March 31, 2002

Oh Lordy Lordy! I am speechless...almost! I just got home from Jim's CD release concert, and I am happy happy happy. It was wonderful.  They sang TWO VERSIONS of "The Golden Vanity"! They sang "Hobo's Last Letter" by Bill Hicks, and me 'n' Madelyn Smoak sang along because we both memorized all the words during our days at the Cats Cradle back in the seventies! We also sang along on "Play 'Rocky Top'" since you couldn't just jump up and dance (but if there was one, I would have been on the dance floor). They played stuff they learned from Alan Jabbour's fieldwork with Henry Reed in the sixties! With Bill fiddling, they played Tommy Jarrell's "Sally Ann"! It was so strong, so powerful. No wonder Dad loves it so much. And on "The Yellow Rose of Texas" I found myself enraptured by the heart and soul Bill put into fiddling it. "Lets Be Lovers Again" was so touching at this lovely reunion. The music wouldn't have been complete without the harmonica played by Bill Newton, adding an essential blue note to numbers like "Mississippi Moon." Leroy Savage was a knock-out with his voice when he joined Watson singing "If the River was Whiskey." Gary and Tony Williamson with Leroy and Jim sang a gospel number that could have given the word "joyful" its meaning. As usual I can't say enough about Mike and his piano playing, and I and several folks noticed it when Joe Newberry intentionally sounded like dad (or Charlie Poole) on the banjo. (Think about that, a guy who can mimic banjo styles at will.) The energy they put into the performance was tremendous--matched only by the energy they created in the audience. One of the musicians suggested getting a transfusion back stage. Harris "Greenie" Marley played bass and said he wasn't tired like the other guys because he wasn't singing. Rebecca Newton sang with Jim on a few numbers, and wow, what a voice!

Hey--if you weren't there you shoulda been. Thank you thank you thank you Jim for bringing all these wonderful musicians together and creating such a transporting event. It was so fun and we are survivors, and I just realized that all those times when I got crushes on musicians, well it was really just all the great great music that broke my heart with so much love; the music itself! Gawd!

See the pics from the concert
Perry Young's column about the O'Blurs, Jesse and Tommy, and Jim's CD Celebration Concert

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Besides Tommy's section of the site, the following pages are also related to Jesse and Tommy:
Blurred Time "The Sleeper": the aftermath of Jesse and Bobbie's car accident
Mike Craver's "Visiting Tommy"
Roots of the Red Clay Ramblers:
Fuzzy Mountain String Band: Jesse's mom, Bobbie, recorded with Rambler Bill Hicks and others
Hollow Rock String Band: Tommy and Bobbie Thompson named this band for their community

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March 31,  2002