How the Bob and Grady|
Fan Club was Started
Posted December 10, 2007,
I was asked how I contacted Grady Martin. Here's the story in its
entirety ... Tommy
It was a dark and stormy night in 1997. My good buddy Wayne Daniel
and I decided we were going to learn some Marty Robbins songs. I
moved to Rockport, Texas in 1991 and met up with Wayne at a jam
session in 1994. We played together as a duo for 6 years until I
moved to Houston in February of 2000. I had run the gamut for project
engineering management work in the Corpus Christi, Texas area and had
landed a good position with a consulting firm in Houston.
The rain spattered and spit upon the window pane as Wayne and I
labored to learn El Paso. It would be several practice sessions and a
few weeks before the song was ready to play in public. I decided to
transcribe Grady's lead onto paper so I could use it on stage, a
decision that would change my life forever. But, before I could
transcribe the lead I had to hear it. The next day I motored over to
Corpus and patronized the local Radio Shack where I purchased two
100,000 kOhm potentiometers and a 20,000 micro-Farad capacitor. I
traveled northward across the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge playing El
Paso on the CD player I installed in my 1990 Toyota pickup truck, blue
in color. I listened intently to every note that Grady played, still
missing over 50% of the lead work due to the jingle jangle of the song
and the singing.
I arrived home 63 minutes later and headed straight for my trusty
soldering iron. I deployed it on the workbench in my workshop that I
had constructed from a storage area at the rear of my garage. I
sauntered inside and retrieved my Pioneer turntable from my stereo
assembly and carefully placed it upside-down atop my workbench.
I went to work immediately installing the two pots and the capacitor
into the intricate circuitry of the turntable. One hour later, I had
the finished product: a turntable that would slow the record speed,
simultaneously cutting the high pass singing and jingle jangle
frequencies from the song, and thus allowing me to hear the lead that
made Grady Martin the most famous session player in America.
I reintroduced the turntable to my stereo assembly, carefully laid the
vinyl recording on the rotating platter, and delicately touched the
needle to the record. Using both pots, I proceeded to adjust the
speed of the 33 rpm vinyl disc and employ the 20,000 micro-Farad
Outside, the lightning began to flash. I knew the time was right. I
looked up to the cloudy heavens just as the needle dropped into the
tiny path of the record. My creation was a success. As the storm
outside intensified, the lead work coming through my Altec Lansing
studio monitors began to come ALIVE.
NYAAAA HAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAA ... I screamed! My eyes became
widened and globular. Drool SPEWED from my mouth as I grabbed my
Martin Backpacker guitar and PLAYED ALONG WITH GRADY MARTIN.
I grabbed my tablature staff paper and a pencil and immediately began
transcribing Grady's magnanimous leads. I had transformed into The
Phantom of El Paso, my hair electrified and dancing wildly as the
thunder outside crashed, shaking and rattling the windows of my humble
frame house that sat just a few hundred feet from the shores of
My ears were SHARP and receptive as the notes from El Paso LEAPT at
me. Notes that I had NEVER heard before were totally and clearly
audible. Notes that no man except Grady Martin had heard since that
day in the studio in 1959. The wind blew harder and harder, the
lightning scattered across the sky, the lead notes of El Paso seemed
to materialize on the page.
It was an ingenious, clever invention! One that would change the path
of my life like a hurricane would alter the course of a river.
I was a genius.
Later that week at the ranch, my old buddy and sidekick, Wayne, was
saddling up his Ford Bronco as I came trottin' up sideways in my
Toyota pickup. He looked at me strangely and asked, "Where the Hell
have you been? ... and wipe that drool off your face ... what the Hell
is the matter with you?"
I laughed wildly and held up the transcriptions to the lead to El
Paso. Wayne smiled, threw his hat in the air and began dancing a jig.
I scrambled out of the truck and joined him. We do-si-do'd round and
round until the wetbacks began chattering in Spanish,
"Mira ... Mira ... venga y mira a los estos pendejos ..."
Wayne grabbed his faithful Takamine out his Bronco and I seized Betty
Lou, my beloved Martin D1R, from my Toyota. We ran at full speed into
his casa, slamming the screen door so hard that all four dogs ran out
from under the porch just a'hollerin' and a'yelpin'...
I laid the precious brew of notes out on the carpet. Wayne sat down
on the floor with his instrument in one hand and his guitar in the
other and said, "Let's play El Paso!"
And play El Paso WE DID.
The song flowed like a Bandera County hill country creek, mellow and
soothing. Grady Martin's notes gushed forth from my instrument and my
guitar. The music was striking, and prominently similar to that of
the original 1959 recording.
We were a success. We were masterminds! Wayne Daniel and Tommy
Lovelace were the only musicians in the Texas Gulf Coastal Bend that
could play each and every note of Marty Robbins' El Paso completely
reminiscent of the recording!
Outside, the coyotes yelped and squealed into the night as we
practiced El Paso to flawlessness. The song was at this instant ready
to perform in public.
After 3 hours of hard, steady exertion, we were exhausted. Wayne sat
back and lit up a cigarette. "Was it as good for you as it was for
me?" "That was fantastic." I replied. "I've never played that way
before." "Me, neither." exclaimed Wayne.
El Paso was an achievement, an accomplishment beyond our wildest
dreams. Satisfied, I uttered, "I wonder what Grady Martin is doing
now?. You reckon he's still alive?" Wayne drew a long drag on his
smoke and said, "Well, Mr. Engineer, you have access to the internet.
Why the hell don't you get on it and find out?" "Good idea, my
friend. I'll hop on that first thing Monday morning."
And hop on it I did. Wayne's idea began a one year trek into the
unknown realm of the Ethernet to locate Grady Martin.
Captain's Log: Star Date 068 0100 (about 8pm sometime in March of
May the bird of the galaxy bless your planet.
Scotty beamed me into the transporter room at 0852. I was heading
down to the cargo bay when the idea crossed a distant threshold into
my mind to post requests to the World Wide Web via the Ethernet to
facilitate our effort in searching the galaxy for Grady Martin. I
reached the cargo bay just as Wayne crept out from under a large
internal sensor. "Well, Mr. Engineer, how is the search for Grady
I replied that we had just commenced the exploration and that we don't
have yet a rough estimate of conclusion at this time. "However, if
you would contact the Landru computer on Beta III we might have a
better chance of getting this thing off the ground."
"Aye, captain ..." Wayne smirked. He always was a smartass.
I left the cargo bay and headed up to the flight deck. I knew Wayne
would never get around to doing anything digital, so I called up the
Landru server myself and typed in the words Grady Martin in the search
bar. Several hits came up. I chose the first one, The Rockabilly
Hall of FameŽ, and contacted the webmaster. The RHOF was located near
the Dickson sector in the Tennessee quarter of the Archon Federation
on Planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy close to Area 615.
Lt. Bob Timmers was quick to reply telling me that the RHOF was
under attack by The Red Hour and that I would have to post quickly or
risk acquiring the virus. I informed Lt. Timmers of our undertaking
regarding Grady Martin. He advised me that he too was looking for
We immediately formed an alliance with the RHOF. Two heads were
definitely better than one (unless you're clashing with a zudrilliorb
from Babylon 5 ... HA! ...).
I began to peruse the second alternative when suddenly the ship
lurched to starboard several degrees. We unexpectedly encountered the
outer elliptical locus of an asteroid sweep. A small one had struck
the starboard urinator before the auto-kinesthesiator could initiate
the force field.
Without delay, I called up an emulator on my virtual image screen. I
discovered an unobstructed path through the sweep but we would have to
accelerate instantaneously to Warp Speed 6.2. Performing this
maneuver, we would just barely clear the last asteroid by only a few
"ALL AHEAD FULL TO WARP 6.2 ... COURSE 20.45 DEGREES TO PORT ..." I
shouted as everyone braced themselves for the sudden angular
acceleration. Within milliseconds we arrived at the calculated
velocity. "Steady as she goes, mates ... steady as she goes." I
commanded with no inflection in my voice. A good captain will never
display panic or emotion of any kind, only a firm confident manner
As we all know from our studies in Relativity Theory, if we exceed the
speed of light while traveling, upon deceleration time does not flow
at a fixed rate, but 'dilates.' Clocks will seem to tick slower,
therefore slowing down time for the Warp Speed travelers.
When we exited the asteroid sweep, time as we know it bounded forward
to Star Date 069 0310 (somewhere around 9pm on a Tuesday night in
March, 1998). At 2100 hours, I received a transmission on combadge
subspace radio 192.56447 tetra-Hz. I thought this was odd because it
was chirping a negative tone.
"This is Lovelace ... " I answered. "Tommy?" the voice crackled. The
transmission was from Area 615 on Planet Earth in the Milky Way
galaxy. I switched to lock-on contact. My sarium krellide power cell
was getting weak and was producing a faintly audible oscillation.
"Tommy? This is Bob Moore." "Who?" I asked, "Are you a Romulon?"
('Romulons on Earth?' I mused) "No, I'm calling from Area 615 in the
Nashville sector of the Tennessee quarter." The voice replied, "I
heard you were searching for Grady Martin. I have a positive fix on
his location. He's in this quarter just north of the Lewisburg
sector. I HAVE SEEN HIM."
My luck had finally changed. A full year of searching was over.
"Mr. Moore, how did you know I was looking for Grady Martin?" Moore
replied, "Starfleet Commander Billy Swan in the California quarter saw
your RHOF post on the fleet tricorder. RHOF was under attack by The
Red Hour virus but somehow got your message past the RH by employing
the universal translator circuit. A galactic civilization out in 503
picked it up and passed it to Billy, who in turn did a hot-shot to my
secretary, Kittra. She just handed me the message. I called
And that's how the Bob and Grady Fan Club was born.
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