Thank you for putting on such a memorable event on Thursday night with Mike Craver and Jim Watson, former members of the Red Clay Ramblers. These guys have been and always will be part of the picture of my life, and I wanted to share with you my perspective on the show.
Having to hold my mouth right and
push the send button at the precise time so it would go at 8:00 PM and
not 7:59 on the 9th was a challenge. I felt honored when I
found out that I was one of the 75 that had either pushed or dialed
at the right time. You know life is all about timing. The anticipation
of getting to see and hear these two gifted guys performing and collaborating
musically in the same room, in the presence of many of old and new Ramblerites,
was more than fulfilled from the time I walked in the door Thursday night.
After an enjoyable intermission with chats, hugs and rekindling of very old connections and homemade goodies, it was time for Mike. Mike and I had a brief moment together before he began his performance. I was touched by his humility and the cold sweat and “almost tears” in his eyes as he reached to me for encouragement to go ahead make the long walk to the “stage.” Beads of anxiety quickly vanished as Mike and the lit candelabra engaged the crowd immediately with “Wagoners Lad,” every word and every stroke on the piano being charged with emotion and powered by 35 years of song. “Down at the Crossroads” was my favorite along with “One Day When Now Is Gone.” Mike challenged us to sing along with his Radio Gals collaboration with Mark Hardwick, "Wicky Wacky Hula Hula Honka Wonka Honolulu Hawaiian Honey of Mine." He dedicated “Sweet Lovers Love the Spring” to the late Marcia Wilson who, with Bill Smith and several others, initiated the long standing and growing music legacy in the Triangle with her founding and financial support of the Cat’s Cradle in the early seventies. “When You’re Lying Awake,” a Gilbert and Sullivan song, was dedicated to Mr. Watson, who mouthed the words to the crowds delight, since Mike confessed that he might not know them all. For the encore he sang “You're the Top,” which only a few minutes ago I found out that Mike didn’t write. Cole Porter did. Who would have thunk it?
Again Dave, I loved being there Thursday
night to experience the wonderful pickin’ and singin’, the fine hospitality
of Chris and Carolyn and along with everyone else in the room I enjoyed
the nostalgia. Need I say more?
(Allison Lee started
a booking agency in 1975 and her collaboration with the Ramblers lasted
over 12 years ranging from booking local jobs to national tours to two
state department tours which included Africa in 1981 and Jordan in 1985.
In later years Allison featured the Red Clay Ramblers in a number of her
Dark Night Concerts at the Paul Green Theater in Chapel Hill, NC.
Allison returned to fan status in 1988.)
When the audience called Mike Craver back to the stage for an encore, Mike said, "You're too kind."
A voice from the audience replied, "You're too good!"
Our thanks to the unknown fan for speaking for us all.
|Joe Newberry and Alice Gerrard join
Jim on "Leaving Home" ==>
Below, Jim and dad Dick Watson harmonize on "A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One"
Tilley's Bull City Cosmic Hoedown website...
Last year we saw the release of Jim Watson's solo record Don't Tell Me, I Don't Know (on Chapel Hill's fine Barker Records label) which featured a who's who of local and nationally known players and lots of old friends of Jim's. These days it is rare to see Jim Watson in concert in these parts, as he is busy playing bass and singing with the hard-working, hard-touring Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group.
This summer we saw the release of Mike Craver's new solo record Wagoner's Lad, a very ambitious songwriting project that Mike created and recorded on his own label (Sapsucker Records), which has received a lot of airplay from a number of stations (both big and small) all over North Carolina. Mike's new record and his debut performance of it at the North Carolina Museum of Art created quite a stir in the local papers. Mike has also been very active in several musical theatre projects recently, both inside and outside of North Carolina. These include: Bosh and Moonshine at the Gaiety Saloon, Radio Gals, and Jack Herrick's Bah Humbug!
Red Clay Rambler fans, old-time and country music fans, and fans of great songwritng will all want to make it to this special concert featuring two of the area's favorites together again.
The mantel tribute to two favorite recordings
Meeting in the Air (Mike Craver, Jim Watson, and Tommy Thompson)
and Chuckin' the Frizz (Red Clay Ramblers)
January 1, 2007