Autographs in the Rain

I very recently had the pleasure of interviewing the ever-enigmatic Kinky Friedman for a magazine feature. He has released an album after a forty-year hiatus, CIRCUS OF LIFE. I want to share two stories with you.

First, he talked about a phone call he got from Willie Nelson at 3 am. Kinky was in Texas and Willie in Hawaii. The conversation went like this according to Kinky.

Willie: “Hi, Kinky. What are you doing?”

Kinky: “Watching Matlock.”

Willie: “Kinky, that’s a sure sign of depression Turn it off. Turn off Matlock and get busy writing.”

And, so he did.

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On this album, I found a tribute song to Willie, “Autographs in the Rain.” Kinky stated that he’d seen this happen many times. People would be lined up for autographs and when the rain started. the fans didn’t leave and neither did Willie. And, while I couldn’t find a photo of Willie signing in the rain, I did find one of him signing a woman’s boob. 🙂

Willie_Signing_Boob

Everyone loves Willie. And the main reason for that is he has always taken time to connect with his fans. He understood that if those people didn’t pay their money and spend their time to come and see him, he wouldn’t have much of a career. And, he’s always been sincere about it. Many of today’s artists have forgotten that or they are just paranoid to get too close to their fans.

I have met Willie personally on three occasions. Once, Rick and I even had dinner with the band backstage. I was awestruck!

I love Willie Nelson. He is now 85 years young and eventually, his journey here will end. That day will break my heart. Here are a few personal photos of the graciousness of Willie Nelson.

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Willie Nelson and Rick Sikes reunited after 40 years. And Willie remembered.
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Wilie signing Rick’s 1964 Martin D-35. I still have it and it is a prized possession.
Willie Group Pic
Group picture = L-R Rick Sikes, Willie Nelson, Jan Sikes, Kay Shields Perot
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Willie taking a look at my sister, Linda Broday’s, first published book!
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Willie talking to Rick Sikes after a show. He was exhausted, but still took time to visit.
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Jan Sikes and Willie after the concert. Look at the sweat under Willie’s arm. He was exhausted and I don’t know where my smile was. I think I was just feeling his exhaustion.

And, then last, but certainly not least, I want to share a pen and ink drawing Rick did of Willie. I thought he captured the essence of Willie Nelson perfectly!

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I can’t say why I was particularly drawn to share this with you. Perhaps it was the conversation with Kinky that sparked it. The feature article will appear in the July issue of Buddy Magazine.

Rick Sikes 8-5-35 to 5-1-09

It is hard to believe that it’s been nine years already. I’ll never forget that early morning exit from life that Rick made and how the Angels surrounded us. And, I know I will see him again.

This is my tribute to him today…

Did - Didn'tby Jan Sikes

2_ColorEdit_Luke_Darlina_2008

A story as big as Texas itself!

Poetry & ArtFrom the heartand soul.

 

http://www.jansikes.com

http://www.ricksikes.com

BOOKS

 

Poetry Connection #RRBC #RWISA

april-national-poetry-month-monet-claude-water-lillies

As we wind down to the end of National Poetry Month, I am compelled to share a couple of excerpts from our Poetry and Art Book, “Discovery.

I chose this first poem for many reasons, but mainly because it is such a pure organic expression of longing and love from within a prison cell. I hope you enjoy it and take time to FEEL it.

The Dream By Rick Sikes

I dreamed I was out of prison last night

The long awaited time to set things right

You were a picture of loveliness in my sight

For hours we kissed, as I held you tight

Soaring, orbiting the heavens, souls in flight

No windows barred in this world of sunlight

Tears of joy did I weep

So happy, I couldn’t go back to sleep

I thought of a rose, though the prison yard is deep in snow

Feeling great, awakening from a beautiful dream, you know

It seemed that I had touched you, it was grand

Tenderness of your eyes, the caress of your loving hand

Tasting of honey were your sweet lips

My eyes traced your soft body like fingertips

You snuggled up to me so warm, so mine

These moments totally divine

No light, no dark, no time, in this dream of ours

Filled with love scents and of wild-flowers

Talking about the many things we’ll do

My antics bringing gay laughter to you

Smiling, drifting into sleep; cuddled, you and me

Sailing peacefully into tomorrow’s reality

 

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ARTWORK BY RICK SIKES

 

I chose this next poem because it is written from a base of truth. Rick has been gone now for nine years and at times I think maybe I should try opening myself up to have a relationship with someone else. But, then I read this and know it can never be…because “I am you and you are me.”

I Am You – You Are Me by Jan Sikes

I don’t know how it came to be

That we in spirit love were joined

Somewhere out in eternity

Then split apart like a germinating seed

And placed on earth each other to seek

We looked in many stranger’s eyes

Only to turn away and recognize

That this was not the one we sought

You and me

Then at last, fate heard our plea

And now forevermore we’ll be

Bound in love

By satin chains and golden threads

And endless love where we make our bed

And never again will we part

For we are joined heart-to-heart

From Spirit World to earthly plane

We’ll never need to search again

In love with you, I am set free

For I am you and you are me

I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from “Discovery.” I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy and ecstatic if you read and review it.

discovery_3dcoverhb2_discovery_logo1

In print and eBook format on AMAZON

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I will give away one eBook of “DISCOVERY” to someone who leaves a comment and shares the post on social media. The winner will be chosen at random.  Thank you!

The Bed

THE BED

BY JAN SIKES

 If you’ve read Flowers and Stone, you know that it was a big scene and turning point in the story when Rick (aka Luke) took me (aka Darlina) to his house in Brownwood for the first time.

One of the things I noticed right away was the bed. Made in the 1800s, its black and gold ornate metal frame caught my eye. He told me he had bought it at an antique store in the early sixties.

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The second thing I made note of was a holster hanging from the centermost point of the head frame with a pistol stuck in it and a leather sheath that held a bowie knife.

For Rick back then, these were simply standard every-day items. He played a street dance in Round Rock every year in celebration of Sam Bass, and he wore that gun belt, as did many others, to the event. Obviously, gun laws were quite different in the sixties and early seventies.

At any rate, after he was incarcerated, I often wondered what had happened to the bed and figured his parents sold it.

When he came home in 1985, one of the first things he found in his nephew’s house was the bed.

It had survived and remained in the family for all those years!

He promptly brought it home, gave it a new coat of paint, a new mattress, and it became OUR bed.

I still have it. Of course, it had several new mattresses over the years, but I sleep on it every night, and this is a tribute to The Bed.

I first knew love on this antique iron bed.

Indescribable heartbreak found me on this bed.

Young and dumb, I lost my way on this bed.

And then I lost the bed, but not my dreams.

It wasn’t until many long years later that the bed returned. Still pristine, still intact…waiting. How ironic that it had not disappeared.

So, over the years, I loved on the bed, laughed on the bed and soaked my pillow with tears on the bed.

It knew all our secrets, all our pain, all our dreams.

I remember one night I awoke in the early hours of the morning, to find Rick awake as well. I told him of a dream I had been immersed in, and as I related it, he interrupted and told me the ending. He had been dreaming the same dream. Bizarre? Well, yes, I suppose, but it happened.

And then Rick became ill. He no longer had enough strength to get back to the bedroom. A hospital bed sat in our living room, and our bed remained empty and untouched, for I would not leave him to go sleep in it.

The first night after he had passed, I slept in our bed, on his side of the bed. It has taken many years to adjust to sleeping alone in our bed, but now it is my comfort, my solace, my refuge and I still sleep on his side of the bed.

I wonder what will happen to it when I am gone. Will my children recognize its significance and preserve it, or will they sell it because it bears no meaning to them? Perhaps I should make my wishes known ahead of time. But, on the other hand, does it really matter what happens to it? I think not. It served its purpose for Rick and will serve me until I am gone. Perhaps I will get to leave this earth on our bed. Who knows?

At any rate, this is a tribute to an inanimate object that holds so much meaning and memories for me — THE BED.

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No Shame in Surrender

Surrender

This time of year brings around so many vivid memories, this being one.

On March 9, 2009, a long agonizing night began for me and Rick Sikes. He had been in and out of the hospital since January 2009 and we were back again for more IV antibiotics to try and fight the infection slowly eating away the flesh on his right leg. With daily hyperbaric treatments on top of the strongest blend of antibiotics available and morphine for pain, recovery remained elusive.

And then the unthinkable happened. I knew something wasn’t right as Rick struggled to breathe and his fever rose. But, the nurses assured me that he was not in distress.

When the Pulmonary Therapist made his daily rounds the next morning, he immediately recognized the signs and went into action. Rick had developed pneumonia. Within less than an hour, a ventilator was in place, all pain meds stopped and the vigil continued.

When the wound care team came to change the dressing on his leg, my heart broke at the tormented cries that escaped from his throat. It took every ounce of strength I had to stay calm and try to comfort him.

I thought we’d reached the end. And, during the wee hours of the morning, after another sleepless night, I wrote this poem, never imagining I would have a chance to read it to him.

Surrender

There is no shame in surrender when it is time

Like General Lee, you’ve known when to lay low and when to climb

I’ve watched you suffer for so many years

Your life seemed destined to one of pain and of tears

Yet you fought on – the valiant soldier in fierce battle

You boldly sang your song – rode tall in the saddle

You’ve now come down to the last battle call

You’ll hang up your sword, tired and weary you will fall

But know that you’ve left many good marks behind

While you learned how to love and how to be kind

Taught lessons to all who shared your many paths

That will long be remembered after you’ve passed

There is no shame in surrender when it is time…

I did get to read it to him several days later, as he survived pneumonia. We both cried. Then on May 1st, he hung up his sword and left this earth.

April is National Poetry Month. In celebration, I have discounted the eBook version of Discovery – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes.

I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy, read and review it!!

Order here.

FrontCover_Discovery

For more on my books and music, visit: WEBSITE

Story From the Road #22

http-www.ricksikes.com

This has been a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I have brought a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years.  These stories have been told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ve done my best to correct grammar, but I wanted to keep them in his own voice.

This will be the last “Story From the Road,” from Rick. I want to end this series on a positive note. I also want to thank everyone who had ridden this train of stories with me, commented and shared. It was your interest that kept me digging. 

RICK:

“In 1965, the movie Shenandoah sharting Pat Wayne and Rosemary Forsythe came to Abilene, Tx., and they planned a big premiere party. I was hired to provide the entertainment.

You can see me and Red in the background behind Pat and Rosemary. They were two of the nicest folks I’d ever met and I can’t tell you how excited this country boy was to get to meet them up close and personal. The movie was a huge success and stayed sold-out during its entire run in Abilene.

Rick_PatWayne_RosemaryForsythe

Another pretty cool deal I had going in 1964 and 1965 was a weekly live TV show on KPAR, Channel 12 in Abilene every Saturday afternoon.

KPAR Framed

We had show sponsors, one of them being the Key City Sportatorium. I played there almost every Friday night for many months and Benny Barnes, the owner and I were good friends.

But, I would get fan mail at the TV station and would take time to answer each letter I received. A lot of times it would be some gal wanting to hook up and I’d write her back and tell her I was married. Not that it really made a damn to me back then, but I kept all that at arm’s length.

I got to do a lot of amazing things in my music career before I got shipped off to Federal Finishing School aka Leavenworth Penitentiary. I was blessed. The sadness is that I was too stupid to know it. If only I had known then what I learned behind bars, I’d have made a lot of different choices in life. I was right there with all of them that went on to make it big. I’m not saying I would have, but if I’d taken different paths, I would have had a shot at it. I tried throughout the rest of my life to help point youngsters starting out in the music business in the right direction. I hope I succeeded to some degree.

One of the most satisfying things I did later in life, after I’d lost my leg, was to teach young children to play guitar. I loved the look they’d get on their faces when they got a chord down. Some of them went on to learn to play pretty good.”

 

Rick with young Denny and Dillon_1 (2017_11_16 21_30_48 UTC)
Rick’s first two guitar students

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of_STORIES FROM THE ROAD_from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Thank you, everyone, for your overwhelming support for these bits of music history!

 

 

 

Stories From the Road #21

http-www.ricksikes.com

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a bus full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“Back in the sixties, marketing yourself was quite different than today. There was a company out of Missouri I used to order these rainbow posters. It was my trademark. They would look exactly like this, only, of course, would say, “Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels” and advertise where and when we were playing. I’d give anything to find one of these posters.

canstockphoto18596738

I’d usually give my bass player, Red, a stack and I’d take a stack and we’d canvas the area where we were going to be playing. We’d tack them up on telephone poles, tape them to windows and anywhere folks would let us put one.

I recorded several little 45 rpm records back then and as soon as I’d have a new one in hand, would start hitting every little radio station across the state. That was a time when you’d walk in, meet the DJ, hand him a couple of records and visit with him. Nowadays, you have to have a record promoter to even get in the door of a radio station, but we did it all in those days.

I recorded a song, “Hundred Miles of River,” that was a true story about a Confederate gunboat that was purposefully sunk in the Sabine River during the civil war. I pushed that song hard. I had these cards printed up and got some newspaper coverage on it.

Hundred Miles of River

Then when the DJ’s played my songs, I always thanked them.

I had business cards that I left with every club owner across the five-state area.

Rhythm_Rebels_Business_Card

I booked my band through Wilson Talent Agency out of Fort Worth, Texas  for a while and they wrote up this nice little promo for us.

Wilson Talent Agency

But, sometimes publicity attempts backfired on me.

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Rhy_Reb_Train_Guns

I had this crazy idea to do some promo pictures at the train tracks outside Brownwood, Texas and make us all look like outlaws about to rob a train. Little did I know that these two pictures would be used against me in the trials for bank robbery. They were submitted as evidence. So, what seemed like fun at the time, turned into a bad deal.

It was a very hands-on time for marketing and promoting yourself and your art. Without internet, social media or even faxes, it required leg-work and one-on-one connections. And, I was pretty good at it, if I do say so. I kept us booked solid and for the times, drew good pay. So, maybe there is something to be said for old-fashioned communication…”

What do you think would be the best way to market yourself and your books without all the instant internet avenues we have today? 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

 

Stories From The Road #19

http-www.ricksikes.com

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a bus full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

RICK:

“I managed to rack up one #1 record in my early career. It was the strangest thing. My records were getting a lot of airplay in Europe around 1965 and the people in Denmark really liked my song, “Den of Sin.” It was a reverse tearjerker. The guy wasn’t upset because his baby was leaving, he was crying because she was coming back. It hit the charts in the number one spot in Denmark and charted in other countries and in the United States but never climbed to number one. I had several others make it up in the Top Ten, but none other charted in the coveted spot.

At one time all of that was important to me. I was chasing a dream. I went to Nashville with a letter in my pocket written by Ernest Tubb, asking Nashville record executives to listen to my songs. I’d never have gotten in the door without his help and I was always grateful. He was a great man.

I’ll never forget the day I walked into Owen Bradley’s office in 1968 on music row. I was more nervous than if I had been in front of 10,000 people. But, I played some songs for him and he sat back and listened. When I got through, he said, “Son, you’re a big ol’ boy and I sure don’t want to make you mad, but I have to be honest. You’re a good singer and you’ve got some pretty good songs, but pretty good ain’t good enough. I can’t sign you with Decca, but come back again and maybe I’ll have a different opinion.”

When you’re a songwriter and someone tells you your songs aren’t good enough, it’s like telling a mother she has an ugly baby. But, I didn’t get upset. I had so much respect for him and for Ernest Tubb for setting up the meeting that I didn’t dare do anything to blow it.

He went on to say, “You can go down the street to Columbia and they may just love you. I’ve missed some of the hottest acts in the business. When they brought Elvis Presley in, I told him I wasn’t impressed with the way he wiggled his ass and didn’t sign him. He went to Columbia and well, you know what happened there. So, don’t let me discourage you. Keep after it. Keep writing and come back.”

Well, I never made it back. I had record deals go bad. I had promoters promise the moon and deliver nothing. I had songs stolen and got cheated out of royalties. All part of the business, I suppose.

I was slated to be picked up and managed by Tillman Franks once he got David Houston‘s career launched. David Houston went on to have several big hits and I got busted and sent to prison. I was always on the edge of doing something big and never quite getting there. I do believe I was my own worst enemy.

I got disillusioned with it all but I was stuck on a merry-go-round and couldn’t find a way off.  The United States Government and the State of Texas found a way to help me off, you might say.”

Rick_Sikes_1966

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

Stories From the Road #18

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a bus full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

Rick:

“I had a tall skinny bass man that we used to play tricks on. His name was Thomas Jenkins but we all called him Red because he had red hair. He wore glasses with thick lenses. He had a lot of trouble with his eyes. I remember one time we were in a motel out in California when he went to sleep on the floor watching TV with his glasses on.  My brother, Bobby, had some watercolors and he painted the lens on his glasses with red, yellow and orange paint. When it dried on them, after a minute or so, he put a paper sack in an aluminum pan and set it on fire. Once the room filled with smoke, everybody started hollering, “Fire, fire, fire.” Red woke up. He jumped up off the floor and of course, all he could was red, orange and yellow and he could smell the smoke. He was panicking until he pulled his glasses off. Of course, he failed to see the humor in it but we were all rolling on the floor laughing.

Another thing we used to do to him when he would zonk out like that was spray shaving cream on his glasses. He would wake up and couldn’t see anything but white shaving cream and he’d think he’d gone blind. I suppose that was pretty cruel, but it was all in fun. No harm was ever meant by it.

This same guy, Red Jenkins, greased his hair down with Brilliantine oil, that was popular back then. He was bad about falling asleep; one of those guys that nodded off real good, kind of a Rip  Van Winkle sort of guy. So anyway, this time, someone else was driving, Red was in the middle and I was on the passenger side. Three other guys were in the back of the car and we were heading to a gig. I was wearing a white western shirt. Red went to sleep and fell over on my shoulder with that greasy head so I pushed his head back up. He didn’t even wake up. We went a little farther down the road and he fell back over on my shoulder again. I raised his head back up but by this time I was getting a little perturbed. So, the third time he fell over on my shoulder, I popped him upside the head and told him to wake up. He said, “That’s alright, you sonofabitch. You’re gonna want to sleep someday.”  It was kinda funny though. The guys all cracked up when I popped him good.

I will say this about Red Jenkins. He always had my back. I met him when he was hitchhiking through Texas on the way to California. I stopped to give him a ride. He wound up staying with me and playing in the band for many years and even went to prison with me. I felt responsible for him. He wasn’t real bright, but he could play good and he was loyal. I often wonder whatever happened to him…”

Thomas Red Jenkins

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Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels at London Hall – Red Jenkins far right
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Rick Sikes and Red Jenkins

Discovery – Book Trailer Contest

BOOK TRAILER CONTEST!

My book trailer for DISCOVERY – POETRY AND ART BY RICK AND JAN SIKES is entered in this contest. I would deeply appreciate your vote!

Voting is easy. Just click on this link to cast your vote: NORTH TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL BOOK TRAILER VOTING 

Thank you in advance!!

FrontCover_Discovery

Want to purchase DISCOVERY?

For an autographed discounted copy, visit: books.txauthors

Thank you