ANTHEM is coming, chapter 14

ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book's 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM's webpage for #teachingAnthem1969
This is Chapter 14 (day 34):

Written by Blind Willie McTell
Performed by the Allman Brother's Band
Live at Piedmont Park, Atlanta, GA 1969
Recorded at Fillmore East, NY, NY 1971
Drummers: Butch Trucks and Jai Johany Johanson (Jaimoe) 

"Hello, Hotlanta!" came a mumbly, slurry voice at the mic. "We're the Allman Brothers Band, glad to be here."
"We love you!" shouted a group of girls in front of the steps.
"We love you, too," said the man at the microphone. He wore a T-shirt with a motorcycle on it and had long, golden-red hair. Molly walked closer. The way he held himself seemed shy. Closer, she told herself.
"We've been working up this one," the man said, "a number by Blind Willie McTell called 'Statesboro Blues.' Anybody here from Statesboro, Georgia?"
The guitar player smiled as someone counted in the band and suddenly the red-haired man was all intensity, all business. Da-da-da-da-DUN snapped the organ-drums-bass together as one and they were off, the guitar squealing on and on, like a little girl with her pigtail relentlessly pulled. Then the organ player began to sing in a gravelly voice: "Wake up, Mama!"

One of the pleasures of writing, for me, is discovery. I had never been a fan of the Allman Brothers Band until I had to be. Does that make sense? If I'm going to write about someone, I need to learn to love them. I discovered the ABB through research and figured out how to appreciate them, thanks to those who loved them, then and now. 

Because they played live in Piedmont Park in Atlanta in 1969, and because my characters are there, right next to Piedmont Park, within earshot, and because I'm painting a picture of the counter-culture in the late sixties... well, I couldn't leave out the Allman Brothers Band.

So I turned to my friends who loved them, for help. And the delivered in spades. They taught me how to listen. So much of a conversation is learning how to listen.

Molly thinks the ABB plays noise -- what's the matter with melody, and harmony, and words I can understand? she asks. And that's how I felt about their music, too, as a teenager, and how I felt about so much of Dylan and Hendrix and Janis Joplin and many others who make their appearance in ANTHEM.

But I learned to love them. I learned the stories behind who they were, and what formed them as musicians and human beings. The pleasure of researching the Allman Brothers Band -- reading countless interviews, biographies, reviews, talking with friends and listening to the ABB music until I began to hear how it was structured with its unique blend of blues, rock, roots, soul, and jam -- it actually changed me as a listener and music snob... like Molly.

Norman loves the ABB. Can't get enough of them. I always say I'm part of every character I write, so part Molly, part Norman, part of everyone they meet on the road, and part of those characters, real and imagined, become part of me, too. That's how story works, and why it's important to share our stories... and to listen. 

Chapter 14.

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