Louisville & Nashville Run

L.A.S.C. Night At Nashville Open Stage

By Jean Metcalfe

We didn't have a singing brakeman, but we did have a harmonica-playing conductor in our. two-car run from Louisville to Nashville on Tuesday evening, September 10. Nine o'clock in the evening (CST) is a difficult time for songwriter/performers to sing in Nashville, Tenn. if they are destined to arrive back home at 4 o'clock the following morning and have to go to a "real job" at 8 a.m. So there were only five of us who accepted Tom Flood's invitation to come to Music City that evening.

Paul Moffett and Wally Hill represented the L.A.S.C. at Tom's songwriter's night at the Budget Host Inn at James Robertson Parkway in Nashville, Tenn. and they did a fine job. Host flood give the songwriters' co-op a very fine introduction, saying a few words about how it all began and introducing those of us who were in the audience.

The paucity of Co-opers who could make the trip must have been a classic example of "mixed emotions" for Prez Paul. On the one hand he would have liked for the L.A.S.C. to be represented by a large number of songwriter/performers. But on the other hand (did l hear a song title there?) he wound up being the special guest of the evening, with the fine house band to back him up. (We had been told that if a performer provided charts, the band would act as the side men and Paul was prepared on that count.)

Ray Mann (who plays drums and bass simultaneously with the house band) sang a clever number called "I Just Went Out For A Couple Of Laughs and Wound Up In Stitches." There were other band numbers as well, one of which featured Tom singing his "I Hear the Train" (which he dedicated to Wally, "the only real railroad man I know"). Tom continued with his "No Win Situation" and "Captain Of the Seas."

The open-stage portion of the evening began with an attractive young woman who sang two originals the prescribed number for this particular open stage. She seemed to be at ease on the stage and, although her first number "Through Someone Else's Eyes" was tiresome at times. her second song was considerably better. It was called "Second Chance," and warned that "If you like the music, baby, you'd better dance / Because you don't always get a second chance."

There was a parade of performers, mostly guys accompanying themselves on guitar and a couple of them were very talented. Good material, good performances. I especially liked one title that I heard "Since My Sweet Thing Walked Out I'm Sugar Free," although I do not recall any of the lyrics.

One of Tom's Nashville friends who performed that evening was very talented. One of his songs had an interesting title "Down to My Last Oreo" and it was not the funny song one might have expected it to be.

Paul represented the L.A.S.C. well as he sang "I Can Sing A Country Song," "Chains," "Doubts," "Year Of the Comet" and "Cotton Mouth Blues." Of the latter, Ray Mann quipped, "It's a song about vipers." The house band and Wally accompanied Paul on all of the tunes, using charts that he had provided. (I believe there was only one small miscue.)

With the extra time allotted, Paul did a solo segment that included "Steal This Heart," ("my most recent song which I have rewritten with about five other people"), "Once-In-A-While Love" and "Railroad Man." Wally played on most of the tunes and Tom added vocal harmony at an off-stage mike to a couple of them.

Before returning to the two-song open-stage format, the band played a couple more and Tom sang "You're Still My Flame" for his "sweetie up in Shelbyville, Ky. "That's a long way from here," he said.

At half an hour after midnight, we slipped out quietly, after saying goodbye to our hosts and headed for home.

Oh, yes, there was a somewhat hilarious attempt by one carload of our party to purchase fast food at a drive-in window. Seems the window employees weren't too anxious to whip up burgers that evening and they would allow only two orders to a car that was carrying three people. I'm still not quite sure why it was necessary for the second car to escort the first through the drive-in process, but it did prompt me to wonder aloud to my husband, "How many songwriters does it take to order a hamburger and fries?" Thanks, Tom Flood, for the opportunity to sing on your open stage in Nashville. Invite us again, won't you.