Tag Archives: music

The Monday Book: THE BEST DOCTOR IN TOWN by Amelia Townsend

IMG_8952This is a local story for a southwest Virginia, about a doctor whose idea of a pain-free life is rather permanent. The only people onto him are themselves a bit tarnished of reputation: a junior doctor under suspicion of theft, a police officer with one too many “this is your last warning”s, and a reporter who got fired for manipulating the truth.

So you can see why no one really takes them seriously. As much as this book is about a bad man who sees himself as one of the good guys, it also has some funny bits. Observations about human nature, ways of seeing the world, and also some predictable “see it coming a mile off” bits that twist into humor.

Townsend is a playwright and musician who works with regional productions in DC and this area, promoting Appalachian and Coalfields culture. She’s got a good ear for how people talk and a fun way of seeing how we live.

If you are looking for a local story, this has plenty of ethnographic detail. One of the patients is raising his grandchildren because their mom is on drugs. Some of the patients are stretching paychecks and Medicare, unable to retire. And the language is rhythmic to the mountains.

The book is available from Jan-Carol Publishing and the usual suspects.

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Filed under book reviews, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, what's on your bedside table

Oh Death – – –

Another very sad post by Jack – –

colin

I first met Colin when he helped organize the folk-song concerts at the Music Hall in Aberdeen during the first Bon Accord Festival in 1965. At the time I was half of a duo with Barbara Dickson and we played every night for a week as top of the bill.

We kept in touch and by the early 1970s he was booking guests for Aberdeen folk club. This was when I was erroneously billed in the local newspaper as Jeff Beck (not his fault). Lots of disappointed punters but a profitable night for the club!

Shortly after that he moved down to Fife to take up the position as a teacher of English in a local high school, where he was able to introduce the study of Scots ballads to the curriculum. After that he was a regular at parties and ceilidhs at my house and those of other friends in the area.

He was a wonderful singer with a deep and rich repertoire of Doric song, but never had any real interest in either recording or getting gigs, which meant he never got the recognition he deserves.

More recently, after my move to the US, he helped me and Wendy with our small group tours of Scotland and Ireland. As an excellent driver he was the natural choice to drive the minivan, but he quickly turned into joint tour guide. His running commentaries along the way after I ran out of wind and stories endeared him to everyone and he stayed in touch with many folk over here.

I would usually fly over to Edinburgh a few days beforehand, rent a car, drive to Colin’s house where he’d feed me mince and tatties. Then use his place as my base for visiting friends and family, before we’d pick up the minivan at the end, just before the tour started. During these evenings we’d feed each other our favorite YouTube discoveries which always included this –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYwbpCm2apA

Back in the 1960s I bought a very early MGB Roadster and eventually sold it to Colin, who did lots of refurbishing. Eventually he sold it back to me and it crossed the Atlantic! Our mutual friend David bought it from me as a birthday gift for his wife Susan and it is currently being completely rebuilt in North Carolina – – – it’s in this video and so is Colin!

I was right in the middle of recording a radio show about his friend and mentor Arthur Argo when I got the message that Wendy needed to speak to me urgently!

I was stunned by her news that Colin had just died. I’m obviously of an age now when I’m bound to lose old friends (or them me), but this was a real jolt. I still can’t quite believe it.

Driving home this morning after recording the radio shows I remembered that my black funeral suit is hanging in his guest room closet – – -along with so many memories.

Rest in Peace Colin. No one deserves it more.

 

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch