Tuesday, July 20, 2010

boone county feet | blisters and grass

I am hurtling through those backwoods in the company of Jesco White and Hasil Adkins, heads lolling and spooling drool, when we hit a fork in the road. A box elder stump with a 7 ½ lb axe embedded straight through its heart.

Spitting feathers. Entrails.

Well. I just about piss myself when White hops up on that deadwood and proceeds to dance. Flat foot to bounce and shuffle, the soles of both shoes skimming up a mess.

I fall back in a stupor. The jalopy listing in the ditch with both doors hanging. The radio pushing in and out. Adkins set to cackling.

That unhinged sound again. A Boone County fox loose among the chickens. Wads of fur knotted on the wire and a scrabbling of claws on shit festooned tin.

When I come to they are gone.

"What's that ?" I mumble. An evangelical booming of torment and a sulfer stink fading to a whisper on the AM dial.

The spirit is all but wasted too, and my stomach is hurting. I sit the empty bottle upright on the stump and vomit in the ditch. My eyes bulge like yolky eggs about to burst over my cheekbones and puddle on the grass. My trembling hands and knees belong to somebody else. I find a half smoked cigarette in my shirt pocket and smoke the rest while the insects lap at the sweat on the back of my neck.

I have no heart to swat at them or chase them away.

A couple of vehicles pass me on the road to somewhere else.

A small Japanese manufactured family saloon and an expensive 4 x 4 Dodge with scarcely a trace of mud on the sills. A smear of face peering out at me as gears shift and it nudges into the incline. Two shrivelled raisins jammed in sullen folds of flesh and a tiny downturned crease for a mouth.

Well. Forty minutes or so of this and I am ready to straighten out.

I unravel myself somehow. Stagger up like a new born doe; legs buckled, joints and ligament at sixes and sevens. I climb into the jalopy and start her up. Then switch it off again. I snatch the keys out of the ignition and eject the tape.

Slam it in first and walk away.

It is not too far, I don't think, to make it by foot. My socks have worked loose inside my boots but even hopelessly inebriated I have the instinct of a homing pigeon. No more hot dogs. My head is a rattling milk churn. My chest is packed with lard.

If I make it home in one piece, I promise to avail myself of healing. Pour a little water in that gin.

Some Quinton Claunch. Bill Cantrell.

CHARLIE FEATHERS: I'VE BEEN DECEIVED from "Peepin' Eyes b/w I've Been deceived" 45 (Flip Records) 1956 (US)

CHARLIE FEATHERS: DEFROST YOUR HEART from "Defrost Your Heart b/w Wedding Gown Of White" 45 (Sun Records) 1956 (US)

1 comment:

ib said...

Doing the anal thing - slipping in the Mississippi mud - I see there is a marked preference here for "Defrost Your Heart". I won't argue with that.

The early stuff, those 45s for Flip, Sun were markedly different than the Meteor and King classics, when Feathers began writing his own material in earnest. A kind of Cajun feel to these. Claunch was born in Mississippi - like Feathers - but teamed up with Cantrell in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Sam Philips, allegedly, did not rate Charlie Feathers very highly. Feathers, for his part, claimed to have arranged "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky" for the Presley boy. And to have laid down a version of "Good Rockin' Tonight" months in advance of Elvis's stab at it.

I can't hardly stand it.