Tail of the Weak 3.24
Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Tail of the Weak is a series of insights and musical memories from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin, singer/songwriter and founder of the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival, from Waycross, Georgia.
I motored my Ford Econoline through Ludowici—the notoriously infamous speed trap of south Georgia when I was growing up—heading to Savannah where I was scheduled for a week of Window Clerk training at the River Street postal facility.
Hiring on with the Waycross post office in April of 1985 as a mail clerk, I had sorted my fair share of letters, magazines, and packages for well over seven years when a job vacancy opened up for the front window, selling lickable stamps to the many tongues in Waycross.
After securing the window clerk position, I headed off to training on Sunday, the last day of February 1993. Passing through Hinesville, I saw FOGHAT – WEDNESDAY NIGHT on the sign out front the Big Apple nightclub. I filed it away for consideration and headed on to my hotel room in Savannah.
The first day of training found me alongside two more potential window clerks in a clinical classroom overlooking the historic Savannah River. Our instructor was a no-nonsense lady who had worked up the chain of command in the Postal Service. After three days of mind-numbing concentration—learning the intricacies of postal rates and fees, package dimensions, certified and registered mail—I was leaning more and more to a Wednesday night getaway in Hinesville.
I called up my future wife, Lynne, and told her to drive my old, blue Ford F-150 pickup to Ludowici, where we would rendezvous, leaving the truck in a convenience store parking lot. Through the years, I've loved surprising Lynne with musical mysteries in destinations unknown to her. She always played along and, being the music lover that she is, was fairly titillated when we pulled up under the big, red apple hanging over the roof of the nightclub in Hinesville.
Foghat, a well-known British blues band in the early 70s, featured “Lonesome” Dave Peverett, Tony Stevens, and Roger Earl, all former members of another British band, Savoy Brown. Adding a second guitarist, Rod Price, Foghat went on to chart with hit songs, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, “Slow Ride”, and “Fool for the City”.
The band played the rock circuit in America often, and I managed to see them down at the Jacksonville Coliseum back in their heyday. Being a young musician myself in those days, my first real band, Sweetbriar, actually played Buddy Holly's “That'll Be the Day”, a Foghat cover from their debut album.
The group's biggest hit came in 1975 with “Slow Ride”, a sleazy, head-bangin', slide guitar-driven tune, inspired by sex, the favorite subject matter of blues, rock 'n' roll, and young boys all over the world with enough money to buy records and prophylactics.
The stage inside the Big Apple was less than a foot higher than the dance floor, where Lynne and I strutted and boogied all night long to Foghat and “Lonesome” Dave—up close and personal. Their set list for the night was:
Fool for the City
Honey Hush (Big Joe Turner)
It Hurts Me Too (Tampa Red)
A Lie for a Lie / Third Time Lucky
Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson)
I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon)
On the last song, “Lonesome” Dave flipped his guitar pick into the crowd, where Lynne ceremoniously claimed it; and, after three hours and several pitchers of draft beer, we made the decision it was best to book a room in a Hinesville motel, where we continued partying into the morning.
The next morning, I called in sick to Window Clerk training class, which didn't sit well at all with the no-nonsense lady instructor. By the time I had dropped Lynne off at the pickup truck in Ludowici and made it back to my hotel room in Savannah, I was greeted by a phone call from Waycross Postmaster, Mickey Lee.
I packed my bags and returned to Waycross, passing by the Big Apple one more time. The Window Clerk training was rescheduled for a later date; and, Postmaster Lee, grinning from ear to ear because he figured I had been out carousing on River Street the night before, mildly chastised me. Little did he know just how right he was.
American Spirit: Uncle Dave and The Younguns
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Memories straight from the mind of Uncle Dave Griffin