Country Music Stray
by C Carson Parks

Late 60s, I grew to know a duo in the folk music era, who played “the road”. They were from Gadsden, Alabama, did a guitar/banjo brand of southern Appalachian old folk tunes, cut a couple nice albums for Capital Records, under their names of Richard and Jim. Jim Connor wrote a kind of Tone Poem/Symphonette, (for want of a better phrase), which he performed with some symphony (Atlanta, Birmingham(?)) It was a little strange for my ears, but very Appalachian and highly acclaimed. I’ve lost track of him, pretty much, but we’ll connect again. Last I heard, he was somewhere in Stone Mountain, GA. On the other hand, Richard Lockmiller and I have remained close for many years, mostly by phone. I live in the last place in Southeast Georgia you can go, without swimming. Richard remained in Los Angeles for a few years after he and Jim called it quits, doing movies, stage plays, commercials, etc. One quiet Sunday morning, he made coffee, let the dog out, went out and walked around the pool, just sucking in one of those rare, beautiful blue sky Valley mornings that we grow to love, and suddenly some neighbor’s boom-box comes on that shatters the peace! He said “I’m outta here!”
He has an old (maybe ‘58) Chevy panel truck - faded to sky blue, with a bumper sticker that says something like: “Caution! Stay back! Driver Ahead Chews Tobacco!” Hell, if you’d just pull a little left, before you pass, you would have known that by the evidence on the driver’s side of the truck! Even his big hound in the back knew enough to just put his head out the right hand window! So, Richard gave it up in L.A., packed it up with wife Ann & young son and moved as far north as it’s possible without encroaching Canada, to Duval, Washington, where they now live in the woods. He cuts his firewood, drives mail around Christmas time, and they eke out a humble existence. Too much “boonies” for me! - - Perhaps I’m too urbanized for that, or too lazy. So, this is just one of the few tunes I’ve written with any particular person in mind. Maybe I had a little Waylon in mind, also, and the whole “touring” ordeal, that we all went through in those days..