Sunday, May 30, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Excerpt: Chapter Eighteen: Alchemy

(From the unpublished novel, Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

The process of putting sound onto vinyl can be compared to the same type of medieval alchemy that caused individuals to be burned at the stake for witchcraft. Wizards were required to perform such magic.
Leo delivered the package containing Teddy’s master tapes to the Berliner Record Processing Plant in Newark, New Jersey, a small company with a good reputation and affordable prices. The package also contained the necessary information and logos required for the labels.

The first step in manufacturing a record was to create a lacquer-coated disc called an acetate. A disc recorder with a stylus made of sapphire to ensure superior recording quality, captured the audio signal fed from the tape. The stylus moved across the disc at the exact speed of forty-five revolutions per minute cutting precise spiral grooves as it went along. After painstaking inspection through a microscope, the acetate was then test played. If approved, it became the ‘Master Disc,’ and never played again.
An electroplating process then bathed the acetate in silver, nickel and then copper to create a second metal disc called a ‘mother.” This disc was plated a second time, resulting in a ‘stamper copy.’
Bags of powdered vinyl heated into soft, soggy clumps called ‘biscuits’ were placed on a hot tray next to the operator of an automatic hydraulic press. The press contained two molds mounted face to face with a hinge at the rear. The stamper disc for the “A” and “B” side of the record was placed one above and one below the molds. After the labels were positioned, the powerful machinery was put into operation. Steam heat forced the vinyl material into every tiny groove. The result was an audio equivalent of a photograph negative identical in every way to the first. The same machinery trimmed the ragged edges of the record, affixed the labels and punched the hole in the center. The record was then bathed with water, which instantly hardened it. The process was repeated, pressing records at the rate of one every fifteen seconds.
And so it was that a thirty-nine year old factory worker held the record with the bright yellow label featuring the logo of a strutting cockerel. It was her job to randomly listen to a number of newly pressed records looking for defects or imperfections before passing them on for shipping. She was the first person to ever hear Teddy Boyette’s voice on a seven-inch vinyl record.

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "How can you tell me you really miss me? When the last time time I saw you, you wouldn't even kiss me. That rich guy you been seeing must have put you down Sly Welcome back baby, to the poor side of town." From: Poor Side of Town by: Johnny Rivers.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Excerpt - Chapter Eight: "Christmas"

(From the unpublished novel Copyright 2010: Donald Riggio)

In the second week of December, Joseph took Janet to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Throngs of tourists and native New Yorkers alike flocked to the midtown area to take in one of the most famous seasonal attractions the City had to offer.
Big, wet flakes of snow flurried down between massive skyscrapers, taking forever to reach the pavement, where they melted on contact. Janet was bundled in a heavy, navy blue pea coat. Joseph had on a black leather jacket with the collar turned up around his face, his bare hands buried deep in both side pockets.
They entered Rockefeller Center through the public space between two of the buildings that made up the commercial complex. The approach to a sunken plaza was lined with life-sized figures of angels blowing trumpets, wooden soldiers and gingerbread people. Onlookers crowded along the railing to the perimeter of the plaza to peer down on the ice skating rink, where dozens of skaters of all ages moved in a slow, wide circle.
The couple squeezed their way into a space at the railing. Joseph stood behind Janet, his arms wrapped around her waist.
Directly across the way, the spruce evergreen towered some sixty feet high in front of the seventy-story RCA Building. The tree was adorned with assorted colored lights, garland and other decorations. White clumps of freshly fallen snow gathered on the ends of the branches. Though Janet craned her neck back as far as she could, she still couldn’t see to the top of the building whose uppermost floors disappeared into low-lying clouds.
“Oh, Joseph isn’t it all just so wonderful? She wiggled free of his embrace and turned to him, her arms reaching around his neck. “What kind of a tree can we have at the apartment?”
“We don’t put up a tree, honey. Jews don’t celebrate Christmas.” It was a detail she’d somehow forgotten. “I’m sorry sweetheart,” Joseph continued. “You know if it were up to me, we’d have all that stuff. But it’s my parents’ home and, well, we have to respect that, right?”
Janet twisted her mouth into a comical frown that made Joseph laugh, then brightened in that pixie-like way he’d come to love. She scooped up a mittenful of loose snow from the railing and tossed it into the air over their heads. Most of it came right back in her face, but she didn’t mind a bit.
“Know what? It doesn’t matter.” She spun around and raised both hands out and upward in the direction of the giant spruce. “This can be our Christmas tree! We can come back on Christmas morning and exchange our gifts right here. We can exchange gifts with each other, right?”
“Yes, silly, of course we can. But I already have the best gift any man could get. I got you, babe.”
Sometimes her man said such wonderful things. She stood on tiptoes to kiss him hard on the lips.
Christmas Day services at the First Baptist Church of Harlem on West 125th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue was always a joyous occasion. The all-Negro congregation filled every pew. Everyone was dressed in their holiday finery proclaiming their adoration for Jesus Christ in a reverent celebration of his birth, complete with hand clapping and singing that shook the walls.
They were led in their singing by a superb choir of men and women ranging in ages from teens to senior citizens. They wore long, flowing, red satin robes and sat in an area set aside for them near the altar railing to the left of the preacher’s pulpit.
After a stirring sermon by their white-haired pastor, three young female members of the choir rose and stepped forward. They were teenagers from the neighborhood, two sisters and a cousin. The three of them appeared awkward and shapeless in the robes that dragged along the floor when they walked and covered their hands almost to their fingertips. But they were confident and sure in the way they handled themselves vocally. As they sang the traditional hymn, Just A Closer Walk with Thee, their voices blended in close harmony and perfect pitch keeping a moderate beat to the accompaniment of the church organ.
The rest of the congregation sat quietly at first, with only an occasional utterance by someone who called out, “Sing it, children…” or “amen.”
By the time the youngsters reached the third verse, the rest of the choir had joined in a hushed, harmonic background. Soon the entire congregation stood and swayed to and fro with the singers. Inspired by the reaction to their performance, Evelyn Rhodes, whose strong contralto voice anchored the soloists, extended and bended her notes. Her voice soared in strength and volume leading the others to a rousing crescendo finish. Her heart pumped proudly. Though she was certain it was a sin of pride, Evelyn loved the attention.

Rock and Roll Quote of the day: "What a bright time, it's the right time,to rock the night away. Jingle Bell time,is a swell time, to go glidin' in a one horse sleigh." From: Jingle Bell Rock. By - Brenda Lee.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Excerpt: Chapter Four: Memphis

(From the unpublished novel, Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

Memphis, Tennessee was a bustling city south of the Kentucky border on the banks of the Mississippi River. Born out of the 1930’s depression era hardships that befell whites and coloreds alike, both races came together in an integrated, urban environment quite unique to its time. Those who settled there brought their culture and their music with them.
W.C. Handy, a self taught Negro musician, songwriter and bandleader, sometimes referred to as the “father of the blues,” helped transform the city into one brimming with promoters, publishing houses and record companies as early as 1910. In the downtown area, blues clubs lined both sides of Beale Street, a predominantly colored section of town.
Teddy Boyette drove passed the Memphis city limits around midnight, completing the trip of over 500 miles. He pulled the Desoto onto a railroad siding and parked between two freight trains. There, he stretched out in the backseat for a few hours of much needed sleep. He had a big day ahead of him. Despite what his parents and Chanticleer thought, he did have a plan.
Teddy knew that the three top record executives in Memphis were Lester Bihari, Sam Phillips and Artie Franklin. Bihari ran Meteor Records out of a small store on Chelsea Avenue. Sam Phillips owned and operated Sun Records out of a similar storefront operation on Union Avenue. Teddy had decided to make his first stop Artie Franklin’s hugely successful Myriad Music Corporation on the third floor of an office building on North Main Street.
He freshened up in a service station restroom, putting on the only pressed white shirt he’d brought with him. By ten in the morning he stood in front of the receptionist’s desk at Myriad Music.
“May I help you?” The receptionist greeted Teddy with a polite smile as he stood on the other side of her desk, his tattered guitar case dangled from one hand.
“I’d like to see Mr. Artie Franklin, please.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“No ma’am I don’t.”
Her smile faded. “I’m sorry, Mr. Franklin doesn’t see anyone without an appointment.”
“Well, you see ma’am I’m a singer and I… ”
“I can see that young man. But, if you don’t have an appointment, I’m afraid I can’t let you in.” She looked down, hoping the annoying youngster would go away.
“Okay then, how do I make one?”
“Excuse me?”
“An appointment, how do I go about making one?”
“Do you have a manager, someone who represents you?”
“No ma’am I don’t got no one like that. I just want Mr. Franklin to listen to me sing.”
“If you’d like to leave your name and phone number I’d be happy to have someone from our staff set up an audition for you.”
“Audition! Yeah, that’s what I want. But I’d like to audition for Mr. Franklin himself, if you don’t mind?”
“Mr. Franklin doesn’t conduct personal auditions. Now, why don’t you just go away before I have to call the police?” She punctuated her threat with a less than friendly grin.
Chastised like a troublesome child, Teddy turned and walked away. He stormed out of the building and paced the sidewalk. Stewing in his anger and disappointment, he resisted the urge to go back inside.
Teddy wandered up the street. On the corner across the intersection he came to a luncheonette. He went inside.
The late morning breakfast crowd was breaking up. Teddy walked to the counter to the right of the entrance and sat on a vacant stool. He peered out the front window that offered a good view of the office building down the street. A waitress arrived across the counter to take his order. She was an attractive woman in her mid-thirties. Her dark auburn hair was done up in a tight, fashionable style that flipped up at the back. Make-up accented her deep green eyes. The extra button she kept opened on her brown waitress uniform called attention to her ample bosom.
“What can I get for you, honey?” She asked.
“I’ll just have a cup of coffee and some toast.”
“White or Rye, the toast?”
“Comin’ right up.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“You can skip the ‘ma’am’ talk there darlin,’ my name is Dee.” She cast a flirtatious smile Teddy’s way making him blush.
The waitress made her way through swinging doors to the kitchen. She put two pieces of white bread into a toaster. A second waitress, pudgy with peroxide blonde hair joined her.
“Hey, Paula. Did you see the smile on that cat at the counter?” Dee asked.
They peeked through a diamond shaped cutout window in one of the doors.
“Yeah. He’s got the whole package don’t he?” the peroxide blonde said.
“You got that right.”
“You looking to housebreak a new love puppy, Dee?”
“He might be good for a few kicks.” Dee observed. The two women giggled naughtily bumping shoulders. The toaster popped two pieces of browned bread upward. Dee prepared the toast and returned to the dining room.
The young man was gone. She caught sight of him through the luncheonette window as he walked up the street. Dee didn’t know what she admired more, the Gary Cooper-like determination in his gait or the way his tight ass wiggled as he walked. Her blonde co-worker stood next to her.
“You must be losing your touch, sweetie you let that one slip right off the hook.” The blonde kidded her.
“He’ll be back,” Dee replied.
“How can you be so sure?”
“He forgot something.” She motioned to the guitar case leaning on the opposite side of the counter. The girls shared a leering smile.

Teddy’s stomach turned flip-flops. As he sat in the luncheonette, he decided he’d given up far too easily in his quest to see Artie Franklin, allowing himself to be shooed away by his secretary. He’d come a long way seeking his big chance. If he gave up now he might as well head back home and work on his family’s farm or find a job somewhere else. Before doing that he’d give Artie Franklin one more try.
As Teddy approached Franklin’s office, the secretary caught sight him and picked up the telephone. Teddy guessed she was calling the authorities.
Just then, an office door behind her opened and three men walked out. The man out front was older and did all the talking. Teddy assumed he was Artie Franklin. The other two followed their boss; hanging on his every word, eager to carry out orders.
“I’m going out for a while Tammy.” Franklin told his secretary.
She tried to warn him about the young troublemaker but Teddy was already within earshot of the men.
“Excuse me, Mr. Franklin, can I have a word with you please, sir?” Teddy asked.
The three men stopped walking. The yes men shrunk backward leaving Franklin face to face with the youngster.
“Okay, kid, what’s this all about?” Franklin demanded.
“My name is Teddy Boyette. I’d like to sing for you.”
“You plan on auditioning for me right here in the hallway?”
“I know you’re a busy man, Mr. Franklin, but my singing is different. If you’d only give me a chance, I…”
“Don’t bother…” Franklin cut him off in mid-sentence. “ I don’t have the time to listen to every one of you greasers who manages to bully his way into my office.”
Several other people were gathering in the hallway to watch the confrontation. Franklin took the opportunity to lash out at Teddy.
“Look kid, we promote clean talent here not juvenile delinquents. That slicked back hair and tough guy look may work on the other side of the tracks, but not here. You must listen to the radio? You know what kind of songs are getting all the airplay, Johnny Ray, Dean Martin, people like that. Go get yourself a haircut and clean up some, then maybe you’d stand a chance.”
People stared at him, some giggling at Franklin’s chiding words. Teddy’s embarrassment turned to anger.
“And if you’d take your fat head out of your ass you might see that things are changing in music and its people like me gonna’ make them changes!”
This outburst by such an upstart against one of the most influential record executives in Memphis shocked everyone within earshot. Now, Artie Franklin was embarrassed.
“What did you say your name was?” Franklin asked.
“Teddy Boyette.”
“Well, I’m sure gonna’ remember that.”
Two uniformed Memphis police officers arrived on the scene. They took hold of Teddy, one on each side of him.
“No need for the strong arm fellas, I’ll go quietly.” Teddy said.
Despite his surrender the policemen pulled him toward the stairway. Once outside they were content to send him packing with a swift kick in his backside and a strong warning for him not to return. They stood sentry to make sure he heeded them. Head down, Teddy walked back to the luncheonette.

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "Her home is on the south side, high upon a ridge, just a half a mile from the Mississippi bridge." From - Memphis, By: Chuck Berry.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Excerpt: Chapter Nine: "Down The Aisle"

(From the Unpublished novel. Copyright Donald Riggio 2010)

Joseph Rabinowitz and Janet Cavelli were married on April 10, 1954 in a traditional Jewish service at the Beth Shalom Synagogue on West 100th Street. The guest list was small. Solomon and Myra were all that remained to represent Joseph’s side. Though invited, Vince Cavelli did not attend his daughter’s nuptials, but he did send a generous gift. A handful of friends from the neighborhood, along with Joseph’s boss from the shoe store and his wife, were also in attendance. Solomon treated the gathering to dinner in the private room of a nearby restaurant.
The bride and groom spent their wedding night at an inexpensive midtown hotel, where they were free to be playful and noisy in their lovemaking.
Their financial situation dictated a move. Since they couldn’t afford to live in Manhattan, they rented a one-bedroom apartment on McLemore Avenue, in the Bronx. They furnished their new home with Joseph’s back pay from the army and money they’d received as wedding gifts.
Though it was something of a sparse beginning, they were determined to get by.
“I mean it Joseph,” Janet told him, “I can do my part. If I get all dolled up, fix my hair and make-up, I can look older and get a job waiting tables.”
“Hey… I don’t know if I like the idea of my wife getting dolled up to go to work. I know how guys flirt with sexy waitresses.”
“Quit that, you! You’re not gonna be stuck selling shoes all your life. With me working, if something comes along in the music business, you won’t have to worry about changing jobs.”
“I’m not having any luck finding anything, Sweetheart. Maybe it’s not in the cards for me to even be in the music business.”
His sudden self-doubt bothered her. “Careers don’t just happen overnight.” Then, she caught him grinning at her. “Joseph Rabinowitz, are you laughing at me?”
“No, not laughing…just trying to figure out how I could be so lucky to marry the most beautiful, sexy and intelligent woman in the world.”

Janet made good on her offer to go to work. A new hairstyle and more make-up did indeed make her look older and she dressed in a way to highlight her good figure. She got a job as counter girl at a small Greek coffee shop near the entrance to the IND subway line. Her morning work hours saw her serve commuters stopping in for their first cup of coffee on their way to work. Tips were good.
One morning, after the breakfast rush, a man dressed in a wrinkled suit sauntered up to the counter.
“Hi, what can I get you?” She asked with a smile.
“Is the owner around anywhere, sweetheart?”
Janet half opened the swinging door behind her. “Mr. Yanitz, there’s a man here to see you,” she called out.
The proprietor, Tom Yanitz, came through the door. With his curly hair, thick black moustache and stubble chin, the Greek-American looked more like a cook than a restaurant owner. Janet busied herself by refilling sugar shakers, remaining close enough to hear the conversation between the two men.
“Good morning sir,” the salesman began his pitch, “I represent the Sebring Jukebox Company and we have an exciting offer for you to consider today. I can put our top selling model, M100B in here in less than a week. It’s the only machine on the market right now that plays those 45’s the kids go crazy for. One hundred selections at the push of a button.”
“Ahhh, if I put a record machine in here, I’ll have a gang of no good kids hanging around not spending any money,” Yanitz complained.
“They’ll be spending money all right. They’ll be feeding it coins like they feed peanuts to elephants at the Bronx Zoo.”
“Some of the kids they got in this neighborhood belong in the zoo. Where would I put the damn thing anyway?”
The salesman looked around the main dining room.
“How about up against that far wall back there where you got that rickety old piano? Is there an outlet on that wall?”
Yanitz and Janet both looked at the upright piano standing beneath a painted mural of Greek ruins.
“Yeah, there’s a plug back there.” Yanitz said.
“Perfect spot for it.” Janet interjected.
The two men laughed.
“Well, if the help likes the idea…I guess it’s settled.” Her boss’s remark sent Janet off with a blush in her cheeks.
Yanitz had Janet serve the salesman a free cup of coffee while they sat filling out the order form for the new jukebox. Before he left the diner, the Sebring salesman put a three-dollar tip on the counter. Obviously, he thought her comment to her boss helped make this sale.
Later, Yanitz surveyed the area where the jukebox would go.
“Pepe!” He called out.
A short, well-muscled Puerto Rican man in his twenties appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. “Yeah, boss?” the dishwasher asked.
“When you see the sanitation men, ask them when we can put this piano out for pick up?”
“Sure thing, boss.” Pepe went back into the kitchen.
Janet approached her employer. “Are you just going to throw it away?”
“Yeah, I got no use for it. I’m not even sure the stupid thing works.”
“Well, then, can I have it?”
“Do you play the piano?”
“No, I don’t. You see, my husband and I don’t have a lot of furniture in our apartment. I think a piano would look great in our living room.”
“Yeah, sure, go ahead. If you can get it out of here before the garbage men take it.
As Yanitz walked off, Janet realized the enormity of the task she’d given herself. She wanted the piano to be a surprise for Joseph, so she needed some way to get the instrument home. She hurried into the kitchen to find Pepe again.
“Pepe, I need your help.”
“What you need, sweet pea?”
“Mr. Yanitz says I can have that piano but I don’t have any way of getting it home”
Pepe looked up from a metal sink filling with steaming hot water, “Where do you live?”
“Not far… McLemore Avenue,”
“That don’t sound too bad. We got the dolly we use to take the garbage cans out at night. We could put the piano on that. But if the boss found out, he’d be pissed.”
“Tomorrow is banking day. Mr. Yanitz leaves early on banking day.”
“Yeah, yeah, that would work. But we’ll have to be quick like Speedy Gonzales. I’ll get my cousin to give me a hand and we’ll wheel the damn thing right through the streets. What floor do you live on?”
“Third,” she said, hoping her answer didn’t kill the whole deal.
“ Dios mio!”
“Please, Pepe, I really need your help. I can give you a couple of dollars… please?”
“You’re a nice girl Janet. Okay, I can get another guy to help us drag it up the stairs. Just give us a few bucks for some cold beer, okay?”
“Oh, thank you Pepe. You’re a doll!”

Joseph arrived home the next night to find an upright piano against one of the bare walls in their living room. Janet beamed as she waited for his reaction. When he smiled, she had great fun telling him the story of how it all came about.
Joseph tried a couple of the keys. The sound it produced was quite sour.
Janet scrunched her nose. “I think it might be a little out of tune?”
“I’ll say.”
“Your father can fix it though, the next time they come over, right?”
“If he can’t, nobody can.”
“You’re not mad at me for doing this without telling you, are you?”
Joseph took his wife in his arms. “No, honey, I’m not mad. I think having a piano in the house is a pretty cool idea.”

Rock and Roll Quote of the day: "The preacher said will you take this woman to be your wife, to love and to cherish for the rest of your life?" From - Down the Aisle By: The Quin Tones

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl: excerpt from Chapter Two -"Teddy"

(From the unpublished novel, Copyright Donald Riggio 2010)

Teddy Boyette exhibited his teenage rebelliousness in a different way than his reckless schoolmates in the Chevy truck. He did it with his attitude and his look. A white, short-sleeved T-shirt and tight blue jeans flapped at the cuffs over black motorcycle boots was his standard attire. He wore his dark black hair combed back in a ducktail, made slick by thick Dixie Peach pomade. He stood tall and slender, easily five foot ten with striking good looks and smooth features. While Teddy exuded toughness, he had a caring, respectful side to his nature that his demeanor did not betray. The only child of a local chicken farmer and his wife, Teddy was about to turn seventeen, a junior at Radcliff High School.
He guided his Harley across the center divider, braking to a stop at the Texaco station on the south side of the road. He needed advice and he’d come to the one person he knew who could help him. Working the kickstand down in one fluid motion, he dismounted, took off his sunglasses and continued with a swagger to the office where he figured he’d find Chanticleer. But the black man already stood outside.
“That the McVie boys went screeching by like that?” Chanty asked.
“Yup. Them and Tiny Cassidy with ‘em. Up to raising some hell on the highway.”
“No doubt. Those boys gonna’ get themselves killed doin’ that one of these days. I wonder why they ain’t in school? Come to think of it boy…why ain’t you in school?”
“Ahhh…I cut my classes.” Teddy knew his answer disappointed his friend.
“Now Teddy, I told you more’n once I wasn’t gonna’ let you come by here to jam if it meant you was cutting school to do it.”
“I didn’t come by to jam.”
“Then, what’s with you boy?”
“Ain’t nothing going right for me, Chanty.”
Chanticleer shook his head and let go that special chuckle he reserved for when he was dealing with the trials and tribulations of the young.
“What’s got your dander up this time?”
“It’s about that talent show I told you they was having at my school. I had to submit the song I planned to play to some committee. Dang it Chanty they ain’t gonna’ let me sing the song I picked. They say it’s improper!”
“What song was you planning to do?”
“I put together this revved up version of that Hank Williams tune “Move It on Over.” Teddy was proud of what he’d done with the song. “The committee turned it down- say I can’t do it.”
“So, sing something else?” Chanty made the solution sound so easy. Teddy shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and tossed a negative motion in Chanty’s direction.
“I been lookin’ forward to this show for a long time, singing in front of a real audience, making my Mama proud. Nobody’s got the right to tell me what I can’t sing.”
“This don’t sound like it’s got too much to do with making your Mama proud.”
Chanticleer was right. Teddy’s attitude had more to do with the fact that, once again, someone in authority tried telling him what to do. It was bad enough when it came from his parents at home or his teachers at school. He wasn’t going to let it carry over as far as his music was concerned.
“Listen here Teddy,” Chanticleer tried to reason with him. “You got a talent boy, a real talent. The day’s gonna’ come when people will sit up and take notice of that. But you can’t force it on folks. It just has to happen natural like. And you can’t do it all alone. You’re gonna’ need people to help move you along. You won’t get no help if you keep defying folks all the time. And it won’t do you no good to get all riled about it either.”
Teddy managed a smile at his friend’s solid advice. “All right Chanty. I’ll sing a different song.”
“Good boy. Do you know ‘The Old Wooden Cross’?”
“Aw Chanty that’s a church song! What are my friends gonna’ think if I sing a church song?”
“I thought you was doin’ this for your Mama?”
Teddy crumbled. “I know the words but I don’t know how to play it.”
“Well then c’mon inside and we’ll get to teachin’ it to you.”

Unlike the soldier who stopped by earlier, there was no question as to whether Teddy Boyette was a hip cat or not. He grew up listening to the music of the poor coloreds working the
farms and fields of the surrounding area. The sorrowful laments they called the blues impressed the boy from an early age. He listened to country music nightly on the radio in his family’s parlor and of course he experienced the good gospel sounds of the hymns he heard and sang in the Church where they worshipped.

Teddy had begged his parents for a guitar from the time he was ten. In two years they’d put aside enough cash to order one from the Sears Roebuck catalog giving it to him the following Christmas. But the boy had no idea what to do with it. The only person he knew that played guitar was the old colored man who worked at the service station where his daddy got gas.
“Don’t you go bothering Chanticleer with any of that guitar nonsense now Teddy.” His father warned him the first time he heard his son ask Chanty to string the guitar for him.
“That’s all right Mr. Boyette. I’d be happy to help the youngster, maybe even give him a lesson or two.”
“Can he Daddy?”
“Can’t be paying you for no guitar lessons Chanty.” His dad told the old man.
“Be my pleasure to do it, in my spare time of course, no charge.”
“Well, that’d be okay I reckon,” Mr. Boyette said.
“Oh boy!” Teddy shouted.
“You come around any time you like.” Chanty told the youngster.
Teddy rode out on his bicycle that very next day, his guitar slung around his back on a makeshift strap he made from a rope.
He watched as Chanty strung the guitar. The old man showed him how to tune it, turning the pegs, stretching the strings to the precise point to get just the right sound. He learned simple chords, playing until his fingers ached from the coarseness of the steel wound strings. It would be that way until hard calluses formed on his fingertips.
Chanty taught him progressions, where to play on the neck to remain in key, how to transpose chords into different keys all in his head as automatic as the multiplication tables he learned in school. He considered Teddy to be a natural born picker.

Rock and Roll Quote of the day: "The story ends here, it was no lie. The names have been changed dear, to protect you and I." From: "My True Story," By: The JIve Five.