Radio dreams and epiphanies

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

A good reason to read a pop culture history — as if we need a good reason — is that like any good history text, it can answer questions — even questions that should have been obvious when I was fifteen and still wondering how a clutch and gear shift worked.

Kim Simpson, Ph.D. has answered a question I’ve been asking for decades, even if I didn’t quite understand why I was asking such a question. In (Continuum Press, 2011) Simpson discusses, among other changes, the blending of radio formats in the early 70’s, a mixture of…


The end of a Playlist Series

A year of music and cheers to sanity

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I don’t care for endings or goodbyes, so this isn’t really either of those, but 52 weeks does seem like a milestone, and maybe time to move on, forward, or somewhere, in hopes that if I quit calling what we have and are a “crisis,” maybe I will actually believe that what we’ve experienced over the past year and a few months, or in the case of the person I’ve deemed the OP, the past five years, is finally over. Done.

I’m not naive, however, and so I have to look closely at myself and decide what I think about…


Kacey Musgraves and my daughter

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Yes, I’ve written much about my daughters, two fine, capable young women. One is a social worker, and the other designs and manages for a firm producing protective masks and other support fabrics. They are strong, independent women who speak their minds as freely as anyone should.

And for Independence Weekend this year, they’ll both be with us — along with our precious son-in-law and both dogs, though sadly, the younger daughter’s new boyfriend has other family obligations — as we celebrate a couple of birthdays. …


Weeds and Wildflowers May Prompt

“Home,” that is

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

My daughter kept playing this song one summer in the not-too-distant past. I like to stay up on current music, but I had missed this one (just the tip of that submerged iceberg of sounds I don’t know that I don’t know about). So as she played it, I started whistling and singing. And she smiled at me.

My original home is Alabama, and aside from Arkansas, the rest is true, too.

My daughter (we’re talking about my almost 27-year-old younger daughter) is on…


Waiting for Lefty (Photo courtesy of Pinterest)

I can still hear her slamming into the back screen door when I wouldn’t let her inside the house. Lefty. She was used to having the run of my friends’ place, of coming inside whenever she wanted and jumping all over whomever got in her pathway.

It’s funny that I have no problem today with Max’s jumping. It drives my wife nuts, but I think Max is priming us for being grandparents one day, you know, the kind who let their grandchildren get by with all the things they would have never let their own children do.

Like the time…


Live Concert Series Pt. 18

I swear it wasn’t me

The Adirondack Chairs, with Max and Palmer (Author’s photo)

As Barney Fife once explained,

Sometimes, I know exactly what Barney means, like the time I accompanied a woman I thought I might love to see/hear jazz legend Jack DeJohnette play at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville. Maybe twenty minutes into the show, I understood one thing:

My mind wanders.

I could not grasp the free-form jazz DeJohnette was putting out. This was likely 1982, and my jazz tastes ranged from Chuck Mangione to Chuck Mangione. I swear: I’m older and more sophisticated than that now. Dexter Gordon…


And I’m not only grieving

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

For several decades, some well-intentioned people in my life have been trying to get me to face and talk about death. The first time, as I remember it, occurred when I was nearly forty — you know, that time of life when all middle-aged people’s minds and fancies turn toward death.

We were on a getaway to a mountain retreat, my wife and I, and joined by two other couples, roughly eight-to-ten years older than us. …


August 17 via Spartanburg’s Hub City Books

Don’t ponder too long (Author’s Photo)

Wondering what to do on Tuesday night, August 17? Take a tip from Max, above, and join me for another virtual reading from my essay collection, (Redhawk Publications). All the info you need is just below. You do have to register, but it’s free, and if you want a signed copy of the book, you may also order one from Hub City Books of Spartanburg, our host for this event.

Here’s the link:

The reading will start at 7:00 PM EDT and last until 8:00. After I…


Making do with what’s on hand

Fall in love (Author’s Photo)

It doesn’t get any simpler, or more desperate, than this. Supper approaches, and I just can’t face another trip to the grocery store, as much as I generally love shopping. It’s blinding hot outside, and can’t we live tonight on what we can gather from our garden?

Well, sure we can, though tomatoes and cucumbers, and a stray banana pepper won’t go very far into curing the (cue Eddie Cochrane, the Who, or Blue Cheer here). And, I’d be scrambling to devour some deli turkey before I knew it anyway.

But wait.

We have greens; we can thaw…


The Riff’s Summer Music Challenge

1969 redux with CS&N

Wrong sleeve, but still…(Author’s photo)

I almost wrote my last entry into The Riff’s Summer Music Challenge about hearing The Ramones for the first time in the summer of 1980, I think, when a friend played “I Just Want to Have Something to Do” at a grad school party. Everybody bopped around as if we were living in the late 1950s, a time when bopping could mean so many things. But the song didn’t scream summer enough, and I want to make Jessica Lee McMillan proud.

Though I’m not sure this is the path to pride.

In the summer of 1969, when I turned thirteen…

Terry Barr

I write about music, lit culture, sports, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, MuddyUm, Indelible Ink, Literally Literate, and The Weekly Knob.

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