Tag Archive | Leon Russell

The Master of Space and Time

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No, this post isn’t about my beloved Leon Russell, THE Master of Space and Time. But I do keep hearing his song in my head.

John and I just marked our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday. I say “marked” because we haven’t had time to celebrate it yet – we’ll do that tomorrow night. We’ve had a crazy busy spell.

Our wedding song was “In My Life,” which is his still ringtone on my phone, but these days I tend to associate my husband with Leon Russell’s beautiful lyrics in “A Song for You“:

I’ll love you in a place
Where there’s no space and time.
I’ll love you for my life,
You are a friend of mine

And when my life is over,
Remember when we were together –
We were alone
And I was singing this song to you …

Happy anniversary, John. You are a master of space and time because it seems I’ve known you forever AND that we just met. I love you.

Time in general seems to be warp speed these days.

Mad Dogs.jpgJust the other day, I was hula-hooping to the last 30 minutes or so of Mad Dogs and Englishmen (the DVD, which I recently got and adore – those were the days), and I remembered a woman who sent me a letter and photos years ago when I wrote my “Fit Happens” column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She had an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis and/or fibromyalgia (like my mother and sister) and couldn’t do stress-bearing workouts. She wanted me to know she’d hooped herself into shape and the darling photos showed her physical transformation. I ended up interviewing her for a column. I wonder how she is?

One thing that kept us busy on our anniversary weekend was the opening of a fabulous, scary, thought-provoking exhibit in the gallery at John’s dream-come-true New Deal Studios and Gallery, a wood- and metal-workers cooperative. He’d had the dream for some time; fortunately Lee Weber came along at the right time to become his partner and help make it come true.  They complement each other as business partners and friends.

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Part of the “A Murder of Crows – A Southern Retrospective” exhibit featuring the work of V.L. Cox and Michael Church. Click on the link to see more info.

It’s the perfect space and seems to be the perfect time for things to take off.

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Forgive the blurriness of the photo, please – guess it’s time for a phone upgrade that I keep putting off. John is on the left, Lee on the right.

John and Lee make good partners in business. John and I make good partners in life.

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Stand back

Sometimes you just have to stand back and look at where you’ve come from to figure out how you got to where you are – and maybe to figure out where you go next. That started running through my head as I read Gregg Allman’s recently released autobiography, My Cross to Bear.  

Liz got it for me for Mother’s Day, and it was totally addicting, if a bit disconcerting to learn that someone who’s played such a huge part of your life is, well, as my friend and fellow Allman Brothers-lover Julia puts it, “a bit dim.”

Maybe he’s substance-addled, though he’s been straight for years now. I really think it’s just that despite fame and fortune (and plenty of misfortune), he’s just a good ole redneck Southern boy.

Whatever – the Brothers are the soundtrack of my youth, at least Live at the Fillmore East and Eat a Peach  and Gregg’s first solo album, Laid Back.  I never had much use for Dickie Betts, who became way too influential after Duane Allman died, though he did write my beloved In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” — which is my daughter-in-law Elizabeth’s ringtone on my phone.

(Allman cuts Betts no slack in the book, but he does explain why such a misfit – in my humble opinion – was an integral part of the band. According to GA, the only way to get Berry Oakley on bass, which to Duane was imperative, was to take Dickie Betts, too, since it meant breaking up their band.)

Liz’s ringtone is Layla, which is what as a teen I planned to name my daughter. Her dad soundly vetoed that, but every time I hear Duane Allman’s amazing opening from my phone, I know it’s my daughter calling. (Yes, Eric Clapton wrote Layla and it’s his song, but Duane Allman made it what it is – unforgettable.)

I’ve gotten some strange looks in stores when I forget to silence my phone, but I’ve also gotten some positive comments and knowing nods.

Julia’s ringtone is the opening bars of Whipping Post, another of my AB faves. I love. love, love my iPhone, but I won’t bore you with my ringtone set list. (Tom Petty’s Breakdown is my default ring. Sorry, I’ll stop there.)

Back to the subject here, which is what you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino: Hell-if-I-know. It’s multifaceted, I guess. A. Life’s influences (mostly music and books in my case). B. Twists and turns, coincidences and synchronicity – here I am in a crazy restoration project house a few blocks over from where my parents lived when I was born, making organic yogurt in my Great-Aunt Opal’s antique heavy pressure cooker pot. I’m a totally southern girl married to a well-traveled man from Washington state, who’s family, as it turns out, was actually from Minden, La., where the Hardy House still stands.

C. Figuring out what you want to be when you grown up. Grandchild 4 is on the way and I’m still not sure. I have so many interests and so little time.

We’ve been marathon-watching seasons of Madmen like, you guessed it; we’re finally caught up for this week’s episode. The point isn’t that we’re lunatics, though some would heartily agree with that assessment. The point is that watching the show makes me think maybe I was right when as a little girl watching Bewitched, I thought Darrin Stevens and Larry Tate had the coolest jobs in the world and that I’d like to go into advertising when I grew up.

I think I’d have loved it and might been good at it.

Ah, well.

My desire to be a back-up singer for Leon Russell or a female Pip was cut short by my absolute lack of vocal talent. But music is in my blood, heart and soul. I’m named after a song. I was nicknamed after a song. My dad was a damned good professional musician for a while, and I wasn’t bad on the piano as a kid. Few things make me happier than good music.

Might have missed a boat there. But I did marry a guy who used to live on a boat and traveling through life with him is a pretty fun ride.

I do know that at this point if someone came to me and said “Laura, my dear, I want to fund you while you pursue your dream career,” why, I’d just up and become a documentarian. A documentarian grandma who travels the world while listening to great music and creating fabulous advertisements for her movies.

And is a regular guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Hey, a granny can dream.

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This is not at all where this blog post was supposed to go, but this is where it went. And there’s only one way out at this point, because evidently it could go on and on. I’ll just stop.

The end.

Youngblood

The calendar tells me I’m 56 and any mirror I pass tells me I’m old (from the front or the back, these days), but my music tells me I still have young blood coursing through my veins.

I do believe in rock ’n’ roll and music saves my mortal soul, but time marches on.

Kind of crazy. But I’m feeling groovy.

There was a time in my life when I’d have wanted to run off with Leon Russell, given the chance. Now he’s an old guy who still has the power to move me to tears in a different way. (And check out John Mayer’s chops as he accompanies the old man. Don’t tell me JMs just a pretty boy, though he is that as well.)

I remember singing at the top of my lungs on my swing set in the backyard in the fourth grade. Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” had just come out, and I thought there couldn’t be anything better than to have someone say that someday about a grown-up Laura.

“Do Wah Diddy” (Manfred Mann, remember?) was another swing-set bellower from the same time and also dealt with walking down the street. (Seems to have been a theme. I know I wanted to get out of there.)

That’s also the year “A Hard Day’s Night” came out and gave me an extreme reason to live. The first semester of the fourth grade was hellish – we’d moved to El Dorado temporarily and all my friends were back at North Heights in North Little Rock. Right after Christmas, we beat a retreat for home.

In the meantime, music, the Beatles and Bewitched got me through. The exploits of Samantha, Darrin and Endora officially came on after my bedtime, but I’d go to bed, then sneak back up and stand in the hall watching it over the shoulders of Mother and Daddy as they snuggled on the couch.

They had to have known I was there – during commercials, I’d jump back into my room to hide. Mother and Samantha had the same hair, which I thought was very cool. I tried for years to work magic by wiggling my nose.

Even if I could make it work, I don’t think I’d go back in time. I wouldn’t want to stop, stop, stop all the dancing through life, no matter what. Back then, I couldn’t wait to grow up to be a long cool woman in a black dress.

Never made that – stalled out at 5 ft. 4 in., but I did grow up to be a “Green-eyed Lady,” just as I used to go to bed listening to that song by Sugarloaf.

Things are pretty great these days, all in all. Music just makes life grander for me. Makes me feel like I’m driving Carl Perkin’s Cadillac. (And you thought this was just about oldies. No way, Jose.)

Do you know what I mean?