My friend Michael

Dude...........My man!..........And all those other too-cool and still-significant greetings, salutes, gut-sharing, celebrations and libations of those days that belonged to us! Those still belong to us, but we have a duty to share. Within this bardic and vaudevillian tradition we've inherited (or chosen, God help us), I am hard put to name another who has always conveyed the depth, breadth and magnitude of the life we inherited first--before we found the poets and the bards and the showmen we also inherited and whose insight, boldness and passion quite likely preserved us at least long enough to pass on some of that fervor and grandeur to which you know I refer. So much for fancy shit. We be mates--I'll never forget runnin' wit you and the many many pieces of wisdom you laid on me down there in the middle of the night and the fog and the "leaners" (your moniker for them, remember?). I love you as always, and to wish you the best is to resort to hack writing. I spoke with Eric Taylor a while back and I could tell you were not as well as I had thought (Eric said nothing unkind--he admires you--but I know concern when I see it; he's a friend). Truth be told, I worried for you when I saw you at Acoustic Sounds. I read body language pretty well. You've been carrying a big load. My turn to give a little advice: We owe ourselves more than we owe anything else. Even God just wants us to pay ourselves a little respect.

By the way and out of nowhere--Your "Gypsy Woman" is one of the great unrecognized works of the last 40 years. Like her, it came from nowhere on a dark night in godknows Arkansas while I was delivering newspapers. It was already on my personal Top 50--and you and I were talking Floyd Cramer, not Curtis Mayfield! You're a work of art, my brother.

I wish we could pitch a party down here for you. I've been doing a little promoting and such on the side over the years. The Green Party actually paid me for consulting, PR and drawing crowds to sign petitions. I did it. With writing and music only. I probably know several of the same locals that Crow does. Some have great CDs and a good fan base. Maybe I can get with Crow and we can think of something. Emily Kaitz and Kat Hood--not bad for starters. Maybe we can find Eric--thank God he doesn't like Billy Joe; we'd never find him.

You probably stopped reading 3 paragraphs ago. Big deal. I'm praying for all the best that can come your way. Later, pal. Be well.

willyt "Tommy" (oh my God!)