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So here we are, out in the Mojave, driving toward Phoenix while the words of Janis Ian’s “Acousticville” swirl in my head, trying to figure out the difference between Ocotillo and some strange Yucca and instead of being able to write a “Suddenly” it just goes on and on like that. And we know it’s going to get worse on the leg between Phoenix and Austin.
But then we arrive at the Mesa Arts Center and all is forgiven. A beautiful facility, a gracious welcome and a sweet, attentive audience that swarmed us after the concert, buying more CDs and other merchandise than anywhere thus far. And to top that, two dear old friends, Helene Tassano and stepdaughter Marcy, came to the concert and stayed to visit afterward. We had time for a brief but good catching-up visit after the crowd cleared. It was most fortuitous because Marcy was set to leave the next week for Oregon. If I’d arrived later, I’d have missed her altogether. Desert blessings in the unlikeliest of places. So good.
And then! Then, I met Crazy Eddie. Now this may not seem a big deal to you, but it was to me. I’d been carrying around a truly apocryphal Crazy Eddie story in my head for years, and had never set eyes on the man. Now mind you, I didn’t realize at the time of our meeting that this was, in fact, the true Crazy Eddie. It was only somewhere in the desert, in a van possibly named Rocinante, that it was revealed that the man I’d been speaking to the night before was, in fact, the real deal. This man, whom Bo had identified as a long time friend who had, in recent years, sobered up and been doing some good things, but was now in poor health, spoke with me at some length of his friendship with Bo and other matters. Then Bo described him as the same man who, decades earlier when Bo was with the Undergrass Boys, would come up to the stage, roaring drunk, and actually roar. Or howl, or whatever the noise was he bellowed until he had to be forcibly removed from the establishment. “That was Eddie back then,” he said.
“Wait a minute,” I exclaimed. “That was Crazy Eddie?”
“Yep,” said Bo. Wow. (to be continued)