Peter Case

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The dream: I’m cutting class from Hamburg High, skippin’ out on school, so I go across the street and into a little record store there on the corner, and start looking through the bin for singles. I come to one that really catches my eye. It’s in a very colorful sleeve, and in wild type the cover reads “‘Hothouse Madman’ by the Sargents.” I want to hear the record, but John Lennon is a few feet away, going through records in another one of the bins, and when he

No snow in Alaska No bees in the field No frogs by the river No hands on the wheel No leaders in Congress No brakes on the booze No magic experience No truth in the news No teachers on the playground They can’t protect themselves No songs on the airwaves No food on the shelves Low wages for the workers No workers getting hired No rights & no more unions Speak up & you get fired No days off the schedule No end to the tasks No answers to questions that everyone asks No pause in the battle No one

heard the story on the evening news ‘bout the Capulets & the Montagues ryan’s dream on a private highway airport bound the convoy speeds past shanty town bannon’s vision dragons on the sidewalk angels in the trees children on the border cut down like Christmas trees ryan’s sermon he’s my rock & my salvation I shall not be moved & tho a fire awaits you your credit’s pre-approved miller time the hate truck that yr driving the wheels will soon fall off the other pigs yr riding with will push you from the trough the union won the civil war

This is the Memphis Minnie blues, from the HWY 62 sessions at Sheldon Gombergs’s Carriage House Studio, in Los Angeles, performed on a guitar Ben Harper had just laid on me, a perfect replica of Lead Belly’s Stella 12-string. Bumble Bee was the first song I played on it. This song is Track 1 on a CD of blues, by Buffalo musicians, released to help homeless veterans in the Western New York area. Here is a link if you’d like to receive a copy, and help out a very good cause:  

This track didn’t make the final sequence of the LP. DJ Bonebreak on drums, David J Carpenter on Bass, recorded by Sheldon Gomberg.  I worked on this song a long time,  and at one point it was 45 minutes long. That was too much! riding in your snow-white car I never thought we’d go so far top down we chased a star      that somehow fell to earth like Magic In Reverse   on summer days we made up songs down on the beach beneath the palms silver fish flashing in the calms     & I didn’t know

The Big Phone Call The Breakways broke up, and I painted houses for a year, working for our old road manager, Ron, and making about 5 bucks an hour. The whole time I kept writing, playing and trying to meet musicians I could start a band with. It took a while. The Plimsouls started January 1, 1979, three of us backing up a blind singer and guitarist named “Doc” Holliday at a joint in El Monte California called The Place.  It was three nights a week, five sets a

bottomlessness (from Shakespeare Wars, by Ron Rosenbaum) ‘A highly developed, acute servant of other people’s truths.’ ‘He’s someone who empties himself out.’ ‘A million percent alive… this person, walking through the streets of London must have lived each single moment with an incredible richness of awareness, so many levels, infinite levels of meaning.’ ‘ He can overhear and notice two kinds of things: all the life & noise pouring out with great excitement. Yet at the same time, even though he is a very practical man, he can evoke in words faraway worlds, strange tales, astonishing ideas, and develop &

someone keeps an eye on me someone I’ve never met I’ve got their dishes in my kitchen their picture on my tv set he worked downstairs in the diner sixteen hour shifts or more cooking & waiting tables & when they closed mopping the floor he came here with his family they left a world behind this new land was a mirror but the sky was redesigned he never raised his voice at all at work or in the home said “what you do comes back to you good luck is yours on loan” he wore a grey fedora tipped

5) Green Street Dorian lived upstairs from the Green Street Mortuary, in North Beach. He was caretaker over there, cleaning up around the bodies downstairs, late nights and early mornings. The rest of the time he was blowing mouth harp out on Broadway, with the likes of me and Jimmy, or practicing alone, sitting on his bed, upstairs over the death chapel, truly lost in the blues. He’d come to the states from Australia, and his skin was a whiter shade of paste, but he took his blues music very seriously.  He was “living the blues,”  and that was the