Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hobo Lady by Keith Sykes

Keith Sykes. If you aren't familiar with the name, google it. He has toured with Jimmy Buffet, written songs with John Prine, and much more. Around 1967/'68 I saw him perform at a coffee house on the campus of West Texas State in Canyon, Texas. He was going on the coffee house circuit. He was open to socialization. For all the little Christian girls who heard him at the same time and could have spent the night in his bed, I have this to say: Thank you for your shyness; because you didn't get to fuck him, he wrote a song instead.
Keith invited me to visit him the next day at the Buffalo Courts (Canyon, Texas). I did and he told me he had written a new song. He said he had received a call from management during the night complaining of the noise, but he had finished the song nonetheless. As I recall, all rooms at the Buffalo Courts were individual structures and built of stone, so the complainer was a pretty sensitive person.
I picked it up pretty fast because it was in open D tuning (DADF#AD) and I was a John Fahey open tuning kind of guy. I didn't write anything down. I learned the words; I learned the guitar part, and it stuck.
In '69 I accidentally ended up in Nashville. While there, I walked down Music Row and, at a small publisher's advice, ended up at a studio called "Queen of Sound."  I paid $5.00 for three tries at recording a song, and I recorded Hobo Lady. I absolutely told everyone at every step of the way that it was a Keith Sykes song. I recorded it because I had NOTHIN', I mean nothing I had written, that would have opened a door for me.
But doors opened. I just didn't walk through. That's another story or two.
Over the years, I have sung this song any time I wanted to knock someone's socks off. I've played it while blitzed on acid, drunk as a skunk, and on a mental ward in Flagstaff, Arizona. It just doesn't fail to rock the room. Anywhere. Anytime.

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