Sunday, February 28, 2021

So I had a book launch for 2020 Poems and it went like this...

 



Thanks to all that attended....there were so many! Special thanks to Robin Stratton who hosted, and runs Big Table Publishing----and also my wonderful special guests, poets, Jennifer Martelli and Yuyutsu Sharma

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Jones Woodfin Purcell, December 20, 1955-February 23, 2021

  
 "The most original singer songwriter in his time period"

 -Drummer, |Ed Shockey speaking on Jones Purcell


"Troubled and supremely talented songwriting genius. Coulda and shoulda been more widely recognized, if not for the baggage."

 - Most of the Universe  


Sometimes when I scroll through Netflix or Amazon Prime Movies there are this music documentaries about musicians or bands that should have made it, and for various reasons did not. Jones Purcell, or as he was known, Woody should have one made about him. He was hands down one of the best song writers I've ever encountered, and certainly one of the best I've ever heard. He was brilliant, funny---could play anything, in any style. Here are some of his songs, but these demos or studio versions of his songs do not give them much justice, as I think there was too much to mettle and play with in studio settings---the music was always better live.

The music posted on Sound Cloud is curtesy of DC Harbold, who said, 

"Woody was a complicated brilliant man that I was privileged not only to play with but to call a friend."

So what happened? Baggage? Is that what you call it?

Well, you can't understand what you can't understand.

Those who knew him well knew of his struggle with mental illness, although we didn't really talk about it back then. He self-medicated with alcohol which often caused volatile behavior, and although filling rooms with his various bands, he was banned at various venues for his behavior. He was known for being in the band The MIBs, The Ranchers, Kamikaze Posse, The Jones Purcell Band, Pie Hawkers, nu-MIBS, Cornbred--all forces of music in the 80s-90s Delaware Music scene.



Woody came to the Delaware scene vis South Carolina, brought in by John Baumeister who played with Woody in a band called the Mammals which morphed into the MIBs.

"One Christmas I was visiting my folks in Charleston and found him playing in a place called Captain Harry’s. We went to see him and he started throwing beer bottles at the fireplace and yelling at people. Anyone who knew him would not consider that unusual. So I told him that he should come back with me to Delaware. We had a house in Elkton (the Land Yacht) where he could stay and we could start a new band and just play. This was about 1980/81. So he packed up and came back with me. I was living with Paul Slivka and Jim Hannum among others and so we began the band." 


    He made tight friends until things would happen, usually he would flip out on them and then bridges were burned. Looking back, we had much less understanding of mental health, and even people in need of recovery were not empathized with much. People always returned though, either drawn in by his talent or

personality. I knew him quite well, and although avoided him after some of his angry outbursts, we would always check in with each other. In 1986 he was looking to move somewhere, and I was living in Lexington, Ma., with my parents, so he came up to play -- maybe start a band. We played all week, but he was down, and in his dry, dark, sense of humor, stated, "I was planning on killing myself, but I didn't want to upset your Mom." The only impression he had made on her was a good one. My mom really liked him.

    After that he disappeared for about five years. He moved to Nashville, and didn't really tell anyone. He played, wrote, and worked as a roadie for The True Believers. I was on with my Boston life, by that time but we kept in touch via late night phone calls, and later on social media. Lately he would say or comment, "I'm proud to know you," even when his health began to fail horrible, ending up, in and out of hospitals because of various medical issues, as he needed oxygen now to live, and was having trouble walking.


Sax player Alan Yandziak,

"So sad to hear. He was such a force of nature and one of Delaware s favorite sons. I'm sure everyone's got a story or two to tell, and I'll be sure to raise a glass to a one of a kind talent. He will be missed."

    Yesterday and today there is a lot being said about his music, and life. To say that he suffered through life isn't true or even fair, as he had a huge kind heart when he wasn't fighting off his demons. I never blamed him for having them, though at times I needed to distance myself. Jones, I hope the afterlife treats you like a king, and  I'm proud to have known you. 

There will be no documentary, but there should be.