Sometime around ’69 I made my way back to the Sweet Sunny South, to Nashville, got myself a job with a capital “J” as a staff writer (it felt like “staff infection”) for April Blackwood Publishing on 16th Ave. It was a far cry from the West Coast and them Mexican Border towns. Not much of a reality in comparison. More like business, their kind of business. Of the 30 or more songs I wrote at that time I came away ownin’ nothin’, not even the writer’s share. I packed it up and hitched me a ride to Austin, Texas lookin’ for what I thought reality oughta look like.
Me and my friend Roger Bartlett, we lit out for Texas. We put together a duo, LUSAZA, LUSAZA GOOSE. Roger was a fine guitarist and songwriter, the mix was good. We got steady work in Austin at Castle Creek owned by Tim O’Conner and Doug Moyes. We became their house band opening shows for Lowell George & Little Feet, Willie Nelson, Doug Kershaw, Tom Rush, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Jerry Jeff liked my stuff. He cut The First Showboat in ’74. Made my day. Then he cut The Pot Can’t Call The Kettle Black. Made my day again. Then Leroy. One night JJ says, “Where you stayin?” I says, “I’m on the couch circuit m’ man.” He says’ “Come on out to my place and stay as long as you want.” I stayed two years. That’s where I met David Bromberg, Guy Clark, Bobby Rambo, John Inmon, Freddy Steady Krc, John Prine and a blue jillion others. Those were the days! Those were the days of prolific creativity when a body just hated to sleep. I loved the cocaine and the whiskey but was overtaken by it sometime in the early to mid ‘80’s.
Willie had cut HANDS ON THE WHEEL on his RED HEADED STRANGER ALBUM. Jerry Jeff had cut a few more of my songs including several different versions of HANDS ON THE WHEEL. I had scored a four year contract with Colombia Records had great management, was on tour with Willie and I was ridin’ high, high’ola polka. I took a fall! I crashed and was nigh near burning. So once again I lit out. Back to that little river town.
“ Now we’re all here ‘cause we ain’t all there
Some they never were
I had t’ come back just one last time
To see if you boys were really who you were”