened—in between blasts from the rotary table saw. That was in Massachusetts, believe it or not. Where I was born, a city boy, after the war.

BTW – – I don’t play guitar. I do sing – but I don’t play guitar.

My mother and dad are both gone now, God rest them, but I got the music from both sides. And I will be happy to explain, or try to, as we go along. But first—let’s have a song! Isn’t that why we’re on this planet—to sing and dance and be happy?

THIS LINK TAKES YOU TO “THE DOSSERS” ON YOUTUBE, A VIDEO WITH GENE CHRISTY, PERRY DANIELS & RICK MARQUIS, PERFORMING OUTDOORS ON NORTH STREET FOR THE 3RD THURSDAY FESTIVAL IN THE SUMMER OF 2009

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One word more I must intrude, before we go for today. And that is this—I am happy to say that I can count my friends on the fingers of one hand—and that’s because—true friends are few and far. For many years, I haven’t been looking to make new friends, because the ones I treasure are those who have lasted and stuck by me and stayed in my corner for—decades. One such, who is undoubtedly pre-eminent among these few, is my friend, Rodney MacDow—of the North Carolina MacDows.

THE DOSSERS PLAY EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AT PORTSMITT'S!

THE DOSSERS PLAY EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT AT PORTSMITT’S!

We have known each other for more than four decades. And despite varying lives that led us worlds apart—we have always stayed in touch, and tried to be as close as we could. I still live in Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, and Rod lives today in Portland, OR. But that gives us the marvelous opportunity to begin our Blog as a bi-coastal endeavor, with streams of contributions emanating from both sides of our great country, from both oceans bordering our great continent, from the East and West—of our imaginations.

RICKY & GENE

RICKY & GENE

So this has been conceived, not as a solo act, but as a bandstand for brothers– who did not come from the same mother and father, or grow up the same house, or even the same state or region—but who became brothers nevertheless.

TOP O' THE LINE ROLAND!  ALL-DIGITAL!

TOP O’ THE LINE ROLAND! ALL-DIGITAL!

______________________________

One last song for today. It’s called “Rock n Roll Rock n Roll,” and I wrote it about seven years ago, on the tear sheets of newspaper, with a black magic marker, while in my car at five in the morning, delivering the Berkshire Eagle door to door on a route with 300 patrons—I was getting a direct transmission from the big DJ in the sky, right down to the receiver in my head, words and music both, simultaneously–and all I had to do was take dictation.

BILL MORRISON

BILL MORRISON

The year was 2006, and I was thinking that it was just about the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show—remember? I recorded the tune at Derek Studios in Dalton, MA, with the help of a couple of Berkshire County’s best-known musicians—Bobby Sweet, who has been a session man in Nashville, on Fender guitars, Hammond B-3, and vocal choruses, and Rick Leab on drums—with help also from Sean Callaghan, Bobby and my sister Janet on the doo-wops. Have a listen!

ROCK n ROLL ROCK n ROLL!

Rock n Roll Rock n Roll

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GENE & BILL

GENE & BILL

 

From → MUSIC

2 Comments
  1. Bob M permalink

    Gene Great blog!!!! Bob M

    • Thanks, Bob. I did my best to make a good impression on you as I value your good opinion highly. Now, if we can get Sam Falcetti to take a look at this blog! Anyway, the next Update will be out next Thursday and every Thursday after that, so stay tuned, same time, same station–and thanks for listening! Your friend, Gene Christy!

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