NEWS from Mike: Summer 2004

The reissue of mita_150_2004_border.jpg - 7227 Bytes"Meeting in the Air", a tribute to the music of the Original Carter Family, that Tommy and Jim and I recorded for Flying Fish Records in l980, has been completed. It was lovingly transferred and remastered by Jeff Carroll at Bluefield Mastering. If you would like to be the first on your block to own one of these beautiful little packages, and if you promise not to burn CD copies and violate copyright laws and deprive working musicians of their lawful commerce... then by all means visit my store. (Oh, and did I mention FREE SHIPPING!!)

New Reviews of MEETING IN THE AIR: Knoxville News Sentinel, Raleigh News & Observer, WKAR-FM Lansing

The re-issue of my l984 record FISHING FOR AMOUR has been delayed due to a "Meeting in the Air". Flight plans will be adjusted accordingly.

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Intimate Visual Highlights of "Dr. Goodfellow's Traveling Vaudeville Entertainment"

Dr. Goodfellow's Traveling Vaudeville Entertainment is the outdoor summer show presented in Dayton by Rhythm in Shoes. This past summer it consisted of jugglers, fire-throwers, a dancing horse, a saw duet, a Carpathian strongman, can can dancers, knife throwers, Mozart on the banjo, ragtime ballet, a fabric dance, lady boxers, and much much more. All of this inspired insanity was pulled together by Sharon Leahy and Rick Good. Here are some snapshots, away from the hub-bub of the big top (where the main action commences).

< Here we see Dr. Goodfellow (Rick Good), his consciousness overbowed with the gravity of remembering his lines and his duties as emcee. I've known Rick for years, ever since he was in the Hot Mud Family band. The old RCR's used to stay at with the Hot Muds in Spring Valley when we would travel through. We were label mates on Flying Fish Records, and it was all kinda one big semi-functional family. This summer I was back next door to my old digs. Spring Valley is a picture perfect tree lined little town near the Little Miami River, about 17 miles from Dayton. It boasts a Potato Festival and some spectacularly restive teenagers.

goodfellow1.jpg - 28658 Bytes >Here's a candid photo of at least three of "The Four Adorables": Emma Leahy-Good, Gina Burgei, and Denise Mann. It was hot in them there dressing rooms and we were all wearing period costumes. Suitcoats, vests, derbies, and real celluloid collars for the men. But the ladies had it the toughest, with more layers and such extras as heavy and colorfully ruffled petticoats (for the dancing of the Can-Can). Some of those hats musta weighed at least a couple of pounds. It got so hot treading the boards that two of the Adorables, Denise and Veronia Moorehead, composing the front and rear ends of Flattley the Dancing Horse, used battery powered fans when they were inside the Trojan suit.

Gatorade isn't a refreshment associated with the 1904 period, but gallons of it were swilled on a daily basis in Carrilon Park.

goodfellow2.jpg - 24679 Bytes < Pictured here are Greg Dearth and Sam Barlett, aka Artisto Plagiarini and Byron Troubadore. I remembered Greg from the old days as he fiddled with the Hot Mud Family for awhile. In addition to being awesome musicians, Greg is a successful commerical artist and Sam is a talented cartoonist. This summer they brought down the house -- or should I say "tent" -- performing their peerless saw duet of "Home on the Range" and Mozart's "Rondo a la Turque" (on banjos). Sam also played "The Irish Washerwoman" on the mandolin while rolling over on his back and never missing a note. There were alot of great tunes dug up for the Vaudeville. One was "Eli Green's Cakewalk" which was written by Sadie Kominksy, in l898. Another was Harry Lincoln's "Midnight Fire Alarm", and "Moving Day In Jungle Town" by A. Seymour Brown and Nat D. Ayer, from the Ziegfield Revue "Follies of l909". Another Brown/Ayer tune, "King Chanticleer", was used for the juggling. Classical music reared its delightful head in stirring adaptations of Waldteufel's "Les Patineurs" (aka "The Skaters' Waltz") and Jacque Offenbach's "Operetta Can Can" from Orpheus in the Underworld. Perhaps the centerpiece of the afternoon was George M. Cohan's "Give My Regards to Broadway". We also closed with Cohan's "The Yankee Doodle Boy/You're A Grand Old Flag". But my favorite was Rick and Sharon's rendition of Harold Atteridge and Harry Carroll's immortal l914 chestnut "By the Beautiful Sea", which contains one of my all time favorite sentiments:

"Over and under, and then up for air
Pa is rich, Ma is rich, so now what do we care
I love to be beside your side, beside the sea
Beside the seaside, by the beautiful sea"

goodfellow3.jpg - 17112 Bytes > This is Ben Cooper. Ben and I got to do a ukulele duet backed up by the Four Adorables, or perhaps we were backing them up, I couldn't say, as I was too preoccupied trying to play a particular augmented chord to notice. We did a tune by Albert Von Tilzer and Cecil Mack called "I Was Only Teasing You", not to be confused by the Tobacco Tags' version that the Red Clay Ramblers once recorded. One of the lines in the song goes "I don't intend to stand her teasin' no more, I'll go hunting for gore, around somebody's door". None of us could figure out what it meant until the drummer Kevin Anderson had the wit to look up the various definitions of "gore" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Turns out "gore" was a type of fabric used to make women's skirts. Aha...

Would that I had snapshots of Nate Cooper and Fred Garbo, the inspired and inspiring jugglers/clowns/acrobats/circus performers who executed the more daring deeds of the enterprise. Fred was all over the place, juggling fire with Nate, and doing forward flips and moving faster than the eye. Nate did some brilliant riffs on a strong man: Count Bienieftov Gonniffscofiscus (straight from his castle in the Carpathians).

goodfellow4.jpg - 16578 Bytes < This is yours truly, Garland Gadden, sandwiched in between Alex Baker and his mom, Janice Baker. Alex is a very talented young singer songwriter. Alex's dad is Chris Baker, my best friend since high school and an incomparable artist/philosopher. Among his more mundane accomplishments, Chris is responsible for creating five RCR albums covers: Merchants Lunch, Chuckin' the Frizz, Hard Times, It Ain't Right, not to mention Meeting in the Air, and two of my solo endeavors, Fishing For Amour and Shining Down.

Chris and Janice live in nearby Cincinnati so I got to visit them, right in the middle of the infamous Cicada Invasion. I got out just after the cicadas, in plenty of time to escape the presidential candidates fighting over everything that's left.

Front Entrance.jpg - 54774 BytesThis comes from Kelly Honeycutt of the Merchants Restaurant, in Nashville, TN.

Dear Mike,

Our Merchants Restaurant is in the building that housed the "Merchants Lunch" that the song is about, although we are not the same thing at all. We are located on the corner or Fourth and Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee.

I read the lyrics of the song. It is really funny that we actually have a lady that works in our kitchen that is named Brenda. She has been at Merchants since the restaurant opened in 1989. The restaurant has a bar and grill on the first floor (which, at times, has offered blue plate specials) fine dining on the second floor, and private dining rooms on the third floor.

We have a picture of the cover of Merchants Lunch hanging in our lobby downstairs, but the staff wanted to hear the song. They will crack up at the lyrics about Brenda. I hope that maybe you will come back to Merchants and have lunch at the new and improved restaurant. We promise you a better experience, but cannot guarantee that Brenda will not have something to say to you!! (ha, ha )



Speaking of Red Clay Ramblers, and memories, TomTom50Birthday.jpg - 12680 Bytes Heimerman writes:

"The Red Clay Ramblers were amazing back in the day, and you had a lot of fans up here in the Frozen North. A lot of my old work buddies were subjected to your music via my truck stereo and/or boombox during ice fishing, slow-pitch softball, beer drinking contests and other worthy endeavors back in the 70s' and 80's when we weren't yet in our 50's, and many of them can probably still sing half of it. We referred to you simply as "The Clays," and the cassettes I made from your vinyl would be inserted into the stereo after a sufficient number of beers had been consumed, with volume set for "stun". Best party music we had, and most of the guys were rock-and-roll guys. A guy just couldn't sit still while The Clays were playing, so there was a lot of strange hopping and dancing and singing and yelling going on, lemme tellya."

(Tom and his son own and operate a building contract and construction business in Shoreview, Minnesota.)

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