Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seven-Inch Vinyl excerpt: Chapter Six: Laughing Sal

(From the soon-to-be-published novel, copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

...It had been raining all day. A severe band of thunderstorms swept in eastward off the lake. The air grew heavy; a warm breeze preceded each new downfall. Inside, they listened to the radio, a favorite new pastime. Raindrops clattered against the windowpanes when the downpours were at their heaviest. Flashes of lightning accompanied rumblings of thunder, distant at first, then closer and, in time, distant again as each cell moved off.
“Do you still want to read more of my poems?” Janet asked.
Joseph nodded and smiled.
“C’mon, I keep them up in my room.”
She skipped up the stairs ahead of him. Joseph arrived on the upper landing pausing at the doorway to her room. He inched forward, taking note of the scent of her favorite perfume, the stuffed animals and dolls positioned neatly atop her dresser and the two posters on the wall across from her bed.
He found Janet on her hands and knees, partway under the bed like some burrowing gopher. When she came out she held several tattered composition notebooks she’d squirreled away. She stood clutching the books close to her body.
She motioned for Joseph to sit with her on the edge of her bed. She seemed unsure as to whether she wanted to carry through with her offer. Joseph sat down, finding her mattress girlishly soft. Janet held the books out and he took them.
“If you laugh at me, I’ll never speak to you again, I swear.” An idle threat, she knew she’d never be able to carry out.
“Can’t I laugh if I think they’re funny?”
“See!” Her reaction was girlish. She hopped to her feet, placed her hands on her hips and stamped one foot on the floor. Punching him hard in his arm, she tried to yank the notebooks away but his grip wouldn’t allow it. When Joseph realized she was serious he offered the books back to her.
“Indian giver,” he teased.
“No, go ahead. You can read them.”
As he opened the first book, Janet shimmied away to the head of the bed. She picked up one of her pillows and held it in front of her body like a shield. She bit on the edge of pillowcase, eager yet anxious for Joseph’s reaction.
She passed time focusing on the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof as Joseph read the book cover to cover. He found a wonderful mixture of lighthearted, teenage observances told in short, melodic verse about things like dragonflies, sleeping cats and sad eyed puppies. Other, longer pieces were more mature, encompassing deep, emotional feelings like the dream of falling in love or the heartache of losing someone very near and dear. The poems seemed to sing to him from the thin blue lines on which they were written.
“Just a lot of silly girl stuff, huh?” she asked.
He looked back at her over his shoulder. “Some of it is, yes. But all of them are really wonderful, even the silly ones. I’ll bet you could have these published in a book someday.”
He put the notebook on the bed, inched closer to Janet and took her into his arms. He kissed her deeply. Joseph gently moved her down flat on the bed, and then positioned himself almost on top of her.
They took a big risk. If Vince came home early to discover them, there was no telling what he might do. They were both beyond caring.

Rock and Roll Quote of the day: "If I were a queen, and he asked me to leave my throne. I'd do anything that he asked, anything to make him my own." From: "He's So Fine" BY: The Chiffons.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seven-Inch Vinyl:A Rock and Roll Novel - Prologue

(From the soon-to-be published novel copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)


In the 1950’s, the whole world expected an explosion.
The atom bomb, the devastating, destructive device used to bring World War II to an end less than a decade earlier was a weapon in the arsenal of both the United States of America and the Communist regime of the Soviet Union.
After the armistice was signed in 1945, the five victorious allied nations along with forty-five other countries formed the United Nations, an organization whose hope it was to prevent any further hostilities by using the combined armed forces of member nations as peacekeepers. At the time, most of Europe remained occupied and divided forming an “iron curtain” between the democratic countries and Soviet Russia. The German capital city of Berlin was divided east, governed by the Russians and west under the control of the allies. In 1948, Russia pushed for reparations from West German industrial plants located solely in allied sectors. The American President, Harry Truman denied this claim and the Russians retaliated by closing off their section of Berlin declaring it a Communist State.
The following year, things became more complicated. Nearly all of Mainland China fell under the Communist rule of Chairman Mao Tse Tung. Early in 1950, Russia and Red China entered into a thirty-year mutual defense treaty creating a huge monolithic Communist bloc that many believed threatened the free world. The power of the UN was soon tested.
On June 25, 1950, 135,000 Communist troops crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. In Washington, Truman believed this to be the beginning of World War III. He immediately ordered General Douglas MacArthur to prepare a counter-assault. In September, UN forces conducted an amphibious landing at the Korean City of Inchon placing 40,000 troops, artillery and tanks onto the Korean peninsula. The Red Chinese responded by hurling thirty-three Divisions into the fray. MacArthur requested enough men and material to push the Communists back and invade China. Truman refused knowing full well that to do so was risking war with the Soviets. The “police-action” in Korea would drag on.
As the Presidential election of 1952 approached, Truman’s popularity waned. He was forced to fire MacArthur when the General began to publicly criticize his Commander-In-Chief. The fighting soon reached a stalemate and it became obvious that the hostilities would not reach a clear conclusion militarily. The Republican candidate for President was former General and war hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower. A poll named him the “most admired living American.” In his campaign he promised to clean up the mess in Washington and end the war in Korea. As a result, Truman decided not run for re-election and, in November, Eisenhower won in a landslide. He became President in a time of ideological conflict known as ‘the cold war.” Communism became the new enemy.
At home, Americans were seeing “Commies” under their beds at night. A mass hysteria brought on by the threat of Communism and the fear of Atomic War swept the nation. Homeowners built fallout shelters in their basements. School children conducted “duck and cover” drills in their classrooms, hiding under their wooden desks to protect themselves from radiation poisoning.
With the stage set, people all over the country listened to feel good songs with innocent and inoffensive titles like, “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window,” and “High- Lilly, High – Low” they held their collective breath waiting for the inevitable explosion to come.
But it wouldn’t be the kind of explosion anyone expected.

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "How much is that doggie in the window? The one with the waggly tail. How much is that doggie in the window? I do hope that doggie's for sale." From: (How Much is) That doggie in the Window? by" Patti Page.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl: Blurb page

(From the soon-to-be-published novel,copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

1953 -
Six counties in South Carolina pass legislation outlawing
Jukebox operation at anytime within hearing distance of a church.

1954 -

WDIA Radio in Memphis, Tennessee offers on-air disclaimers:
“WDIA, your good-will station, in the interest of good citizenship, for the protection of
your morals and our American way of life does not consider this record (Song Title),
fit for broadcast on WDIA. We are sure all you listeners will agree with us.”

1955 -

Officials cancel rock and roll concerts scheduled in New Haven
and Bridgeport, Connecticut; Boston; Atlanta; Jersey City; and Asbury Park, New
Jersey; Burbank, California; and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


“My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear and naturally I’m referring to the bulk of rock ‘n’ roll. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people. It smells phony and false. It is sung, played and performed for the most part by cretinous goons and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd --- in plain fact --- dirty lyrics, it manages to be the martial music of every side burned delinquent on the face of the earth.”

Frank Sinatra - writing in the November issue of “The Western World” magazine.

“Rhythm & Blues had a baby and they called it Rock and Roll.”

--- Muddy Waters

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl: A rock and Roll Novel, excerpt from Chapter Ten: "The Southern Tour"

(From the soon-to-be-published novel Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

The southern tour kicked off in the town of Senatobia, Mississippi two nights later. The sellout crowd cheered all through Teddy’s act. He sang raucous, upbeat tunes like “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Hard Luck Blues”. Female hearts fluttered as he whispered lyrics to sexy ballads like “Harbor Lights.” Even the male members of the audience tapped their feet to “Blue Moon of Kentucky” or the song that had become his signature tune, “Move it on Over”.
More of the same followed in Sardis and Batesville. In the larger city of Tupelo, Teddy appeared at a local drive-in theater. He sang from the roof of the refreshment stand between showings of a double feature. A large crowd surrounded the building. Others watched and listened from inside their cars. They showed their appreciation by blowing their horns and flashing their headlights in a combination of sight and sound that delayed the start of the feature attraction for almost an hour.
The entire tour proved to be one success after another. Then, some miles south of Meridian they came to the town of Castlehurst.
Often, the local promoter would be on hand to meet them when they arrived. This time, the person waiting didn’t appear happy when Cap got off the bus.
“Mr. Stewart?” The slim, middle-aged man in a rumpled suit stepped forward to introduce himself. “My name is Earl Wellington. We’ve spoken over the phone.”
Cap recognized the name and shook his hand. “Why, sure Mr. Wellington, right nice of you to come out to meet us.”
“Mr. Stewart, I’m real sorry to have to tell you this but there seems to be a problem with the show tonight.”
Before he could say more, their attention was drawn to a siren from a dark sedan with Sheriff’s markings that came to a stop not far from where they stood. A scrawny gent in an ill fitting tan uniform got out of the car and approached them.
“Sheriff Tyler,” Wellington addressed the law officer with both respect and fear.
“Earl.” The Sheriff nodded a greeting. He looked passed the two adults. Teddy and his band were off the bus, standing in the street. The Sheriff’s gaze was from friendly.
“Sheriff, this here’s Cap Stewart.
“Afternoon, Sheriff.” Cap smiled through his growing sense of anxiety. He extended his hand to the official who shook it with little enthusiasm, “Mr. Wellington was just telling me there might be some problem with the show we’re doing here tonight?”
The Sheriff’s response was terse, almost venom-like. “Ain’t no ‘might be’ about it. The show’s cancelled.”
“Then, just what is the problem?”
“News travels fast in these parts. We’ve been hearing that your boy there is fond of singing that jungle music the coons like so much. That may be okay in some places, but here in Castlehurst, we’re decent church-going folks. We don’t want our young people exposed to that kind of vile trash even if it is a white boy singing it.”
“But Sheriff, young people everywhere love Teddy’s music.”
“We don’t give a rat’s ass about everywhere. We won’t stand for it here.”
“But I have a contract…”
“Mr. Wellington here realizes he made an honest mistake…didn’t know what he was getting into when he booked your show. You’re both reasonable businessmen so I expect you can resolve this thing to your mutual benefit.
“Would you have any objection to us at least spending the night here before we continue on?” Cap asked.
“You’re more than welcome to enjoy our hospitality. But I wouldn’t give much thought to continuing on. You see, I’ve been in touch with some of the other places you plan on playing, they feel the same way about things as we do. They don’t want you either.”
Cap’s heart pounded and the blood rose to his cheeks. If he lost control and lashed out at this arrogant bigot he’d only be buying trouble for his entire troupe.
“Sheriff, I have solid commitments all the way down to New Orleans.”
“Suit yourself, but it’s a long way to the Louisiana state line. Some of these country roads can be real treacherous, lots of wrecks, rollovers and such. Best advice I can give you is come mornin’, you turn this here safari of yours around and head on back the way you came.”

Rock and Roll Quote of the Day: "How I'd like to look, inside that little book. The one that holds the lock and key. And know the boy that you dream of,the boy whose in your diary." From: The Diary by: Little Anthony and the Imperials.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Memo to my editor: Please be Kind to them.

Sometime this week I'll be handing over the manuscript for Seven-Inch-Vinyl to my editor. I realize that for the first time, my characters will be under the red pen of someone other than myself. I'm casting them adrift, Joseph and Janet, Teddy, Johnny and Bobby and all the others. Their actions will be open to criticism. Their words subject to change and their motives questioned. They will be out from under my protective wing. I feel angst, guilt and sadness.

I've met my editor. He's a nice guy. He says he's looking forward to working on the book and I believe him. Will he call me if he thinks Cap Stewart is too overbearing? Can I count on him to hear the wonderful lyrical rhythm of my prose? Will he overlook a bit of passive voice, author intrusion and not tell me I'm telling and not showing? I hope so.

Take care of them all while they are in your charge. Phil & Richie curse a lot, I hope you don't mind?

Be kind to them.

The Author

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I have a publisher!

I'm thrilled to announce that today, June 1, 2010. I entered into a verbal agreement to publish Seven-Inch-Vinyl. Once contracts are signed the manuscript will go to an editor. A mock -up for the cover is already in the works and will be posted here soon. We are shooting for a December 2010 release date. Going forward I will post all news and information here on the blog to keep everyone advised as to the status on our road to publication.

This book is for all of us. anyone, any age who has an interest in the greatest music of all time, the fabulous music of the 50's and 60's. I want to thank all my facebook members and followers whose paricipation on my personal and Seven-Inch-Vinyl group page played such a big part in exhibiting to the publisher that the book had a viable audience world-wide.

I shall continue to post daily, the rock and roll trivia so many people enjoy. I'll be expanding to the social networking sites of Twitter and Myspace. I ask everyone to spread the word about the book.

The first order of business was to expand the title which will now be known as: "Seven-Inch-Vinyl: A Rock and Roll novel."

Thanks again.