This is one of the songs I’d like played at my funeral, although I sure would like to see everyone’s reaction to that. (That’s the late, great Steve Goodman on acoustic guitar. He was Prine’s best friend, and he plays electric or acoustic guitar on most of the cuts on this record.)
Now living in New Mexico and still performing, Pat recalls those nights at The Office as “some of my seminal solo gigs.” Those nights also were my first forays into live music in a club. Our tiny table full of beer glasses, we eagerly waited for the John Prine songs to turn up in Pat’s sets.
They were older guys who liked hassling younger kids for no apparent reason. Bullies, I guess.
You really couldn’t complain about them. To whom? Their parents? No way. Your parents? They’d just tell you to stay away from the guy. You just had to get a little tougher and perhaps a little smarter.
Maybe all they wanted to do was get into your head. If so, they succeeded. They’re still in there, four of them, 40 years on.
Two of these guys were bad news from the neighborhood. Hot-headed, unpredictable “stay off my property” types. The other two were from school. One of them stole my wallet. The other guy walked up to me one day, eyed up the star on my sweatshirt and punched me right smack in the middle of the chest.
You just never know what’s going on with someone, what’s in their head, what’s going on at home. So I took my parents’ advice and steered clear of those guys. Eventually, everyone went on with their lives.
Yet quite by happenstance, I know the rest of the story for all four of those guys.
The cat who punched me in the chest turned out to be a real nice guy. He’s dead.
The neighborhood guys turned out to be blue-collar workers and good family men. They’re dead, too. One of them, just the other day.
The guy who stole my wallet is the only one left, as far as I know. Which is about the nicest thing that can be said about him. This gent has lots of experience with the Wisconsin court system.
You wouldn’t have wished any of that on any of them in a million years.
“Title Theme (from ‘Three Tough Guys’),” Isaac Hayes, from “Tough Guys,” 1974. It’s out of print as such, but is available on this double CD with the soundtracks from “Three Tough Guys” and “Truck Turner,” a pair of 1974 films starring Hayes and featuring music by him. Also available digitally.
I don’t have this record. My copy of “Title Theme” came off the Oxford American 10th anniversary music sampler, which was a 2-CD set released in 2008 featuring music by Southern artists. This is from the Past Masters CD.
Seventies TV icons: Chad Everett (“Medical Center”), Sherman Hemsley (“The Jeffersons”), Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple”).
Sex appeal: Helen Gurley Brown (Cosmopolitan), Phyllis Diller (comedy icon), Sylvia Kristel (“Emmanuelle”).
Showstoppers: Richard Adler (“Pajama Game,” “Damn Yankees” and produced the 1962 bash at which Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to JFK), Bob Anderson (“Star Wars” light saber fight choreographer), Eugene Polley (Zenith Flash-Matic, first wireless TV remote).
Sixties TV icons: Ernest Borgnine (“McHale’s Navy”), Don Grady (“My Three Sons”), Andy Williams.
Soul brothers: Chuck Brown (the Godfather of Go-Go), Jimmy Ellis (Trammps), Major Harris (Delfonics).
Soul sisters: Etta James, Kathi McDonald (backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, Betty Davis), Marva Whitney.
Sports as art: LeRoy Neiman (painter), Steve Sabol (NFL Films, with music by the great Sam Spence), Norman Sas (invented electric football),
Stylin’: Bernard Lansky (Memphis clothier who dressed Elvis in the ’50s), Nolan Miller (long before “Dynasty,” he put Tina Louise into Ginger’s gown), Vidal Sassoon.
The Bucks stop here: “Bullet” Bob Boozer, Pat “The Roadblock” Cummings, Jim Fitzgerald (no nickname; he owned the team).
That voice: Dick Beals (Speedy Alka-Seltzer), Chris Economaki (ABC racing announcer), Jim Irwin (Wisconsin sportscasting icon).
The final frontier, imagined: Ray Bradbury, Ralph McQuarrie (“Star Wars” designer), Carlo Rambaldi (“Alien,” “E.T.” special effects).
The final frontier, lived: Neil Armstrong, Roger Boisjoly (engineer who warned of shuttle O-ring problem), Sally Ride.
Trailblazers:Johnny Otis (R&B), Ravi Shankar (Indian music), Adam Yauch (hip hop).
Trivia bonus: Already mentioned in other contexts, but what makes this a group of three? Ernest Borgnine, Dick Clark, Skip Pitts.
These are mp3s from my collection, taken from vinyl whenever possible. Enjoy. All music presented here is shared under the premise of fair use. This blog is solely intended for the purpose of education, a place for me to tell stories and write about music and cultural history. If you are a rights holder to any of the music presented and wish for it to be removed, please email me directly and it will be taken down.
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The text is copyright 2007-2023, Jeff Ash. Text from other sources, when excerpted, is credited.