Records can be like children growing up. Sometimes, it takes time to see what they are capable of achieving.
I keep up with these three guys I grew up with from Danville. When we’re lucky, we actually see each other. We all had big birthdays recently. A number that scares you sometimes, but when we compare notes we’re proud of it, overall. Although I’m still not sure I’d wear it on a tee shirt.
The school thing is sort of the point. We napped at the same kindergarten, spitballed at grade school, rabble roused at the same Jr. high…and so on. Two members of this quartet did well scholastically in elementary school (I was in the other duo). One of the gang excelled in high school. The other three didn’t struggle; we lollygagged, daydreamed and drifted.
Collectively, we were anemic on the book side, a bit of trouble, but fun to be around. We had full, mischievous, abundant lives, but street-smart wasn’t a line item on the report card (still isn’t to my knowledge) and the system that rated us didn’t really show our potential.
So guess what, three of “The Danville Quartet” are Doctors of something! PhD-holding brainiacs. Sid is a published Poet, nominated for a Pulitzer and the Director of the Honors Program at a Major University. Bruce is a celebrated Professor of Agronomy and travels the globe working with governments to maximize their country’s agricultural strengths. He lectures at Universities around the world, is a published writer and a educational television host. Allen tours the world with the Israeli National Symphony as a soloist and is a Professor of Classical Music at a major University. That leaves me. I’m just me and have received a black belt in loving what I do. And when we get together at the Peabody bar in Memphis, I have the best stories.
Artists and songs don’t always show their full potential at first, either. On paper, it can appear that a young record hasn’t ‘found its way’ because we all (and I mean all) use the same methodology in their infancy as we do in the adult trimester of a single’s life. These beautiful babies sit in the same classroom and take the same pop quiz as superstars, powers, ballads, unknowns, tempo driven love songs, remakes, fast burn novelty tracks and monster power recurrent sides. Sadly, with call-out, on-line, m-score, and even focus groups, we measure them all with the same yardstick!
This week a good friend told me he was taking a single out of rotation because it wouldn’t test after 20 weeks and had lived in B for over half of its life. He had believed in it. It wasn’t on my label, but I made a plea for it’s life anyway! Art for art’s sake, you know. Given the chance, that record might’ve ‘killed it in college!’
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Try This Recipe: Get fresh duck, rinse well, fill the cavity with a mixture of chopped onion, apple and lots of rosemary. Coat the duck with maple syrup, olive oil and sea salt.
Put the quacker on a smoker for about 4 hours on low temperature, basting it regularly with the maple syrup. Remove, cool it down and strip it bare. Save every shred of meat and skin and pull it apart. Sauté mushrooms and shallots in white wine. Toss them with the duck into a huge bowl of pasta with a touch of red pepper and olive oil.
God Bless Charlie Cook, Dex, Meg, Natalie Stovall, Lanny West, Brad and Little Vinny!