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...The Kentucky Derby In Athens, Georgia...

Posted: May 03, 2008

Athens, Georgia…May 3, 2008…The Kentucky Derby…

“When you’re sitting back
In your rose pink cadillac 
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day 
I’ll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon, 
And another girl to take my pain away…” 
                           “Dead Flowers” 
                            The Rolling Stones

Kentucky Derby Day at Danny Hutchens house…The new Mudcrutch record plays on the stereo. My favorite Mudcrutch song “Crystal River” echoes in the background…We get the paper and we each choose a horse. We’re fierce gamblers…big spenders…Danny’s betting one dollar on Big Truck whose odds are 50-1. I’m betting three dollars on Big Brown, a 5-2 favorite.

This weekend the Athens Human Rights Festival is going on…it’s a yearly Athens festival running on thirty years…a liberal town, Athens. Last night, Danny and William Tonks played the Gimmie Shelter Benefit for the homeless. Each year there’s a different musical theme…one year it was the Rolling Stones…the next Neil Young…this year it was Elton John. They played 5 songs with Danny on acoustic guitar, William on electric guitar, Jon Mills (Barbara Cue) on bass, Bloodkin’s Aaron Phillips on drums and Neil Golden (Drive By Truckers John Neff’s bandmate in Japancakes) on keyboards. These musicians rank as seasoned professionals on the Athens music scene…they’ve collaborated with David Barbe, Widespread Panic, and Barbara Cue.

Well, I just obtained Danny’s house…my horse Big Brown won the Kentucky Derby…I’m just kidding, I’m not taking his house…but he knows better than to gamble with me. I won $15 which should cover the Stella Artois bill this evening. Of course, the death of Eight Belles on the track adds a morbid undercurrent to what Louisville native Hunter S. Thompson wrote in his classic story called “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved": "...It was a face I'd seen a thousand times at every Derby I'd ever been to. I saw it, in my head, as the mask of the whiskey gentry--a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis; the inevitable result of too much inbreeding in a closed and ignorant culture..."

We ate barbecue from a place called Fresh Air Barbecue, which I’ll include in my Never Ending Soul Food Tour. Danny tells a story he heard at David Barbe’s studio not long ago that there’s a theory Robert Johnson’s recordings were sped up to prove his musical dexterity…but these are the myths musicians discuss while waiting on a playback…

Now we watch John Huston's adaptation of Flannery O'Connor's novel Wise Blood.

Bloodkin's new, yet untitled, CD will be mastered on May 13-14 at Dave Barbe's Chase Park facility. When Brother in Arms, Eric Carter, returns to the fold, we'll update The Fandango Files in conjuction with a Bloodkin/Mystery And Manners exclusive in a month or so...stay tuned...there's some high-grade fun on the way...

James Calemine

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