Dobson’s Lyrics Will Live On

DobsonI didn’t know him. I didn’t know of him. Man, I love when awareness smacks me so hard I have to spend days in study, listening mode, and one mind-blowing rationalization leads to another.

In this case I’m talking about Texas-born songwriter and novelist Richard Dobson, who last week passed away in Switzerland, where he lived with his wife much of the last 17 years. He was 75. His songs were recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, Nanci Griffith, Kelly Willis, Carlene Carter and many others. One of his books is entitled: Pleasures of the High Rhine – A Texas Singer in Exile.

“Forever, For Always, For Certain,” “Baby Ride Easy,” “Old Friends,” “Piece of Wood and Steel,” and the one that’s been running continually in my head for the last week, “Hard By The Highway,” are a few of his many song titles. None were mainstream hits, but Dobson’s songs were poetic and visual.

Dobson was no follower. But he followed three of his renegade songwriting brothers, Townes Van Zandt (“Poncho and Lefty,” cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” at the end of The Big Lebowski), Steve Young (Seven Bridges Road), and Clark (Desperados Waiting on a Train) to eternity.

These free spirits and outlaw tunesmiths can be seen in the 1976 documentary Heartworn Highways (or many youtube titles), sitting around with a few other up-and-comers – Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Coe, Gamble Rogers, Jim McGuire, The Charlie Daniels Band, Larry Jon Wilson taking turns picking their tunes, chatting, telling stories, coming down from gigs in prisons and high schools. Here are the lyrics to “Hard By The Highway”:

 

Five hundred miles from the Mexican border

The days getting shorter, the nights getting colder

Hard by the highway, he leans on her shoulder

A little bit tired and a little bit older

The days keep on running, down through the seasons

Running like a prairie fire, wild with no reason

The Devil’s to pay for the moments he’s seizing

Still nothing is lost that’s left to believe in

 

He’s got little to lose and his only companions

Are the liquor that he loves, the rambling and the gambling

The coyote answers from back in the canyon

Hungry for more than plain understanding

Sometimes it gets hard, sometimes it’s amusing

When kindness repaid is just an illusion

When blind men know best what to make of confusion

And dead men know nothing at all

 

Still he dreams of a lady who’ll lay down beside him

He prays for the day when the sweet Lord will guide him

To one who might drain all the poison inside him

Let him hang up his boots with his traveling behind him

But it’s five hundred miles from the Mexican border

The days getting shorter, the nights getting colder

As hard by the highway he leans on her shoulder

A little bit tired, a little bit older

See it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O0UOPPzycg

 Rodney Crowell’s new “Nashville, 1972” mentions many in the group: https://www.rollingstone.com/country/videos/watch-rodney-crowell-busk-in-nashville-1972-video-w472431

 John Prine called Dobson one of the country’s finest songwriters. He was tabbed the Hemingway of country music by Nanci Griffith, which to me means he will not be forgotten, and his words will live on.  

© 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends Old and New Give “Hope” a Bump

You just never know where your next bump is coming from. My first novel, The Long Shadow of Hope, experienced a bit of a resurrection when The Lost Lantern was released in July. Let me clarify. I’m talking about going from a drip to a trickle, though it has sold more consistently in the last few weeks. And yet, I hadn’t received any new reviews on Hope in at least six or eight months, maybe more.

Shadow Copy thumbnail I realize that writing a review – going to the Amazon or Goodreads site – is new for some and can be uncomfortable. You’re putting your opinion, your thoughts, out there, sometimes with your name attached. There is also the tightrope of honesty versus appeasing/not upsetting the author. As one of my lifelong friends put it, “I don’t want to be THAT guy,” (accentuating the negative).  I also realize it’s an additional time commitment, after the reader has generously given hours of their lives to the author.

I’ve been blessed to know the sweet and amiable Dawn Snyder for going on 40 years – school buds, mutual work friends, overlapping non-traditional college experiences, and ongoing Lantern Thumbsmall-town life. I’ve known Jeremy Fallecker for less than three, he’s a young man not even close to pushing 40 years old. He carried The Long Shadow of Hope with him to Kuwait, honorably serving our country with the Air National Guard. His codename on top of the list is “Bandit.” ( I hope that’s not a security breach!)

Both friends took time this week to write informative, thoughtful reviews, and that means the world to an “Indie” writer like me. If you care to take a peek, click on this link: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/community  I also want to again thank two former SAHS English teachers, Cathy McClanahan and Carla Williamson, along with our close neighbor at my parents’ home of untold years, Gayle Michael, for their recent reviews of The Lost Lantern.

Thanks, in fact, to everyone who has read or purchased my books. I’m going to try to keep this circus rolling, while writing novel number three. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas, A.S.

Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me

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Just over 30 hours remain to enter to win a free copy of my new novel, The Lost Lantern. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. Pacific time Sunday, tomorrow, December 3. It’s easy to do.

Just click on this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/9de9b7bc52e07df5

 Lantern ThumbIf you win it will be delivered to your door.  If you’re not a reader, give it to one on your Christmas list. Your odds of winning are quite high. If you’re doubting its worth, read reviews on my Amazon author page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/community

Good Luck, thanks, and Merry Christmas! A.S.

Pictured above, Coal River at Twilight from the Hayes Bridge.

 

 

 

 

© 2017