|Author: Rhynes, J.D.
|Killin' time, playing cards, shootin' dice, drankin', and other sports to kill time on the road
The life of a professional musician that is finally lucky enough to
hit the big time, has a LOT of time to kill between gig's. There's
the seemingly endless miles of travel between dates. Either in
planes, cars or on a tour bus, with whomever you are working for, if
yer jes a sideman [or gal]. Then,there's the long periods of tedium
that always sets in, and makes you wonder jes WHY you chose THIS to
make a living?Then you remember the first summer job you had digging
ditches fer the local plumbing shop when you were a junior in high
school, and suddenly those long periods of tedium, travel, lumpy,
noisy bus bed's, and greasy spoon cafe's dont seem that bad and long
after all! Making a perfect "G-Run" behind yer boss'es lead vocal
in a high lonesome ballad is ONE HELL of a lot easier than digging
in flint hard soil, with sweat drippin' off of you like yer in a shower!
All of this came back to me the morning of the 13th, when my good
friend Ronnie Reno and I were discussing what we did to kill time on
the road. We got to telling of how we would play cards, or shoot
dice, or maybe have a little drink 'er two with the rest of the band
members. I related the story of how I made at least $5,000.00
shooting dice with the members of my crew during the course of an
overtime job, 30 years ago. Then, Ronnie told me of playing cards
with Gordon Terry, when they were both playing in Merle Haggard's
band. Ronnie said that Gordon bought him a new motorcycle, and half
of a new car one summer. Ronnie told of how Gordon was wont to stay
in every hand,no matter how bad it was, as long as he had money to
bet. THEN, Ronnie told me of the time he and Merle were playing
poker on the bus one day, heading to a gig. They had a hard and fast
rule, that you couldn't "check" yer hand when you had what might
prove to be the winning hand. [ 4 of a kind, full house, three of a
kind, etc.] In other words, you couldn't be "a'layin' in the
weed's", you HAD to bet yer hand. So, this one day, as the ol bus
was a'whinin' on down the road, Ronnie sez, I had a pair of Queens
in my hand after the draw, and it was Merle's turn to bet. Merle
took three cards, looked 'em over and sez to Ronnie; I b'leeve I'll
check. Ronnie said, I knew right then that he hadn't improved the
pair he had, so I bet the "pot", which was $8,000.00. Turns out, a
pair of Queen's beats a pair of 8's ever time! Ronnie said, I took
that 4 grand I won off of Merle and bought me a brand new, Powder
Blue Mustang, in July of 1973!
Great sories of a great time in country music history. Thanks
Ronnie fer letting me be able to let others in our musical family
enjoy some good "road stories".
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Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
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